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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Race and Yoga

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Mainstream narratives about yoga in the U.S. often describe how the practice promotes physical and spiritual wellbeing. But, yoga practitioners and scholars rarely question who has had access to the practice since its arrival in North America, and thereby its purportedly healing and liberatory properties. Relatedly, they fail to critically interrogate the representation of the prototypical yogi in contemporary America: upper and middle-class white persons, particularly white women.

Race and Yoga is the first scholarly journal to examine issues surrounding the history, racialization, sex(ualization), and inclusivity (or lack thereof) of the yoga community.

We explore topics such as:

Yoga and Whiteness (e.g. How yoga became associated with whiteness--and in particular white femininity--in the U.S.)

Going Native: Authenticity to Minstrelsy (e.g. How religious and cultural symbols are used or appropriated to re-create the “authentic” Indian yogic experience.)

Liberation for All (e.g. How to expand the practice to underserved spaces, or scaling the efficacy of programs intended to diversify the yoga studio space and/or teacher training programs.)

Race and Yoga is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary academic journal. The journal will feature research-based articles, editorials, and reviews of books, films, and art exhibits. The journal will be published annually beginning in 2016.