Culture and Commodity : The Ascendance of Yoga in the Western World
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Americanized yoga has been fabricated and molded by and for Americans, and is executed in a manner that continues to exclude certain social groups that have been historically ostracized. Due to the legacy of colonialism, it is apparent that Westernized yoga and intentions of the practice had already begun developing in India throughout its colonial and independent eras, whereas now it is globally known. The Western world has historically utilized discovery and the attainment of resources for the betterment of their own communities, without regard for the footsteps left behind in other countries, cultures, and practices. Western values of money and trade were present in India way before yoga became popularized in the West. Furthermore, we will explore how translations and diffusion into Western culture have caused yoga to grow into its own subculture of practitioners within the US, with the help of market and trade. Systems and practices that will be identified in the paper were created and maintained to create barriers for the exclusivity and inaccessibility for certain groups. The values of yoga in the US were bent into different directions in order to represent the flexibility of socio-political dominating groups. Such directionality has led to skewed values of the spiritual and intentional meanings in traditional origins of yoga. The sections for the paper will be organized by the history of Westernized yoga’s diffusion, its eventual commodification, its present focus on “health and wellness,” and exclusivity in the US.