Worldwide News

Michigan State Professor: White People Who Do Yoga Contribute To ‘White Supremacy’

As if Michigan State needs anymore bad press. A Michigan State professor claims white people who practice yoga contribute to “white supremacy” and the “yoga industrial complex.”

Shreena Gandhi is a religious studies professor. He co-authored an article that claims “yoga practice in the United States is intimately linked to some of the larger forces of white supremacy,” adding yoga is “tied up with colonialism.”

Per the New York Post, Ghandi wrote the article “Yoga and the Roots of Cultural Apporopriation,” along with Lillie Wolff. Who is Wolff? She describes herself as ‘anti-racist white Jewish organizer, facilitator, and healer.’

Per Kalamazoo College Praxis Center:

This complex socio-political reality of the U.S. is key to understanding how the cultural void of white society is intimately mixed with white supremacy, capitalism, and globalization; and it is within these oppressive structures that cultural appropriation and the yoga industrial complex flourishes. People are grasping for something to belong and connect to outside of the empty and shallow societal anchors of materialism and consumerism, which do not nourish or empower people in any sort of meaningful or sustainable way. People are searching for these things without even understanding why there is a void in the first place. Few white people make the connection between their attraction to yoga and the cultural loss their ancestors and relatives experienced when they bought into white dominant culture in order to access resources. Many Europeans did not fully grasp what they were giving up and what they were investing in, yet many did, and most who arrived on these shores chose to stay here rather than return to their home country. Few white people make the connection between their love of yoga and their desire and ability to access traditions from historically oppressed communities of color.

Most yoga teachers in America do not learn about Hindu tradition or Indian cultural history. Generally in the United States, people practice the physical aspect of yoga, the postures or asanas, which comprise only one-eighth of the practice as a whole. The physical practice — think flowing from one pose to another with awareness of the breath — does help many people decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. However, when “Western” yoga teachers train other practitioners to relate to yoga only on a physical level, without exploring the history, roots, complexity, and philosophy, they are perpetuating the re-colonization of it by diluting its true depth and meaning. This modern day trend of cultural appropriation of yoga is a continuation of white supremacy and colonialism, maintaining the pattern of white people consuming the stuff of culture that is convenient and portable, while ignoring the well-being and liberation of Indian people.

Wouldn’t you say the left is eating their own at this point? I’m not saying only leftists are doing yoga or allowed to do yoga, but wouldn’t you say most people who do yoga are leftists?

Check out the responses from Twitter:

Comments

comments