Decolonising Yoga

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    While yoga is sometimes popularly perceived as apolitical, scholarly trends of the twenty-first century reveal the centrality of power, hierarchy and recognition to the workings of the practice. The remodulations of yoga that took place in India under colonial modernity expose how the practice was both shaped by imperial norms and capable of generating anti-colonial critical force. As yoga has become popular outside India’s borders, its success has raised new critical questions about how the practice makes political meaning for different subjects positioned within complex legacies of empire, race and migration. The global popularity of yoga has inspired a range of nationalist enthusiasm on the part of the Indian state, which has recruited yoga for projects that continue India’s decolonisation ideals, but which also potentially generate hierarchical conceptions of India in an age of increasing majoritarianism. Mapping a wide field of scholarship influenced by postcolonial critique and critical race theory, this chapter argues that modern yoga may be in need of decolonising, but that it also carries the potential to energise contemporary decolonial projects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies
    Editors Suzanne Newcombe, Karen O'Brien-Kop
    Place of PublicationNew York
    ISBN (Print)9781138484863
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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