Publication date:

09 September 2016

Length of book:

356 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9781498528023

Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change is the first collection to gather together prominent scholars on yoga and the body. Using an intersectional lens, the essays examine yoga in the United States as a complex cultural phenomenon that reveals racial, economic, gendered, and sexual politics of the body. From discussions of the stereotypical yoga body to analyses of pivotal court cases, Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change examines the sociopolitical tensions of contemporary yoga.

Because so many yogic spaces reflect the oppressive nature of many other public spheres, the essays in this collection also examine what needs to change in order for yoga to truly live up to its liberatory potential, from the blogosphere around Black women’s health to the creation of queer and trans yoga classes to the healing potential of yoga for people living with chronic illness or trauma.

While many of these conversations are emerging in the broader public sphere, few have made their way into academic scholarship. This book changes all that. The essays in this anthology interrogate yoga as it is portrayed in the media, yoga spaces, and yoga as it is integrated in education, the law, and concepts of health to examine who is included and who is excluded from yoga in the West. The result is a thoughtful analysis of the possibilities and the limitations of yoga for feminist social transformation.
Taken as a whole, this anthology provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges facing yoga culture in the United States. The lived experiences of the authors as scholars and yoga teachers, many of whom are also members of marginalised communities, provide unique insights into these challenges. Notably, this collection moves beyond a purely scholarly approach, taking into account the physical practice of yoga and the way in which yoga has the potential to be a site for embodied social change that could greatly benefit vulnerable communities. This change, the authors argue, cannot be achieved without the conscious effort of those involved in the yoga community. Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Changeis an invaluable resource for those who want to instigate that change.