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Consuming Yoga, Conserving the Environment: Transcultural Discourses on Sustainable Living
Yoga Traveling
Transcultural Research - Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context
Format: Book Chapter
Publication Date: 2013/04/10/
Publisher: Springer, Heidelberg
Pages: 175 - 200
Sources ID: 35721
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)
The practice of yoga in transnational contexts, from North America to Europe to India, has been linked with what has come to be known as the Green movement for environmentally sustainable living. Both this Green movement and the yoga practices that are being mobilized on its behalf are closely connected to the construction of a transnational cosmopolitan middle class that defines itself through particular understandings of health, well-being, and environmentalism. In this paper, we discuss the utility of yoga for both promoting an ecological worldview as well as for linking personal health and well-being with a broader understanding of planetary health; our analysis also highlights the current commercialization of both yoga and the more general health and ecology arenas. In order to do this, we provide both a discursive analysis of web and print media representations of these topics, and also explore the meanings of yoga through ethnographic data collected in a variety of locations between 1992 and 2010. These data were collected among yoga practitioners associated with the training initiated by three major figures in the history of twentieth century yoga, Swami Sivananda, T. Krishnamacharya, and Sri. K. Patabhi Jois. By combining ethnographic research with an examination of text and images, we explore how personal practice and planetary health are linked through the minds, bodies, discourses, and transcultural flows of the yoga world’s diverse members.