Is Yoga Culturally Appropriated by the West?

Cultural appropriation occurs when a dominant group adopts some practices or styles from a non-dominant group’s culture and uses them outside of their original context.

Is the yoga you are practicing a spiritual practice, or is it an exercise regime that is more invested in your physical appearance rather than spiritual growth? If so, should you stop practicing yoga? No, but rather than ceasing yoga practice, remember to acknowledge where it came from; be respectful of its history and traditions and find ways to be inclusive of the practice. If you’re training to teach yoga, consider learning about the Hindu traditions and the history of the discipline. Learn who the dieties are and treat any images or physical representations with respect. (i.e. don’t wear clothing with pictures of Lord Ganesh, Shiva, or Lord Buddha on).

Whatever you do with yoga, remember to acknowledge the people, culture, place, and religion from which it came.

Hari Om