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The flourishing of yoga in the U.S., the West, and around the world, has triggered many controversies - political, academic, economic, ethical, theological, etc. This general interest material is meant to give authors a sense of some of these issues, which may stimulate your thinking about your own experience of teaching. Brief annotations for each article orient you to the issue in question.
Please note that these resources come from a broad range of sources – published books, newspaper articles, industry publications, TV news, on-line postings etc. – and locales -- New York, Montreal, Thailand, and India. This suggests the far-flung nature of the debates over yoga and their complexity. Many more could be cited, but these few are meant to introduce authors to the rich discourse about yoga that surrounds practice communities today, which most often go unobserved by western practitioners and teachers alike.
The regulation of yoga and yoga teachers has become a hot button issue over the course of the last decade as state legislators consider whether yoga teachers should submit to the kind of regulation required of massage therapists, cosmetologists, and other service professionals.
The Hindu American Foundation's position reflects on-going discussions about the importance of the South Asian (Hindu, Buddhist Sikh) foundations of yoga. These refract through issues from the meaning of the yoga in the U.S. today to the politics of identity of Hindu-Americans in the diaspora and the role of religion in Indian right-wing politics.
New scholarship reveals the complexity of the history of the modernization of yoga both in South Asia and in the United States, which has called into question the centrality of “postural yoga” (asana-based practice) to the tradition. In this article, the Yoga Journal reports on some of these new perspectives for its readers.
Controversies about intimate relations between teachers and students have roiled many practice groups, most extensively among Euro-American Buddhists. This article places yoga-related episodes within the broader context of contemporary American sexual mores and norms.
The complex history of South Asian tantra in currently undergoing intense scholarly scrutiny, which has begun to shed critical light on the uses and abuses of tantra in yoga practice communities in the West. The Yoga Journal reports on aspects of the debate with reference to tantra and tantra-like ideas and practices in a representative couples workshop.
This brief book review of William Broad's Science of Yoga (2012), which recently drew attention to injuries induced by yoga practice and argues for the need for regulation in the yoga community.
The recent surge in the popularity of yoga has resulted in the “commodification of yoga” and the emergence of a “yoga industry.” This industry report outlines one entrepreneur's approach to creating a nation-wide chain of yoga studios.
The commodification of yoga has led to questions about the branding of teaching styles, the most prominent case being that of Bikram Choudhury's effort to copyright “hot yoga.”
As yoga is disseminated in the West, it is being adopted to suit the religious and theological norms of Christianity and other traditions. This article reports on resistance to such adaptations by fundamentalists East and West.
Malhotra is an Indian-American telecommunications entrepreneur who has become a vocal critic of the appropriation of Hinduism in the West. He shares here one of his many critical comments on Christian yoga.
Ryan is one of a number of Christian clerics to adapt yoga to Christian norms. Here he argues that the doctrine of the Incarnation is an orthodox foundation for the practice of yoga and outlines an asana practice keyed to the Lord's Prayer.
Rothberg describes how Jews are adapting yoga-related theological concepts and practices to Judaism in ways that suit the religious norms of three very different Jewish communities
The new yoga history is glossed with attention to the role of Krishnamacharya and Iyengar, written on the occasion of the latter's death.
The on-going process of adapting Buddhism and yoga to American corporate culture is given an important up date in this report on the transvaluation of “mindfulness” by Wall Street.
Some of these memos will be in the MS Word docx format. Please let us know if another format is preferred.