Episode 9: Yoga, Cultural Appropriation, & Decolonizing Our Practice

In today’s episode, Melody and Raechel discuss their relationship to yoga. Raechel is a teacher and student of yoga, and Mel is a devoted student as well. But as critical scholars and activists, both struggle with being white Westerners participating in a practice that has been so commodified from its original roots in India. Throughout the episode, they reflect on whether or not practicing is a type of cultural appropriation, the roots of yoga and how it changed during the British occupation of India, and how, if at all, Western yogis can “decolonize” our practice.

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found here

Also: Mel bought Drake tickets and Raechel had an awesome morning. Plus, return of Who’s Ruining What? and What We’re Reading/Watching/Listening To!

Who’s Ruining What? 

The US military “accidentally” bombed a hospital in Afghanistan. The military industrial complex is ruining lives in the Global South (we are not ruining your dinner party for reporting the facts).

Links on Yoga, Cultural Appropriation, & Decolonizing Our Practice

cultural appropriation: Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission. This can include unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc. It’s most likely to be harmful when the source community is a minority group that has been oppressed or exploited in other ways or when the object of appropriation is particularly sensitive, e.g. sacred objects.”

In the United States, cultural appropriation almost always involves members of the dominant culture (or those who identify with it) “borrowing” from the cultures of minority groups. African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans and indigenous peoples generally tend to emerge as the groups targeted for cultural appropriation. Black music and dance, Native American fashions, decorations and cultural symbols and Asian martial arts and dress have all fallen prey to cultural appropriation.”Nadra Kareem Nittle

Decolonizing Yoga

On Yoga and Cultural Appropriation (from Rebel Grrrl Living, Raechel’s other blog; also includes some additional helpful links/readings)

“How to Decolonize Your Yoga Practice”– “Yoga is not now, nor has it ever been, a practice aimed at physical mastery for its own sake. Nor is it a practice aimed at “stress-reduction” so we can function as better producers and consumers in a capitalist society.” 

(But what would RDGK say? Listen and find out!)

What We’re Reading/Watching/Listening to 

Melody: The Worrier Series 

Raechel: #RunningManChallenge Vine compilation

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xoxo Raechel & Melody

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Intro Song: “Top Floor” GRRRL PRTY

Outro Song: “Yoga” Janelle Monáe

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