Yoga and consumer culture
This completes my analysis of the market and the commodification of the yoga discourse. The dynamic of commodification of the cultural field of yoga has hugely conditioned the yoga products being offered – the practising and the signified. The very fact we can talk about a yoga product’ is only made possible through the conditioning of commodification. In a commodity market there is a producer and a consumer side, each supporting the other. Until now we have looked at the producer side – the yoga entrepreneur designing, producing and circulating her yoga product to the market. But there is also the consumer side: the yoga sympathiser who pays for yoga capital (know-how). As a product, yoga after WW2 became a part of a rapidly growing consumer culture. What happened to yoga also happened to a wide spectrum of practices, activities, sports, and experiences as they became enveloped in the post-war consumer culture for the masses.
A consumer culture is a culture where shopping has become a pleasurable leisure-time cultural activity, instead of it being a rational act of acquiring utility (Featherstone 2011). In other words shopping is not so much done because we need the use-value of commodities but rather their symbolic value. So in a consumer culture commodities primarily become associated with symbols. Their use-value moves to the back of our consciousness. Why has this symbolic value become so important to us consumers – what does it offer? The answer in short is that commodities are desired because they send out signals about who we are – about identities. Products are communicators of symbols and images – named totems among anthropologists (Lury 2011, Sassatelli 2007, Featherstone 2011). This is true for all human societies – objects are conveyors of the owner’s identity. They associate the owner with images and signs. In the eyes of others we become (or rather we become associated with’) what surrounds our bodies.
Come down far enough to feel the pull on your hamstring Heron Pose Yoga muscles. Retain your arms deep in their sockets, even as you reach down. If Heron Pose Yoga you can straighten your knees and you want more intensity, hold your ankles and pull yourself farther down. Avoid pushing your knees back; instead, press the balls of the feet down and lift up the quadriceps. 1Balance your use of strength with an attitude of surrender and release. Breathe evenly. 1To come up, bring your hands to your waist. Root down through your legs to the four corners of your feet, extend your head and chest forward, and lift up smoothly as you inhale.