In this chapter we investigate the hybrid yoga culture of modernity from the aspect of how it evolved in the West. Of course being a hybrid culture the Western part is only half of the story. The other half is to be found in the chapter of Colonial Modernist Yoga – which is about an Indian yoga culture, also a hybrid. As in the West the Indian colonial modernist yoga discourse was also trans-local: it was also a mixed culture of overlapping local and global cultures. Thus in my view the genealogy of the yoga of modernity is at an abstract level a function of the twin pair of globalisation and hybridity.
This chapter follows the Indian yoga discourse’s import to the West and how it was adapted to and further evolved in this radically different environment. As we move through this chapter stretching over 250 years, we will in this period see that the conflicts driving and framing the yoga discourse gradually changed its social base (i.e. its interactors) and its institutional location. As the yoga discourse initially surfaced among the cultural bourgeois elites of the West, it was mainly a part of religio-cultural conflicts originating within an embryonic university system and Protestantism.
But slowly the yoga discourse became sucked into the all-penetrating maelstrom of rapidly expanding Western processes and institutions like markets, commoditisation, the welfare state, large corporations, bureaucracies etc. Yoga culture finally found its new institutional home in gyms, evening classes and body oriented studios and its new interactors were mainly middle-class women. This would dramatically change the content, meaning and identities of modernist yoga.
I was left alone and was able to prove myself with my knowledge rather than with my body and face.Warrior I Pose Yoga At this time, I also reconnected with a regular yoga practice. Because yoga connected my mind, body, and spirit, when my dad died, I was able to nurture myself through my grieving process and emerge from it even stronger.Warrior I Pose Yoga I learned to accept my body exactly as it was. It had brought me all this way through life, and didn’t deserve the judgment and criticism that I’d exposed it to. My height had brought me good fortune and set me apart from my sisters when I was younger. When I was modeling more frequently, my shapely hips were constant reminders of my femininity when many of the clothes I had to wear and sell were not cut for women’s bodies. I was tall and thin, but never skinny.