Doofus Of The Day #994

Today’s award goes to the authors of a ridiculous article about yoga.

A professor of religious studies at Michigan State University recently argued that white people who practice yoga are guilty of enjoying a “system of power, privilege, and oppression.”

To truly honor yoga, writes Michigan State University professor Shreena Gandhi, white Americans should understand its history, acknowledge the cultural appropriation they engage in, and possibly reduce the cost of yoga classes for poor people, a group that often includes people of color and “recent immigrants, such as Indian women to whom this practice rightfully belongs.”

Gandhi, in an article she recently co-authored, argued yoga as it’s practiced in America today is an extension of white supremacy and the “yoga industrial complex.”

“Yoga became — and remains — a practice which allows western practitioners to experience the idea of another culture while focusing on the self,” wrote Gandhi and co-author Lillie Wolff, a self-described “antiracist white Jewish organizer, facilitator and healer” who is passionate about “decolonizing” yoga.

“The explosion of yoga studios, yoga videos, apps, yoga pants, and other yoga swag over the last two decades is evidence of this. Yoga contributes to our economic system, but never forget this system is one built upon exploitation and commodification of labor, often the labor of black people and people of the global south,” the two argued in their piece, titled “Yoga and the Roots of Cultural Appropriation.”

“… We must ask, in what ways are we complicit in a system that harms People of Color, queer and trans people, poor people, people with disabilities, and immigrants? Despite our best values and intentions as individuals, our actions (and inaction) are inherently connected with a system of power, privilege, and oppression.”

The authors write that the many white people who practice yoga should continue to enjoy it, but also “look outside” themselves and “understand how the history of yoga practice in the United States is intimately linked to some of the larger forces of white supremacy.”

There’s more at the link.

Wow.  There’s so much bull**** in that excerpt that one hardly knows where to begin analyzing it.  Just for a start, yoga comes from ancient India, but spread through three major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.  Which of them (if any) “culturally appropriated” it from the other(s)?  Who says this practice “rightfully belongs” to Indian women?  How about cooking rice?  Indian women do that, too.  Does that mean it’s an Indian cultural thing?  Chinese women might have something to say about that . . .  As for “queer and trans” people, how the heck did they get into this debate?  And just what the hell is the “yoga industrial complex”?  One has visions of General Motors making cars where the exhaust plays the “jewel in the lotus” theme.  Yoga, yes;  industrial, yes.  Brilliant!  In that context, maybe “trans” means “transmission”?

The authors of that article can kiss my non-yoga-practicing, non-supremacist, fundamental jujube.  That’s the only response I can think of that adequately reflects my disgust.



  1. We can not fall behind the yoga industrial complex race with the Indian sub-continent or the rest of Asia without dire consequences for our young yoga pants wearing youths.


  2. Any school employing this person as a professor is confirming the institution has no redeeming value, and any transcripts or graduation certs should be marked to acknowledge this. Frankly, I suggest plows and salt be employed to attempt to keep further infestations of this sort from reoccurring.

  3. The modern idea of near-universal matriculation in a University system is a Western invention, and people of color should understand its history, acknowledge the cultural appropriation they engage in, and and possibly reduce the cost of classes for poor people.

  4. " in what ways are we complicit in a system that harms People of Color, queer and trans people, poor people, people with disabilities, and immigrants?"

    Does cheering count as complicit ?

  5. Wait, are you saying that wasn't satire?

    It's sad. I see so much of this crap you'd think it was rampant – it is. It's moved out of the universites and has been absorbed in whole by the mainstream media and hollywood. It's been absorbed to a large extent by technology companies, and it's spreading. On the upside, companies who go down this path tend to experience a massive loss of profitability. That means the majority still doesn't buy into this crap.

  6. I ran some of the text by one of the English teachers at Day Job. He was appalled by the bad grammar.


  7. We cannot allow a yoga craft gap!
    Gentlemen, you can't do yoga in here, this is the yoga room!
    If this doesn't work, you'll have to answer to the yoga-cola company.
    I'm afraid the general can't come to the phone wight now, he's in the lotus position.
    Mein Fuehrer! I can yoga!
    Sir, you can't let him in here. He'll see everything! He'll see our yoga pants!
    Of course, the whole point of a yoga studio is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world?
    Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about yoga? No, I don't think I do, sir, no. He said yoga was too important to be left to the generals.

  8. "people of the global south

    So . . . Indonesians, some Africans, Australians, and people from South America?

    Isn't Yoga Indian? Which is well north of the global south?

  9. Peter,

    The professor has to write (and publish) to keep her job, so she does. And she probably doesn't care what, as long as it is published.

    You shouldn't rise so easily.

    She's probably sitting in front of her computer right now, giggling her tits off at your righteous indignation (which is very bad for your soul, by the way) and chalking up another sucker.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *