Yoga's Evolution from Spiritual Practice to a Global Commercialized Endeavor

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 8, 2017 | Go to article overview

Yoga's Evolution from Spiritual Practice to a Global Commercialized Endeavor


Byline: Karen Heller The Washington Post

LOS ANGELES -- A pungent fog blankets Goda Yoga in Culver City. It's Friday night and the studio is packed, with overflow mats extending down the back hall to the bathroom.

Votive candles and sitar music set the mood. But this class offers a whiff -- actually plenty -- of something extra: the unmistakable scent of marijuana.

Participants vape, then stretch. It's yoga with deep breathing.

And, after several inhalations, a lot of coughing.

Co-instructor Emily Meyers asks the 20 participants: "What are you most passionate about?"

"Staying in touch with nature and making out with my dog," is one reply.

"I'm not quite sure. That's why I moved to California."

"Uh, I forgot the question."

Such moments are common in Higher Self yoga, a monthly "ganja yoga" class that Goda owner Nathania Stambouli introduced in the fall: "We're bringing together two great spiritual practices. Marijuana is a way of enhancing the experience."

Ah, yes, enhancing the experience. Of late, there's been a fair amount of yoga-enhancing going on. It's yoga with something extra on the side.

Would you like beer with your yoga? There's a class for that.

Yoga in the buff? Manhattan's Bold and Naked Yoga is precisely what it says it is.

For yogis who prefer to bundle in down, there's snowga -- yoga with snowshoes.

Some classes eschew the calm and quiet many practitioners seek. Y7, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, bills itself as "the original hip-hop yoga studio."

Wish to vocalize at multiple decibels above a soothing om? There's yoga with karaoke and -- YES! REALLY! -- tantrum yoga, which encourages poses and primal screams.

Trampoline yoga also exists, which must make balancing in Tree pose a challenge.

And, because it had to happen, there's a yoga class with goats.

Yoga now welcomes a menagerie of critters, in fact: yoga with horses, yoga with dogs (doga -- yoga lends itself to a sun salutation series of puns), yoga with bunnies, even yoga with cats, which seems like an exercise doomed to failure.

Already rife with rival and sometimes competing schools, the ancient practice has become a tabula rasa, open to endless permutations and personal spins. It's such a fixture in popular culture that it has inevitably become ripe for parody, in fare such as "Yoga Hosers," a Johnny Depp spoof in which a pair of teenage Californians use their yoga prowess to defeat villains.

So we have to ask: Has yoga jumped the shark? (Or goat?)

Depends on whom you ask.

"Yoga has become the answer to everything," laments John Philpin his documentary, "Yoga, Inc.," which traces -- and bemoans -- yoga's evolution from spiritual practice to a global commercialized endeavor.

But Andrea R. Jain, associate professor of religious studies at Indiana University and the author of "Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture" points out that although yoga dates back thousands of years, "it has always been open to malleability."

The vast and unusual array of classes reflects a marketplace bursting with jewel-toned rubber mats. From 2012 to 2016, the number of Americans practicing yoga -- three-fourths of them women -- almost doubled to nearly 37 million, according to a major study, creating a $17 billion industry. The growth is partly attributable to the promotion of yoga and wellness and the pervasive practice of mindfulness.

Or maybe it's just that yoga's super trendy.

It would seem a challenge to make yoga expensive. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Yoga's Evolution from Spiritual Practice to a Global Commercialized Endeavor
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.