Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Over at Puppy-Blender HQ today, Ol’ Robbo noticed this article:  Americans who practice yoga ‘contribute to white supremacy’, claims Michigan State University professor.

Well, of course they do!

Take it away, Professor:

The authors wrote: “This modern day trend of cultural appropriation of yoga is a continuation of white supremacy and colonialism, maintaining the pattern of white people consuming the stuff of culture that is convenient and portable, while ignoring the well-being and liberation of Indian people.

Yes, you know how we’re over there stealing all the yoga, bundling it into job-lots, and shipping it out in yuge container ships, leaving a huge Yoga Deficit on the Subcontinent.

By the bye, “ignoring the well-being and liberation of Indian people”?  Really? It was the British who established the conditions allowing for modern-day democracy in India.  And put a stop to the tradition of burning widows to death on their deceased husbands’ funeral pyres.  Just saying.  (And to be fair, I doubt very seriously whether Lord William Bentinck practiced yoga himself.)

“While the (mis)appropriation of yoga may not be a life-threatening racism, it is a part of systemic racism nonetheless, and it is important to ask, what are the impetuses for this cultural ‘grabbing’?”

How about because people are attracted to it?  Ol’ Robbo is old enough to remember when this sort of thing was called “multi-culturalism” and was considered a sign of Enlightenment on the Left.  Not quite sure when it became such Double-Unplus BadThink.

Incidentally, know what the two most popular sports are in India? Soccer and cricket.  Where did the Indians “grab” those?  And what were their impetuses?

To continue:

“When ‘Western’ yoga teachers train other practitioners to relate to yoga only on a physical level, without exploring the history, roots, complexity, and philosophy, they are perpetuating the re-colonisation of it by diluting its true depth and meaning.”

But the authors did argue that practitioners can “reduce harm” by engaging with yoga in a “decolonising way”. 

She wrote: “They can be aware of the history, roots, and magnitude of the practice and give credit where credit is due. Humility, respect, and reverence go a long way.

See, this is all she actually needed to say (and I actually agree with the sentiment), and she could have said it much more plainly: Be respectful.  And learn why the hell it is you’re doing what you’re doing.  Ol’ Robbo has never been to a yoga class, but it seems to me that it wouldn’t be that difficult for an instructor to say, “Here’s the tradition and Symbolic Meaning behind this particular knot into which you’re tying yourself….”

In fact, seems to me it would be rayther interesting.  If I ever did yoga, that is.  Which I won’t.

But then we get to what I suspect is the real heart of the matter:

“Additionally, there is a responsibility to explore issues around access. The cost of Western yoga classes can be prohibitive for low to middle-income people. This often includes people of colour, including recent immigrants, such as Indian women to whom this practice rightfully belongs.”

Shorter version:  Gimme a dollar.  You know, I’m mostly Scots.  There are plenty of golf courses around here that I can’t really afford to play on anything like a regular basis.  What about my access?

(BTW, cost to attend MSU for out-of-staters? 50K per yearAaaaand, “International students may have additional fees and expenses.”)

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