Last year, more than seven million Americans participated in yoga or tai chi classes.Yet despite its popularity the real nature of yoga remains shrouded in mystery. A diverse range of practitioners range from white-bearded Indian mystics to celebrities like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Positioning Yoga provides an overview of the development of yoga, from its introduction to Western audiences by the Indian Swami Vivekananda at the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago to forms of modern practice. What makes yoga practitioners affiliated with Swami Sivananda's Divine Life Society of Rishikesh, India unique--whether they hail from Indian, North America, or Europe? What values around the world have supported the surging popularity of yoga over the past century? This absorbing book considers how lifestyle values have made yoga a global industry and shows how this popular "lifestyle" is produced and disseminated across boundaries.
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Sarah Strauss is an associate professor, University of Wyoming and is the co-editor of Weather, Climate, Culture (Berg Publishers 2003).Review:
'This wonderful study takes yoga out of the realm of Orientalism and Western romantic clich and shows that it is truly a flexible and circulating system of ideas, both in its bodily techniques and as an example of the cross-cultural flow of ideas about health, lifestyle and well-being. This is an exciting contribution to the study of global cultural flows at the same time as it shows how a specialized religious idiom can become a dynamic global industry. It will be of great interest to anthropologists, Asianists, scholars of religion and to the general reader who is curious to know how yoga really flows.'Arjun Appadurai, New School University'Provides the reader with much valuable historical data, insightful analysis and stimulating interpretative constructs.'Elizabeth De Michelis, University of Cambridge'Strauss has given us a marvellous account of the local and global forces that have shaped Sivananda's brand of yoga. This book is required reading for those who are intere
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