About this Event
September is National Yoga Month. So let’s talk about how Yoga has been whitewashed of its Indian culture.
Cultural appropriation is the taking, marketing, and exotification of cultural practices from historically oppressed populations. The problem is incredibly complex and involves two extremes:
The first is the sterilization of yoga by removing the evidence of its Eastern roots so that it doesn’t “offend” Westerner practitioners. The opposite extreme is the glamorization of yoga and India through commercialism, such as Om tattoos, T-shirts sporting Hindu deities or Sanskrit scriptures that are often conflated with yoga, or the choosing of Indian names.
IN CONVERSATION WITH:
Luvena Rangel, Founder of The Curvy Yogi
Dr. Shreena Gandhi, Professor in Religious Studies Department at MSU
Kundan Chhabra, Indigenous anti-racism activist
Varun Gandhi, Ph.D.
Dr. Shreena Gandhi
Dr. Shreena Gandhi is a part of the Religious Studies Department at Michigan State University, where is primarily teaches classes on religion and race in the Americas. She is writing a book titled A Cultural History of Yoga in the United States, which looks at the impacts of race, gender and class on how yoga is practiced and commodified in religious and secular spaces. She is also working on a collaborative project on how to transform U.S. religious history into an anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-sexist discipline which helps move forward the goals of decolonization.
A plus size yoga practitioner and senior instructor, Luvena is the founder of The Curvy Yogi, redefining wellness by embracing diversity and inclusion through accessible, inclusive yoga and wellness that goes beyond stereotypes – creating a safe space for yoga and wellness regardless of shape, size, physical limitations or other socio-cultural biases. She is Bangalore’s leading educators in yoga anatomy and philosophy.
Kundan Chhabra is an Indigenous anti-racism activist and multi-creative Storyteller using Storytelling, Creativity and Akashic Records readings to create a transformation on both the individual and Systemic levels by changing the Narrative. They are Punjabi Indigenous Ethnic Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh. They currently reside in Orange County, Southern California.