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Yoga Yuppies vs. Finding an Authentic Practice

Yoga Yuppies vs. Finding an Authentic Practice

A few days ago, I read this article in Elephant Journal by an author whose distaste for the West’s cultural appropriation of yoga led to a decision to largely walk away from the yoga scene. The author points to the fact that, in many American yoga studios, classes are dominated by affluent white women who have little appreciation for the cultural and spiritual foundations of yoga.

I completely agree with that assertion. However, I feel that, as with so many areas of life, yoga is what we make of it. It is incredibly frustrating to watch the yuppies with their faces done up for a workout and their fancy Lululemon outfits trying to act spiritual in a yoga studio. But if we approach our own practices from a more authentic place – rather than being preoccupied with criticizing the others in the class – we can still benefit greatly.

What’s more, there are many honest yoga studios around the nation that are trying to preserve the authenticity of yoga. Perhaps it is a matter of looking beyond the suburbs. In my experience, I’ve found that studios in more urban settings, where there is more cultural diversity, tend to be far less pretentious than their suburban counterparts. So what we take away from a yoga practice really depends just as much upon the attitudes with which we approach it, as it does upon the person on the next mat.


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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.


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1:18PM PDT on May 6, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:05AM PDT on Apr 17, 2013


1:59AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

thank you

1:59AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

thank you

12:30PM PST on Dec 12, 2012

Thanks for inspirational thoughts!

12:16PM PST on Nov 30, 2012


11:07AM PST on Nov 21, 2012


5:49AM PDT on Oct 31, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

2:07AM PDT on Oct 31, 2012

Thank you :)

12:06PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012


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Good information. Thanks.

yuck! This ought to be illegal!

Wow, what a good article! I'm going to stick it on my fridge and read it everyday 'till I know it of…

Thanks for sharing these ideas.


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