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Selling YogaFrom Counterculture to Pop Culture$
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Andrea Jain

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199390236

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199390236.001.0001

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Continuity with Consumer Culture

Continuity with Consumer Culture

(p.42) 3 Continuity with Consumer Culture
Selling Yoga

Andrea R. Jain

Oxford University Press

In the late twentieth century, modern yoga entered a new phase of development in the context of consumer culture that enabled it to move from counterculture to popular culture. The chapter discusses this phase as a consequence of “cultural encounters” but problematizes the conventional vision of the popularization of yoga as a consequence of the encounter between South Asia and the Western world. Instead, we should think about yoga’s popularization as a result of its encounter with contemporary consumer culture, a transnational phenomenon. The chapter discusses the role of yoga in the 1960s British-American counterculture, which called for a religiosity radically distinct from what was perceived as the oppressive, puritanical orthodoxies of the previous generation, and evaluates how yoga underwent popularization in the late 1960s and 1970s by appropriating dominant fitness and biomedical discourses in an attempt to explain yoga and thus validate it as a therapeutic practice that could be combined with other products in the self-development marketplace. The chapter investigates the prescription of yoga as fitness as well as its reputation for decreasing stress, which, according to the contemporary biomedical paradigm, causes and perpetuates disease.

Keywords:   yoga, modern yoga, postural yoga, guru, popular culture, consumer culture, Muktananda, Siddha Yoga, Jain, Iyengar

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