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Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change

An Intersectional Feminist Analysis

Edited by Beth Berila; Melanie Klein and Chelsea Jackson Roberts - Contributions by Ariane M. Balizet; Jacoby Ballard; Diana York Blaine; Mary Bunn; Beth S. Catlett; Kimberly Dark; Lauren Eckstrom; Jillian Ford; Thalia González; Marcelle M. Haddix; Carol Horton; Kerrie Kauer; Roopa Kaushik-Brown; Karishma Kripalani; Punam Mehta; Steffany Moonaz; Jennifer Musial; Whitney Myers; Enoch H. Page; Sarah L. Schrank and Maria Velazquez

Hardback
eBook
Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change is the first collection to gather together prominent scholars on yoga and the body. Using an intersectional lens, the essays examine yoga in the United States as a complex cultural phenomenon that reveals racial, economic, gendered, and sexual politics of the body. From discussions of the stereotypical yoga body to analyses of pivotal court cases, Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change examines the sociopolitical tensions of contemporary yoga.

Because so many yogic spaces reflect the oppressive nature of many other public spheres, the essays in this collection also examine what needs to change in order for yoga to truly live up to its liberatory potential, from the blogosphere around Black women’s health to the creation of queer and trans yoga classes to the healing potential of yoga for people living with chronic illness or trauma.

While many of these conversations are emerging in the broader public sphere, few have made their way into academic scholarship. This book changes all that. The essays in this anthology interrogate yoga as it is portrayed in the media, yoga spaces, and yoga as it is integrated in education, the law, and concepts of health to examine who is included and who is excluded from yoga in the West. The result is a thoughtful analysis of the possibilities and the limitations of yoga for feminist social transformation.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 356Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-2802-3 • Hardback • September 2016 • $100.00 • (£70.00)
978-1-4985-2803-0 • eBook • September 2016 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
Beth Berila is professor of ethnic and women’s studies at St. Cloud State University.

Melanie Klein is an associate professor of sociology and women’s studies at Santa Monica College.

Chelsea Jackson Roberts is founder and director of yoga, literature, and art at Spelman College.
Introduction: Beth Berila, What’s the Link Between Feminism and Yoga?

Section 1: Chelsea Jackson Roberts, Inclusion/Exclusion in Yoga Spaces


Ch 1 Marcelle M. Haddix, In a Field of the Color Purple: Inviting Yoga Spaces for Black Women’s Bodies
Ch 2 Jillian Ford, “I’m Feelin’ It.”: Embodied Spiritual Activism as a Vehicle for Queer Black Liberation
Ch 3 Enoch H. Page, The Gender, Race, and Class Barriers Enclosing Yoga as a White Public
Space
Ch 4 Roopa Kaushik-Brown, Towards Yoga as Property
Ch 5 Kerrie Kauer, Yoga, Culture and Neoliberal Embodiment of Health
Ch 6 Carol Horton, Yoga is Not Dodgeball: Mind-Body Integration and Progressive Education


Section 2: Melanie Klein, The Intersection of Yoga, Body Image and Standards of Beauty


Ch 7 Diana York Blaine, Mainstream Representations of Yoga: Capitalism, Consumerism, and Control of the Female Body
Ch 8 Jennifer Musial, ‘Work Off that Holiday Meal Ladies!’: Body Vigilance and Orthorexia in Yoga Spaces
Ch 9 Sarah Schrank, Naked Yoga and the Sexualization of Asana
Ch 10 Maria Velazquez, Reblog If You Feel Me: Love, Blackness, and Digital Wellness
Ch 11 Kimberly Dark, Fat Pedagogy in the Yoga Class


Section 3: Beth Berila, Yoga as Individual and Collective Liberation


Ch 12 Thalia González and Lauren Eckstrom, From Practice to
Praxis: Mindful Lawyering for Social Change
Ch 13 Punam Mehta, Embodiment Through purusha and prakrti: Feminist Yoga as a Revolution from Within
Ch 14 Steffany Moonaz, Yoga and Disability
Ch 15 Beth S. Catlett and Mary Bunn, Yoga as Embodied Feminist Praxis: Healing and Community-Based Responses to Violence
Ch 16 Ariane Balizet and Whitney Myers, Yoga, Postfeminism, and the Future
Ch 17 Jacoby Ballard and Karishma Kripalani, Queering Yoga: An Ethic of Social Justice


Conclusion: Chelsea Jackson Roberts and Melanie Klein, (Un)Learning Oppression Through Yoga: The Way Forward
Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change invites us into a vibrant conversation about what yoga as a practice of freedom might look like. Drawing on rich narratives and research about yoga’s transnational history, this volume protests attempts to strip mine yoga, to reduce it to a windowless commodity. The book is essential reading for yogis, activists, and scholars who do not want to reinforce white supremacy and other exclusions. A celebration of a vital grassroots movement that honors the human body in all its manifestations, this book illuminates yoga as an act of resistance, a way of creating justice in our many communities.
Becky Thompson, Simmons College


This is an exciting and unique collection exploring feminist literature on yoga, body politics, mindfulness, and social justice. Berila, Klein, and Roberts bring together an impressively diverse and interdisciplinary array of authors—from academic fields such as Africana Studies, anthropology, education, English, health sciences, history, justice and social inquiry, political science, sociology, sports studies, and Women’s & Gender Studies, as well as craniosacral therapists, meditation and yoga instructors, and activists—to critically explore the gendered, racialized, and queer politics of yoga. Authors emphasize the liberatory potential of yoga, particularly for marginalized groups. It will be useful not only for feminist teachers and scholars, but also social justice activists and yogis.
Christa Craven, The College of Wooster


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