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Rientation to Contemporary issues for authors


Click here for The Yoga Institute's Authors' Exchange,
a forum and message board provided to registered users,
 working on this book, who want to share ideas and resources.

click here for major memos for authors


The flourishing of yoga in the U.S., the West, and around the world, has triggered many controversies - political, academic, economic, ethical, theological, etc.  This general interest material is meant to give authors a sense of some of these issues, which may stimulate your thinking about your own experience of teaching.  Brief annotations for each article orient you to the issue in question.

Please note that these resources come from a broad range of sources – published books, newspaper articles, industry publications, TV news, on-line postings etc. – and locales -- New York, Montreal, Thailand, and India.  This suggests the far-flung nature of the debates over yoga and their complexity.  Many more could be cited, but these few are meant to introduce authors to the rich discourse about yoga that surrounds practice communities today, which most often go unobserved by western practitioners and teachers alike.  


a.  “Yoga Faces Regulation, and Firmly Pushes Back,” New York Times, July 11, 2009.

The regulation of yoga and yoga teachers has become a hot button issue over the course of the last decade as state legislators consider whether yoga teachers should submit to the kind of regulation required of massage therapists, cosmetologists, and other service professionals.

b. “Indian-American Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga's Soul,” NYT News Service, Nov. 28, 2010. (reprinted in the Times of India).

The Hindu American Foundation's position reflects on-going discussions about the importance of the South Asian (Hindu, Buddhist Sikh) foundations of yoga.  These refract through issues from the meaning of the yoga in the U.S. today to the politics of identity of Hindu-Americans in the diaspora and the role of religion in Indian right-wing politics. 

c. “New Light on Yoga,” Yoga Journal <http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/466> 26 November 2012.

New scholarship reveals the complexity of the history of the modernization of yoga both in South Asia and in the United States, which has called into question the centrality of “postural yoga” (asana-based practice) to the tradition.   In this article, the Yoga Journal reports on some of these new perspectives for its readers.

d. “Yoga and Sex Scandals: No Surprise Here,” New York Times, Feb 28, 2012.

Controversies about intimate relations between teachers and students have roiled many practice groups, most extensively among Euro-American Buddhists.  This article places yoga-related episodes within the broader context of contemporary American sexual mores and norms.

e. “Truth About Tantra”, Yoga Journal http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/463>26 November 2012.

The complex history of South Asian tantra in currently undergoing intense scholarly scrutiny, which has begun to shed critical light on the uses and abuses of tantra in yoga practice communities in the West.  The Yoga Journal reports on aspects of the debate with reference to tantra and tantra-like ideas and practices in a representative couples workshop.

f. Jill Barker, review of William Broad, The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards (2012) The Gazette (Montreal) February 23, 2012.

This brief book review of William Broad's Science of Yoga (2012), which recently drew attention to injuries induced by yoga practice and argues for the need for regulation in the yoga community.

g. “How Corepower Yoga Stretches Its Resources To Maximize Branding,” Advertising Age, October 15, 2012, p. 24.

The recent surge in the popularity of yoga has resulted in the “commodification of yoga” and the emergence of a “yoga industry.”  This industry report outlines one entrepreneur's approach to creating a nation-wide chain of yoga studios.

h.  “Bikram Yoga Guru Reaches Settlement in Copyright Suit,” ABC News Dec 3, 2012.

The commodification of yoga has led to questions about the branding of teaching styles, the most prominent case being that of Bikram Choudhury's effort to copyright “hot yoga.”

i. “Fundamentalists at War Over Yoga”, The Nation (Thailand) December 24, 2010. 

As yoga is disseminated in the West, it is being adopted to suit the religious and theological norms of Christianity and other traditions.  This article reports on resistance to such adaptations by fundamentalists East and West.

j. Rajiv Malhotra, A Hindu View of 'Christian Yoga.' Huffington Post, posted: 11/08/2010 9:32 pm EST.

Malhotra is an Indian-American telecommunications entrepreneur who has become a vocal critic of the appropriation of Hinduism in the West.  He shares here one of his many critical comments on Christian yoga.

k. Thomas Ryan C.S.P, “Yoga and Christian Faith,” from Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice (Paulist Press, 1995).

Ryan is one of a number of Christian clerics to adapt yoga to Christian norms.  Here he argues that the doctrine of the Incarnation is an orthodox foundation for the practice of yoga and outlines an asana practice keyed to the Lord's Prayer.

l. Celia Rothenberg, “Jewish Yoga: Experiencing Flexible, Sacred, and Jewish Bodies”  Nova Religion: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. Vol 10 No. 2 (November 2006), pp. 57-74.

Rothberg describes how Jews are adapting yoga-related theological concepts and practices to Judaism in ways that suit the religious norms of three very different Jewish communities

m. Michelle Goldberg, “Iyengar and the Invention of Yoga,” The New Yorker, August 23, 2014.

The new yoga history is glossed with attention to the role of Krishnamacharya and Iyengar, written on the occasion of the latter's death.


n. Michelle Goldberg, “The Long Marriage of Mindfulness and Money,” The New Yorker, April 18, 2014.

The on-going process of adapting Buddhism and yoga to American corporate culture is given an important up date in this report on the transvaluation of “mindfulness” by Wall Street.


ajor Memos for authors on the editorial process



Some of these memos will be in the MS Word docx format.  Please let us know if another format is preferred.


3. Editorial Process

2. Overview of Volume and Tasks

1. Sketch of Thesis of the Volume