Abusive cultural appropriation causes a woman to “feel exoticised and misunderstood”:

The history of colonisation in India means that the practice of yoga in countries with colonial ties, like Australia, can never truly be a friendly exchange. In fact, during their colonial rule, the British banned certain practices of yoga which they perceived as threatening and ‘less acceptable’ Hindu practices. As a policy of conciliation towards some aspects of Indian culture was pursued by the British in the later years of their rule, the Brits promoted a re-appropriated more physical ‘modern’ yoga which is more akin to the postural yoga taught in many classes in Australia today.

Given most classes are taught by white women, and most ads you see for yoga classes or yoga wear feature white women, white women have become the embodiment of yoga in Australia. As a Hindu woman, this places me as the “other” in a culture that is mine.

As a wise Yogi once said, “If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be”, whatever that means.

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