Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture

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9780199390243: Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture

Premodern and early modern yoga comprise techniques with a wide range of aims, from turning inward in quest of the true self, to turning outward for divine union, to channeling bodily energy in pursuit of sexual pleasure. Early modern yoga also encompassed countercultural beliefs and practices. In contrast, today, modern yoga aims at the enhancement of the mind-body complex but does so according to contemporary dominant metaphysical, health, and fitness paradigms. Consequently, yoga is now a part of popular culture. In Selling Yoga, Andrea R. Jain explores the popularization of yoga in the context of late-twentieth-century consumer culture. She departs from conventional approaches by undermining essentialist definitions of yoga as well as assumptions that yoga underwent a linear trajectory of increasing popularization. While some studies trivialize popularized yoga systems by reducing them to the mere commodification or corruption of what is perceived as an otherwise fixed, authentic system, Jain suggests that this dichotomy oversimplifies the history of yoga as well as its meanings for contemporary practitioners.

By discussing a wide array of modern yoga types, from Iyengar Yoga to Bikram Yoga, Jain argues that popularized yoga cannot be dismissed--that it has a variety of religious meanings and functions. Yoga brands destabilize the basic utility of yoga commodities and assign to them new meanings that represent the fulfillment of self-developmental needs often deemed sacred in contemporary consumer culture.

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About the Author:


Andrea R. Jain is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Review:


"Selling Yoga provides important and insightful answers...This book should interest scholars of religion, spirituality, and cultural change, as well as yoga practitioners. It will help these audiences better understand where yogic practices come from and how they are a unique product of contemporary Western culture, the politics of religion, and our economic
system."--Sociology of Religion


"Jain's Selling Yoga is about much more than the title might suggest...it is also a carefully argued and exceptionally sensitive and insightful account of the relationship among the body, spirituality and branding on the one hand and, on the other, the politics of knowledge associated with the embodied fetishization of cultural heritage and identity... This book provides us with a new and sophisticated appreciation for the complex modernity of yoga in forms of branded practice that connect body and soul... [and] reflects a deep sensitivity toward all forms of practice."--Nova Religio


"This book is an eminently timely--and needed--examination of the current explosion of yoga in contemporary culture and how people might understand it....Jain's research is outstanding, and her insights are compelling....Highly recommended."--CHOICE


"Andrea Jain's Selling Yoga represents a major new advance in the critical discussion of the history of yoga and its modern constructions in an increasingly globalizing world. The reader is treated to any number of surprises here, from the unexpected importance of a censored and suppressed countercultural reception of yoga and tantra in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to a stunning embrace of both in the second half of the twentieth century within a new consumerist pop culture. In the process, Jain manages to avoid all of the usual moralisms, political and religious essentialisms, and naive orientalisms, opting instead for an approach that is robustly historical, theoretically sophisticated, and deeply, deeply humane." --Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion


"Jain does a tremendously thoughtful job weaving together multiple threads that spin the web of [Modern Postural Yoga]. She coherently covers scholarly histories of yoga, finds fascinating links between MPY culture and consumer culture, and examines complicated questions regarding MPY s status as a spiritual practice or body of religious practice. Her
writing style is sophisticated but quite accessible, perhaps expanding her readership to include practitioners and teachers aswell as academic students and scholars. Finally, Jain offers a perspective on religion and commodification that challenges the notion that consumerism negates truth or legitimacy when it comes to religious and/or spiritual cultural products, perhaps inviting other cultural wares into the conversation." --Journal of Religion


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Premodern and early modern yoga comprise techniques with a wide range of aims, from turning inward in quest of the true self, to turning outward for divine union, to channeling bodily energy in pursuit of sexual pleasure. Early modern yoga also encompassed countercultural beliefs and practices. In contrast, today, modern yoga aims at the enhancement of the mind-body complex but does so according to contemporary dominant metaphysical, health, and fitness paradigms. Consequently, yoga is now a part of popular culture. In Selling Yoga, Andrea R. Jain explores the popularization of yoga in the context of late-twentieth-century consumer culture. She departs from conventional approaches by undermining essentialist definitions of yoga as well as assumptions that yoga underwent a linear trajectory of increasing popularization. While some studies trivialize popularized yoga systems by reducing them to the mere commodification or corruption of what is perceived as an otherwise fixed, authentic system, Jain suggests that this dichotomy oversimplifies the history of yoga as well as its meanings for contemporary practitioners. By discussing a wide array of modern yoga types, from Iyengar Yoga to Bikram Yoga, Jain argues that popularized yoga cannot be dismissedthat it has a variety of religious meanings and functions. Yoga brands destabilize the basic utility of yoga commodities and assign to them new meanings that represent the fulfillment of self-developmental needs often deemed sacred in contemporary consumer culture. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199390243

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