Seeing India: A Hyperreal Yoga Fantasy

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rebecca Elizabeth Long (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Dana Powell

Abstract: How does the yoga studio present India for viewing? As a yoga scholar-practitioner, I examine visual, linguistic, and embodied representations of India at a local yoga studio to address this question. The fieldwork for this ethnographic thesis spans yoga classes, yoga teacher training, and a two-week pilgrimage to India with members of this yoga studio. I pay special attention to bhakti yoga, a devotional form of yoga taught by the yoga studio as a way to offer a more spiritual and therefore more authentic yoga. Placing my experiences within a critical understanding of postcolonial yoga history, I show that yoga has been constructed to meet various ideologies and political projects, challenging the production of yoga as India’s pristine and unchanging cultural icon. I find that India is exhibited as an ultra-spiritual, pre-colonial, anti-modern location both at the yoga studio and when traveling as a yoga tourist. Using Jean Baudrillard’s theory of the hyperreal, along with postcolonial theories, I argue that the yoga studio creates a particular India for consumption that is not based in reality but is instead the product of oriental fantasies.

Additional Information

Long, R. (2016). Seeing India: A Hyperreal Yoga Fantasy. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2016
yoga, India, postcolonial theory, hyperreal, ethnography

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