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Yoga an act of white supremacy, professor claims

IF YOU are white and do yoga, you need to cease immediately or live with the knowledge that you are a dirty racist.

Well, this is the belief of a professor who claims practising yoga is contributing to “white supremacy” and a “system of power and oppression”. Who knew the downward-facing dog and Hitler had so much in common?

Michigan State University religious studies professor Shreena Gandhi and self-described “anti-racist white Jewish organiser, facilitator and healer” Lillie Wolff co-authored the piece titled Yoga And The Roots Of Cultural Appropriation.

The pair argued “the explosion of yoga studios, yoga video, apps, yoga pants and other yoga swag over the last two decades is evidence” of the “(mis)appropriation of yoga” that “is part of systemic racism” built on “the labour of black people and people of the global south”.

“We would argue one of the goals of white supremacy is to buffer white people from the pain that comes from the process of exchanging cultural grounding for the unearned power and privilege of whiteness,” they wrote.

“This modern-day trend of cultural appropriation of yoga is a continuation of white supremacy and colonialism, maintaining the pattern of white people consuming the stuff of culture that is convenient and portable, while ignoring the wellbeing and liberation of Indian people.”

According to Ms Gandhi, white people should learn yoga’s history, acknowledge the cultural appropriation they engage in and possibly reduce the cost of classes for poor people — a group that often includes people of colour and “recent immigrants, such as Indian women to whom this practice rightfully belongs”.

As expected, people online had some strong thoughts over the controversial claims.

Do you think yoga is racist? Continue the conversation in the comments below or with Matthew Dunn on Facebook and Twitter | matthew.dunn2@news.com.au

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