33rd Annual Conference

March 8-12, 2021


Searching for the Balance in the Western Approach to Yoga: How Modern Yoga Needs to Progress Beyond Self-Indulgence to Spark Social Change

75-minute Workshops

Day 2

Session Code: AW1-B
When: March 9, 2021
Level: Introductory
Track: Social Responsibility
Presenter: Kristen Wong, Wong Leadership Consulting


In the United States, 37 million people do yoga, which has boomed into a 16-billion-dollar industry including gym memberships, clothing and associated merchandise. The business of yoga is a stark contrast to the values and philosophy that was spread by yogis from India thousands of years ago. Yoga is a life practice, a developmental process that uses simple physical actions such as breathing, and non-physical activities such as meditation, to reach a state of happiness.

As it has been taught and marketed to western societies, yoga is exercise that burns calories, increases one’s bendiness, and/or induces sleep. Modern yoga practitioners and studio business managers, by and large, have been able to evade the principles of yoga which include increasing community unification, accessibility and sparking social change.

In this session, we will discuss the foundations of modern yoga and its complicated contemporary application. We will explore how some of the elements of yoga can be applied to use as a transformative process to raise self-awareness and influence social change beyond the mat. Participants are welcome to sit on a yoga mat, cushion or chair for this session.

Learning Outcomes

• Contemplate the way(s) that contemporary yoga is allowing participants to evade conversations about social justice and encourage self-gratifying behaviors
• Become aware of the tools that may benefit one’s professional and/or personal development
• Feel empowered to practice yoga beyond the physical and/or meditative stages of development

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