Transnational Yoga at Work: Spiritual Tourism and Its Blind Spots

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Product Details
Lexington Books
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.75 inches | 1.29 pounds

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About the Author

Laurah E. Klepinger is assistant professor of anthropology at Utica University.


Transnational Yoga at Work provides a vivid and intimate portrait of yoga as a global phenomenon that brings into sharp focus issues of class, status, and power. Klepinger's rich ethnography brings to light profound contradictions and inequities that emerge from the quest for spiritual insight.

Transnational Yoga at Work is an expansively detailed and critically self-conscious ethnography that addresses the shadowed and invisibilized laborers who make spiritual tourism in yoga ashrams possible. Crafted with the insights of a Sivananda Yoga scholar and practitioner, Klepinger brings her keen analysis to bear on racialized capitalism in transnational yoga and writes in a cathartic space of loss and confrontation with allegations of abuse.

Transnational Yoga at Work offers a beautifully written, incisive, and much needed analysis of yoga from a fresh angle. Exploring yoga through the lens of labor, the book exposes the hidden systems of inequality and exclusion behind yoga's reputation for peace and harmony. This book takes on some of the most difficult questions that the transnational yoga world has had to face in recent decades, and it invites nuanced and thoughtful confrontation with these issues. Spiritual tourists will never look at an ashram in quite the same way again.

This book is a self-reflexive ethnography of Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres (SYVC), a transnational yoga organization devoted to peace. Through careful storytelling, Klepinger focuses on the ashram's intimate spaces to better understand inequities between local underpaid kitchen workers, foreign volunteer staff, and guests at the SYVC in India. Klepinger's complex and fraught history of SYVC is a must-read in Critical Yoga Studies.