Yoga and Cultural Appropriation

November 4, 2015

Podcast featuring Beth Berila and Roopa Singh

Roopa Singh talks about authenticity, cultural appropriation, and commercialization in yoga. Whereas many people in the West invoke the definition of yoga as union, Roopa reminds us that it also means liberation, both individually and collectively. In this insightful conversation, she raises questions about yoga, safety, visibility, and who is present and absent in most Western yoga spaces.


Roopa SinghRoopa Singh is an attorney and yoga teacher. She founded SAAPYA (South Asian American Perspectives on Yoga and Art), an emerging and influential platform on the personal and political implications of yoga, with a focus on healing from the personal and political implications of sexual violence. Roopa was a former director at San Francisco’s Rape Crisis Center, an advocate at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. She is a doula, a licensed pre-natal yoga instructor and a former lead yoga instructor and collective owner at Third Root Wellness Center in Brooklyn. Roopa has written about yoga, popular culture, and politics in Huffington Post, The Nation, Everyday Feminism, and Elephant Journal. Read more about Roopa.

Dr. Beth Berila

Beth Berila, Ph.D., LLC, RYT is the Director of the Women’s Studies Program and Professor in the Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She is also a registered yoga teacher and is completing her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training program at Devanadi School of Yoga and Wellness. She is a founding board member of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. Her current projects merge yoga and meditation practices with feminism and mindful education to create a form of socially engaged embodied learning.

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