Theodora Wildcroft's Post-lineage Yoga: From Guru to #metoo (Equinox Publishing, 2020) presents a ground-breaking model for scholars to understand the contemporary teaching and practice of yoga, one where peer networks are more relevant than either brand loyalty or lineage affiliation.
Previous research has considered the history and science of yoga, but rarely the ways in which it has been shared. This book aims to change that. From the very advent of group classes, yoga teachers have dictated the movement, and experience, of their students. But threaded through yoga’s history is a more democratic, individualised way of sharing practice with others. With the recent #MeTooinYoga movement, and the growing popularity of accessible yoga, teachers are increasingly turning to this hidden history for answers. In a diverse profession strongly resistant to official regulation, it is vital for scholars and policy makers alike to understand the risks and rewards of this development.
In 2004 there were estimated to be 2.5 million yoga practitioners in Britain alone, and numbers are still rising today. As more and more people enjoy the practice, this book asks: in communities based more on peer-networks than hierarchal leadership structures, how are the highest ethical standards negotiated? How does practice relate to life off the mat? What does best practice look like, in ‘post-lineage’ yoga?
Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.