The problem, according to the article, is not necessarily that white people are doing yoga, but that “few white people make the connection between their love of yoga and their desire and ability to access traditions from historically oppressed communities of color.”
When this article first gained some publicity, a lot of people were taken aback by its claims. I wasn’t; this line of thinking is not new. I actually wrote about it back in 2016, when a blogger at the Huffington Post argued that doing yoga for the physical benefits only — without engaging with its cultural elements — was “appropriation.” I thought the same thing then as I do now: I am white, I sometimes sort of stretch in my living room and call it “yoga,” and I’m not sorry.
As I wrote in my previous piece, I can totally admit that I engage in none of the cultural or spiritual elements of yoga whatsoever. I’m not even a spiritual person. I mean, I know what a “chakra” is, but that’s about it. Personally, I prefer to do yoga moves in my own living room — with a workout video playing from my laptop — while I watch some reality TV to try to get my mind off the pain that my muscles are experiencing. What on earth is wrong with that?