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21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, and Practice [Kindle Edition]

Carol Horton , Roseanne Harvey
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
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  • Length: 220 pages
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Book Description

Yoga may be rooted in ancient India, but it’s morphed into something new in North America today.Precisely what that might be, however, is difficult to say. Yoga is taught everywhere from spas to prisons, and for everything from weight loss to spiritual transcendence. With its chameleon-like ability to adapt equally well to advertising, athletics, and ashrams, contemporary yoga is a fascinating phenomenon that invites investigation.

Written by experienced practitioners who are also teachers, therapists, activists, scholars, studio owners, and interfaith ministers, 21st Century Yoga is one of the first books to provide a multi-faceted examination of yoga as it actually exists in the U.S. and Canada today.


Introduction: Yoga and North American Culture - Carol Horton

Enlightenment 2.0: The American Yoga Experiment - Julian Walker

How Yoga Makes You Pretty: The Beauty Myth, Yoga and Me - Melanie Klein

Questioning the "Body Beautiful": Yoga, Commercialism, and Discernment - Poep Sa Frank Jude Boccio

Bifurcated Spiritualities: Examining Mind/Body Splits in the North American Yoga and Zen Communities - Nathan Thompson

Starved for Connection: Healing Anorexia Through Yoga - Chelsea Roff

Yoga and the 12 Steps: Holistic Recovery from Addiction - Tommy Rosen

Modern Yoga Will Not Form a Real Culture Until Every Studio Can Also Double as a Soup Kitchen and other observations from the threshold between yoga and activism - Matthew Remski

Yoga for War: The Politics of the Divine -
Be Scofield

Our True Nature is Our Imagination: Yoga and Non-Violence at the Edge of the World -
Michael Stone

How Yoga Messed With My Mind -
Angela Jamison

Afterword: The Evolution of Yoga and the Practice of Writing -
Roseanne Harvey

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carol Horton, Ph.D., is the author of Yoga Ph.D.: Integrating the Life of the Mind with the Wisdom of the Body (Kleio, 2012); and Race and the Making of American Liberalism (Oxford University Press, 2005). Roseanne Harvey is the former editor of the leading Canadian yoga magazine, Ascent; founder of the popular blog, It’s All Yoga, Baby; and co-director of Yoga Festival Montreal.

Product Details

  • File Size: 404 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Kleio Books (September 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009IYB8LE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,199 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Poignant, and Prescient October 3, 2012
I received my copy of 21st Century Yoga a couple of days ago and have not been able to put the collection down! I am a voracious reader, so I when I come across a book, essay, or article that stands out from the legion of texts that I have read: it really means something. This is the first Amazon review that I have ever written; I was motivated to write because of the impact that the essays had upon me. The collection comprises a diverse array of essays examining the various incarnations and manifestations of yoga in the present day. I was especially intrigued by the personal nature of many essays. Melanie Klein's essay, "How Yoga Makes You Pretty: The Beauty Myth, Yoga and Me" examines the way in which the practice of yoga powerfully counteracts the mainstream media "assault" upon the self-image and subjectivity of females (and also males). Klein combines historical and critical analyses of the culture's relentless "pursuit of pretty" with powerful personal experience. Klein so successfully taps into the universal female struggle against objectification and for acceptance that I felt as though she was telling my own story. For centuries women having been fighting an impossible battle to "measure up to mainstream standards of beauty." I describe this battle as 'impossible' because the ends are inherently unattainable. Mainstream media promises us that happiness lies in shedding that final five pounds, so we lose the five pounds and: surprise, surprise the promised 'happiness' eludes us. Maybe we try losing another five or maybe disillusioned and frustrated we pack on another five pounds, maybe we shelve the idea of weight loss altogether and turn instead to focus on 'improving' our wrinkles or our hair... Read more ›
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The good essays are very good, the others... March 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I would have given this three and a half stars, it is not a terrible book at all. The description very openly tells the reader that these are just the beginning stages of many discussions that need to be made, and that is true. The discussion of how yoga feeds into the unhealthy obsession with appearance and the materialism of our culture is very important, as is the real irony of discarding patriarchal, authoritative religion while embracing...a basically patriarchal, authoritative religion. There are important topics here, but they left me wanting more of the good essays, and less of the others. Some are not well constructed, or fail to make a point, or simply did not resonate with me.
A good, but not great book.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all practitioners and teachers of Yoga. November 20, 2012
By AngieB
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is greatly needed in today's society. It is a collection of essays from teachers and scholars around the globe beginning provocative conversations about where Yoga is in today's modern world. I believe it is a must-read for all teachers, and practitioners of Yoga.

The essays take a look at some challenging aspects of our human race such as; addiction, body-image issues, commercialism, and social & environmental activism. My favorite chapters are 7 & 9.

This entire book is thought-provoking, and inspiring. By beginning the conversations in our society about what it is that we are doing, and why, it brings us to face our truth, gives us permission to examine it, to feel it and to be aware of our impact as a human race, to our communities, our earth, and our relationships. This is no single-sided promotion of any one viewpoint, but rather opens a platform for thought and speech, giving us tools for self-study and raises awareness of how our individual impact affects the whole world because we are not separate.

The authors display courage to share their personal path through Yoga, and how this relates to the general public/our society. Whether you personally identify with their experiences or not, there are practitioners out there who will (possibly whomever you practice with), and we need to be open and compassionate with EVERY spirit that makes our world glisten. The authors are bringing up issues that are typically not discussed, or hidden within the psyche of our communities, the writing is bold, provocative, examining and invites Self-study, activism and change. Thank you for putting this out
there! Jai!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Validated how I was feeling. I love this book! July 22, 2014
By onelove
I recently moved from a city that was living their yoga on and off the mat to a city where almost everyone I was coming across was either really into the anti-women "new age movement" or think that yoga is just "another work out". I was questioning my own practice and everything that I thought I knew about yoga when I was recommended this book by a friend in my old town. This book validated everything that I was feeling. Must read for everyone that is fedup with the direction that yoga in the west (especially the western section of the united states where I now live) and the apathetic voice within the western yoga world community.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for yogis! November 27, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, & Practice, edited by Carol Horton, Ph.D. and Roseanne Harvey, is a collection of essays written by ten yoga practioners from various walks of life discussing yoga in North America. Horton and Harvey chose the writers based on the relationships they had developed with them through blogging.

The questions were raised: Is the tradition of ancient yoga relevant in today's modern society? What is the State of the Union of yoga?

Was there a definitive answer to these questions? No. But, these essays made me think, which is the intention of the book. I believe deeply in the tradition of yoga. Personally, I don't like seeing the practice watered down and asana (physical postures) being the main focus. Some of the contributors addressed this, while others took a more political approach to the whole of yoga. A couple of them irritated me, while with others, I felt a kinship.

Whether I saw eye to eye with them or not, all of the contributors offered well thought out, passionate essays based on their personal experiences. Anorexia, war, drug abuse, beauty, yoga as responsible business, financial crisis, and building community were among of the topics discussed. What makes this work is that these are not big name, celebrity teachers, so there is less expectation of hearing about a particular agenda. It feels fresher, like voices from the crowd.

I could go through each chapter and give my opinions in this review, but I want you to read it without my bias. This is an important book for modern yogis, especially for those of us who teach. There are viewpoints offered that should be discussed if we want yoga to continue as a vehicle for healing and community, and not be just a workout.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars expand the yoga conversation
An excellent book that offers a variety of ways to think about yoga.
Published 3 months ago by Sarah Hentges
2.0 out of 5 stars collection of articles from different authors
Just a collection of articles from different authors. I was disappointed.
Published 8 months ago by Gilda G
4.0 out of 5 stars very interesting reading
I really liked this book. i bought it to read about the eating disorders and yoga but the other essays are terrific. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Imogen Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars good review of modern yoga
very interesting collection of different contemporary views of Modern yoga (or modern "Asana-classes").
emotional, social and ecological aspects are reviewed. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Agi Wittich
4.0 out of 5 stars Yoga in America
Good selection of essays about yoga off the mat and into the world. Also, some good insights into how to create a good yoga community.
Published 19 months ago by STACYB
5.0 out of 5 stars Yoga blues
cobra. is a yoga pose that has you looking up at the sky and that's what this book does it describes the spirit/mind/body connection and how yoga is perceived and fits into... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Sarah baldwin rose
1.0 out of 5 stars offensive
If this woman had considered the viewpoint of many a South Asian, rather than her own friends, this book would not exist. Atrocious.
Published 21 months ago by Sikhnation
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting exploration of modern yoga
This was a fascinating collection of essays exploring the on the ground reality of modern yoga in America. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Suzanne Kiehn
4.0 out of 5 stars a must for those who are serious about yoga
For anyone who's serious about yoga, whether a beginner or advanced, I encourage you to read this collection of essays about yoga in the 21st century in the USA. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Happy Hiker
4.0 out of 5 stars Long awaited
I really enjoy a book with multiple essays and variety.
The book works on so many levels from a personal yoga journey (personally reflective) to societal context. Read more
Published on April 22, 2013 by michelle
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More About the Author

Carol Horton, Ph.D., is the author of "Yoga Ph.D.: Integrating the Life of the Mind and the Wisdom of the Body," and lead editor of "21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, and Practice." A popular writer and speaker, Carol offers lectures, workshops, and yoga teacher trainings on yoga history, culture, ethics and service worldwide. She serves as a teacher with Yoga for Recovery, adviser to the Yoga and Body Image Coalition, and program consultant to yoga service organizations.

An ex-political science professor, Carol holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago, is the author of "Race and the Making of American Liberalism," and has published numerous reports on programs and policies affecting low-income children and families. To learn more, visit her website,

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