The problem with decolonizing yoga and #namaslay

Patrick McCartney
12 min readApr 6, 2021

Updated July 04, 2021 (Added some information about Pali and Sanskrit terms of address to inferiors ( अरे / Are!)

Updated June 18, 2021 (Added Rules of Address from Nāṭyaśāstra, and examples from Ṛgveda and Kṛṣṇayajurveda)

Susanna Barkataki appears to have a solid grip on the novel X+Yoga hybrid of “Woke Yoga.” How does someone claiming to honor yoga’s roots have such selective inclinations as to what these roots might be? It’s almost as if the collective healing process of decolonizing yoga is more a neo-colonial “pillow fluffing” attempt to claim control of the narrative. The real kicker is how often colonially-constructed narratives are re-installed as the decolonized history and development of yoga. It is difficult to appreciate how not paying attention to much, if not, most, of the contents of the “sacred texts of Hinduism” demonstrates honoring any roots and why attention to historiographical facts is a “colonial residue,” while a woke epistemology has little interest, since it’s philosophical perspective is anti-real, Or, instead, things are just made up.

I’m mostly fine with decolonizing stuff. I suppose the thing that concerns me is how it is being done and by whom. It would seem advantageous if the people who claim to have the status of indigenous knowledge keepers and traditional stewards knew more than they do about the complexities and dynamics of the cultures they claim to represent in their for-profit race grifting to apply critical race theory to yoga.