'Cultural appropriation'- a conversation with Savira Gupta

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

The 'cultural appropriation' discussion has been around almost as long as yoga has been in the West. It almost has to be- particularly in the UK- since we colonised India. The discussion is gaining even more traction recently since it is a part of systemic racism, and so social media has seen a rise of 'cultural appropriation in yoga' videos and courses.

It is something I have always tried to consider deeply, and to me all of these discussions felt quite weak- missing many aspects I would consider to be appropriation. In fact, some in my eyes were continuing with the appropriation in their mistranslations of texts and such like. I wanted something deeper!

Savira and I began talking on Instagram after I had posted about this. Her Instagram account seemed deeply rooted in yoga, so I was very keen to hear her perspective on it all. Her blog post on labels in yoga, resonated deeply with me and so I was excited for this conversation.

It did not disappoint in the slightest. It turns out the reason I had felt the present discussions around appropriation to be weak were not because they weren't 'calling enough out'. It turns out the discomfort I had wanted to experience from an appropriation discussion was a 'what the heck am I doing?' Or more accurately, 'why am I not being?' Savira's words of wisdom/yoga brought so many realisations. Each viewing of the video has brought with it even more, so I hope it may be of service to you in some way.

Savira's website is www.saviragupta.com and highly recommended to visit, particularly for her blog posts. Her balanced perspective and nuance is so refreshing in today's social media world, and an absolute inspiration.