Abstract

Contemporary yoga is popularly represented in various media by a fit, white woman. Yoga Journal is a magazine recognized by many as an industry cornerstone and an institution in and of itself. It represents the distinctive face of yoga. By analyzing the visual and textual content of the Yoga Journal magazine covers, from its first issue in 1975 to issue 313 (January 2020), we describe the produced and consumed portrait of yoga. By focusing on the cover themes, together with the objects and persons depicted, werecognizethreephasesofdevelopmentthathavecontributedtotheunderstandingof the changing image of yoga in the media. While, in the initial phase, yoga was represented as a mystical and mysterious spiritual discipline that originated in the Orientalized East, in the later phase, it was depicted first as a global and universal phenomenonandthenasamainstreameverydayfitnessregime.Yoga’s depiction inthe last phase is compatible with the scholarly representation of contemporary yoga as posture and body centered, but not with its earlier depictions. We found that in its mature phase, the yoga body, which is criticized for its lack of inclusiveness, emerged to become omnipresent. We conclude that the newly formed face of yoga is problematic, both for its female readers, who are encouraged to conform to a unique body type, and also for the yoga community, which encounters an appearance-based restriction of access

Journal of Dharma Studies Philosophy, Theology, Ethics, and Culture

ISSN 2522-0926

DHARM DOI 10.1007/s42240-020-00071-1

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