1. On November 20, Al Jazeera’s Correspondent series will investigate the impact of commercialisation on the spiritual practise of yoga. With over 20 million American practitioners, the global yoga market is estimated to be worth several billion dollars. Twenty-seven billion is spent annually on yoga products in the United States alone.
  2. Al Jazeera Correspondent - Who Owns Yoga? promo
  3. The yoga and pilates industry combined is the fourth fastest growing industry in the U.S. Companies like Lululemon Athletica, which sell yoga products and apparel, earned more than $1 billion worldwide in 2012.
  4. lululemon Breathe Easy Crop
  5. The 15-year-old company is often seen as symbolising western yoga, offering free online videos and mass yoga classes, while also incorporating fashion (including $100 yoga pants) into the practise.
  6. The Hindu American Foundation sees the commodification of yoga as harmful to the religious practise, which has been an integral part of Hinduism.
  7. Krishnamacharya & B.K.S. Iyengar in 1938 with Yoga Sutras, Part 1of 6
  8. The organisation created the “Take Back Yoga” campaign to address their concerns “about a conscious de-linking of yoga from its Hindu roots”.
  9. Spiritual writer Deepak Chopra has dismissed the campaign, arguing that yoga is linked to ancient Vedic culture, “the first written spiritual tradition in the world”, long before it became associated with Hinduism.
  10. While he acknowledges yoga is Hindu, Chopra contends the entire point of the practise is to attain enlightenment and even “the most revered practitioners...transcend religion”.
  11. The Stream community weighed in on the discussion, many pointing to how commercialisation has affected the practise:
  12. Some believe monetising yoga is inevitable:
  13. Others think yoga should be attainable for all, for both spiritual and physical benefits:
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