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Cal Poly to Host ‘Yoga in America’ May Lecture Series

The Cal Poly Religious Studies Program will host two events exploring the history and challenges of yoga in America on Tuesday, May 19, and May 26 on campus.  

On May 19, UC Santa Barbara doctoral candidate Philip Deslippe will present “The Lost Early History of Yoga in America,” at 7 p.m. in the Baker Center for Sciences & Mathematics (No. 180), Room 101. His talk will focus on yoga’s 130-year history in the U.S. and how it has shifted over time. Desplippe’s overview of early-American yoga will include information on traveling teachers, public scandals, secret teachings, and claims to mental and magical power. 

On May 26, Cal Poly faculty member Anna Pokazanyeva will talk on “From Turbans to Yoga Pants: Race, Sex and the Feminization of American Yoga” at 7 p.m. in the Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering Building (No. 8), Room 123. Pokazanyeva, also a UCSB doctoral candidate, will discuss how mainstream yoga culture continues to be branded the “bastard child” of an ancient practice. One columnist recently wrote that yoga had been “shamelessly co-opted by Western culture as a sport for skinny, rich white women.” Pokazanyeva will explore the complex history of racial profiling, sexual politics and spiritual privilege that underlies this phenomenon and its implications within the context of modern American yoga.

The free, public events are sponsored by the Cal Poly Religious Studies Program, Philosophy Department, and College of Liberal Arts. 

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