Yoga in Britain: Stretching Spirituality and Educating Yogis

Newcombe, Suzanne (2019). Yoga in Britain: Stretching Spirituality and Educating Yogis. Sheffield: Equinox.




Yoga in Britain reveals how yoga came to be an accepted, mainstream activity. In mid-twentieth century Britain, yoga transformed from an esoteric concept into a something that could be taught in to middle-class women in adult education classes.

Much of the popularization of yoga in this context was seen in terms of being a source of potential public benefit in promoting physical health and wellbeing. Yoga was also widely acknowledged to offer an opportunity for spiritual exploration, but largely as a private, highly individual concern.

Using extensive archival evidence and oral history interviews, the book stresses the importance of adult educational structures in how yoga was popularized in twentieth century Britain. It argues that this context is crucial in understanding the contemporary popularity of yoga globally.

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