The conversation around yoga and cultural appropriation is growing and expanding, with increased resources and educational opportunities. You Are Here: Exploring Yoga & the Impacts of Cultural Appropriation, a new mini-doc featuring nisha ahuja and produced by Toby Wiggins, is a valuable contribution to the conversation. Simple and beautifully produced, the 25-minute film introduces the basic elements of cultural appropriation in North American yoga and clear strategies to counter it.
You Are Here has been created in response to a live event in Toronto in January 2014, when ahuja presented her work and ideas to a packed house at Kula Annex yoga studio. She has since received countless requests to make the information available to everyone online. In the video, ahuja clearly defines cultural appropriation, identifies its roots and gives concrete examples for how it impacts yoga in North America. She outlines Indigenous artist and activist Tannis Nielsen‘s five steps of colonization, applying it to North American colonization of yoga practices.
nisha ahuja has been sharing her examination of yoga and cultural appropriation for over a decade, most notably through her play Yoga Cannibal, a cutting look at the consumption of cultural in the quest for spiritual fulfillment. She is also an actor, physical theatre creator, writer, singer/songwriter, and arts educator who has worked in Canada, the Netherlands, and India. ahuja is dedicated to dissolving the boundaries between art, traditional/ancient medicines, spirituality, and politics. The film is a collaboration with community-based activist and filmmaker, Toby Wiggins. He’s a PhD student at York University, Toronto in the department of Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies, where his areas of research include queer theory, feminist cultural production, critical race theory, perversion, and psychoanalysis.