Date of Award

Spring 2014

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Rachel Newcomb

Second Advisor

Kathryn Norsworthy


Originally a spiritual technology, yoga has been practiced in India and surrounding areas for thousands of years. In the late nineteenth century the practice of yoga gained popularity as a physical, mental and spiritual commodity among the masses in America and the world. Yoga is now a globally recognized fitness routine, part of the everyday lives of men and women seeking relaxation, stretching and mental sanity. In today’s fast paced world it is easy to understand yoga is appealing to the masses, however, as a yoga practitioner myself I often wondered if Americans are gaining all the benefits of the practice – are we sacrificing its spiritual benefits for the sake of fitness? Combining yogic research studies, yogi literature and a review of yoga activities, I explore the metamorphosis of yoga from the East to the West. Interviewing teachers in of various yoga branches I explore the concepts of authenticity and superficiality in the midst of American yoga consumption. This thesis examines the popularity of yoga as a fitness model, the deviation from its original roots, and yoga’s impact in America today.

Rights Holder

Carolina Castaneda