Rethinking Cultural Appropriation...

The Spectrum and Contexts

of Cultural Appropriation


  • Identify cultural appropriation
  • See the connection to white supremacy & whiteness
  • Re-imagine and re-envision practices
  • Dismantle oppression

This course offers

the unique opportunity to

  • Identify cultural appropriation in our celebrations, representations and spirituality
  • Understand it's connnection to white-dominance & whiteness
  • Dismantle oppression and white supremacy in small but impactful ways.

In this course, we will examine cultural appropriation, why it happens, how it can be harmful, and how to challenge it in our everyday lives.

Most importantly, we will work together to understand our how society encourages cultural appropriation and how we can rethink, reimagine, re-dream, re-envision our celebrations, representations, and spiritual selves towards the goal of positive change and further education.

Are you ready to join the effort of chipping away at white supremacy through a better understanding of cultural appropriation?


Many modern spiritual seekers and yoga practitioners are understandably overwhelmed by the current conversations about cultural appropriation. With so many varying opinions and approaches, it is easy to feel confused by what cultural appropriation is and what one can do about it.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and confused by cultural appropriation, then this course will help you.

There will be four modules, and each of these four modules will weave together history, current examples, and theories about culture and identity.

Yoga Philosophy

Participants in this course will learn:

  • to understand cultural appropriation in the context of white supremacy
  • to understand their place and privilege in society
  • how to identify the context of cultural practices
  • about different types of cultural appropriation
  • how to combat cultural appropriation in the different aspects of their lives


4 Pre-Recorded Lectures

Course Readings

Three Bonus Resources

Downloadable Slides

Additional Resources

Study at Your Own Pace



Introduction - Context and Spectrum

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A straightforward introduction of cultural appropriation within the United States from the perspectives of people of color. This module will show where appropriation happens within American society, the roots of this problem, and how it’s connected to the oppression of minorities. Personal reflection and stance on this issue will conclude this first module.

i. Why does cultural appropriation happen?

ii. How is it connected to white supremacy?

iii. Mapping out your positionality.



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One of the most visual and often overlooked forms of appropriation happens on the days we celebrate the most: Holidays. This module will consider problems that arise with holidays by examining and discussing visuals representing popular celebrations, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. Discussion of what these holidays mean to us and how they create false narratives of others will help facilitate a better understanding of how damaging particular forms of appropriation can be.

i. Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s, and Columbus Day

ii. How are holidays tied to our identities and oppression?

iii. Rethinking how you celebrate


Mascots and Representations

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The taking of culture and identity is perhaps strongest when it comes to American sports. From professional to high school, Americans have an unwavering loyalty to their team. This loyalty has led to misunderstanding, racism, and bigotry on a national scale when it comes to the appropriation of other cultures and identities. Looking at the recent changes of sports team’s names and the history behind that fight will help educate students about the harm mascots can cause.

i. Why do we create caricatures of groups considered “other?”

ii. What is the harm caused by mascots and racist representations?

iii. Reimagining the idea of tradition and legacy tied to mascots, high schools, teams, etc.



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The spirituality of minority groups in the United States has been massively impacted by capitalism, federal laws, and society taking what it wants to fulfill its own wants. From music festivals to self-proclaimed “gurus,” this module will take a hard look how appropriation dilutes and breaks down the spiritual practices of Native American and Indian cultures.

i. What is the impact of capitalism on spiritual practices?

ii. What is the spectrum of cultural appropriation when it comes to spirituality?

iii. Re-dreaming or re-envisioning your spirituality to be anti-oppression and tied to positive impact and change

Shreena Niketa Gandhi

Shreena Niketa Gandhi is a cultural historian of religion with expertise in religion, race, the Americas and Hinduism, and currently teaches at Michigan State University, where she starts of the first few weeks of all her classes introducing students to the concept of structural white supremacy and why that is important for a better understanding of religion in the U.S.

Her research and public scholarship are on the history of yoga, and she is revising a manuscript on this using the framework of white supremacy and cultural appropriation. She also provides trainings for yoga studio to help their students think about cultural appropriation and making their yoga practice one that is anti-oppression.

Through her scholarship, she hopes to make all Americans from all backgrounds better understand how we have all benefited and suffered because of systematic white supremacy and racism, and her scholarship on yoga is one illustration of this system. Professor Gandhi is also a part of the Feminist Critical Hindu Studies Collective, and together with her feminist collective they have published in Religion Compass, Text and Performance Quarterly and the Washington Post.

Eric Hemenway

Eric Hemenway is an Anishnaabe/Odawa from Cross Village, Mi.

He is the director of a tribal archives and has done extensive work under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

Eric has worked on numerous exhibits, signage projects, curriculums, programs, professional developments, presentations and consultations with organizations on working with tribal communities throughout the country.

He currently sits on boards for the Michigan Historical Commission, Little Traverse Conservancy and Clarke Library at Central Michigan University.

He is a former board member for the National NAGPRA Review Committee and Michigan Historical Society.

Three Additional Bonuses Available for a Limited Time...

Bhakti-yoga offers a powerful prescription for connecting the inward turn that’s required for our contemplative practices with the outward turn that’s required for our social action. In this talk, Hari-kirtana das will discuss the ways in which bhakti-yoga is the yoga of relationships, how bhakti offers a unifying vision of all creation, and how our engagement with the world expands as our sense of spiritual identity evolves.

Analyzing appropriation and commodification in the yoga industry is complex. There are forms of appropriation that most people would not find objectionable, but there are many other cases that exploit or do violence to yoga traditions, for example, by perpetuating racial stereotypes or exploiting stereotypes for the sake of profit. Appropriation and commodification of yoga is situated within a history of colonialism and capitalist exploitation.

The New Mind-Body Research & the Yogic Science of Integration

2-Module Course

Buying & Selling Yoga

Bhakti Yoga as a Call to Action


In this two session course, Dr. Joe Loizzo, a contemplative neuropsychiatrist, Indic scholar and meditation researcher at Weill Cornell, guides participants through the great scientific revolution of the twenty-first century: the rediscovery of embodied mind and the arts of mind-brain integration.

The Spectrum and Contexts of Cultural Appropriation

4 Modules | 8 Hours of Educational Videos

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One-Time Payment


/ $249

4-Module Course

  • 4 Pre-Recorded Lectures
  • 8 Hours of Video Content
  • PDF Readings
  • BONUS 1: Bhakti Yoga as a Call to Action (Video)
  • BONUS 2: Buying & Selling Yoga (Video)
  • BONUS 3: The New Mind-Body Research and the Yogic Science of Integration (2-Module Course)



Auto-Debited Monthly | 7-Day Free Trial

  • 4 Pre-Recorded Lectures
  • 8 Hours of Video Content
  • PDF Readings
  • Yoga Classes
  • On Demand Course Archive
  • Monthly With-Ins: Community Chats
  • New Monthly Courses
  • Monthly Curated Learning Journeys
  • Quarterly Virtual Retreats
  • Members' Circle
  • Discount on Institute Certificate Programs

/ $97

Join Eric Hemenway & Shreena Niketa Gandhi as they examine cultural appropriation, why it happens, how it can be harmful, and how to challenge it in our everyday lives