Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Timothy Barouch

Second Advisor

Carrie Freeman

Third Advisor

Carol Winkler


Modern yoga is a multibillion-dollar economy that penetrated many fields, from fitness to healthcare. Yoga’s popularity shows its relevance and adaptability. However, scholars found that modern yoga is synonymous with postural yoga. In this thesis, I establish that yoga’s identity is rooted in the Eight Limbs of the iconic Yoga Sutras of Patanjali ––postures being one of the limbs constituting yoga’s identifiers. Then, I link the yogic postural shift to the truncation of yoga’s identifiers in teacher training curricula. I argue that modern yoga schools focus more on postures and downplay the other limbs, especially the first two – ethical restraints and moral observances – cornerstones of all limbs per the Indian luminaries who brought yoga to the US. My cluster analysis of Yoga Alliance’s curriculum shows significant obliteration of the limbs in comparison to traditional teachings leading me to offer a prescriptive counter curriculum and practical recommendations to preserve yoga’s identity.


File Upload Confirmation