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Yoga and Policing in the US: An Antidote to or Aggravation of State Violence? | 16.05.2024

Data: 16.05.2024
Czas rozpoczęcia: 3 PM
Miejsce: Reymonta 4, room 37

Sheena Sood

As a billion-dollar industry, yoga is often marketed as a “peaceful” practice that members of society practice to combat “stress” and cultivate “calmness” within themselves and to foster unity with all beings. In recent years, we have also witnessed a global uptick of yoga’s deployment by far-right governments and political institutions as yoga and mindfulness programs are now increasingly being used in police academies, detention facilities, prisons, militaries, law enforcement and border patrol forces. “Yoga and Policing in the US: An Antidote to or Aggravation of State Violence?” strives to make sense of the juxtaposition of yoga in the public sphere and by far-right law enforcement and policing programs – the latter of whom often use yoga to distract from their projects of state violence and systems of institutionalized hierarchy. Using a combination of archival research, content analysis, and autoethnography as a yoga teacher, Sood explores how yoga studios, practitioners, and state, corporate, and legal institutions co-opt Asian spiritual traditions for varied purposes. Peeling back the sociological, historical, and political roots and consequences of the decision to appropriate yoga in these contexts, she examines the ethical stakes, political purposing, and consumption of yoga in militarized and law enforcement settings amidst its widespread notions of purity, peace, and positive health. This conversation aims to empower the audience to decide for themselves whether yoga programs in the U.S. for military and law enforcement institutions are being used as a practice of violence and spiritual bypass or as a pathway toward peace and unity.

Sheena Sood, Ph.D. (she/her) earned her Ph.D. in sociology from Temple University in 2019 and her B.A. in sociology and international affairs from Emory University. As a holistic educator, she brings a wide range of teaching experiences inside and outside the academy to her teaching of sociology. Some of the courses she teaches include Introduction to Sociology, Social Movements, Gender and Social Change, and more! Her early research looked at South Asian American political groups in the northeast U.S. and used one-on-one semi-structured interviews and participant observation to examine how they engaged in political action and social justice advocacy. Sood’s newer research, Omwashing Yoga: Weaponized Spirituality in India, Israel, and the US examines the growing incorporation of yoga and mindfulness by far-right law enforcement, military, and vigilante groups -- and how they use yoga to advance ethnonational, colonial, and supremacist agendas. Her work has appeared in Jadaliyya, Race & Yoga Journal, Al Jazeera, and Colorlines; and on podcasts such as Conspirituality and the Nourish Yoga Training Podcast. As a yoga practitioner who has studied yoga at Kailash Tribal School of Yoga in McLeodganj, India (YTT-200hr, AYTTC-500hr), Sheena uses yoga as a medium for politicized healing in her yoga classes for adults and kids and through her Decolonizing Yoga” workshops. She is actively engaged in healing and racial justice movements in Philadelphia and is also the founder of Yoga Warrior Tales, a program that uses interactive, adventure-based narratives to teach kids yoga and mindfulness through a social justice lens. Learn more at

Wydarzenie można zaliczyć w ramach programu OSA:

  • Opiekun: mgr Aleksandra Jargiełło
  • Liczba godzin OSA: 2 godziny
  • Forma zaliczenia: sporządzenie krótkiej notatki w języku polskim (max. 500-600 znaków), dotyczącej tematyki wykładu i przesłanie jej mgr Aleksandrze Jargiełło do 30.05.2024. Notatki wysłane po tym terminie nie będą przyjmowane. Podpisy na Kartach będą składane wyłącznie w czasie dyżurów mgr Aleksandry Jargiełło.
Wykład kierowany jest do studentów amerykanistyki, ale mogą w nim uczestniczyć wszyscy studenci IAiSP.