Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Yoga Communities in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Examining Spirituality, Secularism, and Consumerism in the Wellington Yoga Industry

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posted on 2021-11-22, 16:20 authored by Tilley, Ali Hale

This ethnographic study looks at the Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) yoga industry, examining the ways that spirituality, secularism, and consumerism influence modern yoga practices. This study argues that people in New Zealand choose yoga practices for different ethical, physical, and social reasons, reflecting their diverse sociocultural values. More specifically, data gathered during fieldwork shows that the Wellington yoga industry contains at least three community subcultures, which I refer to as: 1) moral communities, 2) corporate communities, and 3) brand communities. This means that at the level of local culture, the NZ yoga industry represents a wide range of yoga practices, which in turn reflect the diverse needs, consumer expectations, and imagined ideals of resident populations. Interdisciplinary literature from Religious Studies, Sociology, and Consumer Marketing Research help analyze the complex connections between spirituality as a set of embodied practices, secularisation of yoga as a reflection of corporate culture, and consumerism as a set of desired customer experiences. Yoga in NZ is currently under-researched, making this study a starting point for further inquiry.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Religious Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies


Weiss, Rick