Yoga Communities in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Examining Spirituality, Secularism, and Consumerism in the Wellington Yoga Industry
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.