I'm Roopa Bala Singh.
I am a social scientist in Critical Yoga Studies, a transnational American Studies project. I teach, research, and write on yoga, the body, racial constructions, and circulations of imperial power.
I grew up between India and the U.S., immersed in yoga practice. Later, as a yoga instructor and collective owner of a busy Brooklyn yoga studio, I began to wonder:
Is yoga more American than I am? I began researching how the commodification of yoga, and how cultural appropriation in general, results in racial harms.
I gather qualitative data through colonial archival investigations; cultural analysis; legal research; ethnography in Indian yoga tourism and U.S. yoga sites. I organize and moderate public panel discussions. I also make art on yoga and race, and create/teach in arts residencies.
I am focused on liberation, and have experience as a prison lawyer, and intellectual property attorney (JD, UC Berkeley). I am interested in the power of culture, and have a Masters in Cinema Studies (Tisch School of the Arts, NYU). I am working on a book manuscript on the racial politics of commodified yoga, based on research from my recently completed PhD in Justice Studies (ASU, 2019).
I have taught justice studies, ethnic studies, global economics, hip hop, law and social change, and racial and gender justice at: City College (CUNY), Pace University., and Arizona State University.
In 2013, I organized a nationwide public panel project on yoga and race called South Asian American Perspectives on Yoga (SAAPYA). SAAPYA became the first gatherings of Indian and South Asian diasporic voices speaking to racial harms in U.S. yoga. SAAPYA event footage will be archived at the South Asian American Digital Archives (SAADA). In 2017, I keynoted the Race and Yoga Conference, UC Berkeley.
PHD I Arizona State University
M.A. I Tisch School of the Arts,
New York University
J.D. I Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley
B.A. I University of Pittsburgh
Public scholarship & workshops - Oberlin, 2016
I facilitate workshops and give talks on yoga, race, imperialism, and the body. I also offer a zine on trauma informed yoga. Reach out:
phone/whatsapp: +1 347 971 1944
ZINE WRITING PROJECT