Yoga’s long history in India reveals that this practice of imposing discipline on the body and mind was far more than a set of physical or meditative practices, but a means to reformulate the social and cosmic world as well. Practiced by Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists, yoga transcends any given religion, yet links many religions. Yoga also exists independently of any religion at all, as simply a set of stretches and breathing techniques. Over the two or more millennia that yoga has been practiced in myriad forms, it has reshaped the cultures were it has travelled from India to East and Southeast Asia, Europe, and America. And as it has travelled, yoga has often become a subject for political debate: about what constitutes religion, about its purported foreignness outside of India, how it should be used, and its relationship to capital accumulation in all places and times. Yoga is therefore a practice that must be understood in a fundamentally social, historical, and political way. In this class we’ll study yoga from its first textual representations to its current status in the modern world.