The Yoga Industry: A Conscious Luxury Experience in the Transformation Economy

Juliana Luna Mora, Jess Berry, Pam Salen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Yoga is both a sociocultural phenomenon and a multibillion dollar industry. As consumers shift spending habits towards transformational and wellbeing
experiences, the yoga industry provides a sophisticated and diverse offer of commodities, services and experiences that mix and bricolage conscious
luxury with holistic and sustainable practices. The promise of happiness, harmony, balance and self-actualization are key indicators of cultural capital
and status in contemporary consumer society. The yoga industry offers these services across a multitude of platforms and uses branding strategies that
borrow emotional and sensory dynamics from the luxury market as well as upward mobility logics of social differentiation. The success of this consumption
pattern is evident in the economic worth of the yoga and wellness industries. Yoga brands function as aspirational lifestyle brands offering social, symbolic, and psychological benefits that go beyond the physical practice. These
brands also propose new aesthetic and ethical body ideals. This article argues that yoga is a multisensory luxury experience, providing consumers with achievement of both tangible and intangible physical, mental and spiritual individual needs and aspirations. The yoga studio becomes the immersive
or escapist space that replaces traditional religious institutions; representing self-transformation, self-empowerment and community engagement. It is the space where the quest for meaning takes place, under hyper-individualistic logics of consumer capitalism and luxury market dynamics. Through
the analysis of aspirational lifestyle branding and marketing strategies associated with three yoga studios, this article considers the inherent paradoxes of yoga as a conscious luxury experience and yoga as a traditional practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-196
Number of pages24
JournalLuxury: History, Culture, Consumption
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • yoga
  • consumer culture
  • conscious luxury
  • experience and transformation economy
  • aspirational lifestyle
  • branding
  • design

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