Yoga as Work: Good Work? Bad Work? Emotional Labor, Aesthetic Labor, and Managing Sterotypes
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This qualitative research explored the work experiences of twenty-two yoga teachers through in-depth interviews in two different cities. Participants gave insight into their work experiences, their performance of emotional and aesthetic labor, and how they perceive, manage, and navigate the stereotypes associated with yoga culture. Participants reported work conditions that involved low wages and a lack of traditional benefits. The performance of emotional labor was generally perceived as a personally fulfilling aspect of work. It was suggested that the aesthetic labor yoga instructors perform imposes fewer body-type restrictions than other physically-oriented occupations. The stereotypes associated with yoga were acknowledged by all participants, however few agreed with them. Most participants suggested that yoga is for everybody. Disregarding the work conditions of yoga instructors, many reported that instructing yoga is an emotionally fulfilling occupation.