In fact Madge was credited with introducing the entire western hemisphere to yoga which apparently no one had even heard of before she did it. I've been a yoga teacher for 7 years now and have practised yoga for over 20 years. I first started when I came back from uni and read an article in Time Out about the life centre in Notting Hill and decided to check it out. The first lesson was tough, but I loved it and I kept going. Every Saturday morning I'd be in warrior pose wondering why I put myself through it as my teacher Andrea - an ex dancer - put us all through a tough Ashtanga routine. I was lighter and younger then and I struggled, but something made me want to do keep going and to get better. I did get stronger and learned a lot more about the practice and eventually took the step I had wanted to for so many years to train as a teacher.
One of the things that struck me when I was training was how often I heard the references to 'real' or 'traditional' yoga. I was lectured by tutors about how yoga is practised in India and on one memorial occasion a teacher impersonated indian people with that head bob we know (and that I loathe). I complained about her behaviour and she took to attacking me with the preserve of the racist and weak, 'some of my best friends are...' I was fascinated by the mispronunciation of Sanskrit words and chanting what I can only assume is a non asian's version of the blessings. I was the only asian in the room and would often hear grand pronouncements about how things are done in India. One fellow student shared her outrage that in India disability is seen as a punishment as 'they believe it's karma' - oh man did I let rip on that day.
The line between celebration and appropriation is pretty blurry. I think getting all het up at Beyonce is missing the point. No one wants to appropriate the reality of what life is like for women in India. Why deal with misogyny and widespread violence towards women when the clothes are jewellery are so pretty ? It's so much simpler for beautiful, successful, western women (whether black or white) to objectify asian women even further.
Oh and the single isn't much cop either.