In Britain, yoga became an increasingly popular group activity from
the 1960s onwards in government-subsidised adult-education evening classes.
Although yoga classes were open to everyone, women tended to make up 70 ro 90
per cent of the student base of most classes as well as the majority of yoga
teachers. This article briefly outlines how yoga became popular in Britain and
then explores yoga's particular appeal to women during this period. Yoga's
popularity can be partially accounted for by the way it simultaneously supported
women's traditional identities of wife and mother, as well as a more independent
identity promoted by second-wave feminism. Women typically attributed better
physical health and emotional well-being to their practice of yoga and this was
an important reason for their participation in the classes. Additionally, yoga
served as an important support for women becoming more aware of feelings of
alienation from traditional biomedical practitioners.