Misadventures in Wellness

Yoga, mindfulness, and detox diets: religion for those who’d never be caught dead in a church?

 “Not everyone who goes to yoga is a spiritual seeker, but there is a lot of it (in yoga). I think yoga can make you start thinking about things, but it’s not really enough to fill that hole.”

Brigid Delaney is a columnist with The Guardian and the author of Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness, in which she recounts her attempt to become clean, lean, and serene through an extreme detox diet, daily yoga practice, and meditation.

But Brigid also grew up Catholic. While she’s long been disenchanted with the church, that religious backstory gives her a unique take on wellness culture. She claims that for many young women, yoga is a form of ‘religion-lite’: a practice that addresses the spiritual yearning of those untethered from organised religion. 

Brigid’s account of wellness culture is haunted by religion in other ways as well. At points in Wellmania, she seems to indirectly quote the Bible.

“Maybe I’ve been plagiarising, unintendedly plagiarising the Bible in my work. Or maybe I just listened to enough of it as a kid that it has seeped into some of my thinking.”

Brigid Delaney’s Diary

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Buy Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness