Engaging with the growing popular and academic interest in the "spiritual but not religious," Andrea R. Jain explores the connections between the practices of global spirituality and aspects of neoliberal capitalism in Peace Love Yoga. "Personal growth," "self-care," and "transformation" are all tropes in the narrative of the spiritual identity Jain is concerned with. This "spirituality" is usually depicted as firmly countercultural: the term "alternative" (alternative health, alternative medicine, alternative spiritualities) is omnipresent. To the contrary, Jain argues, spiritual commodities, entrepreneurs, and consumers are quite mainstream and sometimes even conservative and nationalistic. Ranging from the transnational to the economic to the activist, Jain refuses the single narrative focus of most works on the SBNR; human phenomena that can be analyzed through a single lens or narrative are few and far between, and existing research in this area too often yields a suspiciously tidy story.
The heart of the book includes sophisticated analyses of: two politically divergent but equally entrepreneurial and global-capitalist yoga gurus; "athleisure apparel" corporations, such as lululemon, that successfully market consumer goods as a purchased commitment to social justice; and therapeutically-focused applications of spirituality that concentrate on healing the broken person rather than undermining the system that broke that person in the first place.
Many spiritual commodities, corporations, and entrepreneurs, Jain suggests, do actually acknowledge the problems of neoliberal capitalism and in fact subvert them; but they subvert them through mere gestures. From provocative taglines printed across t-shirts or packaging to calls for "conscious capitalism," commodification serves as a strategy through which subversion itself is colonized.