A few discussions motivated this thread where I have seen what can only be explained as a blatant disregard for indigenous cultures. I have especially seen this in the attempts to completely remove Yoga from its indigenous culture and look at in a vacuum without the cultural context.
I think it is an absolutely good thing for people to learn about each others cultures and engage in the practices of others culture, but if you are going to approach a non-western culture you need to go with a "beginners mind" You are exploring an entirely different culture so the less you bring of your own the better.
When you learn about non-Western concepts like karma, yoga, ahamkara, gunas, avatars, buddhi, atman, brahman, purusha, prakriti, shiva, shakti, chakras, nadis, kundalini, chit vritti nirodha, klesha and aklesha, deva, sharira, manu, varna, vedas, pramana, siddhis, nirvana etc. Do not, and I repeat, do not try to understand them using your Western background. If you do you will most definitely misunderstand them. This is exactly what happend when the first Westerners studied Indian culture and they ended up writing very wrong things about what Indian culture was about, which was at completely at odds with the indigenous understanding .
I am seeing the same with many non-Hindu and Western people on this forum. Having a distorted understanding will lead to massive misconceptions which can even be dangerous. The German intellectuals strongly misunderstood the word "Aryan" and the result of that was positing the Aryan super race and this lead to the rise of Nazism. Others, have strongly misunderstood karma as some kind of fatalism. The result is people living lives where they make no effort but constantly blame their own selves for what they did in the past.
So in order to get things right here is what I recommend.
1) A learned native has more credentials than any Westerner in speaking about their own culture. Seek out learned natives and listen attentively. Stop being arrogant thinking you know more than them about their own culture.
2) Look at the context. You cannot study anything in isolation in any culture because it is informed by the cultural heritage, ethos and mythos.
3) Look at the language. You cannot study the works of a culture in a language other than the language it was composed in. If it is translated make sure that every word is translated properly by cross-referencing translations especially done by natives themselves.
4) Look at the underlying philosophy. All cultures will have a philosophy that underpins their practices. If you do not understand the philosophy you will not understand the practice.
If you cannot make these observances then you are clearly a cultural bigot and you do violence, even if unintentional to that culture. You will not make friends with them this way.