"All yoga is yoga" and other narratives : Yoga as objectified and embodied knowledge

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202012285488
Title: "All yoga is yoga" and other narratives : Yoga as objectified and embodied knowledge
Author: Halonen, Lauha
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research (2010-2017)
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för socialvetenskap
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202012285488
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/323800
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Sosiaali- ja kulttuuriantropologia
Social and Cultural Anthropology
Social- och kulturantropologi
Abstract: This work stems from the various debates of the definition, authenticity and plurality of yoga traditions both among yoga practitioners and scholars. The work has two aims: to move away from these debates by constructing a new theoretical perspective, and to study yoga as a lived, non-ascetic practice in India because based on ethnography, because such ethnographic study has not been done properly. The material of this work is based on official field work in the city of Bangalore, in Karnātaka state, India, from the end of October 2005 towards the end of February 2006. This thesis then seeks to map the social reality of yoga as it existed in the mid 2000’s among the of middle-aged, middle-class Hindu practitioners. In this work, it is analyzed how they narrate yoga. Overview of yoga history is presented as a frame that both provides an intertextual library and guides interpretation as an authoritative voice of “past in the present”. Similarly, the traditional sources of authoritative knowledge in India, the Sanskritic textual canon and the institution of the guru are discussed. The yoga narratives gathered in Bangalore essentially informs the re-theorizing of yoga, shifting focus from tradition to knowledge. Knowledge is taken as the main analytical category of the discussion. The dialogic relationship of theory and practice is at the core this work which then translates into exploring yoga knowledge as two interconnected categories: objectified knowledge, that is theory and philosophy of yoga, and embodied knowledge, meaning not only the practiced techniques of yoga but essentially all yoga knowledge that is performed. Yoga classes and narratives are observed as knowledge performances. Lastly, practitioner narratives are analyzed by using the concepts of objectified and embodied knowledge, hierarchies of knowledge and participant roles in addition to exploring the narratives in their ethnographic context. As a result, the work concludes: each performance has the potential to integrate the theory and practice, and despite all the differences, all yoga is yoga.
Subject: Yoga
knowledge
tradition
history
anthropology


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