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Liberation or limitation? Understanding Iyengar Yoga as a practice of the self

Lea, J. J. (2009) Liberation or limitation? Understanding Iyengar Yoga as a practice of the self. Body and Society, 15 (3). pp. 71-92. ISSN 1357-034X

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1177/1357034X09339100

Abstract/Summary

This article explores the Foucauldian notions of practices of the self and care of the self, read via Deleuze, in the context of Iyengar yoga (one of the most popular forms of yoga currently). Using ethnographic and interview research data the article outlines the Iyengar yoga techniques which enable a focus upon the self to be developed, and the resources offered by the practice for the creation of ways of knowing, experiencing and forming the self. In particular, the article asks whether Iyengar yoga offers possibilities for freedom and liberation, or whether it is just another practice of control and management. Assessing Iyengar yoga via a ‘critical function’, a function of ‘struggle’ and a ‘curative and therapeutic function’, the article analyses whether the practice might constitute a mode of care of the self, and what it might offer in the context of the contemporary need to live better, as well as longer.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Human Environments
ID Code:2035
Uncontrolled Keywords:body • care of the self • Deleuze • ethics • Foucault • yoga
Publisher:Sage

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