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LET’S CALL IT DANISH GYMNASTICS: THE YOGA BODY


http://www.mereorthodoxy.com/call-danish-gymnastics-yoga-body/

 

“THUGS OF CHRISTANIY AT IT AGAIN .. “

 

by MATTHEW LEE ANDERSON on AUGUST 23, 2011 · 3 COMMENTS

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In the fall of last year, Al Mohler initiated a firestorm by suggesting that “yoga cannot be fully extricated from its spiritual roots in Hinduism and Buddhism.”

In making his argument, Mohler was drawing on Stefanie Symen’s The Subtle Body.

But Symen’s book was not the only book on the history of yoga in the past year. Mark Singleton’s treatment, The Yoga Body, was put out by distinguished publisher Oxford University Press only a few months before Symen’s.

Somewhat paradoxically, Symen’s book sucked up all the discussion, but Singleton’s is actually more controversial.  If the question of whether the postures of what we know as yoga can be extricated from their Hindu roots is contentious, the question of whether they have Hindu roots at all should have been explosive.

Singleton sets out his thesis early:  “The primacy of asana [or posture based] performance in transnational yoga today is a new phenomenon that has no parallel in premodern times.”

While there are clearly references to yoga in the Hindu sacred texts, Singleton argues that the lack of emphasis on postures makes yoga a homonym to how it was used historically, not a synonym.  Whatever connection there is (and Singleton hedges at the last second against disavowing a connection altogether), contemporary posture based yoga is developed and appropriated the ancient texts for its own purposes in response to the introduction of new discourses into India–namely, the “physical culture” of seeking social transformation through bodily health that the YMCA brought to India.

 

http://www.mereorthodoxy.com/call-danish-gymnastics-yoga-body/ 

 

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