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Modern Yoga, Embodied Self-Care and Healing

Course Number: 3005
This course builds on the understanding of modern yoga as a set of historically evolved body-mind practices and discourses that developed into an effective, late-modern self-care. Based on this definition, contemporary yoga – inspired by both pre-modern practices, such as āsana and prāṇāyāma as well as more modern practices, such as mindfulness, body awareness or relaxation techniques – can be defined as a highly efficient tool for self-care. It continues to evolve by adapting to contemporary needs and contributes to the health of late modern societies.

In 1946, the World Health Organization defined “health” as complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Thus, cultural studies can and have to contribute to such a holistic understanding of health with their view on humans as biological, but likewise social, ritual, symbolic and deeply interconnected beings, very much so via their bodies.

But how can this insight be brought into practice? The course examines theories on embodiment and body knowledge and enriches our existing, individual yoga practice with additional, accessible, and highly efficient tools for self-care. It helps developing a more elaborate and sophisticated language as well as a deepened understanding for embodied processes. This includes the knowledge and training of our external and internal senses, getting to know our individual body image and understanding that how we talk to ourselves matters. We investigate the body scheme, understand the importance of touch, flow-states, relaxation, and other techniques that we can employ for both, getting to know but also to transcend ourselves as well as to understand ourselves as fully interconnected beings. Knowing one’s own body in such elaborate ways can, in a yogic manner, help to unlearn embodied habits and conditioning and to gain distance from them whenever needed.

Learning Area

Yoga, Self-care and Spirituality