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Embodying Transnational Yoga

Course Number: 3006

"Yoga is more than āsana" is a phrase we commonly hear in the contemporary yoga world. But what does this actually mean in practice? In this course we will explore the ways yoga practitioners engage in the practice of eating, singing, and breathing. We will learn about these three transformative, yet understudied embodied yoga practices: yogic diet, music, and breathing techniques. While embracing philosophical, philological, and historical approaches to the study of these practices, this course also presents novel cultural approaches for understanding each following the methodology in Professor Miller’s book, Embodying Transnational Yoga: Eating, Singing, and Breathing in Transformation.   

Students will move through three contemporary sites of yogic practice where they will learn about the social-historical and cultural forces that both shape and enable particular ways of yogic eating, singing, and breathing therein. By combining the field of yoga studies with Indian Ocean Studies, Food Studies, Ethnomusicology, and Pollution Studies, they will learn that when they embody their own yoga traditions’ transformative practices, they are also simultaneously embodying other unseen cultural and social-historical influences. Students will therefore also learn how to perform research in their own yoga tradition or community to better understand and communicate to others the often unrecognized and complex histories, social contexts, and philosophies comprising their embodied yoga practices.   

Professor Miller will take students through a systematic approach for performing yoga research to help each participant identify their own key research questions concerning their yoga tradition’s embodied practices and techniques. They will also be inspired to develop their own research methods that will help them to answer these critical questions, thereby becoming a scholar of their own yoga tradition. The only prerequisite for this course is a sincere curiosity to learn about the historical sources and cultural influences shaping contemporary yoga practices whether they are eating, singing, breathing, or another transformative yogic technique of special interest.  

This course is offered in collaboration with Yogic Studies

Learning Area

Yoga, Self-care and Spirituality