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Societies 2018, 8(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030078

Serving, Contemplating and Praying: Non-Postural Yoga(s), Embodiment and Spiritual Capital

Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan 20126, Italy
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 22 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 9 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Culture)
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Abstract

In this paper, I discuss the role of spiritual seekers’ embodiment of karma, jnana and bhakti yoga(s) in the context of a neo-Vedantic, non-monastic ashram located in southern-Europe, an ashram I regard as an example of modern denominational yoga. Methodologically, I rely on an ex-post multi-sensory autoethnography, involving apprenticeship and full participation immersion, and I share with physical cultural studies a commitment to empirically contextualise the study of the moving body. Theoretically, I employ Shilling’s theory of the body as a multi-dimensional medium for the constitution of society, enriched by other theoretical and sensitising concepts. The findings presented in this paper show that the body of the seekers/devotees can be simultaneously framed as the source of, the location for and the means to, the constitution of the social, cultural and spiritual life of the ashram. As I discuss the development, interiorisation and implementation of serving, contemplative and devotional dispositions, which together form the scheme of dispositions that shape a yogic habitus, I also consider the ties between the specific instances under study and the more general spiritual habitus. The paper ends by broadening its focus in relation to the inclusion of Asian practices and traditions into the Western landscape. View Full-Text
Keywords: karma yoga; jnana yoga; bhakti yoga; modern denominational yoga; body; physical culture(s); multi-sensory autoethnography; apprenticeship; full participation; neo-Vedanta karma yoga; jnana yoga; bhakti yoga; modern denominational yoga; body; physical culture(s); multi-sensory autoethnography; apprenticeship; full participation; neo-Vedanta
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Di Placido, M. Serving, Contemplating and Praying: Non-Postural Yoga(s), Embodiment and Spiritual Capital. Societies 2018, 8, 78.

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