Reclaiming the Spirit through the Body: The Nascent Spirituality of Modern Postural Yoga

Authors

  • Stuart Ray Sarbacker
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13154/er.v1.2014.95-114
Keywords: postural yoga, haṭhayoga, cosmopolitanism, B. K. S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, inner dimension, Hindu philosophy, Buddhist philosophy

Abstract

In viewing physical practice as instrumental, traditions of modern postural yoga contain an implicit spirituality that echoes its historical precursors in the medieval traditions of haṭhayoga. The physicality of modern postural yoga tradition links the practices of premodern haṭhayoga traditions with disciplines of body that are characteristic of modern cosmopolitanism, such as gymnastics and calisthenics. The principal modern yoga gurus of the twentieth century—such as B. K. S. Iyengar and K. Pattabhi Jois—viewed postural yoga as distinct from purely physical disciplines on the basis that yoga has an inner dimension that other systems do not possess. Contemporary yoga practitioners have sought to make this inner dimension more transparent through appeals to traditional Hindu and Buddhist philosophy and by adopting practices that are explicitly contemplative or spiritual in nature.

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Published
2014-10-31
How to Cite
Sarbacker, S. R. (2014). Reclaiming the Spirit through the Body: The Nascent Spirituality of Modern Postural Yoga. Entangled Religions, 1, 95–114. https://doi.org/10.13154/er.v1.2014.95-114
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