History of Modern Yoga

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9780826465122: History of Modern Yoga

In recent years yoga and meditation have become mass-market pursuits in the West. A History of Modern Yoga traces this phenomenon back to its ideological roots in the esoteric circles of late 18th century Bengal, then follows some of its main developments to date. Fully-fledged Modern Yoga, the author argues, started with the publication of Swami Vivekananda's seminal Raja Yoga (1896), in which Patanjali's Yoga Sutras were reconfigured along the lines of a then emerging New Age style of secularised and individualistically oriented religiosity. But what exactly are yoga and meditation as taught and practised today? Many committed practitioners and sympathisers take them to be straight continuations, or even rediscoveries, of ancient South Asian religious practices, but use peculiarly modern ideas when they define them as powerful tools for cultivating one's human potential' and as ultimately aimed at achieving 'self-realisation'. Thus, despite the fact that Modern Yoga encapsulates many religio-philosophical presuppositions (some of which are discussed in this book), it is often characterised as a 'philosophy' or as 'a way of life' rather than as 'religion' per se. In order to map this unknown territory, the present book offers a four-fold typology of Modern Yoga comprising Modern Psychosomatic, Modern Meditational, Modern Postural and Modern Denominational forms. Special attention is then given to Modern Postural Yoga as widely practised today in America, Australia, Britain and other English-speaking countries and milieus. The theory and practice of lyengar Yoga, one of the most influential schools of Modern Postural Yoga, are analysed in this context, while the conclusion shows how a typical Modern Postural Yoga session may be interpreted to reveal the forms and contents of a healing ritual of secular religion.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth De Michelis is Gordon Milburn Junior Research Fellow at Oriel College, University of Oxford, UK.

Review:

'carefully researched and closely-argued . . . Far more than a reconstruction of the history of Modern Yoga, the book is an important contribution to the history of Orientalism, the Brahmo Samaj, and Neo-Vedanta.' Prof David Gordon White Department of Religious Studies University of California, Santa Barbara

'A History of Modern Yoga is a timely work of astute, rigorous, critical scholarship. De Michelis has done an outstanding job' Prof Joseph Alter University of Pittsburgh

'...Likely to stimulate debate...researchers working in the fields that Elizabeth De Michelis spans will find this an interesting and, at certain points, provocative study.' Volume 21, Number 1 (Gwilym Beckerlegge Journal Of Contemporary Religion)

'...De Michelis greatly adds to our knowledge of how contemporary presentations of yoga differ from earlier ones.' (Stefanie Syman)

"A History of Modern Yogamakes a significant contribution to our understanding of the roots of yoga, theconnections between Western and Neo-Vedantic esotericism, and ways in whichHindu reformers remained active agents in combating Orientalist constructionsof Hinduism, even while influencing Western audiences....this book is mostappropriate for graduate students or advanced undergraduates." — Missiology — An International Review,October 2005 (Missiology: An International Review)

De Michelis (faculty of Divinity, Cambridge) has made an important
contribution to modern scholarship in religion with this history of yogic
practice. Many readers will find her style dry in the extreme, but she is
quite adept at unstitching the many complex strands of association and
precedent that have gone into the modern concepts of yogic practice, from
18th-century Bengal to 20th-century America. A crucial addition to
academically inclined libraries and an important eyeopener for larger
collections. (Library Journal)

Reference & Research Book News, August 2006 (mention)

'...Likely to stimulate debate...researchers working in the fields that Elizabeth De Michelis spans will find this an interesting and, at certain points, provocative study.' Volume 21, Number 1 (Sanford Lakoff Journal Of Contemporary Religion)

'...De Michelis greatly adds to our knowledge of how contemporary presentations of yoga differ from earlier ones.' (Sanford Lakoff)

"A History of Modern Yogamakes a significant contribution to our understanding of the roots of yoga, theconnections between Western and Neo-Vedantic esotericism, and ways in whichHindu reformers remained active agents in combating Orientalist constructionsof Hinduism, even while influencing Western audiences....this book is mostappropriate for graduate students or advanced undergraduates.” – Missiology – An International Review,October 2005 (Missiology: An International Review)

Reference & Research Book News, August 2006 (Sanford Lakoff)

Le informazioni nella sezione "Su questo libro" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

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de Michelis, Elizabeth
Editore: Continuum International Publis (2004)
ISBN 10: 0826465129 ISBN 13: 9780826465122
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Descrizione libro Continuum International Publis, 2004. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110826465129

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Elizabeth de Michelis
Editore: Continuum International Publishing Group (2004)
ISBN 10: 0826465129 ISBN 13: 9780826465122
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Descrizione libro Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 826465129

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