Patterns of Authority and Practice Relationships in 'Post-Lineage Yoga'

Wildcroft, Theodora R (2018). Patterns of Authority and Practice Relationships in 'Post-Lineage Yoga'. PhD thesis The Open University.

Abstract

This thesis addresses a significant lack in existing research into the lived experience of contemporary, transnational yoga practice. It starts from two premises: that what long-term practitioners are actually doing in their practice is important; and that the communities in which yoga is taught are vital sites for the production of subcultural knowledge.

The thesis has three major outputs. Firstly, it sets out an innovative methodology of co-practice, notation, and method as experiment that is newly fit for the purpose of studying bodily religious practice. Secondly, it provides a vivid portrait of a specific understudied subculture which inherits aspects of British counterculture previously declared defunct. And lastly, it demonstrates the intra- and interpersonal processes at the heart of the subculture’s negotiations with identity, ecology, and authority.

These processes may well be applicable to many more yogic subcultures than presently suspected. As such this thesis includes new models for understanding such subcultures, as well as a new term to describe them that is already being debated beyond the spaces of this research: post-lineage yoga. This thesis therefore holds significant implications for the wider and future study of yoga, bodies and religion.

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