Spirituality and 'Mystical Religion' in Contemporary Society: A Case Study of British Practitioners of the Iyengar Method of Yoga

Hasselle-Newcombe, Suzanne (2005). Spirituality and 'Mystical Religion' in Contemporary Society: A Case Study of British Practitioners of the Iyengar Method of Yoga. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 20(3) pp. 305–321.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13537900500249806

Abstract

This article addresses the under-researched, but very popular activity of yoga in contemporary Britain and attempts a preliminary sociological exploration of the religious and spiritual beliefs of yoga practitioners. A sample of dedicated practitioners of the Iyengar method of yoga was chosen for a case study. It was found that the sample practitioners are engaged in a technique that attracts a significant number of people interested in a type of ‘spiritual exploration’ that can probably be best explained by the concept of 'mystical religion', as introduced by Ernst Troeltsch and developed by Colin Campbell. These findings provide new salience to the idea of 'mystical religion' and a starting point for considering the role that a physical practice plays in contemporary spirituality and religiosity.

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