1st Edition

Embodying Transnational Yoga Eating, Singing, and Breathing in Transformation

By Christopher Jain Miller Copyright 2024
    184 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Embodying Transnational Yoga is a refreshingly original, multi-sited ethnography of transnational yoga that obliges us to look beyond postural practice (as̄ana) in modern yoga research.

    The book introduces readers to three alternative, understudied categories of transnational yoga practice which include food, music, and breathing. Studying these categories of embodied practice using interdisciplinary methods reveals transformative “engaged alchemies” that have been extensively deployed by contemporary disseminators of yoga. Readers will encounter how South Asian dietary regimens, musical practices, and breathing techniques have been adapted into contemporaneous worlds of yoga practice both within, but also beyond, the Indian Ocean rim.

    The book brings the field of Modern Yoga Studies into productive dialogue with the fields of Indian Ocean Studies, Embodiment Studies, Food Studies, Ethnomusicology, and Pollution Studies. It will also be a valuable resource for both scholarly work and for teaching in the fields of Religious Studies, Anthropology, and South Asian Religions.

    Introduction. Engaged Alchemies: New Approaches to the Study of Contemporary Yoga; Chapter 1. Patanjali and Arjuna meet American Countercuisine: Yogic Diet and Selfless Service at Gurani Anjali’s Yoga Anand Ashram, Long Island; Chapter 2. Yogananda’s Sacred Music in Paradise: Ukuleles and the Unstruck Sound at Polestar Gardens, Hawaii; Chapter 3. Internalizing the Sacrifice in a Sacrifice Zone: Situating Purifying Prāṇāyāma in Pollution at Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, Lonavala; Conclusion. Future Directions for the Study of Yoga; Index


    Christopher Jain Miller is Professor of Jain and Yoga Studies and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Arihanta Institute, San Jose, USA; Visiting Professor at Claremont School of Theology, Los Angeles, USA; and Visiting Researcher at the University of Zürich’s Asien-Orient-Institut, Zürich, Switzerland.

    “This passionate book combines inspired philosophical insight and critical commentary on a range of experiences that constitute transnational yoga. Based on years of participant observation in the United States and India, Miller’s intimate understanding of embodied practice provides a new, multivalent understanding of yoga in personal and social experience.”

    Joseph S. Alter, author of Yoga in Modern India: The Body between Science and Philosophy


    "Miller’s transnational, multi-sited ethnographic research issues a clarion call for more attention to the deeply embodied ways of living and worlding in yoga communities. Including chapters on dietary practices, mantra (chants) and kīrtan (sacred music), and prāṇāyāma (breathing exercises), this wonderfully conceived book is a vital reminder of all that yoga is beyond āsana (yoga postures)."  

    Amanda Lucia, author of White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals