Is This Yoga? : Concepts, Histories, and the Complexities of Modern Practice book cover
1st Edition

Is This Yoga?
Concepts, Histories, and the Complexities of Modern Practice

ISBN 9781138390072
Published June 1, 2021 by Routledge
254 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book provides a rigorously researched, critically comparative introduction to yoga. Is This Yoga? Concepts, Histories, and the Complexities of Contemporary Practice recognizes the importance of contemporary understandings of yoga and, at the same time, provides historical context and complexity to modern and pre-modern definitions of yogic ideas and practices. Approaching yoga as a vast web of concepts, traditions, social interests, and embodied practices, it raises questions of knowledge, identity, and power across time and space, including the dynamics of "East" and "West." The text is divided into three main sections: thematic concepts; histories; and topics in modern practice.

This accessible guide is essential reading for undergraduate students approaching the topic for the first time, as well as yoga teachers, teacher training programs, casual and devoted practitioners, and interested non-practitioners.

Table of Contents

Part I: Concepts

1: What Is Yoga?

2: Cosmologies: Yogic Theories of the Big World

3: Bodies: Yogic Theories of the Little World

4: Mythologies: Yogic Role Models

Part II: Histories

5: Ancient to Classical Yogas

6: Medieval to Early Modern Yogas

7: The Rise of Modern Yoga

Part III: Modern Practice

8: Gurus, Lineages, and Yogic Authority

9: Liberating the Modern Self Through the Business of Yoga

10: Yoga Therapies and the Science of Salvation


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Anya Foxen is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, USA. She is a yoga teacher and long-time practitioner.

Christa Kuberry is a yoga teacher, yoga student, and yoga scholar. She is the Vice President of Standards at Yoga Alliance.


"Foxen and Kuberry meticulously trace the historical paths of yoga and delineate its key concepts, posing important questions, for example, about gender. They manage to balance recovery and critique, complicating any straightforward narrative of an authentic yoga tradition undergoing change and eventually morphing into its modern practice. There is no competing study, but much demand, for a textbook like this one."

Andrea R. Jain, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, USA. Author of Peace Love Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality.