Teaching Contemporary Yoga : Physical Philosophy and Critical Issues book cover
1st Edition

Teaching Contemporary Yoga
Physical Philosophy and Critical Issues

ISBN 9781032018768
Published March 15, 2022 by Routledge
254 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Teaching Contemporary Yoga provides a novel look at how modern yoga is understood, practiced, and taught globally. Utilising perspectives from several academic disciplines, the authors offer an analysis of the current state of modern yoga and the possibilities for future experimentation and innovation. The authors draw on anthropological, performance, and embodiment theories to understand yoga practice as a potentially powerful ritual of transformation as well as a cultural product steeped in the process of meaning making. They craft a unique analysis that contrasts asana with the largely unexamined philosophy underlying the practice of vinyasa, while imagining a vibrant future for the evolution of yoga through excellence in teaching.

Unlike other writings about yoga, the authors offer a critique of the current practice of yoga as both diminished and utilitarian, while providing a path to reinvigorating the discipline based on current scientific knowledge and methods for teaching and practice. Along with these theoretical perspectives and the analysis of contemporary yoga in the West, the authors offer practical applications to address the challenges of teaching yoga in a society where individualism and materialism are core values. Open-ended exercises in reflection and experimentation offer opportunities for readers to apply what they have learned to their teaching and personal practice. This is a vital guide for any yoga-oriented scholar, teacher, or practitioner and is an essential companion for contemporary teacher training.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. The Physical Philosophy of Yoga: Asana and Vinyasa  2. Teaching Yoga: Methodology, Meaning, and Ritual  3. Teaching Somatic Practices of Yoga: Theory, Method, Technique, and Form  4. The Business of Yoga: To Teach or Not to Teach  5. The Effective Yoga Teacher: Finding Your Voice  6. Critical Social Issues for Yoga Teachers: Borders and Boundaries  7. The Future of Yoga Practice

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Edward Clark is the creator and artistic director of Tripsichore Yoga Theatre in London. He is internationally recognized as a teacher of advanced yoga technique and philosophy.

Laurie A. Greene, PhD, is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stockton University and the owner of Yoga Nine studios in New Jersey. She works in clinical settings and has published numerous articles on yoga therapy.


"Clark and Greene’s enlightening book on the art of teaching yoga provides a refreshing perspective, combining the rigor of philosophical inquiry with the richness of experiential insight. Drawing on aesthetic philosophy, performance theory, and an understanding of how knowledge is embodied, the authors have crafted an accessible, nuanced book that confronts and corrects popular misconceptions."—Joseph Alter, director of the Asian Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh, and author of Yoga in Modern India

"This book goes into the vast field of yogic studies and explores the deep thinking and resulting awareness that develops from these studies. This journey through the territory of ‘yoga physics’ is imperative for the honest practitioner to create afresh the living art and science of yoga. As we evolve, we ask the vital question, ‘Who are we in this Great Mystery?’ Take a deep breath! This book will help you in your quest for answers."—Ana T. Forrest, creatrix of Forrest Yoga, author of Fierce Medicine

"This book is superb! It deals graciously with many of the issues that I often try to articulate to students and prospective teachers. Brilliant!"—Andrew Eppler, director of Ashtanga Yoga Studio, Norman, Oklahoma, and producer and director of Mysore Yoga Traditions