Yoga in the Modern World: Contemporary Perspectives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Yoga in the Modern World

Contemporary Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Mark Singleton, Jean Byrne


212 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415570862
pub: 2009-12-17
Hardback: 9780415452588
pub: 2008-06-27
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pub: 2008-06-30
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Today yoga is a thoroughly globalised phenomenon. Yoga has taken the world by storm and is even seeing renewed popularity in India. Both in India and abroad, adults, children and teenagers are practicing yoga in diverse settings; gyms, schools, home, work, yoga studios and temples. The yoga diaspora began well over a hundred years ago and we continue to see new manifestations and uses of Yoga in the modern world.

As the first of its kind this collection draws together cutting edge scholarship in the field, focusing on the theory and practice of yoga in contemporary times. Offering a range of perspectives on yoga's contemporary manifestations, it maps the movement, development and consolidation of yoga in global settings. The collection features some of the most well-known authors within the field and newer voices. The contributions span a number of disciplines in the humanities, including, anthropology, Philosophy, Studies in Religion and Asian studies, offering a range of entry points to the issues involved in the study of the subject. As such, is of use to those involved in academic scholarship, as well as to the growing number of yoga practitioners who seek a deeper account of the origin and significance of the techniques and traditions they are engaging with. It will also-and perhaps most of all-speak to the growing numbers of 'scholar-practitioners' who straddle these two realms.

Further resources and supporting material are available to view at

Table of Contents


Part I: Mapping the Terrain of Modern Yoga Studies

1. Modern Yoga: History and Forms (ELIZABETH DE MICHELIS)

2. Yoga Shivir: Methodological and Ethical Problems in the Study of Modern Yoga (JOSEPH S. ALTER)

3. ‘Adapt, Adjust, Accommodate’: The Production of Yoga in a Transnational World (SARAH STRAUSS)

Part II: Posturing for Authenticity

4. The Classical Reveries of Modern Yoga: Patañjali and Constructive Orientalism (MARK SINGLETON)

5. The Reflexivity of the Authenticity of Hatha Yoga (KENNETH LIBERMAN)

Part III: Spirituality, Sexuality & Authority: Understanding the Experience of Modern Yoga Practice

6. Empowerment and Using the Body in Modern Postural Yoga (KLAS NEVRIN)

7. ‘With heat even iron will bend’: Discipline and authority in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (BENJAMIN RICHARD SMITH)

8. The Numinous and Cessative in Modern Yoga (STUART RAY SARBACKER)

9. From Fusion to Confusion: A Consideration of Sex and Sexuality in Traditional and Contemporary Yoga (MIKEL BURLEY)

About the Editors

Mark Singleton teaches at St. John's College, Santa Fe, USA. He works on the history of ideas within transnational modern yoga, and he is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Hinduism (Routledge 2007). Jean Byrne is affiliated with the University of Queensland, Australia and her research explores the intersection of feminist theory and yoga philosophy and practice. She lectures in Eastern Philosophy and runs The Yoga Space in Perth, Australia where she teaches Ashtanga Yoga.

About the Series

Routledge Hindu Studies Series

This series, in association with the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, intends primarily  the publication of constructive Hindu theological, philosophical and ethical projects aimed at bringing Hindu traditions into dialogue with contemporary trends in scholarship and contemporary society. The series invites original, high quality, research level work on religion, culture and society of Hindus living in India and abroad. Proposals for annotated translations of important primary sources and studies in the history of the Hindu religious traditions will also be considered.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Hinduism / General
SELF-HELP / Meditations
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies