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Towards a body-mind spirituality: The practice of yoga and the case of Air

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Yoga is a widespread psychophysical discipline considered to cultivate the spirituality of its practitioners. Various forms of the practice can be accessed in the public arena and are increasingly common in dance and performing arts education programmes. Although the discipline has been examined from both a historical and ethnographical point of view, its spiritual dimension has received little attention from scholars. This article critically discusses the way in which yoga, as it is practiced and disseminated within contemporary western environments, is thought to facilitate the practitioner's spiritual development. It will be argued here that some aspects of yoga's pedagogy may, in fact, hinder this endeavour. This article also discusses the creation of a theatre piece that was based on the practice. Drawing on the working methods used in the devising of the piece, this article will further contend that in order for the spiritual dimension of the discipline to be realized, contemporary yoga practices should be supplemented with activities that engage the practitioner's imagination and encourage reflection.
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Keywords: body-mind spirituality; orthoperformance; performer training; spirituality; yoga; yoga poses

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Manchester Metropolitan University

Publication date: 2012-08-30

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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