Embodying Transnational Yoga: A Book Launch with Christopher Jain Miller

Key information

6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Online only
Zoom webinar link will be sent to registered participants on the day.

About this event

SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies is pleased to invite you to this online event with author Christopher Jain Miller in discussion with Laura von Ostrowski.

We often hear that yoga is much more than just the postures (āsana), but what does that mean? To help answer this question, Embodying Transnational Yoga presents a multi-sited ethnography of transnational yoga introducing readers to three alternative, understudied categories of somatic yoga practice including yogic diet, music, and breathing.

The many ways that contemporary yoga practitioners eat, sing, and breathe tells us a lot about their social lives and contexts. Studying these categories of embodied practice using interdisciplinary methods also reveals transformative “engaged alchemies” that have been extensively deployed by contemporary disseminators of yoga globally.

After revisiting a critical moment in transnational yoga's history, Embodying Transnational Yoga shows 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. In this new book, Miller 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. 

In this UK book launch, he will present some of the key points of Embodying Transnational Yoga and will have a conversation with Laura von Ostrowski following her review and response.


Christopher Jain Miller completed his PhD in the study of Religion at the University of California, Davis. He is co-founder, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Professor of Jain and Yoga Studies at Arihanta Institute; Visiting Researcher at the University of Zürich’s Asien-Orient-Institut; and Visiting Professor at Claremont School of Theology.


Laura von Ostrowski's book to her PhD-thesis was published Open Access under the title A Text in Motion in 2022. As a religious scholar, indologist and ethnographer her areas of research include modern and contemporary yoga, the reception history of the Yogasūtra, aesthetics and embodiment.

She runs her own yoga studio in the centre of Munich since 2018 and teaches about the history of modern yoga at the online education portal www.yogastudien.de, associated with the University of Hamburg, Germany.


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