SOAS University of London

Centre of Yoga Studies

Contemporary yoga as a practice of philosophy

Laura von Ostrowski

Date: 16 June 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 16 June 2021Time: 8:15 PM

Venue: Virtual Event Room: Online

Type of Event: Talk

After a short introduction to what I call "Contemporary Yoga Philosophy", which is based on recent takes on Patañjali's YogasÅ«tra, I will outline my research area: global and German Ashtanga Yoga and its understanding of yoga philosophy. Through diverse, intercultural exchange processes, the view that the practice itself is a philosophical practice has been consolidated in today's Ashtanga Yoga. This has implications on the performance of the body practice as well as on the understanding of philosophical concepts, which are nevertheless framed with Sanskrit terms. From this observation comes the question of how to research such a phenomenon, in which bodily practice and philosophical concepts are closely interwoven. To this end, using a few concrete examples from my empirical data generated in an Advanced Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training in Germany, I present a religio-aesthetic theorization of body knowledge that conceptualizes it as a biocultural domain and can hopefully be helpful for similar research projects. At the same time, the talk reveals a concrete view on an example of today's practical yoga philosophy as it is formed without much influence of Indological expertise, as it has been the case throughout the 20th century.

This event will be bookable via our Eventbrite page.

Speaker Biography 

Laura von Ostrowski studied Indology and Religious Studies at LMU Munich and received her PhD in Religious Studies from LMU. From 2015-2018, she was a fellow of the German Research foundation (DFG) Training Group "Presence and Implicit Knowledge" at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg.