Yoga in Transition: Exploring the Rise of Yoga in Peacebuilding
Issue: Vol 11 No. 2-3 (2017)
Journal: Religions of South Asia
This article draws connections between the complexities of modern postural yoga practices and global peacebuilding efforts, exploring both tensions and possibilities. First, the article engages key yogic texts-such as Patañjali's Yogaśāstra, which demonstrates how yoga is historically rooted in social justice work and peacebuilding-in order to link yoga philosophy and peacebuilding theories. This is followed by an analysis of contemporary practice-based examples, which consider the theoretical tools of elicitive peacework and transrational peace research. Through an exploration of yoga as elicitive peacebuilding and conflict transformation, this article considers if yoga has the potential to shift societal notions of peacebuilding and questions the implications of this for peace theory and practice.
Author: Mayme Lefurgey
Alvarado, David E. 2013. ‘The Use of Yoga as a Complementary Practice when Treating Children and Adolescents who have been Exposed to Domestic Violence.’ PhD dissertation, Alliant International University.
Auty, K. M., A. Cope and A. Liebling. 2015. ‘A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation in Prison: Effects on Psychological Well-being and Behavioral Functioning.’ International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (28 August).
Beckerlegge, Gwilym. 2014. ‘Eknath Ranade, Gruus and Jīvanvratīs: the Vivekanada Kendra’s Promotion of the “Yoga Way of Life”.’ In Mark Singleton and Ellen Goldberg (eds.), Gurus of Modern Yoga: 329–50. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bilderbeck, Amy C., Inti A. Brazil and Miguel Farias. 2015. ‘Preliminary Evidence that Yoga Practice Progressively Improves Mood and Decreases Stress in a Sample of UK Prisoners.’ Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: ECAM 2015: 819183-7.
Bilderbeck, Amy C., Miguel Farias, Inti A. Brazil, Sharon Jakobowitz and Catherine Wikholm. 2013. ‘Participation in a 10-Week Course of Yoga Improves Behavioral Control and Decreases Psychological Distress in a Prison Population.’ Journal of Psychiatric Research 47 (10): 1438–45.
Bingley, Kate. 2011. ‘Bambeh’s Song: Music, Women and Health in a Rural Community in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone.’ Music and Arts in Action 3 (2): 59–78.
Byrne, Sean, and Jessica Senehi. 2008. ‘Conflict Analysis and Resolution as a Multidiscipline: A Work in Process.’ In Dennis Sandole, Sean Byrne, Ingrid Sandole-Staroste and Jessica Senehi (eds.), Handbook of Conflict Analysis and Resolution: 1–16. London: Routledge.
Buchanan, Kailey. 2014. ‘Redefining Womanhood in the West: How Yoga Helps Women Transcend Damaging and Limiting Perceptions in Western Society.’ MA Thesis, Royal Roads University.
Cadigan, Jessamy. 2014. ‘Yoga’s Impact on the Depression Experienced by Five Women in their 30s.’ PhD dissertation, Alliant International University.
Carson, Zachary. 2015. ‘Yoga is not Cultural Appropriation.’ The McGill Tribune, University Wire, 1 December.
Catlett, Beth. S., and Mary Bunn. 2016. ‘Yoga as Embodied Feminist Praxis: Trauma, Healing, and Community-Based Responses to Violence.’ In Beth Berila, Melanie Klein and Chelsea Jackson Roberts (eds.), Yoga, the Body and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis: 259–76. London: Lexington Books.
Champ, Amy Elizabeth. 2013. ‘Feminism from the Inside Out: Women and Yoga in the United States.’ University of California, Davis. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
Chaoul, M. Alejandro, and Lorenzo Cohen. 2010. ‘Rethinking Yoga and the Application of Yoga in Modern Medicine.’ Cross Currents 60 (2): 144–67.
Chapple, Christopher Key. 2008. Yoga and the Luminous: Patañjali’s Spiritual Path to Freedom. Albany, NY: SUNY.
Culver, Kathryn Alloway. 2014. ‘Evaluation of an Eight-Week Yoga Program for Children Living in Orphanages in Haiti: A Preliminary Study of Child Mental Health.’ MA Thesis, Duke University.
Cuomo, Nicole C. 2007. Integrated Yoga: Yoga with a Sensory Integrative Approach. London, Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
De Michelis, Elizabeth. 2004. 2004—A History of Modern Yoga: Patañjali and Western Esotericism. London and New York: Bloomsbury.
Dhillon, Jaswir. 2015. ‘No, Yoga is not Cultural Appropriation; Teachings Say it’s for Everyone.’ The Ottawa Citizen, 26 November.
Dietrich, Wolfgang. 2012. Interpretations of Peace in History and Culture. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
—2013. Elicitive Conflict Transformation and the Transrational Shift in Peace Politics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
—2014. ‘A Brief Introduction to Transrational Peace Research and Elicitive Conflict Transformation.’ Journal of Conflictology 5 (2): 48–56.
Dunphy, Kim, Meredith Elton and Alex Jordan. 2014. ‘Exploring Dance/Movement Therapy in Post-conflict Timor-Leste.’ American Journal of Dance Therapy 36 (2): 189–208.
Echavarría Alvarez, Josefina. 2014. ‘Elicitive Conflict Mapping: A Practical Tool for Peacework.’ Journal of Conflictology 5 (2): 58–71.
Flood, Gavin D. 1996. An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
García, María Elisa Pinto. 2014. ‘Music and Reconciliation in Colombia: Opportunities and Limitations of Songs Composed by Victims.’ Music and Arts in Action 4 (2): 25–51.
Gerster, Jane. 2013. ‘Prison Yoga Classes Stretching across Canada: Nun’s Small Charity Joins John Society to Bring Calm behind Bars.’ Toronto Star, 5 September.
Harris, David Alan. 2002. ‘Mobilizing to Empower and Restore Dance/Movement Therapy with Children Affected by War and Organized Violence.’ PhD dissertation, MCP Hahnemann University.
Heley, Kay. 2010. ‘Cultural Arts: The Gateway to Healing for Urban Youth in Post-Conflict Liberia.’ PhD dissertation, University of Kansas.
Howard, Veena R. 2013. Gandhi’s Ascetic Activism: Renunciation and Social Action. Albany, NY: SUNY.
Jain, Andrea. 2015. Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.
Jindani, Farah. 2014. ‘Explorations of Wellness and Resilience: A Yoga Intervention for Post-Traumatic Stress.’ PhD dissertation, University of Toronto.
Joseph, Janelle, and Wesley Crichlow (eds.). 2015. Alternative Offender Rehabilitation and Social Justice: Arts and Physical Engagement in Criminal Justice and Community Settings. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
King, Mary. 2002. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr: The Power of Nonviolent Action. New Delhi: Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Mehta Publishers (2nd edn.).
—2007. A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance. New York: Nation Books.
Kirk, Martin, Brooke Boon and Daniel DiTuro. 2004. Hatha Yoga Illustrated. Stanningley: Human Kinetics.
Lavrence, Christine, and Kristin Lozanski. 2014. ‘“This is not your Practice Life”: Lululemon and the Neoliberal Governance of Self.’ Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue Canadienne de Sociologie 51 (1): 76–94.
Lederach, John Paul. 1995. Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation across Cultures. New York: Syracuse University Press.
—1997. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington: United States Institute for Peace Press.
—2005. The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lederach, Jean Paul, and Angela Jill Lederach. 2010. When Blood and Bones Cry out: Journeys through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
Llewellyn, Jennifer J. 2012. ‘Integrating Peace, Justice and Development in a Relational Approach to Peacebuilding.’ Ethics and Social Welfare 6 (3): 290–302.
Maas, Philipp. 2013. ‘A Concise Historiography of Classical Yoga Philosophy.’ In Eli Franco (ed.), Periodization and Historiography of Indian Philosophy: 53-90. Vienna: Sammlung de Nobili, Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde der Universität Wien.
Maiese, Michelle. 2004. ‘Elicitive Training.’ Beyond Intractability. Ed. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Paper presented at Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. (accessed 12 March 2014).
Mani, Rama. 2011. ‘Women, Art and Post-Conflict Justice.’ International Criminal Law Review 11 (3): 543–60.
Mathew, Roy J. 2001. The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga. Cambridge, MA: Perseus.
McCartney, Patrick. 2017. ‘Politics beyond the Yoga Mat: Yoga Fundamentalism and the “Vedic Way of Life”.’ Global Ethnographic 4. https://tinyurl.com/yoga-vedic (accessed 9 August 2018).
Miyata, Hiromitsu, Kazuo Okanoya and Nobuyuki Kawai. 2015. ‘Mindfulness and Psychological Status of Japanese Yoga Practitioners: A Cross-Sectional Study.’ Mindfulness 6 (3): 560–71.
Monteiro, Nicole M., and Diana J. Wall. 2011. ‘African Dance as Healing Modality throughout the Diaspora: The Use of Ritual and Movement to Work through Trauma.’ Journal of Pan African Studies 4 (6): 234–52.
Moyer, Justin W. 2015. ‘University Yoga Class Canceled because of “Oppression, Cultural Genocide”.’ The Washington Post, 24 November.
Nolan, Caitlin R. 2016. ‘Bending without Breaking: A Narrative Review of Trauma-Sensitive Yoga for Women with PTSD.’ Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 24: 32–40.
Ndaliko, Cherie Rivers. 2012. ‘Beyond Charitable Imperialism: Intersections of Third Cinema, Music, and Social Change in (Post-) Conflict Democratic Republic of the Congo.’ PhD dissertation, Harvard University.
Patañjali, and Ashok Kumar Malhotra. 2001. An Introduction to Yoga Philosophy: An Annotated Translation of the Yoga Sutras. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Pells, Rachael. 2015. ‘University Yoga Class Suspended over “Cultural Appropriation” Dispute.’ The Independent, 22 November.
Pham, Kim Hoang. 2013. ‘Outcomes of a Recreation Therapy Yoga Meditation Intervention on Prison Inmates’ Spiritual Well-being.’ PhD dissertation, San Jose State University.
Phillips, Stephen H. 2009. Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy. New York: Colombia University Press.
Potash, Jordan S., Heidi Bardot, Catherine Hyland Moon, Michelle Napoli, Angela Lyonsmith, and Megan Hamilton. 2017. ‘Ethical Implications of Cross-Cultural International Art Therapy.’ The Arts in Psychotherapy 56: 74–82.
Price, Maggi, Joseph Spinazzola, Regina Musicaro, Jennifer Turner, Michael Suvak, David Emerson and Bessel van der Kolk. 2017. ‘Effectiveness of an Extended Yoga Treatment for Women with Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.’ The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 23 (4): 300–309.
Quiñones, Natalia, Yvonne Gómez Maquet, Diana María Agudelo Vélez and Maria Adelaida López. 2015. ‘Efficacy of a Satyananda Yoga Intervention for Reintegrating Adults Diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.’ International Journal of Yoga Therapy 25: 89–99.
Rao, Nalini, M. Raghavendra Rao, Nagarathna Raghuram, H. R. Nagendra, K. S. Gopinath, B. S. Srinath, Ravi B. Diwakar, Shekar Patil, S. Ramesh Bilimagga and S. Varambally. 2009. ‘Anxiolytic Effects of a Yoga Program in Early Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Conventional Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial.’ Complementary Therapies in Medicine 17 (1): 1–8.
Rucker, Lila. 2005. ‘Yoga and Restorative Justice in Prison: An Experience of “Response-ability to Harms”.’ Contemporary Justice Review 8 (1): 107–20.
Rush, Peter. D., and Olivera Simić. 2014. The Arts of Transitional Justice: Culture, Activism, and Memory after Atrocity. 2014. Vol. 6. New York: Springer.
Sanger, Nadia. 2013. ‘Imagining Possibilities: Feminist Cultural Production, Non-Violent Identities, and Embracing the Other in Post-colonial South Africa.’ African Identities 11 (1): 61–78.
Satchidananda, Sri Swami. 2012. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Buckingham VA: Integral Yoga Publications.
Shank, Michael, and Lisa Schirch. 2008. ‘Strategic Arts‐based Peacebuilding.’ Peace & Change 33 (2): 217–42.
Shannahoff-Khalsa, David. 2010. Kundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric Disorders: Techniques Specific for Treating the Psychoses, Personality, and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. 1st edn. New York: W. W. Norton.
Siapno, Jacqueline. 2012. ‘Dance and Martial Arts in Timor Leste: The Performance of Resilience in a Post-Conflict Environment.’ Journal of Intercultural Studies 33 (4): 427.
Simić, Olivera, and Dijana Miloševic. 2014. ‘Enacting Justice: The Role of Dah Theatre Company in Transitional Justice Processes in Serbia and beyond.’ In Rush and Simić 2014: 99–112.
Simpkins, Annellen M., and C. Alexander Simpkins. 2011. Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy: Techniques for Clinical Practice. New York: Wiley.
Singleton, Mark. 2008. ‘The Classical Reveries of Modern Yoga: Patañjali and Constructive Orientalism.’ In Mark Singleton and Jean Byrne (eds.), Yoga in the Modern World: Contemporary Perspectives: 77–99. London and New York: Routledge Hindu Studies Series.
—2010. Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Soave, Robby. 2015. ‘Should we Ban Yoga? How a Canadian College’s Decision to Ban a Free Yoga Class for the Disabled Shows our Worries over Cultural Appropriation have Gotten out of Hand.’ The Daily Beast, 27 November.
Spinazzola, Joseph, Alison M. Rhodes, David Emerson, Ellen Earle and Kathryn Monroe. 2011. ‘Application of Yoga in Residential Treatment of Traumatized Youth.’ Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association 17 (6): 431–44.
Velázquez, Ana María, María Adelaida López, Natalia Quiñonez and Diana Patricia Paba. 2015. ‘Yoga for the Prevention of Depression, Anxiety, and Aggression and the Promotion of Socio-emotional Competencies in School-aged Children.’ Educational Research and Evaluation 21 (5-6): 407–42.
West, Jennifer I. 2011. ‘Moving to Heal: Women’s Experiences of Therapeutic Yoga after Complex Trauma.’ PhD dissertation, Boston College.
White, David Gordon. 2011. ‘Yoga, Brief History of an Idea.’ In D. White (ed.), Yoga in Practice: 1–21. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
—2014. The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali: A Biography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.