Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Positioning Yoga

Terry Muck of Asbury Theological Seminary came out to Salt Lake Theological Seminary last weekend to lead the first of three weekends for an intensive course on world religions. During the course of the weekend we had a private discussion in which he recommended the book Positioning Yoga by Sarah Strauss (Berg Publishers, 2005). Terry felt that the book had great lessons for understanding how religious and spiritual movements move cross-culturally in an age of globalization. A review of some of the endorsements from the back cover of the book on Amazon reveals why this book is worth picking up:

"This wonderful study takes yoga out of the realm of Orientalism and Western romantic cliche and shows that it is truly a flexible and circulating system of ideas, both in its bodily techniques and as an example of the cross-cultural flow of ideas about health, lifestyle and well-being. This is an exciting contribution to the study of global cultural flows at the same time as it shows how a specialized religious idiom can become a dynamic global industry. It will be of great interest to anthropologists, Asianists, scholars of religion, and to the general reader who is curious to know how yoga really flows."
Arjun Appadurai, New School University

"Strauss has given us a marvelous account of the local and global forces that have shaped Sivananda's brand of yoga. This book is required reading for those who are interested in the globalization of culture."
Peter van der Veer, Utrecht University

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