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Yoga and the Pedagogy of Enlightenment: Exploring the role of the modern Yoga teacher
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study inspired by a hermeneutic premise, aims to explore the role of the modern Yoga teacher and the pedagogy employed by individuals who teach Yoga. Yoga is here acknowledged as a vast concept; this paper regards the Ashtanga as composed by Shri Patanjali in 400B.C. as a possible definition of Yoga. Yoga has developed into a globalized industry, with an estimated 100,000 people holding certificates as Yoga teacher, segmented into small, privately owned and run businesses and studios, and while there are forces working towards creating corporate-based structures, no regulatory boards or standards for practice or set professional codes of conduct for Yoga teachers currently exist. Qualitative interviews were conducted with ten individuals, all currently working in some capacity as Yoga teachers. The informants represent a wide range of nationalities; with different backgrounds and relationship to their teaching. Not all informants teach Asana [poses] and generally considered Yoga a spiritual practice, albeit with a physical component. The responsibilities of a Yoga teacher were considered to include the cultivation of a healthy ego, knowledge of traditions and scriptures, and keeping authentic to the practice. The increased objectification of Yoga as a commercialized product made for consumption can create expectation on the Yoga teacher, both in respect to physical appearance and teaching methods. The teachers described their different pedagogical philosophies and teaching methods, resulting in a discussion of the hierarchal changes in power structures as teachers become subordinate to the expectation of the student, as a paying customer with expectations. A possible conclusion is that the commercialization of Yoga is the result of a reappropriation of Eastern mysticism and capitalisation of Western desire for spirituality and physical wellbeing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Hatha Yoga, Pedagogy, Teacher role, Yoga teacher, Hermeneutics
National Category
Social Sciences Pedagogy
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-74451OAI: diva2:634158
Subject / course
Available from: 2013-06-28 Created: 2013-06-28 Last updated: 2013-06-28Bibliographically approved

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