17 | CANCELED: Institutionalized Yoga – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Yoga-Organizations in South Asia and Beyond
This panel will focus on the institutionalization of yoga by the state in India and in other countries by carefully looking at individual actors, governmental and private organizations and their networks.
· Theo Wildcroft Post-Doctorate (The Open University, United Kingdom)
With the coming to power of a Hindu nationalist government in 2014, yoga has notably entered the heart of Indian politics. Since then, the ruling party has devoted considerable resources to integrate its teaching into the Indian public infrastructure. It has also dedicated substantial resources to the promotion of yoga worldwide as a form of political ‘soft power’. Most significantly, it intends to propagate its own regulatory system into transnational yoga teacher trainings, and place Indian “Yoga Ambassadors” in universities worldwide. Elsewhere, a number of high-profile scandals by senior yoga teachers and rising evidence of injuries have prompted a controversial reconsideration of standards and practices. The aim of this panel is to question the dynamics at stake within these new regulatory frameworks and how they respond and intersect with each other. We invite scholars to contribute with case studies focusing on the actors and regulatory structures of this new “institutional yoga”: in hospitals, schools, universities, embassies and other governmental institutions, their networks and alliances and their students and/or patients. By analyzing social, religious and cultural characteristics of participants, as well as the emergence of resistance and re-appropriation against these imposed hierarchies, we hope to highlight new social dynamics between health, religion and ongoing policy in an increasingly complex and globalized context.