Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Modernism MySore-Style: Western Yogi's Searching for Meaning

Jean Marie Byrne, Robert Schutze.

From its ancient beginnings in the temples and ashrams of India to the slick air-conditioned gyms of New York, the evolution of yoga has been richly diverse. Hatha yoga has taken the world by storm as Hollywood stars, housewives and business people line up to practice asana for exercise, stress release and relaxation. Yoga techniques are now being integrated into workplaces and schools, while employers contract yoga teachers to give classes to investment bankers, teachers and advertising executives to build a happier, stress free workplaces. Meanwhile, yoga and meditation are being used to improve worker concentration and productivity. Based on survey responses by western yoga student practicing Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore, India this paper responds to the question of whether yoga in the west can be understood as a modernist endeavour, reinforcing the self, rather than the traditional practice of yoga as a tool for self transcendence. In responding to this question the difference between the practice of yoga in India and the home country of the participants will be highlighted as will the reasons survey participants began yoga and why they have travelled to India to practice yoga.


Jean Marie Byrne  (Australia)
PhD student
Department of Studies in Religion
University of Queensland

Robert Schutze  (Australia)
PhD Candidate
Dept. Studies in Religion/Journalism
University of Queensland

  • Yoga
  • Modernism
  • Ashtanga Yoga
  • Search for Meaning
  • Self Transcendence

(Virtual Presentation, English)