A genealogical view of the evolution of yoga and its appropriation by the west as physical fitness: relevance of Foucault‘s theory of subject

Top, Canan
This thesis critically examines the evolution of yoga beginning from Classical Yoga to Modern Postural Yoga within the framework of Foucault’s ethics. A close look at the genealogy of yoga shows that there have always been different traditions in premodern yoga, and it has never had a homogenous form. By examining the evolution of yoga genealogically, I will demonstrate the changes, in terms of continuities and discontinuities, and breaking points in this evolution. The issue of Modern Postural Yoga, which is the prevalent form of yoga today, is critical in terms of its relationship with the norms of neoliberalism; therefore, it is mostly studied in this context. However, it is rarely discussed within the framework Foucault’s theory of ethics. Foucault discusses his theory of the subject by focusing on the subject, truth and power relations. Technologies of the self have an important role in ethics, as they determine the relationship between the subject and the truth and also because of their close relationship with the technologies of power/domination. In this thesis, the possibility and implications of considering yoga as a technology of the self will be analyzed. To examine yoga with its relation to technologies of self will enable us to discuss the possible role of it in the process of subjectification and in the constitution of the ethical subject with the capacity to exercise his freedom against domination, or to uncover subjectivity the self attains through its practice.


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Citation Formats
C. Top, “A genealogical view of the evolution of yoga and its appropriation by the west as physical fitness: relevance of Foucault‘s theory of subject,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2022.