Yoga to health

Let us imagine various forms of social interaction plotted on a horizontal line with randomness on the left and order on the right. On the extreme left we find new evolving interaction’ often adjusting to changes of circumstances. On the extreme right we find interaction solidified into institutions, formal organisations, and legal rules. Moving back closer to the extreme left, we will find interaction like inclinations, patterns, habits and predispositions’ – while closer to the right, we will find conventions, movements, customs, currents and practices.

The yoga discourse has often – especially in modern times – presented itself as a tradition, a category that we would place close to the right side of the scale. Why? Traditions’ are about handing over’ the cultural DNA code of discourses. Tradition ensures that a discourse continues over generations. The concept of tradition’ assumes a systematic and stable framework enabling the discourse – of which it is a dialectical part – to be reproduced. This implies that tradition’ as a type of interaction would have to be placed close to the right side of the interactional dimension above. It assumes order.

This book however has not used the word tradition’ to describe yoga and its cultural memory. Instead the words milieu, arena, space, discourse field, code’ and habitus’ have been used. Code and habitus are about the unconscious dispositions – mental habits -guiding interactors. They create continuity and secure dominance. In this book I focussed on power discourses, to which I will return. A discourse milieu’ or discourse space’ indicates some vague continuity. To use a metaphor, by discourse milieu/space’ I mean a wild natural habitat like a meadow. Here numerous flowers, bushes, weeds and other plants struggle for survival. In some years – depending on circumstances – some species dominate while in other years they become extinct. In this process the species continuously adapt to circumstances, sometimes even mutating. It is a chaotic and random process of change dictated by circumstances. There are no institutional settings trying to manage the cultural DNA. It is a pure Darwinian evolutionary process.

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