(Inform, based at the London School of Economics, U.K)


“Spaces for Yoga”


Yoga has been offered in outdoor public parks, classrooms, church halls, gymnasiums, sports centres, adapted buildings, purpose-built studios, on television, in books, and in private rooms amongst other spaces. The requirements of these various locations have been influential in shaping the contemporary practice of yoga. This paper will explore key places where yoga has been practiced with a focus on Britain from the twentieth century to the present. The varying demands on yoga placed by ‘secular’ state-funded education authorities and ‘landlords’ of rented spaces will be contrasted with yoga as done in private homes. The paper will advance an argument that the artists’ studio could be seen as a prototype for the ideal modern yoga practice space, as space to be filled with creativity and transformation. It will also explore the self-conscious positioning of yoga practitioners in places of particular cultural meaning by drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Marion Goldman’s concept of spiritual privilege. The research will be grounded in historical records and supplemented by interviews with contemporary practitioners about the nature of the spaces in which they practice and teach.