This PodCourse is the first in a series entitled, Yoga and Gender: Concepts, Histories, Impacts taught by Ruth Westoby, PhD Candidate at SOAS University of London. This PodCourse is 100% pre-recorded and the course material can be accessed at anytime, from anywhere. This PodCourse focuses specifically on ‘Concepts’ and is divided into three modules:
Module 1: Gender Theory
Module 2: Sexuality and soteriology
Module 3: Critical theory
Each module includes:
This programme will take place on the YSO website (the online study platform within SOAS University of London). By submitting payment for this PodCourse, your application will be processed by SOAS University of London administration. Access details will be sent to you once enrolment administration is complete. A Certificate of Completion will be provided to those that successfully pass all of the assessment material in the PodCourse.
Gender in yoga has been little researched. New research is illuminating specific ways in which gender impacts yoga. This PodCourse offers a response to the inquiries of yoga enthusiasts about gender and yoga. The study programme introduces yoga and gender through theoretical or conceptual approaches. The course presents categorisations of yoga and gender from the Indian tradition and puts these into productive tension with theorisations of gender as found in critical studies.
The course unpacks gender and yoga through Indian theoretical concepts of soteriology or liberation in life or beyond life, questions the construction of time and history in how we approach yoga, considers gender as a coordinate in accounts of the creation of the world and philosophy, and lays out how gender and purity are approached in legal sources. The course dives deep into conceptions of sexuality, soteriology and social status to ask how gender delimits the practices of yoga available to women and men. A productive demarcation for the types of yoga available to women are worldviews directed towards renunciation from society and worldviews focused on social engagement. We also engage questions of gender essentialism and masculinity.
To reflect on yoga and gender from contemporary critical theoretical approaches the course introduces a broad range of critiques: orientalism, decolonialisation, post-colonialism, neoliberalism, gender construction and performativity, and critical race theory. Finally, the course brings together Indian philosophy and practices of yoga as philosophic therapy to make an ambitious argument for this type of work being a practice of yoga.
The learning outcomes anticipated for this course are: