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Ruth Westoby

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Ruth is a CHASE-funded doctoral candidate in the Department of History, Philosophies and Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Her research project is ‘Bodies in Haṭhayoga: Gender, materiality and power,’ an intellectual and textual history of the yogic body in premodern Sanskrit sources on Haṭhayoga. Ruth uses the lens of gender to unpack the functionality and materiality of the yogic body as body. To date there has been no such comprehensive treatment of the yogic body.

Ruth Westoby is a scholar-practitioner. Ruth’s research applies linguistic skills and critical theoretical approaches to an as yet unexplored textual corpus. Ruth has collaborated with philologists on reconstructions of āsana, contributing to the development of a new methodology: embodied philology. This has broken new ground in reconstructing textual sources on physical yoga on the cusp of modernity in India.

As well as offering workshops and lectures at studios and conferences, Ruth teaches on some of the principal yoga teacher training programmes in the UK and beyond. Ruth is on the steering committee for the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies where she has convened seminar programmes on gender and philosophy. Ruth has co-organised the Sanskrit Reading Room, a graduate-led forum showcasing the work of established scholars and promoting the art of shared reading in Sanskrit.

For writings, films and workshops please see


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