Yoga life

Finally, the Buddhist – epitomising Axial Age thinking – was against everybody in claiming there was no immoveable self (Bronkhorst 2006, Gombrich 2009). As we shall see in the next chapter, all these discussions travelled into the Brahmin texts, as they slowly adopted the Sramanic discourse of the immoveable self, its karma and liberation.

We have now in many respects completed the investigation of the three principles configuring and preceding the emerging yoga discourse. It remains to investigate the cultural conditions, which legitimised and made possible the struggle between various social groups and cultural specialists. We are looking for the invisible magnetic forces underlying an energy field. To capture this idea of implicit but powerful structural forces I have used technical notions like code (from semiotics) and habitus (from cultural sociology). We could also call it a power discourse. In our case it would be a power discourse of semi-divinity.

This power discourse of semi-divinity opens up another but very central aspect of yoga: the symbolic meaning. Yoga’s ability to generate symbolic capital. Discussing this aspect of the yoga discourse, I believe we excavate a significant underlying driver of yoga, which came to influence the form and content of most pre-modern yoga cultures. In other words we now ask the question: what made proto-yoga and early-yoga possible and then turned it into a powerful cultural factor in society? This is the subject of the following contemplation.

Pull your shoulders back by contracting the muscles between your shoulder Yoga life blades Inner Body Bright and Muscular Energy. Bend your elbows to approach the wall with your Yoga life upper body. Move in and out, toward and away from the wall. Keep your whole body organized in one piece. Bend nowhere but at the elbows and the ankles. You can coordinate your breath with the movement in a way that feels natural to you. This may help you to move more mindfully. For more of a challenge, start with your feet farther from the wall.

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