Against a background of neoliberal precarity, the yoga industry promotes a practice experienced by, and inscribed on, the body that is meant to transcend physiological boundaries and expand individual and collective awareness. In this context, research on contemporary yoga has shed light on how women, and specific notions of womanhood, are key to a promise of wellness, healing, and self-realisation that is materialised by White, monied, slender female practitioners as embodiments of the proper way of undertaking self-care. The yoga industry, thus, participates in a politics of the body, embedded in the intricate structures of the current neoliberal politico-economic regime. Based on these observations, this article sets out to interrogate how the yoga industry’s mandate of tending to the body enters the way female teachers and practitioners navigate, experience, and express their journey into yoga. By analysing selected interviews conducted with women yoga instructors and practitioners in the city of Genoa, the article examines how they frame yoga as a way of caring for the self while navigating personal issues and bodily ailments. As a path of self-scrutiny and self-realisation, yoga is talked about as providing some relief from life’s predicaments and embodied vulnerabilities while also accommodating gender normativity. The article develops a critique of the problematic appropriation of self-care by the yoga industry’s mainstream cultural repertoires as a sociologically neutral individual response to living with neoliberal precarity. The article contends that feminist politics of care provide a framework to re-inscribe yogic self-care within a broader process of collectively subverting neoliberal injunctions about tending to the body.

The politics of tending to the body: Women doing yoga in Genoa (Italy)

Mangiarotti E.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Against a background of neoliberal precarity, the yoga industry promotes a practice experienced by, and inscribed on, the body that is meant to transcend physiological boundaries and expand individual and collective awareness. In this context, research on contemporary yoga has shed light on how women, and specific notions of womanhood, are key to a promise of wellness, healing, and self-realisation that is materialised by White, monied, slender female practitioners as embodiments of the proper way of undertaking self-care. The yoga industry, thus, participates in a politics of the body, embedded in the intricate structures of the current neoliberal politico-economic regime. Based on these observations, this article sets out to interrogate how the yoga industry’s mandate of tending to the body enters the way female teachers and practitioners navigate, experience, and express their journey into yoga. By analysing selected interviews conducted with women yoga instructors and practitioners in the city of Genoa, the article examines how they frame yoga as a way of caring for the self while navigating personal issues and bodily ailments. As a path of self-scrutiny and self-realisation, yoga is talked about as providing some relief from life’s predicaments and embodied vulnerabilities while also accommodating gender normativity. The article develops a critique of the problematic appropriation of self-care by the yoga industry’s mainstream cultural repertoires as a sociologically neutral individual response to living with neoliberal precarity. The article contends that feminist politics of care provide a framework to re-inscribe yogic self-care within a broader process of collectively subverting neoliberal injunctions about tending to the body.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1470899
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