Accepted Paper:

'Nice stretching' or more than bodily practice: doing yoga in a fitness club in Warsaw  

Author:

Natallia Paulovich (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

Often perceived as 'nice stretching' that allows middle and upper class people to demonstrate their social status through fashionable yoga clothes and comfortable yoga mats, among women with average incomes attending small fitness clubs on Warsaw's periphery yoga is becoming a therapeutic practice.

Paper long abstract:

Often perceived as 'nice stretching' that allows middle and upper class people to demonstrate their status through fashionable yoga clothes and comfortable yoga mats, among women with average incomes attending small fitness clubs on Warsaw's periphery yoga is becoming a therapeutic practice. It helps these women cope with everyday difficulties and is also a means of curing serious illnesses or supporting an interest in a healthy lifestyle. These women value not only the physical side of yoga but also try to investigate its additional aspects such as breathing exercises and guided relaxations which they often perceive as meditation practices. All these aspects of yoga, in their opinion, need verification through discussing the effects of practice and its influence on women's physical and mental health. At the same time, these women carefully separate, for themselves, the religious from the non-religious components of yoga and this rendering of yoga as purely secular allows them to remain faithful Catholic believers. Through detailed analysis of these aspects, the paper presents preliminary results of my research, as an anthropologist and yoga teacher, among women in the Warsaw area.

Panel Medi03
‘Healing’ as harmonization of ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ cosmos? Conceptualizations and practices of ‘health’ and ‘healing’ in Europe and beyond