AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Yoga and mindfulness: conversions and displacements between confessional practices and well-being techniques




mental health

We are interested in discussing the relationship between health and spirituality, particularly the issue of the circulation of yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices in the field of complementary health therapies. At the beginning of the last century, Eastern spirituality, through the settling of several gurus and their disciples especially in Europe and Americas, was introduced to "Westerners" as a personal and experimental path, and a Western-reception environment incorporated these Eastern practices, forming a Western Spirituality. The 1960s and the counterculture, according to Collin Campbell and Peter van der Veer, came to strengthen these paths and influenced a change in the nature of religious discourse, related to a certain decline in devotion to the major, institutionalized transcendent religions, and also to the emergence of a renewal in religious discourse towards the spiritualities of immanence, beyond these institutions. These spiritualities have now been institutionalized and incorporated by another set of institutions. We intend to reflect on how spirituality was removed from religious systems and entered health systems, through the displacement of bodily practices of the self, originally associated with Eastern confessional traditions, to occupy a place of stress reduction therapy in a secular western medical environment. This operation seems to involve the suppression or at least the mitigation of the original confessional or devotional aspects of these practices which are then converted into therapeutic techniques associated with health and well-being. We suggest that this movement points to a psychologization of religious traditions and, at the same time, a spiritualization of the medical and psy fields.


Transcript English (automatic)

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