A Therapy to Live By: Public Health, the Self and Nationalism in the Practice of a North Indian Yoga Society


In this article I focus on the relationship between concepts of self and health in modern North

India. Drawing on field research in a popular yoga society, I argue that yoga therapy, as

practiced by the Bharatiya Yog Sansthan of Delhi, provides a reconceptualization of what can

be meant by public health. Using studies that challenge both the essentialist and epistemologiļæ¾cal facticity of the self, I show how the discourse and practice of yoga is implicated in, and

derived from, a complex search for self definition in terms of health; health which is conceived

of as a public regimen that seeks to reconnect that which modernity has broken apart: mind

and body.

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