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Embodied Consciousness in Tantric Yoga and the Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty

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Yoga, the ancient inter-religious thread running through all Indian Spirituality, shares a remarkable congruence with twentieth-century phenomenology. But this conjuncture is not based on a common aspiration of "transcendence from the world," as argued by previous comparisons. Instead, by applying the more advanced Existential Phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty to the more indigenous Tantric stream of yoga, it will be shown that this congruence occurs in just the opposite direction of immersion into the very "flesh of the world"—the lived human body as homology of the cosmos. Yoga may offer phenomenology a much-needed somatic contemplative praxis, as much as phenomenology may offer yoga the basis for an appropriate theoretical articulation.

Affiliations: 1: Ramapo College of New Jersey


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