Intimate immensity: Phenomenology of place and space in an Australian yoga community

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Abstract

This article is a dialogue between Edward Casey's theory of place and an ethnographic case study of Satyananda Yoga practice in Australia. At issue is Casey's claim that embodied being-in-the-world is irrevocably dependent on a sense of place for its own existential coherence and, conversely, that placeless space inspires terror. This claim is partly rendered problematic by the ethnographic material, which details how Satyananda yogis enact a range of meaningful spatial relations through embodied practices to aid the evolution of self. Their emphasis on a consciously mediated balance between “grounding” and “expansion,” or implacement and spaciousness, elucidates the diverse and productive dynamics of embodied configurations of space.

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