Presentation by Suzanne Newcombe: Longevity practices in India during the modern period: public health imperatives and individual aspirations

02.08.2017

Presentation by Suzanne Newcombe: Longevity practices in India during the modern period: public health imperatives and individual aspirations

The logistics and economics of how to promote health and longevity amongst the vast population of India is a perennial problem. Yoga has increasingly been seen by the government of India as a potential asset in their promotion of longevity for the general population. This presentation will outline the variety of pragmatic approaches that were taken to promote yoga as public health under the category of ‘Indigenous Medicine’ from the Usman Report of 1923, to the recent promotion of AYUSH to the level of Ministry in 2014. The range of approaches to yoga reflected in government reports will be explained with reference to the a-historical experiential emphasis of many practitioners and providers of yoga-based longevity and health interventions. It will be argued that the overarching narrative of yoga in the modern period alternatively identifies the idea of longevity with an immortal soul/atman/purusha, and the unlimited potential for the refinement and purification of the material human body. I will argue that the Indian government, by promoting yoga as public health, is not necessarily regressing into an anti-Enlightenment position on rationality (as Meera Nanda has suggested). Rather, yoga as public health is an intervention that works on an experiential level for those who participate in this milieu. This paper hopes to elucidate the pragmatics of this approach. 

August 2, 2017 at 10 am at courtyard 2, entrance 2.7, Seminar room 1, Dept. of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna

 

Conference: Medicine and Yoga in South and Inner Asia: Body Cultivation, Therapeutic Intervention and the Sowa Rigpa Industry

Vienna, August 1-3, 2017

Co-hosted by the Dept. of South Asian, Tibet and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna and the Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences

© Ayuryog 2015 - University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.1 & Hof 2.7 (Campus), 1090 Wien