Evolving Social Representations of Yoga

Yoga is an ancient practice that has gone through many reincarnations over the thousands of years that it has existed, both in India, and much more recently, within American society. In his book, The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards, William Broad (2012) intimately explores this evolution of yoga across various cultures and societal sub-groups, while also scientifically evaluating the numerous claims that invested parties have made about its therapeutic benefits and visceral effects. In this essay, I use Moscovici's (2008) Psychoanalysis as an archetype model to superimpose Social Representation Theory (SRT) on top of Broad's findings. Leveraging SRT concepts such as the public sphere, cognitive polyphasia, anchoring, and objectification, I reinterpret his yoga study through the perspective of social representations and their symbolic dynamics.