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Pliable horizons of rationality

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Pliable horizons of rationality modern postural yoga and the disciplined body
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Bishop, Nicholas Joseph
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English
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vii, 87 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Yoga ( lcsh )
Yoga ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 83-87).
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Department of Sociology
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by Nicholas Joseph Bishop.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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ocn166253614
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Full Text
PLIABLE HORIZONS OF RATIONALITY: MODERN POSTURAL YOGA AND THE
DISCIPLINED BODY
by
Nicholas Joseph Bishop
B.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 2005
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Sociology
2007


This thesis for the Masters of Arts
degree by
Nicholas Bishop
has been approved
by
H ll<\\'2pt7
Date


Nicholas Bishop (M.A., Sociology)
Pliable Horizons of Rationality: Modern Postural Yoga and the Disciplined Body
Thesis directed by Akihiko Hirose
ABSTRACT
Articulate dialogue concerning rationalization and modernity has been central to
the advancement of sociological inquiry. I examine modern yoga for evidence of the
computable and quantitative domination that define bureaucratized environments.
Expanding on the calcuiability and control embodied by rational-legal institutions of modem
and late modern societies, I review relevant theories, articulating the rationalization
processes and shift from traditional to modern societies through a theoretical analysis of
modem yoga. The significance of modern yoga is analyzed in light of three substantive
areas; as an item of investigation through literature influenced by the historical
transformation of legitimate authority, through review of relevant current sociological
themes of discipline and the body, and finally as a means of legitimation for both dominant
authority structures and the late modem consumer self. This analysis will highlight the
increasing significance of yoga in modern cultures, reflecting and responding to the
expanding domination of rational authority in late modern society.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend its
publication.
Signed
Akihiko Hirose


DEDICATION PAGE
I dedicate this thesis to my parents Mike and Sharon who have provided me unwavering
support in my academic pursuits. Without their guidance and support this thesis would not
have been possible.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I offer infinite gratitude towards my thesis advisor Dr. Akihiko Hirose who has confronted
my opinions and challenged me to extend the depth of my understanding. I would also like
to thank Dr. Candan Duran-Aydintug and Dr. Paula Fomby for their critical review and
positive encouragement through the process of drafting this thesis. Colleagues such as Ed,
Sandy, Andrea, Nancy, Stephanie, Bill and Carlos have offered me advice and friendship
and I cannot thank them enough. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Virginia Fink whose
support, advice, and inspiration has influenced my choice to pursue sociology as a career
and passion.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION............................................................1
Outline of Content...................................................3
2. WEBERIAN PERSPECTIVE....................................................6
Power, Domination, and Social Action.................................7
The Basis of Legitimacy..............................................8
Charismatic Authority.............................................9
Traditional Authority............................................11
Rational-Legal Authority.........................................12
Combinations of the Different Types of Authority....................15
Routinization of Charisma...........................................16
3. RATIONALIZATION IN SOCIAL THEORY.......................................19
Classic Social Theory and Rationality...............................20
Rationalization in Contemporary Social Theory.......................23
Critical Theory..................................................24
Advancements in Contemporary Rationality.........................25
Sport and Rationality............................................27
Secularization...................................................29
Rationalization in Late Modernity................................31
4. THE HISTORY OF YOGA IN WEBERIAN PERSPECTIVE............................37
History of Modern Postural Yoga.....................................39
Core Power Yoga.....................................................45
5. CORE POWER YOGA AND WEBER..............................................47
Domination and Social Action........................................47
The Legitimate Authority of Core Power Yoga.........................49
6. THE EMBODIED YOGI
Late Modernity and the Actor........................................55
Agency, Surveillance, and Discipline................................56
Discipline and Core Power Yoga...................................60
Sociology of the Body...............................................63
Impression Management............................................64
Discipline and Sociology of the Body.............................66
Scientific Management............................................67
Sociology of the Body and Core Power Yoga...........................69
VI


7. LEGITIMATION OF STRUCUTRE AND SELF..................................72
Legitimation of Dominant Authority..............................73
Legitimation of Self............................................76
Religious Implications........................................76
Ethical Self Care.............................................78
Integration of Structure and Self...............................78
8. CONCLUSION..........................................................81
9. BIBLIOGRAPHY........................................................83
vii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
The transition from traditional, loosely bonded societies to modem communities
characterized by extreme complexity and rational order has progressed by process of
rationalization. Highly specialized economic environments, typified by monocratic
bureaucracy, employ the most completely rationalized method of exercising authority over
humans (Weber [1922] 1968). The transition from traditional to modem societies has been
a catalyst for much sociological scholarship, both in classic (e.g., Durkheim [1893] 1964;
Marx [1867] 1967; Simmel [1907] 1978) and contemporary circles (e.g., Adorno 1941;
Marcuse 1941; Horkheimer 1947; Parsons [1951] 2001; Giddens 1981, 1993; Habermas
1984,1987; Bourdieu 1990a, 1990b, 1998; Ritzer[2004] 2006). Secularization theories of
religion (Berger 1969,1979; Bellah 1970; Turner [1984] 1996) and sport (Guttman 1978;
Mullan 1995) underline the presence of rationalization in significant spheres of collective
life. The embodied actors of late modem society, discussed by theorists including Anthony
Giddens (1981, 1993), JQrgen Habermas (1984,1987) and Pierre Bourdieu (1990a, 1990b,
1998), are deeply influenced by the routinized conduct which proliferates through the
dominant structures of contemporary culture. The imposing rational economic
establishment penetrates individual conduct and thought, shaping awareness of self and
society. Echoing the means of control and management employed by hierarchical
organizations to supervise workers and maintain order (Taylor [1911] 1967; Foucault
1977), forms of leisure and spirituality founded upon techniques of discipline and
management are becoming increasingly popular avenues to validate dominant institutions
as well as ones societal position.
1


Rationalized conduct typical of economic organization influences leisure activities
popular in Western cultures. Strategies of body maintenance (Featherstone 1982) and the
mundane reality of diet, cosmetics, exercise and preventative medicine (Turner 1996:
206) make use of organizational strategies of management and discipline. A relatively
young form of leisure in the Occidental world, yoga is currently a practice deeply
embedded in Western societal values (DeMichelis 2005; Strauss 2005). Yogas increasing
popularity can be attributed to the rationalization of its practice and theory, the
democratization of knowledge, and the likeness of its methods to other dominant forms of
social control. Yoga studios are becoming a prolific element of the urban landscape,
growing through franchises such as Core Power Yoga. The commercial interests and
dissemination of yogic knowledge benefits late modern economies in two distinct ways.
First, the bureaucratic organizational structure of Core Power Yoga is a successful
business model, espousing the same structural features as the most expansive and
dominant business, political, and religious powers in the world. Secondly, the principles
and methods used to teach consumers of Core Power Yoga reflect and re-enforce
practices of scientific management and discipline. By the latter, the individual body is
impressed and regulated. The embodied experience of the late modern yogi legitimizes the
self who consumes yoga. Through the former, legitimacy of bureaucratic social control is
enforced in a leisurly environment where authoritative impositions go largely unexamined.
In constructing the self through similar regulative practices upon which dominant economic
organizations are structured, yogic practitioners consume and embody the dominant
principles of bureaucratic economy.
This theoretical analysis combines Webers rationalization perspective, theories of
discipline, body, modernity, and late modernity to examine modern postural yoga,
specifically Core Power Yoga. Modern postural yoga (MPY) will be understood as the
2


styles of yoga practice that put a lot of emphasis on Ssanas or yoga postures; in other
words the more physical or gymnastic-type of yoga (DeMichelis 2005:4). As noted by
DeMichelis, relevant literature delineates a difference between modem and classical yoga.
I will examine the historical path leading to MPY, exemplified by the modem organization of
Core Power Yoga. Core Power is analyzed in my research as both an organizational
institution as well as a particular style of MPY practice. Core Power Yoga relies heavily on
teachings of the MPY form and should be considered of the same lineage as Iyengar Yoga
(discussed later), which draws from hatha yogic practice and, as proposed by DeMichelis
(2005), sets forth a contemporary model of neo-hatha yoga. Since the exact type or types
of yoga taught at Core Power are a synthesis of various forms, this article will not seek to
understand the precise history of these styles. What is important to my study is the
continuing specialization of MPY, exemplified by Core Power Yoga, towards greater
secularization and integration of modem forms of social control, discipline, and impression
managment.
Outline of Content
To better understand modernized yoga as a medium of rationalization and
discipline, one must first grasp Webers perspective of social action and the forms of
legitimate domination ([1922] 1968). Critical to this study are Webers writings on
charismatic authority, rational legal authority and the routinization of charisma. The theme
of routinization is delicately outlined in Webers economic and religious writings ([1922]
1968); it is these perspectives, found in Chapter 2, that provide a meaningful framework
from which to analyze yoga.
The significance of bureaucratized rationality is expanded through perspectives
offered by sociological applications of the rationalization perspective. The secularization of
religion and sport provide examples of rationalization within pervasive societal institutions
3


highly related to yoga practice. The standardized, predictable organizations and products
resulting from the sweeping rationalization of late modernity help to outline the structure
and individual services provided by Core Power Yoga studios. Chapter 3 adds to the
complexity and significance of Webers understanding of rationalization by showing a
number of social theorists to be influenced by the same general transition found in Webers
pure types of authority ([1922] 1968).
A short history of yoga through the Weberian scope, found in Chapter 4, elucidates
the modern institutionalized form of yogic practice. A brief review of the history of yogic
time clarifies the rapid transition yoga has experienced in the past 500 years. This
progression focuses on the importance of the transcription of yogic knowledge and the
dissemination and manipulation of yogic teachings by missionaries. The constantly
evolving needs, desires, and method of social control used by yogic authorities follow the
same trajectory as Webers ([1922] 1968) forms of legitimate domination, justifying the
analysis of Core Power Yoga as an institution exercising mainly rational-legal authority.
Chapter 5 provides an understanding of Core Power Yoga through the perspective
of Weberian rationality. Focusing upon the organizational hierarchy maintained by Core
Power Yoga, this chapter essentially offers an analysis of Core Power Yoga as an
organization enforcing rational-legal dominance. Presenting evidence of routinized
charisma used to legitimize and strengthen authority, the charismatic qualities of Core
Power Yoga become a significant point of interest. The habituation characteristic of
traditional societies is inherent in the consumption of Core Power, and is discussed as
such. Core Power Yoga is recognized as an institution enjoying legitimate dominance
derived from all three of Webers types of legitimate authority ([1922] 1968).
I integrate the discussion of rationality and yoga with late modem perspectives of
embodiment in Chapter 6. Late modem theorists are revisited to illustrate die role of the
4


individual actor within the structure and system. Foucaults systems of modern discipline
(1977) and Turners sociology of the body ([1984] 1996) are reviewed as important works
concerned with rationalization of action and the imposition of structure on agency.
Advancing Foucaults emphasis on external constraint, Turner ([1984] 1996) examines the
body as a site of social control. Using the tenants of impression management provided by
Erving Goffman (1959, 1963,1967), Turner elaborates on the body as site of symbolic
communication with self and society. Scientific management (Taylor [1911] 1967) is
imperative to Turners argument of bodily regulation. The body, discipline, and scientific
management are combined to offer strong evidence of Core Power Yogas significance in
contemporary consumer society.
Finally, Chapter 7 incorporates both modernist and late modernist perspectives to
capture the full significance of Core Power Yoga. I show that yoga, a once charismatic
practice, has become a rationalized institution that effectively disciplines the body in a
leisurely and spiritual setting. Legitimizing the scientific management used to dominate
modern workers through a combination of movement and spirit, yoga is revealed to
promote transcendence through the controlled body. Core Power Yoga is finally exposed
as a site of legitimatization of both self and society; an institutional form that strengthens
itself, its consumers, and the dominant authority structures of consumer society in which
the organization is found. The implication of transcendence by way of modern systems of
discipline and management brings to light new relationships between contemporary
leisure, religion, and economy.
Chapter 8 provides a brief conclusion of my argument and the implications of my
findings. Also included is a discussion of possible future expansions of my research.
5


CHAPTER 2
WEBERIAN PERSPECTIVE
Using advanced societies as a frame of reference, forces of rationality,
systematized and employed by bureaucracies of government and economy exercise a
great measure of control over the masses. According to Weber, rationalism can be used to
understand a multitude of phenomena and has existed in various departments of life and
in all areas of culture ([1930] 1992; xxxix). Acknowledging the broadness of Webers
definition, Eisen (1978) narrows rationality to the defining characteristics of conscious
purpose, calculation of action based on efficiency, control as a means and end of rational
action, logical coherence between proofs, universality of law, and finally systematic
methods of organization. Thus what is rational may be defined as that which is calculating,
systematic, universalistic and exercised in hopes of maximum efficiency. The shortcomings
of rational conduct and the irrationality of rationality (Ritzer [2004] 2006) are subject to
much sociological debate as my analysis will later reveal.
Before rationality can be dissected at length, Webers concern with the interaction
of power, domination and social action must first be addressed. With these definitions in
hand, examination of charismatic, traditional and rational/legal types of legitimate
domination may be completed. I will next discuss the similarities, differences and
interrelations between charismatic, traditional and rational-legal authorities in detail. Finally
the routinization of charisma will summarize the transition from charismatic to rational-legal
types of domination, providing key points of reference for my discussion of Core Power
Yoga.
6


Power, Domination, and Social Action
The conversation between the dominant and dominated is validated by the power
held by establishments exercising legitimate authority. Power is the the probability that
one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite
resistance (Weber [1922] 1968: 53). This pre-requisite of power is a necessary element of
social control at the individual level. Power exercised at a collective level is domination,
the probability that a command within a given specific content will be obeyed by a given
group of persons (p.53). For domination to be valid, the dominated must demonstrate an
interest (based on ulterior motives or genuine acceptance) in obedience ([1922] 1968: 212
emphasis in original). When a dominant group enjoys legitimate authority, a collective
confirmation of validity confirms their dominant status and dictates the method by which
authority is executed (Weber [1922] 1968). Thus the relationship between the dominant
group and the dominated is mutually dependent, relying one on the other for strength and
common agreement upon societal and situational norms.
Social action, consisting of instrumental-rational, value-rational, affectual and
traditional orientations (Weber [1922] 1968) becomes influenced and to a great extent
determined by the authority structures in which the social action occurs. Affectual action is
grounded in human emotion, being determined by the actors specific affects and feeling
states ([1922] 1968: 25). Traditional action is primarily determined by ones exposure to
traditional authority, established mainly by habit and repetition. Differing from affectual and
traditional action, instrumental-rational and value-rational action are both determined by the
actors choice, though towards diverging ends.
Weber defines value-rational action as determined by a conscious belief in the
value for its own sake of some ethical, aesthetic, religious, or other form of behavior,
independently of its prospects for success (Weber [1922] 1968:25). Determined by the
7


actors perception of ultimate worth, value-rational action is conducted for the value derived
through the act. The value-rational action consists and is determined by commands placed
upon the actor which are experienced as obligations (Weber [1922] 1968).
Instrumental-rational action better describes the social action that occurs
increasingly in business, domestic and emotional domains. The instrumental^ rational
actor bases judgment upon the perceived behavior of objective and subjective spheres that
exist externally. These judgments and expectations are used as conditions or means
for the attainment of the actor's own rationally pursued and calculated ends (Weber [1922]
1968: 24). As is necessary in the modem context of complex calculative decision making,
instrumental-rational action becomes increasingly influential in determining the modem
actors pursuits.
The Basis of Legitimacy
Charismatic, traditional and rational-legal authorities are archetypical forms of
legitimate domination. Exercised throughout history to both create and maintain legitimate
domination though influencing social action, [t]he scope of determination of social
relationships and cultural phenomena by virtue of domination is considerably broader than
appears at first sight (Weber [1922] 1968: 215). Webers ideal types of authority are highly
interwoven and mutually rely on understanding each type of legitimate domination. With
this said, I will discuss charismatic, traditional and rational-legal authority in depth to
provide a foundation for a meaningful discussion of charismatic routinization. This section
will also draw from perspectives that have been formulated as articulations and responses
to Webers pure types of legitimate authority, defining these terms within a modern
sociological framework.
8


Charismatic Authority
The primary individual from which charismatic authority arises is considered
extraordinary and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least
specifically exceptional powers or qualities (Weber [1922] 1968: 241). Etzioni defines
charisma as the ability of an actor to exercise diffuse and intense influence over the
normative orientation of other actors" (1975: 304, emphasis in original), reflecting
charismas social embeddedness. Qualities displayed by charismatic leaders vary greatly,
exemplified by both the maniac passions of the warrior and the esoteric seer who claims to
mediate contact with supreme beings. Regardless of how the other-worldly gifts exercised
by charismatic individuals influence their own experience, it is the perception of this
greatness by a group of followers that establishes the legitimacy of charismatic authority
(Weber [1922] 1968; Friedland 1964). To maintain the approval of this primary group, the
charismatic must consistently re-enact the magical or exceptional qualities defining them
as extraordinary to the group (Weber [1922] 1968). The social collective that perceives the
charismatics attributes as extraordinary is the source of the leaders legitimacy. This
faithful group is crucial to the continuation of the leaders revolutionary insights.
The collective surrounding and providing validity to the charismatic ubermensch
are referred to as a charismatic community (Weber [1922] 1968: 243). Within the social
group captivated by the authentic charismatics prescriptions, there is little evidence of
hierarchical and administrative organization. There are no technically trained managers,
followers cannot expect a salary and further insights and revelations brought forth by the
leader may change the course of the groups action and thought dramatically. With high
levels of commitment to the group which distract one from obtainment of provisions
elsewhere, followers tend to live primarily in a communistic relationship with their leader
(p. 243). Victuals are primarily provided by gift, and depending on the wishes of the leader,
9


followers may suffer poverty and hardship. The communal suffering that may exist is
outweighed by the insight and direction provided by interaction with the charismatic leader.
The definition of charisma, charismatic leadership and the origins of charisma have
been debated and exercised at great length by many writers influenced by Webers initial
typology (see Friedland 1964; Oommen 1967; Spencer 1973; Wilson 1975; Dow Jnr. 1978;
Wallis 1982). As an explanation for social change (Weber [1922] 1968; Friedland 1964) in
contrast to the static structures of traditional and legal authorities, charisma provides the
necessary inspirations for progressive ideas. In turn, what has come to be defined as
charismatic changes as charismatic forces have shaped the orientation of the modern
world. The differences between supernatural, pure-type charisma and modem charismatic
personalities that dominate political institutions, status systems, and customs (Spencer
1973) may be attributed to the routinization of charisma. A widening rift between
charismatic system-breakers and system maintainers (Oomen 1967: 99) extends as
traditional and legal systems grow further divided. The rationalizing forces which have
begotten the pervasive bureaucratization of modernity have possibly shifted the meaning of
charisma from an older, more destructive form, to a new form of charisma entrenched in
various processes of everyday life (Dow Jnr. 1978). Whether having shifted to a modern
subdued charisma or becoming almost solely reliant upon the technical agencies of
rational problem solving (Wilson 1975), charismatic authority has been transformed by the
routinization process, affecting modem forms of social interaction, power, and domination.
Webers contemporaries, whether complimentary or critical (see Rieselbrodt 1999), view
the routinization of charisma and place of charisma in modernity as a delicate and
important question.
10


Traditional Authority
While the pure type of charismatic authority derives its legitimate domination from
claims made on supernatural or fantastic grounds, traditional authority relies on a more
sober and historical assertion of legitimacy. The power enacted through traditional
authority depends on validation of claims by an established belief in the sanctity of
immemorial traditions and the legitimacy of those exercising authority under them (Weber
[1922] 1968: 215). Unlike the re-enactment of charismatic proofs necessary for the
legitimacy of charismatic authority, traditional authority rests upon sacredness of age-old
rules and the belief that authority has always been exercised in a habitual manner.
Traditional authority relies so completely upon custom that innovations within traditional
societies can only be legitimately instituted by attributing them to new wisdom which has
gained a deeper understanding of sacred traditional history where the innovation eternally
dwelled ([1922] 1968). Types of traditional domination range in complexity and applicability
in the modem world.
Gerontocracy and primary patriarchalism are the most basic forms of traditional
authority. The head authority figure in these types of traditional authority has no
administrative staff and the legitimacy of decision making is founded upon the well-being of
the entire group, not just the master (Weber [1922] 1968). In the gerentocrical form of
traditional of domination, power is afforded to the groups elders who are the most familiar
with rituals and traditions ([1922] 1968). Primary patriarchalism is found when a particular
individual is chosen to lead a group based on the inheritance of traditional social capital
([1922] 1968). The group which provides the legitimacy to these forms of traditional
authority obeys the masters wishes, recognized as having traditional support. Regulations
are not enacted upon members of these traditional types and sublimination to the masters
requests are based solely upon the sacred basis of the leaders claims. When the
11


complexity of the traditional authority begins to entail administration and enforced rules,
patrimonial traditional authority manifests.
Patrimonial traditional domination derives legitimacy from historical grounds, but
differing from the above mentioned traditional forms, employs an administrative staff to
enforce dominance and manipulate conduct (Weber [1922] 1968). Patrimonial traditional
authority can be enforced by an administrative staff in two different forms. Patrimonialism,
in the purest example sultanism, represents the administrative staff as purely the
instrument of the masters wishes. In estate-type patrimonial authority, power and
economic benefits are acquired by the administrative staff of the master. Sultanism
represents a heightened development of the masters prudence where estate-type
patrimonialism begins to disperse authority throughout the dominant structure. The latter
form of traditional authority does have bureaucratic qualities, but differs significantly due to
the lack of universal rational regulations and formal technical training of administrative staff
([1922] 1968).
Rational-Legal Authority
The authority exercised within modernity is to a great extent structured by the
rational-legal form of domination. Modern economy has become progressively dominated
by rational-legal conduct and this form of control is perpetuated in the increasing
rationalization of modem social life. The authority derived by rational-legal organizations is
based on various characteristics that bring individuals together through pre-determined
goals and social conduct. Webers explanation of legal authority elucidates the varying
structures and practices by which rational-legal authority is enforced.
Legal norms are fundamental to legitimacy of the rational form of domination.
Actors who construct the various organizational structures that maintain operations through
legal authority are bound together by transcribed norms that impose obedience at least on
12


the part of the members of the organization (Weber [1922] 1968: 217). Codified rules that
inflict themselves upon the organizations members have in most cases been produced
intentionally and are enforced by an administration who recognize the given rules of
conduct ([1922] 1968). Administrators who enforce the rules are similarly controlled by the
organizations codified norms, being non-human applicators of the organizations
impersonal order ([1922] 1968). Within these dictates of domination, further specializations
of action and control are imposed by the organization to maintain legitimate control of the
individual.
With the umbrella of rule bound conduct in place, all actions performed under its
growing shadow are based on continuance of the institute. Within the organization, each
actor is required to perform a certain set of tasks; his parcel of the division of labor. The
tasks assigned to him are delineated by codified instruction and in these rules the actor is
given the authority to perform specified tasks (Weber [1922] 1968). The division of labor
within the rational organization takes on a hierarchical structure where each tower office is
under the control and supervision of a higher one (Weber [1922] 1968: 218). With each
office maintaining increased levels of control, the administration staff is required to
demonstrate an adequate technical training (Weber [1922] 1968: 218), and by display of
expertise become officials who enforce the organizations regulations. Officials who impose
rules founded in the best interest of the organization are, as a matter of principle (Weber
[1922] 1968: 218) separated from ownership of administration and means of production.
Though many of these officials and administrators are afforded an office through which
their responsibilities can be administered, the formation of office more correctly serves to
secure the pure objective and independent character of the conduct of the office so that it
is oriented only to the relevant [organizational] norms (Weber [1922] 1968: 219). The
calculated separation of the organization and the individual creates a structural
13


environment based on continuity of operations with only secondary regard to the
experience of the worker.
At the individual level, actors subsumed by bureaucratic organizational structures
are impressed by the constrictive elements which define bureaucratic organization. Actors
can only exercise authority instilled in them through their contractual obligations
determined by the hierarchical structure of offices. Each office, in principle filled by an
individual in agreement with "a free contractual relationship (Weber [1922] 1968: 220), is
assumed to fulfill the duties of the office required by a defined sphere of competence
(p. 220). In return for the individuals investment into a profession, becoming the primary
occupation of the individual, incumbents are rewarded with salaries for adherence to
organizational rules and goals. If incentives do not satisfactorily enforce control, the worker
is disciplined when their action deviates from established rules of the institution. By
systematizing the relationship between bureaucratic structure and individuals who must
exhaust their time and energies to propel the organization forward, the cleavage between
individual interests and the organization is clearly defined. Through the automation of
conduct and action, monocratic bureaucracy solidifies the interests of the organization and
ensures continued progression towards the proficiency needed to compete in modem
economy. Along with advantages that allow for the growth and continuation of capital
accumulation, characteristics of bureaucratic authority create setbacks and irrationalities.
Both organizational and individual levels suffer from the seemingly rational
structure of bureaucratic authority. Organizations, seeking ultimate efficiency and
continuation, are restrained from this ideal by the red tape created through the
quantification and transcription of all rules and action. When quantification is emphasized,
quality standards drop, resulting in masses of mediocre work (Ritzer [2004] 2006). The
workers constrained by these rationalized procedures are dehumanized, constrained by
14


bureaucratic methods and become denied their basic humanities (Braverman 1974; Ritzer
[2004] 2006). The irrational constrictions birthed of bureaucratic authority are described by
Weber as universal phenomena [that] more and more restricts the importance of charisma
and individually differentiated conduct (Weber [1922] 1968: 1156). Referred to as the iron
cage of rationality, Webers pessimistic view of bureaucracy has exerted a high degree of
influence upon classic and modem social theory.
Combinations of the Different Types of Authority
The pure types of legitimate authority are found in varying degrees and
combinations within societys numerous organizations. The multitude of combinations of
charismatic, traditional, and rational-legal authority at their roots have the belief by virtue
of which persons exercising authority are lent prestige (Weber [1922] 1968: 263). The type
of honor bestowed upon authoritative parties and the historical transitions of these honors
account for both the pure types of authority as well as the combinations of these
authoritative types. Legal authority is partly traditional due to the habituation of legal norms
(Weber [1922] 1968) and partly charismatic based on the threat of charismatic revolution.
Traditional authority reflects rational-legal elements of authority in the need to account for
increasing complexity through rule bound conduct -1 Traditional authority relies heavily
upon the charismatic qualities of their leaders, established through heredity or office
(Weber [1922] 1968). The common characteristic between each type of legitimate
authority, typified by the routinization of charisma, is the need of an administrative staff
(Weber [1922] 1968). The administrative staff is vital to the continued function and
implementation of the established order, and indeed, the existence of such activity
which is usually meant by the term organization (Weber [1922] 1968: 264). As I will
1 Displayed in the transition of gerontocracy, patriarchalism, and patrimonialism
(Weber [1922] 1968).
15


discuss, the creation of a clerical staff is of supreme importance to the continuation of
charismatic authority, a necessity exemplified by the institutions discussed later in this
thesis.
Routinization of Charisma
The transitory nature of charisma poses a great threat to the continuation of the
leaders teachings after their expiration. Individual investments of time, energy, and moral
commitment to a leaders principles create great motivation for the continuation of the
original charismatic teachings. These investments, by both followers and even more so by
those in the charismatic administrative staff, are the principle motivations for the
routinization of charisma (Weber [1922] 1968). The proper maintenance of charisma is of
great importance to the charismatic leaders followers and is undertaken by various means
of systematizing the charismatic community.
Charisma can be transferred to new leaders by a variety of means. In the first
method described by Weber, the legitimacy of a new charismatic leader rests on their
likeness to the original leader, placing an emphasis on traditionalization which reduces the
meaning of the new leaders personal character (Weber [1922] 1968). The new leader may
also be chosen by a revelation exercised by the followers and administrative staff in
choosing the new leader, with the designation of successor by the original leader, through
the designation of successor by the original leader's charismatically imbued staff, via
hereditary succession, and finally though ritualistic means which disassociate...charisma
from a particular individual, making it an objective, transferable entity (Weber [1922] 1968:
248). This form of charismatic transfer, referred to as charisma of office, is of supreme
consequence to the transformation of modern yoga.
Regardless of the type of charismatic succession, a rather uniform process by
which charisma becomes implemented in every day life may be outlined. The lifestyle
16


dictated by complete commitment to the original charismatic, as mentioned above, is
defined by communal sharing and often meager holdings. The routinization process
permits followers and disciples to implement changes to the charismatic structure of
authority, allowing for economic advantages and sustained being through differing
recruitment techniques (Weber [1922] 1968). The charismatic staff, initially deemed worthy
of responsibility through personal charisma, may be strengthened and maintained through
recruitment, in particular involving training or tests of eligibility" (Weber [1922] 1968: 249).
Creating standards by which to test the charismatic worth of applicants, the charismatic
staff begins to become closed to outside seekers. If, and more likely when based on the
need for economic advantage, the administrative staff seeks to secure stable individual
positions of authority, the domination structure shifts from legitimacy of authority based on
charisma to one displaying increased legal rationality. For the analysis of Core Power Yoga
the appropriation of offices, where charismatic legitimacy takes on a bureaucratic
character, is a proposition of key insight.
With increasing specialization of authoritative roles and the economic needs of
incumbents, the original anti-economic character of charisma must be thoroughly
transformed into some structure of economic organization (Weber [1922] 1968). When this
shift takes place, a marked delineation between ..the laity and the clergy (Weber [1922]
1968: 251) is advanced. In the demarcation of status and role, priests are differentiated
from clergy and instructors are differentiated from the instructed. When this separation
becomes complete, the hierarchical structure of the charismatic staff will resemble other
bureaucratic institutions. The new bureaucratic entity will surely profess their adherence to
the charismatic principles that propelled their success, and in doing so will exercise the
charismatic status honor acquired by heredity of office-holding (Weber [1922] 1968: 251).
Status honor through charismatic office can be exercised by individuals in varying
17


organizational positions, including those at the top of the organizational hierarchy, those
who hold distinguishing ranks within an organization (i.e. doctors in hospitals) and also by
those who fill various line positions (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church) (Etzioni 1975).
Regardless of the organizational positions which take advantage of the legitimacy provided
by charismatic office, the success of each institution in the modern market economy is
heightened by the organizations charismatic holdings.
By means of routinization, one can infer a Weberian longitudinal model upon the
trajectory of many modem organizations. Institutions who draw from spiritual and religious
charisma are bestowed a status honor that legitimizes the organization, regardless of the
contradictions between anti-establishment origins of charisma and the modern rationalized
entity. The trajectory from irrational charisma and disorder towards a rationalized, ordered
society has been the subject of much sociological inquiry in both historical and
contemporary circles.
18


CHAPTER 3
RATIONALIZATION IN SOCIAL THEORY
Interested in the same general transformation of societies as Weber,
rationalization and the shift towards modem social environments have been the topic of
analysis for many social theorists, both classical and contemporary. Classic sociologists
such as Emile Durkheim ([1893] 1964), Karl Marx ([1867] 1967) and Georg Simmel ([1907]
1978) have examined the movement from traditional to complex modern societies, each
concerned in differing processes and outcomes of modernity. As keystones of the
sociological perspective, these theorists provide a rich contextual backdrop for
contemporary theorists who have extended their own ideas concerning rationality and
society.
Responding to the increased pervasiveness of rational conduct in late modem
times, contemporary social theorists have carried the sociological understanding of
rationality closer to the unfolding reality of the present moment. Academics such as Max
Horkheimer (1947), Theodor Adorno (1941), Herbert Marcuse (1941), gathered under the
umbrella of critical theory, have synthesized Webers and Marxs typologies to account for
expanding rationality with little hope of revolution towards utopian ends (Applerouth and
Edles 2007). Talcott Parsons ([1951] 2001) and George Ritzer ([2004] 2006), deeply
influenced by Weber and other classic theorists, have elaborated the model of
rationalization, reflecting current themes in the advancement of rationality. Using the
rationalization thesis as an analytical tool, modem institutions of sport (e.g., Guttman 1978;
Mullan 1995) and religion (e.g., Berger 1967, 1979; Bellah 1970; Turner [1984] 1996)
exhibit many of the same organizational properties inherent to the routinization of political
19


economy. Extending the scope of rationalization, theorists such as and Jurgen Habermas
(1984, 1987) Anthony Giddens (1981,1993) and Pierre Bourdieu (1977,1990a, 1990b,
1998) account for the dynamic conversation between structure and individual set within the
course of rationalization. Reflecting the advanced state of rational conduct in our
contemporary era, the work of these theorists offers complex arguments supporting the
expansive dominance of the rational.
To outline the relevant points of the theorists and perspective mentioned above, I
will first examine the angles of thought provided by classic social theorists. Following this
discussion, contemporary social theorists will provide rich evidence for the modern
expansion of rationality. Following a thematic order that provides a logical progression
relevant to the tenants of my argument, this section will outline the breadth of views
centered on rationalization as well as pin-point the perspectives critical to my examination
of yoga.
Classic Social Theory and Rationality
In his crucial work Division of Labor in Society ([1893] 1964), Emile Durkheim
explored the relationship between individuals and society, examining the social bonds
uniting people and societies. The historical example of social solidarity, referred to as
mechanical solidarity, fostered bonds between people based on similarities. With the
increasing specialization produced through elaborations of industry, social bonds become
based on the differentiation of tasks, a type of social bond termed organic solidarity (Ritzer
and Goodman 2004). Ourkheims term organic solidarity parallels the symbiotic
specializations of the human body with the increased interdependency of advanced
societies. In the society typified by organic solidarity, collective consciousness does not
span across entire societies but rather groups of individuals. The material of the organic
20


collective consciousness is based on the moral constitution of individuals, in contrast to
mechanical societies where moral founding was very much based on religious grounds.
Shifting from a moral emphasis on traditional religious grounds to moral concern
centered on the individual, Durkheim ([1893] 1964) put forth one of the first articulate
sociological models of transition from traditional to modem society. The reallocation of
moral grounding from religion to the individual is both cause and resultant of the
specialization and division of labor necessary in communities of ever increasing population
and complexity. To elaborate on the social outcomes of industrial production and
relationships between machine/capital and worker/labor, selections from Karl Marxs work
([1867] 1967) become vital to my discussion.
To grasp the relationships between Marx and my review of rationalization, Marxs
general perspective must first be put forth. To begin, Marxs readings provide a strong
opposition to the pervasive systematization that transformed societies during the industrial
revolution. Marxs concern with labor stemmed from his belief in the creative capacity
inherent in human nature. Through objectification, the human expresses innate creative
capacities through material creation (Ritzer and Goodman 2004). In transforming the
material world, human nature is thus transformed. Marxs main concern was with
capitalism and its influence upon the relationship between the human and material objects.
Instead of transforming the self through free material creation, capitalism created a
class system of exploit that separated owners of capital, the bourgeoisie, from those forced
to work and invest labor into the accumulative desires of the ruling class, the proletariat.
Through this sublimination of self by the forced sale of labor, the individual does not feel
himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his
physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind (Marx [1932] 1964:
72). Both the alienation experienced by man and the creation of private property is the
21


result of alienated labor (Marx [1932] 1964). With the accumulation of private property and
ever expanding objectification of labor, the individual actor is multifariously confronted by
bureaucratically organized capital.
Marxs theoretical project was different from Webers in that Marx felt humans
could break the chains of capitalist exploitation and experience utopian society, where
Weber felt that the iron cage would become increasingly determinant over human thought
and action. What unites these theorists lies in the resulting domination of the individual by
organized capital. Webers monocratic bureaucracy, the most formally rational
organizational type, emerges from highly specialized and complex organizations that seek
to manifest maximum efficiency and calculability (Weber [1922] 1969). Implementing
rational norms of conduct, the competitors in the political economy sharpen their teeth in
pursuit of triumph in the war amongst the avaricious-competition (Marx [1884] 1964
emphasis in original). Relying on legal norms and codified rules of conduct, the bourgeoisie
alienates the laborer's productive activity in pursuit of ultimate efficiency and profit. Though
Weber and Marx had divergent visions of the outcome of the rational means of capitalist
exploitation, many concepts elaborated by the two men exist in parallel forms.
Georg Simmel ([1907] 1978), another classic theorist affected by modernitys
calculative nature, described rationalization as a shift from subjective to objective culture.
Using money as an article of analysis, Simmel proposed that money was responsible for
the objectification of the individual by the market, the economy, and finally modern
capitalist society (Poggi 1996). Allowing for the calculation of means and ends based on
monetary interests rather than grounds of subjective nature, individuals of modern society
become dominated by objects. The shift from subject to object leaves the individual
squandering for meaning, relying on forms of interaction that dominate the market; the
lives of many people are absorbed by such evaluating, weighing, calculating, and reducing
22


of qualitative values to quantitative ones (Simmel [1907] 1978: 444). The objectification of
the actor leads to the negative outcomes of increasing cynicism, impersonality of human
relationships, and generally the growth of objective culture at the expense of the individual
(Ritzer and Goodman 2004). Referred to as the tragedy of culture, Simmel experienced the
increasing division of labor characteristic of the industrial revolution as a major source of
strife and human suffering.
All theorists mentioned under the classic subheading have had wide influence on
the thought and theoretical dispositions of later social thought. Describing their experience
in differing terms, each of these academics felt that with increasing social differentiation
and importance of quantification and calculability, the human actor would become
increasingly distanced from their origins of authentic free thought. The transition of
legitimate authority from charismatic through traditional and rational/legal forms explicated
by Max Weber is yet another reflection of the experience of the industrial revolution. With
the revolution of industry now behind us, we can use modern social theory to better
elucidate the process of rationalization occurring here in the 21st century.
Rationalization in Contemporary Social Theory
Using both historical reference and the contemporary environment from which to
draw evidence and support for the pervasiveness of rationalization, numerous sociologists
have analyzed the enveloping rationality of advanced societies (e.g., Marcuse 1941;
Adorno 1941; Horkheimer and Adorno [1944] 2002; Horkheimer 1947; Parsons and Shils
1951; Berger 1967,1979; Bellah 1970; Guttman 1978; Parsons 1982; Ritzer [2004] 2006).
Expanding the argument of rationality to account for the reflexive impact created through
interaction of structure and agency, theorists such as JOrgen Habermas (1984,1987),
Anthony Giddens (1981,1993) and Pierre Bourdieu (1990a, 1990b, 1998) highlight the
importance of the individual in late modem society. Drawing from institutions of food, sport,
23


and religion, theorists maintaining modernist perspectives provide convincing evidence that
as societies continue to advance, calculation, transcription, and secularization change the
landscapes of civilization and self, driving specialization of bureaucracies into expanding
areas of society. Late modem theorists expand upon the role of the individual of modernity
and the reflexive conversation which both structure and change individuals and institutions.
I will extend these perspectives, starting from general modernist interpretations of
economy, culture and rationality, next towards specialized applications of rationality such
as sport and religion, and finally towards a definition of late modernity, all the while
examining the role rationalization plays within these absorbing perspectives.
Critical Theory
Providing a bridge between classic and contemporary social theory, the work of
critical theorists borrows heavily from classic social models to examine contemporary
societal phenomena. Genuinely driven by the work of Karl Marx, critical theorists including
Herbert Marcuse (1941), Theodor Adorno (1941), and Max Horkheimer (1947) furthered
Marxs critiques of capitalism concerned primarily with economic relations towards the
forces that maintain capitalist rule, namely culture and ideology (Applerouth and Edies
2007). Using terms akin to Weber's value-rational and instrumental rational social action
(Weber [1922] 1968), Horkheimer (1947) clarified between objective and subjective
reason. Parallel to objective and subjective reason, Marcuse (1941) separated
individualistic and technological rationality. Objective reason (Horkheimer 1947) and
individualistic rationality (Marcuse 1941) are based on the supposed value of ends,
becoming the basis for ethical action and justice. Subjective reason (Horkheimer 1947) and
technological rationality (Marcuse 1941) are defined by efficient calculation and a scientific
orientation. Intrinsic to the success of capitalism, ideologies that promote consumption of
goods are birthed of the culture industries (Adorno 1941) that encompass all economic
24


spheres related to the creation and dissemination of mass-culture products (Applerouth
and Edles 2007). The regrettable triumph of technological rationality leads to the falsehood
of the individual; an identity forged on a multiplicity of goods marketed to all individuals
(Horkheimer and Adorno [1944] 2002). Echoing alienation from the shadows of Marxs
historical materialism, Marcuse, Horkheimer and Adorno were deeply disconcerted by the
proliferation of capitalist values and consumer society.
Advancements in Contemporary Rationality
The work of Talcott Parsons ([1951] 2001,1982) is greatly influenced by Webers
writings. As a translator of Webers Economy and Society ([1922] 1968), Parsons was
exposed to an interpretative sociology of economy. Using action systems and social
systems to interconnect the individual and society, Parsons and Shils ([1951] 2001) use
the unit act to analyze the hypothetical actor in a theoretical environment (Applerouth and
Edles 2007). The hypothetical actor is directed by the personality system, centered on
organic and emotional need obtainment (Applerouth and Edles 2007). The theoretical
environment of the social system consists of integrated interaction between two or more
actors (Applerouth and Edles 2007:25). Connected to the social system by roles and role-
sets, the hypothetical actor becomes integrated and interconnected to the social and
normative systems of society, referred to as the cultural system.
Assimilating personal, social, and cultural systems, socialization, internalization
and institutionalization integrate the individual and society. Parsons institutionalization
refers to the long-standing process of communal association that bind actors to particular
meanings (Applerouth and Edles 2007: 27). The pattern variable, a dichotomy regarding
available choices of action (Applerouth and Edles 2007:29), is a model created by
Parsons and Shils (1951) that differentiates individual choices between traditional and
25


modem societies. The pattern variable very much pertains to Webers distinction between
traditional and rational-legal authority.
The sharp polarity of Parsons and Shils pattern variables should be seen as a
theoretical model, similar to Weberian pure types. Influenced by TOnnies ([1935] 1963)
distinction between Gemeinshaft (community) and Gesselshaft purposive association
(Applerouth and Edles 2007: 29), Webers rationalization thesis elaborates TOnnies
distinction. The difference and relation linking traditional and modern societies is
thoroughly explained by Webers analysis of traditional and rational-legal legitimate
authority. At one extreme are traditional societies, characterized by affective and selfless
group bonds, particularistic interaction which treats all people based on differing standards,
emphasis on qualitative relationships, and generally specific inter-relationships. On the
other pole, modem societies are defined by lack of emotion (affective neutrality),
individualistic orientation, universalistic laws and morals, emphasis on quantitative
relationships concerned with performance, and finally diffused guidelines of action (Adams
and Sydie 2001; Applerouth and Edles 2007). By adding complexity to the outline of
Webers original work in Economy and Society ([1922] 1968), Parsons confirms Webers
sociological relevance and applicability within contemporary social theory.
Using McDonalds and the fast food restaurant industry as a whole, Ritzer ([2004]
2006) extends a popular and influential interpretation of rationalization set in the present
moment. Relying on Webers rationalization thesis to support his argument, Ritzer posits
that the success of fast food restaurants can be attributed to the organizational practices
founded upon efficiency, calculability, predictability and control through non-human
technology (Ritzer [2004] 2006). By offering consumers, employees and managers a
stabilized and consistent source of fulfillment of expectations, the McDonalds business
model has enjoyed tremendous success in modem societies. McDonaldization is not
26


limited to the fast food industry, being examined through modern forms of family (Raley
2006), communication (Neustadtl and Kestenbaum 2002), agriculture (Knight 2006), and a
variety of other processes. Through a franchise system where one large firm...grants or
sells the right to distribute its products or use its trade name and processes to a number of
smaller firms (Dicke 1992: 2-3 in Ritzer 2005: 9-10), McDonalds and other franchised
organizations expand their visibility and influence. Exposed as containing negative
attributes such as degradation of environment and health as well as dehumanization of
worker and consumer (Ritzer [2004] 2006), no matter how hard one tries to ignore them,
McDonaldization offers positive outcomes to a modem society. Advocating social welfare
programs, distribution of goods, safety, diffusion of cultural products, and convenience
(Ritzer [2004] 2006), the success of McDonalds can be rightly attributed to the beneficial
aspects of their organizational model. Providing examples of both the good and the bad,
Ritzer offers an example of rationalization which we experience everyday, one we can
taste, and one we are becoming increasingly exposed to in a variety of modem practices.
Sport and Rationality
Using another popular feature of modern societies, sport, Allen Guttman (1978)
examines the progression from a physical practice based primarily on ritual action to one of
quantified competition. Drawing examples from both team and individual sport, Guttman
provides seven characteristics that distinguish modem sport. In Guttmans account the only
aspect of modem sport recognized as an advancement of humanity is the progression of
equality that has provided increasing opportunities for participation and impartiality of
judgment in sports by all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds (Guttman 1978). Provided
this encouraging attribute, the six remaining attributes of modem sport are very much
intertwined with the rationalization process. The increasing dominance of specialization,
rationalization, bureaucratization, and quantification in modern sport directly mirrors the
27


aspects inherent in the growth of rational-legal authority. The importance of quantification
and the record, which allows for competition between individuals in different times and
place, is imperative to Guttmans analysis. Concerned with the transition From Ritual to
Record as a whole, Guttman draws a continuum from ritual, an example of a sacred
practice, to the record, the outcome of secularization.
The transition from ritual sporting practice to the secularized process of status
obtainment through record breaking is Guttmans main thesis. The sacred rituals of
American Indians, the Mayans, and Aztecs are cited as religious sports; physical activities
intimately woven into the mythologies of these peoples religious beliefs (Guttman 1979).
On the other end of the continuum, placed here in modem times, sporting activities,
become a kind of secular faith (Guttman 1979). The participation and consumption of
modem sport is not based on relation to historical mythologies, but are activities partly
pursued for their own sake, partly for other ends which are equally secular (Guttman 1979:
26). Experiencing sport as site of rationalization, Guttman influenced later perspectives of
the sociology of sport.
Michael Mullan (1995) elaborates on Guttmans transition from ritual to record,
using the rise of athletic organizations in Gallic sport as his topic of analysis. Rather than
confirming Guttmans ideal type transition from ritual to rational, Mullan posits that sport
contains both irrational-affectual action and bureaucratized rationality (Mullan 1995).
Developing Webers concept of charismatic authority ([1922] 1969) using Bryan Wilsons
analysis of charisma (1975), Mullan posits that charisma acts as a sort of irrational glue
that helps to maintain order (Mullan 1995). Withdrawing from the notion that rationality
marches forward leaving irrationality and charisma at the wayside, Mullan adds pliability to
the analysis of modem sport by focusing on the interaction of charisma and rationality. The
idea that bureaucratic agencies contain charismatic elements is not new to discussions of
28


bureaucratic organizations, but Mullan elaborates this perspective on a topic very much
embedded in yogic practice, that of sport. Both Guttmans and Mullan's examination of the
rationality of sport are important to my analysis of Core Power Yoga, as is the definition of
secularization that has arisen form another activity highly related to yoga, religion.
Secularization
Theories of secularization understand differently the impact and attributes which
constitute the secularization process. Generally, the definition of secularization contains
the decrease of institutional and organizational motives determined by religious authority
and the increasing bureaucratization of religious institutions (Berger 1967, 1979; Bellah,
1970; Turner [1984] 1996). In The Sacred Canopy (1967), Berger explains secularization
as a problematic process that may be destructive to the individuals perception of reality,
removing sectors of society and culture...from the domination of religious institutions and
symbols (Berger 1967:107). The rational moral grounding of modem society promotes
individuality and pluralism, diverging from the historical religious constitution of self identity.
With the modem individuals perspective constructed upon individuality, not the uniting
symbols and perspectives offered by religion, the individual is at risk of a fragmented reality
defined by alienation and anomie. Attributing the secularization of modernity to the
dynamic of industrial capitalism (Berger 1967: 109), Bergers analysis argues with a
deeply pessimistic tone. In The Heretical Imperative (1979), Berger does offer reassurance
that the modem religious crisis may be stymied by those who seek to uncover and retrieve
the experience embodied in tradition" (p. xi.). Regardless of his unconvincing change of
perspective, Berger has deeply influenced later theorists conceptualization of
secularization.
Robert Bellah (1970) extends theories of secularization, but in a manner opposed
to the decline proposed by Berger. Bellah interprets secularization as a process of a
29


privatization of religion (Roberts 2004), defining religion as a set of symbolic forms and
acts that relate man to the ultimate conditions of existence (Bellah 1970: 21). Instead of a
digression of religiosity, Bellah finds modem religion to be an extension of previous forms
of religion, differing only through the increase of organizational and symbolic complexity
(Roberts 2004). The benefit of this increasing complexity resides in the modern individuals
enhanced ability to construct ones own reality through choosing personal symbol systems
(Roberts 2004). Offering a welcome respite from the pessimism contained in much of the
relevant literature, Bellah offers sociology a functionalist perspective of secularization.
Integrating both perspectives into a discussion of the embodied individual, Bryan
Turner ([1984] 1996) provides a complimentary perspective on the secularization of the
body as well as a turning point towards discussion of rationality in late modernity. Turner's
sociology of the body will be discussed at length later, but here it should be said that
Turner perceives contemporary reality as a postmodern or information society (Turner
1996: 20). Reflecting this grounding, Turner explains the secularization of the body as a
shift from the body as arena of sacred forces to the mundane reality of diet, cosmetics,
exercise and preventative medicine. (Turner [1984] 1996: 206). The sacred control of the
body through ritual has been replaced by the ultimate surveillance of the state. (Turner
[1984] 1996: 206). Turner explains that historically, secularization has been characterized
by two divergent claims; first, as espoused by Berger, that secularization is defined by the
decline in the social significance of organized religion, and secondly, as supported by
Bellah, religion does not decline with the growth of capitalism, but rather extends its
control over the laity with the growth of systems of mass communication (Turner [1984]
1996: 207). Attempting to synthesize these perspectives, but reflecting a stronger
connection with Berger, Turner proposes that in secularization, religious functions are
simply transferred to secular institutions (Turner [1984] 1996: 207). Instead of the church
30


exerting influence on the body of the individual, institutions such as modern medicine
replace the moral codes by which one is controlled and controls themselves (Turner 1996).
Turners perspective plays a central role in my interpretation of yoga, offering further
knowledge of secularization and the bodys role in this process.
Rationalization in Late Modernity
Provided that late modernity will supply an introduction to the embodied individual
discussed in Chapter 6, it is still important the late modern perspectives that have extended
modem discussions of rationality be brought to light here. To do this, the perspectives of
JGrgen Habermas (1984, 1987), Anthony Giddens (1981, 1993) and Pierre Bourdieu
(1977, 1990a, 1990b, 1998) will be discussed. The interactions of the life world and
systems domain elaborated by Habermas are intimately connected to Giddens approach
to the reflexive actor. Focusing upon the agency exercised by the individual, these
theorists reinstate individual creative capacity into the conversation between self and
society. Pierre Bourdieu offers a revision to the reflexive conversation of individual and
structure, proposing that individual choice is structured by external compositions. Each of
these theorists takes into account how individuals constitute structure, but Bourdieu differs
from Habermas and Giddens by showing that agency is determined by structure, defining
the system as the dominant speaker in reflexive dialogue. By first understanding Habermas
and Giddens, Bourdieus work on habitus (1990a) will offer a revision of the reflexive
process that better reflects my discussion of embodiment in Chapter 6 and my argument
against Core Power in Chapter 7.
JGrgen Habermas contends that individuals are socialized within the lifeworid. The
lifeworid is a network of shared meanings that individuals draw from to construct identities,
to negotiate situational definitions, or to create social solidarity (Siedman 1989: 18 in
Appierouth and Edles 2007: 488). Created through active participation of individuals in
31


private and public spheres, the lifeworld exists in and creates the system domain. Being
responsible for the organization of power relations and the production and distribution of
material resources (Applerouth and Edles 2007: 488), the system domain consists of
political and economic organizational structures. The inter-relation of the lifeworld and
system constitute the whole of reality, defined by interactions between individuals and
social structures. With the increasing complexity of reality, the lifeworld becomes very
much changed by the power exercised by the system domain. Penetrated by the
instrumental rationality of the political economy, the private and public spheres of the life
world become increasingly dominated by the principles of conduct embodied in the system
domain. Referred to by Habermas as the colonization of the lifewortd, relationships
between individuals are defined in calculated terms of power and money (Applerouth and
Edles 2007). Akin to Simmers concern with the quantification of social life, Habermas
expresses anxiety about the imposing conduct inherent in the system domain. While
Habermas does react to the model of Weberian rationality, he contributes the theoretical
possibility of triumph by the individual over domination exercised by instrumental
rationality. Providing relief from Webers ambivalence and gloom, Habermas offers an
optimistic analysis to the interaction of actor and society.
In the vein of Weber, Habermas distinguishes between instrumental rationality,
moral-practical rationality and aesthetic-expressive rationality. Separating himself from
Weber, Habermas contends that inter-subjective communication, referred to as
communicative rationality/action, is imperative to understanding how the individual within
society creates common meanings. Certainly diverging from Weber, Habermas places
communicative reason at the center of social construction and allows the individual the
chance for authentic participation in a thriving democracy (Applerouth and Edles, 2007).
32


Providing the individual actor agency, or autonomy from the regimentation of rationality,
Habermas creates analytical tools by which to better appreciate subjective experience.
Furthering the means by which the individual influences society, Anthony Giddens
(1981, 1993) elaborates on the capacity individuals have in shaping their reality. Defining
contemporary society as late modern society, Giddens sees our existing social atmosphere
as distinguished from but not opposed to modem society (Tucker 1998). Separating
structure, the rules and resources used in the organization of social life, from agency, the
individual's capacity as a creative power to act and change, at first glance Giddens seems
to adhere to the dualisms of nature and society that are still inherent in much of sociology
(Turner [1984] 1996). As an amendment to this dualism, Giddens offers a strong analysis
of the interaction between structure and agency.
Giddens sees the project of modernity as simply becoming more complex, a
process fostered by the notion of reflexivity. Through reflexivity, in which social structure
and individual conduct presuppose one another (Tucker 1998: 28), the individual actively
participates in the creation and reification of social structures. By actively influencing the
organizational institutions created and re-produced to control populations, the reflexive
actor creatively produces their reality. The reflexive process will be discussed at greater
length in relation to Bryan Turner's analysis of the body ([1984] 1996). Its presentation here
is hoped to provide evidence of the contemporary extensions of Weberian perspective.
Completing my discussion of the late modem perspective of rationality and offering
a transition towards concepts discussed in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, Pierre Bourdieu
(1990a, 1990b, 1998) balances the optimistic possibilities of structural change through
reflexive action offered by Habermas and Giddens with critical examples of the structural
dominance over individual action. Grounded in the term habitus, Bourdieus contribution to
the understanding of agency emphasizes how external structure determines individual
33


knowledge and action (1990a). Theoretically expanding the disenchantment resulting from
rationalization toward individual thought and action, Bourdieus contributions offer a
meaningful conclusion to the discussion of contemporary rationality.
In habitus Bourdieus theoretical position is eloquently summarized. The habitus is
a mental framework by which the external world is perceived, being expressed through
both bodily and verbal language (Bourdieu 1990a). While existing authentically
unstructured at some level, individual agency is determined by its spatial relation to
economic and cultural capital (Bourdieu 1998). These principles of differentiation
(Bourdieu 1998: 6) create an external structure that differs for each individual based on
their relation to economic and cultural resources. The habitus thus exists and is re-created
at several levels of individual and collective action. In the conversation between external
and internal, objective structure determines internal structure, creating individual rationality
constituted upon dominant external organizations and ideologies. The result of interaction
between external and internal structure is individual action that reinforces and legitimizes
dominant external structure (Bourdieu and Passeron 1977 quoted in Swartz 1977). Being
that individual language and action is determined by a stratified external society, individual
choice tends to support inequalities of power determined by ones relation to economic and
cultural capital.
Bourdieu's position that agency is largely determined by structure will be integral to
my final discussion of Core Power Yoga found in Chapter 7. While taking into account the
partially creative individual, Bourdieu maintains that individual language and action usually
reinforce the authority of dominant societal institutions. The dominant institutional form
described by Webers rational authority then creates individual actions that conform to and
maintain social structures and prevailing ideologies. The structural forms that impose
34


themselves on individual thought and action will be outlined in Chapter 6 by Foucault
(1977) and Turner ([1984] 1998).
The transition from pre-modern to modem society has been referred to by many
names and has been extended to include the importance of the individual actor, but most
generally consists of an increasingly ordered and de-mystified social structure. In the
modernist perspective, the creative individual is usually imposed upon by rational
organizational structures that constrain and control action (Marx [1864] 1964; Simmel
[1907] 1978; Weber [1922] 1968; Berger 1969; Ritzer [2004] 2006). The transition from
mechanical to organic solidarity (Durkheim [1893] 1964), the alienation induced by
estranged labor (Marx [1864] 1964) and the objectification of culture through money
(Simmel [1907] 1978) are profound responses elaborated by classic sociologists
embedded in societies wrought with change and transition towards capitalism and
rationality. Expanding upon these grounds, the dominance of profane institutions gained
through secularization of religion (Berger 1969,1979; Bellah 1970; Turner [1984]1996) and
sport (Guttman 1978; Mullan 1995) testify to the expansive effect on action and
organization produced by rationalization. Introducing the conversation between actor and
structure into the argument of rationality (Habermas 1984,1987; Giddens 1981,1993;
Bourdieu 1990a, 1990b, 1998), the dialogue between determinism and choice begins to
take on extreme complexity resulting from the expanding insights provided by sociological
thought.
All perspectives discussed in this section have either shared similarities or
expanded upon Webers model of rationalization. These sociological contributions are
inherently rationalization theories because they explore the outcomes of transition from
simple to complex societies. Whether focusing upon the quantification of value or the
actors role in the maintenance and manipulation of various organizational settings, the
35


common threads between these theories consist of the rational processes inherent in
complex organizational structures.
With a thorough grasp of the sociological context of rationalization, I will use
Webers specific definitions of bureaucratic authority and rationalization to examine the
historical and contemporary constructs of modern postural yoga. Later in this paper, the
agency exercised through individual assurance of grace and the legitimization of both self
and dominant structure will stretch the understanding of charisma, routinization, and status
honor towards new relationships concerning late modem perspectives of agency, bodily
discipline, and scientific management. Before this exploration, an examination of the
historical lineage of yoga should be set forth to provide solid footing for new
understandings to advance upon.
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CHAPTER 4
THE HISTORY OF YOGA IN WEBERIAN PERSPECTIVE
Beginning with the very meaning of the term yoga, one can see a historical
practice with potential significance in the modern world. The original Sanskrit term yuj is
most frequently understood as the union of the individual self (JTva-Stman) with the
supreme Self (parama- Stman) (Feuerstein 1998: 4). The seeking of One-ness in classical
terms usually required a renunciation of worldly desires (Strauss 2005), isolation of self,
kaivalya (Strauss 2005), and a distancing of ones self from larger society. Remote from
the isolation that was sought by classic yoga practitioners, participants in modern yoga
seek stress reduction and healthy bodies (Strauss 2005), all the while engaged in the
creation of society and contemporary reality. The shift from classical yoga's emphasis on
renunciation of bodily desire to modem yogas emphasis on flexibility is elucidated
thoroughly throughout the historical transition from classical to modem yoga.
As a historical practice, yoga can be traced back some 4,000 years (Worthington,
1982). Documentation of classical yogic practice is sparse but texts such as the Yoga
Sutras of Patanjali, dated to around 200BC to AD200, serve as a starting point for
understanding (Strauss 2005). The Yoga Sutras outline the tenants of classical yoga that
include the eight basic stages of yogic practice, including guidelines for moral living,
physical postures, breathing techniques, [and] meditative practice (Strauss 2005: 3-4).
Created and influenced within a culture of philosophical contemplation, the Yoga Sutras
reflect Patanjalis desire to set forth a system of yoga that could withstand the barrage of
competing disciplines found in India (Feuerstein 1998). Each of the eight guidelines set
forth by Patanjali focus on differing aspects of practical spirituality, ranging from the
37


universal ethics embodied by yama (discipline) and niyama (restraint) to the popularized
aspects of modem yoga, Usana (posture) and prSnSySma (breath control) (Feuerstein
1998). Partially constructed of bodily practice and awareness of breath serving as a means
of inducing meditation, yoga was and is today an integral part of the orthopraxy of many
contemplative religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism (Strauss 2005;
Worthington 1982). These religions, specifically orthodox Hinduism, have borrowed from
Yogas methods of physical and psychological training to heighten the religious experience
(Weber [1922] 1968). The application of classical yoga, especially Patanjalis codified
version of yogas eight limbs, has contributed much to the histories of various religious
traditions. The systematization of yoga offered by Patanjali developed a framework for the
modern hierarchy of lay practitioner and professional guru.
The codification of yogic knowledge set forth by Patanjali allowed for a broad
dissemination of yogic teachings. By negating the necessity of contributing ones entire life
to the acquisition of yogic knowledge that was previously necessary in the guru/yogi
lineage context, Patanjalis Yoga Sutras allowed for the guru and layman alike to practice
yoga when convenient. In its contemporary form, the layman is still allowed the opportunity
to practice yoga when expedient and desirable. The modem guru/yoga instructor on the
other hand is forced to participate in training sessions that are highly demanding of effort
and expense. While Patanjalis work allowed for a broader distribution of knowledge, over
time those individuals and groups who associated themselves with a specialized
understanding of teaching yoga have always separated themselves from the everyday
yogic practitioner. As the following discussion elaborates, those regarding themselves as
yogic authorities have always set themselves apart from those not having placed great
investment into the acquisition of this sacred practice. Emphasis on hierarchical relations
38


and power through access to yogic knowledge are intimately associated to my analysis of
legitimate authority and the disciplined late modem individual.
History of Modem Postural Yoga
Elizabeth DeMichelis (2005) portrays modern yoga as arising from the interaction
of Western and Indian esotericism in the mid to late 1800s. The history of classical yoga
extends far before this point in time, and prerequisites for the synthesis of modem yoga are
found beginning in Renaissance times in Europe and over the past few centuries in India
(DeMichelis 2005). The central components of the modernization of yoga according to
DeMichelis are the melding of Western esoteric seeking popularized during the
enlightenment era with the esoteric qualities of classic and Modem Hinduism. Western
esotericism, dating back to Greek and Roman Antiquity (Faivre 1992), as well as esoteric
principles found in classic Hinduism, dated to 1500 to 1000 BCE, are necessary precursors
to the modem flowering and transnational migration of yogic thought and practice. A richer
exploration of yogas historical roots and progression towards what we now call yoga would
certainly un-earth greater evidence of rationalization, but for the purpose of this study is far
too expansive. Of key importance are the historical roots of esoteric seekership found in
both Oriental and Occidental cultures before their interweaving during the colonization of
India by the British during the 18th century.
The combination of Indian, or more generally, Eastern thought, with the
rationalistic principles sacralized during the European Enlightenment provided solid
firmament for the growth of modem yoga. With the influence of Western thought, Hinduism
in India experienced a growing cleavage between classical teachings and the teachings of
Neo-Hinduism; a reformulated return to traditional Hinduism created as a response to the
West (Halbfass 1988 in DeMichelis 2005). Neo-Hinduism was created and progressed
rapidly with the professionalization of conduct based on Western models and constant
39


interaction with Westerners (DeMichelis 2005). With rational methods brought by the
British colonization of India also came Western spiritual/philosophical types seeking means
of sacred connection and practical means of doing so.
The Western interpretation of Indian religion was deeply influenced by the melding
of Indian and British culture. Referred to as British Orientalists (Kopf 1969), the Westerner
sympathetic and interested by Indian culture, religion, and practice provided key support to
the packaging and export of Indian ideas to the West. Warren Hastings, Governor-General
of India (1774-85) contributed to the Westerner enamor with Indian religion, and
particularly yoga. The source of this curiosity and approval, according to Hastings, was
found in the effective, well-tested techniques of abstraction [that] had seemingly been
systematized thanks to the accumulated knowledge of generations of practitioners
(DeMichelis 2005: 43). Once the Westerner began to participate in the yogic teachings that
had been the catalyst for much Western scholarship, the stage was truly set for the
flowering of modernized yoga.
The first Western to acknowledge himself as a practitioner of yoga was Henry
David Thoreau in a letter to a friend in 1849 (DeMichelis 2005). It was not until the
Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 where Westerners with an appetite for esoteric
contemplation and mysticism would be satiated.
Bom Narendranath Datta, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) would become the
key link in the Westernization of modern yoga. As a young man, Vivekananda studied both
Neo-Hindu and Western philosophy and was certainly a product of educators attempting to
fuse tradition with modernity. A disciple of the nineteenth-century saint Sri Ramkrishna
(Feuerstein 1998), Vivekananda set into motion the transmission of modem yoga after
Ramakrishnas death in 1886. After six years of traveling the Indian infrastructure and
conversing with the Indian populace, Vivekananda experienced on one hand Indian
40


poverty and lack of material goods, and on the other the wealth of spiritual knowledge and
practice fostered by a cultural history of spiritual emphasis. To remedy this, Vivekananda
posited Indian spirituality could be traded with the West for material goods needed by the
populace of his native country (DeMichelis 2005; Burger 2006).
Setting his plan into motion, Vivekananda traveled to the United States in 1893
with little money (DeMichelis 2005). Not having been invited to the Parliament of Religions,
Vivekananda relied on his charismatic lineage as evidence for the qualification of his
participation (DeMichelis 2005). Being successfully admitted to the Parliament,
Vivekananda afterward was deemed a celebrity and was very successful traveling across
the States giving lectures and demonstrations (DeMichelis 2005). Through his travels and
discourse with Westerners, Vivekananda found that Western cultic milieus had developed
a strong craving for practices (DeMichelis 2005:118 emphasis in original).
The rational pragmatism sought by Western audiences very much influenced
Vivekanandas thought. By 1896, Vivekananda had elaborated a loose philosophical
system based on four elements of yoga that led one to self-realization (DeMichelis 2005:
124). By placing God and/or self realization as the end of yogic practice, Vivekananda
developed a framework of orthopraxy as the means of obtaining the end of self-realization.
Of the four elements described by Vivekananda, raja yoga, the realization of divinity
through control of the mind (DeMichelis 2005: 124) became the most diffused branch of
his teachings and has had the greatest influence of the modern day perception of yogic
practice. The well planned and demonstrated yoga elaborated by Vivekananda gave the
Western world a rationalized form of spiritual practice that would become the ground for
the further routinization of yogic charisma.
Providing a rationalized practice of yoga that could lead to realization of self,
Vivekananda was the catalyst for both the dissemination of modern yoga in the Occident
41


as well as a revival of yoga in India. As evidence of the popularization and routinization of
raja yoga within India, or more precisely, a codified and systematized yogic practice, the
two earliest Indian Modem Yoga institutions: the Yoga Institute at Santa Cruz, Bombay
(established 1918), and the Kaivalyadhama Shrimad Madhava Yoga Mandir Samiti at
Lonavla (established 1921) (DeMichelis 2005:183) were created by Indian gurus
influenced by Vivekanandas teachings. The organizational foundation of yoga in India was
paralleled in the West by the blossoming of the New Age movement that placed emphasis
on personal growth and healing (DeMichelis 2005). Western seeking of esoteric knowledge
through pragmatic means influenced the popularity and expansion of yogic forms based on
Vivekanandas model. The specialization of yoga branched in varying directions, with one
shoot placing greatest emphasis on the physical practices, modern postural yoga (MPY),
and another focusing on the mediation and concentration of modem meditational yoga
(MMY) (DeMichelis 2005). Various other assemblages have certainly influenced yogic
knowledge and practice, but those forms that have become .increasingly popularized here
in the United States are based on the MPY method of practice.
DeMichelis (2005) argues that the most influential schools of MPY were created
between 1954 and 1962 with the creation of the Iyengar Yoga School in Britain and the
British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) (p. 190). Iyengar Yoga, established by B K. S. Iyengar, is
founded upon a unified system of practice which makes it potentially more adaptable to
the requirements of other professional bodies, especially in the fitness and medical
domains" (DeMichelis 2005:191). Iyengar yoga will be explained here rather than the BWY
due the schools exemplification of rational training as well as being represented on a
greater scale than BWY. Regardless, both of these schools are shown by DeMichelis
(2005) to have undergone similar transformational phases (popularization, consolidation
and acculturation) over the last half century.
42


During the popularization phase (1950s to mid 1970s) of MPY, numerous schools
and teachers emerge, yoga is explored by media outlets, and the popularity of yoga
classes increase. Not being able to sustain such rapid growth, the consolidation phase of
MPY (mid-1970s to early 1980s) is characterized by a large amount of yoga schools
closing their doors, the remaining schools gaining in maturity and technical specialization,
and finally standardization. In the acculturation phase (late 1980s to date) MPY institutions
become recognized both officially and unofficially by social institutions and increased
interaction with the public produces greater specialization in teaching to meet the needs of
modernity (DeMichelis 2005).
Following this progressive framework, Iyengar yoga exemplifies the transitory
process of routinization. The popularization of Iyengar yoga was established with the
publication of Light on Yoga," an instant best-seller, it immediately became the standard
reference work on asana practice in Modern Yoga circles all over the world (DeMichelis
2005:198). The popularity of this manual established the Iyengar method and allowed for
the institutionalization of practice in numerous Iyengar schools. With a burgeoning interest
in Iyengar, numerous schools were erected and the B. K. S. Iyengar Yoga Teachers
Association (BKSIYTA, established 1977) was created to offer viable applicants teaching
certification and to support the mission of the original Iyengar School (DeMichelis 2005).
The acculturation phase of Iyengar Yoga was successfully established with a network of
institutionally structured and efficient training centers gravitating around the unquestioned
authority of a charismatic leader, and a system of accreditation that would in due course
produce the power structures of the Iyengar movement and its teaching hierarchies
(DeMichelis 2005: 202). By the 1990s Iyengar Yoga was reported to have had several
million students and was recognized as an authority of yoga by the United Kingdom Sports
Council. The Iyengar Yoga School embodies the routinization of charismatic authority and
43


illuminates the progression from charismatic uncertainty to continuation through rule bound
conduct which seeks to implement the charismatic source of these teachings for years to
come.
This all together brief history of modern postural yoga radiates similarities with
Webers rationalization thesis. Parallel to Webers transition from charismatic beginnings to
institutionalized charisma that becomes organized around the rational-legal form of
legitimate domination, MPY has grown from its charismatic origins into a systematized and
rule-bound bureaucracy. Through consistent elaboration on the meanings and uses of
yoga from eras before Patanjali to the highly specialized Iyengar Yoga of modem times,
the importance of textual reference for both practice as well as future elaboration is
inescapable. Patanjalis codification of the Yoga Sutras cemented the roots of yoga in a
textual reference which could later be examined and expanded. Elaborating upon the
traditional tenants of yoga to appease Western appetites, Vivekananda produced an
evolved and highly specialized interpretation of yogic practice and thought. Vivekanandas
reformulation of yogic practice for Western consumption influenced not only what the
Westerner believes yoga is today, but also how the modernized Indian population uses
yoga. As a yogic missionary, Vivekananda reflexively shaped the institution of yoga by
selectively choosing the cultural attributes that would be exchanged in the globalized
conversation of yoga that he mediated. Iyengar extended the intricacy of yoga and
successfully appeased Western tastes. Elaborating on the physical model of yoga spread
by the missionary work of Vivekananda, Iyengar disseminated knowledge of MPY to
numerous Western consumers. Iyengar, Vivekananda, Patanjali, and yogas long history of
gurus and yogis have enjoyed success and continuation in modernity by establishing a
bureaucracy around physical postures and through stabilizing the expectations of teachers
and practitioners. By formulating a yoga practice palatable to the tastes that arise as result
44


of the spreading influence of modernity, yoga serves an important function in the
competitive marketplace of global societies. The true catalyst for this project and the
reason for following the progression of yoga through the MPY yoga of B. K. S. Iyengar can
now be elucidated with greater clarity.
Core Power Yoga
While Iyengar Yoga is still extremely influential in yoga circles today, newer and
further specialized forms of yoga are being brought to an increasingly rationalized market.
Following the organizational model of calculability and standardization by which many
franchise-oriented businesses have proliferated, Core Power Yoga has established a
successful business organization.2 A model of rational-legal organization with authority
derived from charismatic status honor, Core Power Yoga relies heavily on the charismatic
facade found in the spiritual nature of yoga to turn customers into parishioners of a profit-
oriented diocese.
Founded in 2002 by Trevor Tice, a former internet technology executive, Core
Power currently operates 12 company owned yoga studios and 2 franchise studios in
California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Oregon, as well as has plans to open 15 new
locations in 2007. Core Power has licensed over 1000 Core Power Instructors through a
registered 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certification (Core Power Yoga, L.L.C. 2006). A swiftly
growing organization, Core Power secures profits through fees collected for each class (a
single class costing $16, a year unlimited pass $1099), advanced yogi training ($579),
2Core Power Yoga exists as both an organization as well as a specific style of yoga
practice. Though the focus on physical postures at Core Power is crucial to understanding
Core Power as a site of body practice, Core Power is examined in this paper as a
composition of both structure and agency. Drawing all information relevant to Core Power
Yoga from their website, www.corepoweryoga.com, my analysis understands Core Power
through the electronic text created by Core Power as a virtual representation of self. Core
Powers website allows repeated analysis of issues as well as an accessible source of
ongoing reference.
45


nutritional instruction, various retreats, as well as fees levied upon those wishing to
become Core Power Yoga instructors (Core Power Yoga, L.L.C. 2006). The business
model embodied by Core Power Yoga may now be examined at length by Webers forms
of legitimate authority discussed earlier.
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CHAPTER 5
CORE POWER YOGA AND WEBER
Domination and Social Action
The collective success of Core Power Yoga validates the organizations
domination of the population that consumes Core Power services. Not issued by
commands but through urban visibility and word of mouth, Core Power Yoga enjoys
increasing dominance over other forms of yoga. Believing in the sincerity of Core Powers
claim to yogic knowledge, the dominatidn exerted over the consumers of Core Power Yoga
is authentic.
The forms of social action found within the Core Power framework are primarily
based on affectual, instrumental, and value-rational action. The affective action of the Core
Power participant can be attributed to the perceived outcome of yogic practice. By
consuming a practice consisting of physical exertion with spiritual implications, the Core
Power yogi experiences invigoration, relaxation and the assurance of grace;
Out of the unlimited variety of subjective conditions which may be
engendered by methodological procedures of sanctification, certain of
them may finally merge as of central importance, not only because they
represent psychological states of extraordinary purity, but because they
also appear to provide a secure and continuous possession of the
distinctive religious acquirement. This is the assurance of grace (certitudo
salutis, perseverantia gratiae) ...it constitutes the conscious possession of
a lasting, integrated foundation for the conduct of life. To heighten the
conscious awareness of this religious possession, orgiastic ecstasy and
irrational, merely irritating emotional methods of deadening sensation are
replaced, principally by planned reductions in the body's functioning, such
as can be achieved by continuous malnutrition, sexual abstinence,
regulation of respiration, and the like. In addition, thinking and other
psychic processes are trained in a systematic concentration of the soul
upon whatever is alone essential to religion. Examples of such
psychological training are found in the Hindu techniques of Yoga, the
continuous repetition of sacred syllables (e.g., OM), meditation focused on
47


circles and other geometric figure, and various exercises designed to a
planned evacuation of the consciousness.(Weber [1922] 1968: 538)
By offering an avenue towards sacred states of consciousness, Core Power practitioners
consume Core Power's services for a multitude of benefits.
Related to the affective state experienced through Core Power practice, the
consumer of these services rationalizes their benefit and necessity. At the value-rational
level, Core Power practice certainly contains a conscious belief in the value for its own
sake of some ethical, aesthetic [and/or] religious (Weber [1922] 1969: 25) purpose. A
cosmopolitan practice with religious connotations, Core Power Yoga offers consumers an
at least partially religious experience. Experienced as an obligation, the need for
participation in athletic and spiritual activity is directly fulfilled at Core Power studios. The
perceived duty of athletic participation will be expounded through discussion of sociology of
the body in Chapter 6.
Core Power classes are viewed by participants as an efficient means towards the
ends of better health, spiritual connection, and general leisurely social interaction. Actors of
a society constituted upon rational grounds, Core Power participants seek spirituality and
fitness through means they are regularly conformed by and comfortable with. Rather than
search for the assurance of grace and physical desirability through conduits of unknown
quality, exclusive traditionalism, or messy in-efficiency, Core Power yogis are afforded the
certitude of well-being, both mental and physical, when they enter the Core Power studio.
Being a defining quality of modern societies, the calculative actor finds that the monetary
and temporal cost of Core Power consumption is outweighed by the benefits derived from
the practice. The perceived benefit of Core Power is validated by the relatively high prices
members pay to consume the teachings of Core Power Yoga. Satisfying both the value
and instrumental-rational qualifications of conscious social action, Core Power offers a
48


comforting embrace to the calculating actors of modernity that are not yet too alienated
from their need for transcendence.
The Legitimate Authority of Core Power Yoga
In the current context of Core Power Yoga, all three pure types of authority can
account for specific traditions and contributions that have developed yoga into the highly
complex and meaningful practice it is today.3 The primary legitimacy of Core Power Yoga
studios is founded on the rational-legal form of domination. The relationship between the
instructors and subjects are controlled by rules and regulations, creating relationships
based on instrumental and value rational action. Behind the mediated instructor/yogi
relationship, a small army of managers, advertisement agents and customer service
representatives form a sphere of instrumental rational action that controls the quality and
quantity of all other types of social action subsumed under its rational structure. Utilizing
the charismatic status honor related to yogic practice, Core Power strengthens their
following through overt and covert claims of charismatic authority. Once participants have
become trained in yogic postures and methods, the continuation of rituals provided by
traditionalism offers Core Power long standing relationships with their customers.
Like other bureaucratic organizations, Core Power offices make possible the
continuation of stable, purposeful business. The validity of hierarchically structured offices
is solidified and enforced by written rules. Imposable rules that allow for a hierarchical
chain of command are taught through Yoga Teacher Training (Core Power Yoga, L.L.C.
2006), offering specialized teachings in technical rules or norms. The impersonality of
bureaucracy is present in the offices of administrative support where workers do not own
the property under their cubicle nor the information encased in their
3 Refer to Chapter 2 where the combinations of different types of Weberian authority are
discussed.
49


computer. These defining characteristic of bureaucracy are necessary for continuation of
efficient and profitable business practices, whether those controlling the capital investment
are in the business of producing widgets or physical strength and illumination.
Just as the administrative support staff is controlled by formal business rules and
regulations (Weber [1922] 1968), instructors at Core Power Yoga are required to conform
to legal authority only with respect to their formal and impersonal obligations. The office
of instructor is filled by a contractual relationship between an instructor and the rational-
legal authority exercised by the bureaucratic Core Power organization. Each instructor is
appointed to office, paid for their work, and subject to discipline if their actions do not
conform to the written rules of their contractual relationship with Core Power. The instructor
does not own the studio in which they teach and are paid for their services, though due to
both the competitive environment and the high expenditure of energy inherent in teaching
physically exerting classes, most Core Power instructors probably do not make a full time
career of teaching yoga.
To create a body of instructors that adhere to the rational-legal bureaucratic ideals
of the institutions in which they practice, Core Power requires certification of all instructors.
The instructors in these studios are required to have certification from groups such as The
Yoga Alliance (http://www.yogaalliance.org/) or satellite Yoga Alliance certification
committees like those found at Core Power (www.corepoweryoga.com/TTAPPS/) who
certify graduates as official Vinyasa Yoga instructors. These certification documents create
a rule bound agreement between studio and instructor as to what and how postures should
be taught to customers. The certification process creates a specified sphere of
competence (Weber [1922] 1968) for the instructor and endows the instructor with the
necessary authority to perform the duties of a Vinyasa Yoga teacher. Once an instructor is
certified, they understand that their responsibilities as a yoga instructor are clearly defined
50


and the teaching of their knowledge is subject to definite conditions. Though much of the
authority and compliance within the administration of the modem Hatha Yoga studio is
characteristic of the pure type of rational-legal authority, charismatic elements abound in
the environment of Hatha Yoga.
Individuals chosen to be practicing instructors are dominated by the rational-legal
institution and charismatic authority embedded in any routinized spiritual practice. The
bureaucratic institution that controls the actions of its instructors provides value and
instrumental-rational social action to participants through the status honor inherent in their
standardized yogic product. Once certified, each instructor experiences a legal bond with
the organization, ensured by the contractual agreement between organization and
instructor. Being authorized to teach a form of spiritual practice over 40 centuries old, the
yoga instructor surely feels both an affective and legal bond with the study they have
invested themselves in. Those endowing the instructors with yogic knowledge, having
transmitted and certified the trainees skills, must also be regarded sentimentally. Without
personally undergoing the training at Core Power Yoga, one can only assume that creation
of a new self (through spiritual differentiation, leadership and institutionalized ideology),
celebration of group membership (common efforts, homogeneity) and stakeholder claims
(sacrifice, investment) create commitment and control within the group of instructor
trainees. These tactics of control are employed by other economically minded charismatic
businesses, including direct selling organizations (Biggart 1989). Within yoga, charismatic
controls are used to enforce the authority of the organization upon both instructors and
customers.
The elements of sacrifice, investment, and creation of a new self are especially
important to the charismatic authority held by bureaucratized charismatic organizations. In
creating a bureaucratic organization with charismatic qualities, Core Power Yoga has
51


created a successful business model that inexpensively continues discipline of employees
and patrons. Similar to charismatic controls enforced by the organizational structure of
direct selling organizations (Biggart 1989), those managed by charismatic yoga instructors
and institutions perceive charismatic control as self legitimizing belief and evidence of
group membership. Instead of costly marketing techniques necessary to seduce
consumers and employees, Core Power produces profit through creating an exclusive
identity for their participant. Charismatic control is less effective than rational-legal control
in the context of organizational management (Biggart 1989), but in the yogic framework
may be one of the few causes responsible for producing a growing entourage in a
specialized area of service that invests little in recruitment. Though direct selling
organizations and bureaucratized Yoga institutions are inherently different, Biggarts use of
Webers ideal types of social order in the charismatic organization is an important guide in
the analysis of bureaucratized charisma.
Once the Core Power ritual has been learned and engrained, elements of
traditional authority maintain Core Powers customer base. If Core Power Yoga participants
habituate their patronage of Core Power, the organization benefits from the legitimation of
traditional authority. The continuation of consumption afforded by elements of traditional
authority will sustain Core Power as an organization, giving them a firm base of capital
from which to extend their influence.
The combination of charisma, tradition, and rationality has proven successful for
Core Power Yoga. With multiple locations and a growing base of practitioners and
instructors, all of whom support Core Power Yoga financially, the profitability of this form of
organization is evident. By implementing rules and practices that promote a calculable and
controlled product in a purposive, systematic, impersonal and logical business environment
(Eisen 1978), Core Power has created a successful organization founded on rational-legal
52


authority that will seemingly expand into greater portions of the petty-bourgeoisie market.
To produce this expansion, Core Power has already begun their modeling of other hugely
successful business models.
The expansion and popularity of Core Power Yoga can be attributed to the modern
public need for an efficient means of combining exercise and spirituality in a predictable
business environment. By using a hierarchical administrative staff and in-house
certification of Yoga instructors, Core Power has created an efficient economic
organization. The integration of all necessary components to conduct the business of yoga
has created a routine, proficient, and calculable environment for both employees and
customers, resembling the workings of other modern bureaucratic organizations. With a
franchise ownership structure and the Core Power logo appearing in an increasing number
of central locations, the similarity between Core Power and popular fast food eateries is
obvious.
The McDonaldization of yoga exhibited by Core Power will inevitably turn more
and more consumers into flexible/spiritual types. By offering an efficient means of physical
fitness and spiritual guidance, Core Power Yoga has created an optimum blend of
exercise, enlightenment, and self legitimization. Being assured this satisfying combination
each time one attends Core Power, the customer is assured fulfillment through reliability
and predictability. The precise expression of physical movement and temporally articulated
action typified by Vinyasa Yoga assures the customer they are getting their moneys worth,
similar to the emphasis on the quantitative aspects emphasized at fast food restaurants
(Ritzer [2004] 2006). Though lacking non-human technology that ensures control over
products, Core Power Yoga promises a predictably satisfying experience to all customers
able to consume their services.
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As an organizational whole, Core Power Yoga enjoys an efficient business model
that sustains legitimacy from multiple sources. Rather than falling into mimetic and
normative digressions caused by the institutional isomorphism characteristic of
organizational fields (DiMaggio and Powell 1983), Core Power has successfully combined
the useful aspects of each pure type of legitimate authority, synthesizing an increasingly
flourishing organization. Being thus far understood as a primarily modem institution, to
further this investigation I will now draw from discussions of late modernity and the role of
the body within consumer society. Having used modernist perspective to understand the
organizational structure, we can now focus on the individual actors who constitute and
shape society. I will now examine the embodied yogi, the individual who experiences Core
Powers organizational structure. By interrelating the individual experience with the
methods of organization embodied by Core Power, my analysis will provide a complex
understanding of the various levels of structure and meaning derived from Core Power and
MPY.
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CHAPTER 5
THE EMBODIED YOGI
Expanding upon the discussion of reflexivity and habitus, this chapter attempts to
understand how the individual yogic participant may be influenced by the methods of
instruction found at Core Power Yoga. Discipline of populations and sociology of the body
continues the discussion of rationalization provided by classic and contemporary social
theorists found in Chapter 3. These areas of sociological inquiry are highly related and
provide a stable outlook from which to view the yogic actor. I will revisit the key points
offered by Anthony Giddens (1981, 1993), JUrgen Habermas (1984, 1987) and Pierre
Bourdieu (1977,1990a, 1990b, 1998) concerning the reflexive creation of self and society.
The process by which structures impose themselves upon individual thought and action
are essential to my analysis of the experience found at Core Power. Foucault (1965,1977,
1988) provides a highly complex discussion of methods used to regulate populations and
dominate individuals. Foucault offers a powerful example of corporal subjugation used to
control populations, leading naturally towards necessity of understanding the sociological
significance of the human body. Turners The Body and Culture ([1984] 1996) guides my
analysis towards the individual level experience of Core Power practice and provides a
framework for understanding what participants derive from Core Power practice. Turners
emphasis on impression management (e.g., Goffman 1959,1963,1967) reveals the
importance of bodily symbols in contemporary consumer culture. The similarities between
methods of impression management and scientific management (Taylor [1911] 1967)
found in dominant bureaucratic institutions draws parallels between management of self
and society. Finally, Core Power Yoga is reviewed in its entirety using discipline, sociology
55


of the body, bodily practices, and scientific management to derive the diverse meanings
and implications of participation in Core Power classes.
Agency, Discipline and Surveillance
As discussed in Chapter 3, late modern perspectives provide means of
understanding the interconnection of self and society (Giddens 1981,1993; Habermas
1984,1987; Bourdieu 1977, 1990a, 1990b, 1998). In the duality of structure (Giddens
1981), individuals are constrained by structure but are provided agency which allows the
actor to knowingly decide upon their actions (Applerouth and Edles 2007). Echoed in the
relationship between lifeworld and system, Habermas (1984,1987) offers a perspective
that coincides with Giddens' position that individuals may shape and evolve the structures
around them. Reverting to the pessimistic determinism present in much rationalization
theory, Bourdieu (1977,1990a, 1990b, 1998) expands on the structure versus agency
dialogue by showing that individual thought and action are highly determined by dominant
structures and spatial relationship with others. Providing a transition towards the structural
domination of populations offered by Foucault (1977), Bourdieus habitus (1990a) seeks to
understand how spatial relation to economic and cultural capital influence ones thought
and action. Bourdieus position of agency influenced by structure can be strengthened by
reviewing Foucaulfs Discipline and Punish (1977); a piece offering deep insight into
structural avenues of controlling individuals and populations.
Being primarily interested with regulation of populations and bodies (Turner [1984]
1996), Foucaults work is based on methods of social control. Concerned with both the
domination of individuals by social structures as well as the interpersonal control fostered
by the technologies of self (Foucault 1988), Foucault reveals how self is created and
determined through structure, system, and society. Foucaults central tenants crucial to
56


understanding Core Powers significance may be defined through review of Foucaults
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1977).
Another social academic interested in the movement from traditional forms of
social control towards more contemporary methods, Foucault (1977) delineates the
historical progression from the tortuous scaffold to the cruel, but not savage, surveillance
systems of modern prisons. The shift from the spectacle of punishment to the rational
systematic control of corrective penality is based on operations of power (Foucault 1977).
Rather than social structures and governments deriving judicial power thought the brutal
punishment of the physical body, modem societal institutions discipline the mind through
habituation and systematization of the criminal body. Codifications of punishment (Foucault
1977), similar to the rule bound structure of bureaucracies, became a sort of encyclopedic
reference for discipline. The systematic reform of punishment re-distributed penal power
and rationalized the exercise of judicial power (Foucault 1977). Creating penalties that are
outcomes of the crimes they punish and by displaying these punishments to the
prospective guilty as penalties that outweigh the benefits of crime (Foucault 1977),
complex judicial systems enforce control of populations through systematic means. By
defining rank, distribution, and controlled activity, discipline proceeds from the distribution
of individuals in space (Foucault 1977: 141). Methods used to punish criminals in modern
times place great emphasis on the condemned body.
Instead of the ungodly practices of execution through torture and quartering,
modern judicial systems impose control on the criminal body. Through systematization of
judicial techniques of power, analysis of the criminal mind turned to analysis of the criminal
body. Based on the notion of the docile body that may be subjected, used, transformed
and improved (Foucault 1977:136), the restriction of the body through temporal and
spatial constrictions leads to the transformation of the criminal self. The art of discipline
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requires structural distinctions; namely some form of enclosure systematically employing
the partitioning of individuals where activity may be controlled (Foucault 1977). With an
imposing structure allowing for the constant surveillance of criminal populations in place,
the criminal becomes a calculated and systematized project designed to rid society of
opposition.
In controlling the activity of the punished, judicial technicians impose time tables,
temporal restrictions, anatomical articulations, and defined relationships between object
and body, which, if controlled successfully, will exhaust the kinetic and mental energies of
the prisoner. Used to establish rhythms, impose particular occupations, [and] regulate the
cycles of repetition (Foucault 1977:149), judicial time tables produce normalization from
without. Through supervision of the imprisoned individuals activity, the judicial
establishment attempts to make exhaustive use of the criminal's time. By imposing
obligatory rhythms upon the movement of prisoners, a programme of control is established
(Foucault 1977). Defined by Foucault as an anatamo-chronological schema of behavior
(Foucault 1977:152), the successful control of the imprisoned body defines the methods
used to regulate modem populations. Attempting to find the most efficient relation between
movement and position of the body, the correct use of time and body calls for all capacities
of the imprisoned to be exercised into exhaustion.
To properly drain the energies of illegal populations, a highly intricate system of
regulation must be established. Time must be divided into successive or parallel
segments, each of which must end at a specific time (Foucault 1977:157). Once time has
been successfully divided based on the goals of reform, these fragments of time allow for
the distribution of acts in a simple manner, a distribution of acts that increases in
complexity with succession (p. 158). To test the reliability of these temporal distinctions,
examinations are used to check the individuals success in completing the given goals,
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determine individual capacities, and to differentiate between individual competencies (p.
158). Using the information provided by examination results, the anatamo-chronological
control of individuals can be manipulated towards the most efficient means of controlling
each individual. The specialization of regimen, space, and meter can be constantly re-
designed to totally exhaust individual possibilities, tending] towards a subjection that
never reache[s] its limits (Foucault 1977:162).
The structural environments where schedules of discipline are enforced very much
resemble modern bureaucracies. The ideal disciplinary apparatus would make it possible
for a single gaze to see everything constantly (Foucault 1977: 173) by way of hierarchical
observation. The judgment held by those with authoritative positions from which to direct
the judicial gaze is a normalizing judgment that is indifferent and serves as a corrective of
behavior (Foucault 1977). Authorities measure in quantitative terms and heirarchizes in
terms of values and abilities, the level, the nature of individuals (Foucault 1977; 183),
conducting examinations and establishing new modifications to regimens based on the
results. The examination of competency is used as an instrument of power that changes
the economy of visibility into the exercise of power (Foucault 1977; 187 emphasis in
original). Examination allows for individualized discipline and generally makes each
individual a case; a case which at one and the same time constitutes an object for a
branch of knowledge and a hold for a branch of power (p. 191). The power derived from
the disciplinary practices of control and surveillance produce common understandings.
[Pjower produces; it produces reality; it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth
(p. 194).
As a general description of Discipline and Punish, Foucault delineates the exercise
of power through panoptic surveillance and quantification of body in relation to movement
and time. Discipline is defined as a type of power not distinct to a certain structural
59


apparatus (Foucault 1977: 215). Discipline can be used by any institution that holds
enough authority to enjoy dominance over a group of people. As a societal whole,
panopticism pervades all modes of discipline and allows an infitismal distribution of power
relations (Foucault 1977: 216). Foucault, similar to Weber, has viewed the project of
rationalization similar to Nietzsche, rejecting the claim that reason and rationality have
advanced societies past despotism and terror (Turner 1982). The surveillance and
calculation exercised upon bodies through rational tactics is viewed by these theorists as
they exist, as modes of social control.
Discipline and Core Power Yoga
Starting from the possibility that discipline may be imposed by any institution that
enjoys dominance over a group (Foucault 1977), Core Power certainly has the capacity to
dominate their large customer base. Though imprisonment and free choice in yogic
participation changes the tone and meaning of disciplinary structure, I argue that Core
Power practice is similar to judicial discipline in that both structures seek to regulate and
shape bodies. Similar to the process by which the codification of punishment allows for an
encyclopedia of discipline, the continuing systematization and codification of MPY,
reaching its furthest point at Core Power Yoga, provides Core Power a system of
knowledge that dominates those who choose to consume their services. Maintaining
domination over their participants, Core Power employs many of the same methods of
bodily regulation that are used to control criminal populations.
Akin to the transformation of the criminal, Core Power Yoga controls the
movement of docile bodies that may transformed and improved (Foucault 1977:136).
The anatamo-chronological schema of behavior (Foucault 1977:152) based on restriction
of movement imposed by space, rhythm, and temporal distinctions is found at Core Power
in the highly specific anatomical programme of posture-based yoga as well as Core
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Powers emphasis on rhythm and timing. Using set class lengths, musical reference, and
awareness of the chronological lengths of each movement and position, Core Power
imposes temporal restrictions upon their participants. Using time tables to provide
reference to the duration of positions, the multiple movements inherent in each yogic
posture are easily defined and conveyed to the participant. In Core Power practice the
movement of the body is intimately linked to the movement of breath; a practice enforced
by the conscious timing of movement based on the rhythm of respiration. The structural
impositions at Core Power also include climate control where the temperature in the yoga
studio is raised as to foster both perspiration and increased flexibility (Core Power Yoga,
L.L.C. 2006). Extending the subjugation of the body into reailms of breath and temperature,
element of Core Power practice can be seen as a logical evolution of the anatamo-
chronological schema" (Foucault 1977:152). Having highly specialized restrictions placed
upon movement, rhythm, respiration, and climate, the Core Power curriculum renews its
consumers strength through methods similar to those used to subjugate prisoners.
The restrictions of the body at Core Power take place in a setting where each
yogis movements are easily witnessed by the instructor and other participants. With
participants facing the instructor in a climate controlled room consisting of three mirrored
walls, each movement and posture is judged by the instructor. Analogous to the judicial
gaze (Foucault 1977), by having access to and being critical of the supposed correctness
of each individuals movement, the normalizing judgment of the instructor serves as a
corrective to each participant's behavior. Using standards and procedures taught in the
required yoga teacher training, constant visibility affords the instructor the enactment of
power over their classes.
The difference between Core Power Yoga and the panoptic system of discipline
needs to be exposed here. Obviously Foucault (1977) draws his analysis of discipline from
61


the condemned body, the criminal who has little choice in the manner of their handling. The
power held by penal institutions differs in great amplitude when compared to the power
exercised by Core Power Yoga. Choosing to consume teachings that are based on
rhythmic temporal restriction and anatomical articulations does confer a level of power
upon the organization of Core Power Yoga, but this may not be readily compared to the
use of these methods of discipline imposed upon the criminal. To elucidate the
commonalities between the prisoner and the Core Power yogi, a brief theoretical
comparison of imprisonment and embodiment may be offered.
The prolific adoption of Taylorism ([1911] 1967) to forms of work and labor has
been critically analyzed (Braverman 1974; Gramsci 1971), in a sense giving validity to its
impact on labor relations. Being set within a highly specialized and differentiated political
economy, both sport (Guttman 1978) and religion (Berger 1967,1979; Bellah, 1970; Turner
[1984] 1996), for reasons of organizational continuation, as well as mimetic isomorphism
(DiMaggio and Powell 1983), have become increasingly similar to the most efficient forms
of enacting authority over social groups (Weber [1922] 1968). Through imposing an
anatamo-chronological schema of behavior (Foucault 1977:152) upon prisoners,
workers, athletes, and worshippers, numerous social organizations employ the same
methods of population management that in its truest form exists inside prison walls.
Though of varying degrees of pervasiveness and success, many complex hierarchical
organizations impose some form of discipline through surveillance of populations and a
demographic understanding of their parishioners. Foucault (1977) acknowledges that
discipline may be enforced by any institution that holds enough authority to enjoy
dominance over a group of people. As Core Power Yoga exists at the intersection of
athleticism and religion, yoga being a precise example of the fusion of body and mind
62


(Strauss 2005), the analysis of Core Power as a cite of discipline and management is far
from unfounded.
Referring back to Foucaults (1977) definition of discipline as not identified with a
specific institution but any institution that exercises authority over a group of people, one
must ask; from where does Core Power Yoga derive its authority? What forces are at work
which provide Core Power Yoga a populace that has the monetary capacity and desire to
have their bodies controlled and managed? Moving into Turners ([1984] 1996) sociology of
the body, connections between embodiment and the authority from which Core Power
benefits may be constructed.
Sociology of the Body
Discussion of sociology of the body allows for a multifaceted understanding of the
practice of modem postural yoga. Anchored in movement, position and temporal rhythm,
the body of the modem postural yogi is controlled and managed. Examined within the
larger industrial complex that relies upon the precise control of labor through standardized
movement, Core Power Yoga can be thought of as a space used to condition late modem
bodies. Cultural standards of consumption and desire make the MPY studio a workshop
where participants can create the physical capital so important in our visual society. As a
point of juncture between the discipline of laborers and the obtainment of cultural ideals,
Core Power Yoga may be reviewed as an institution of intense importance for self and
society.
Postmodern theories that reject rational interpretations of reality inherently oppose
medicalized definitions of the body and Cartesian dualism. The dominance of
Cartesianism, or modernitys emphasis on the split of mind and body, has come under
critical examination. Feminist, critical and postmodern perspectives, all highly interrelated,
are philosophical and social consequences of major transformations in the nature of
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society, primarily towards the emergence of a postmodern or information society (Turner
[1984] 1996: 20). These theoretical perspectives reject the sharp differentiation of the mind
and body, a position pervasive in the sociological interest of the socially constructed self
that largely denies the body as an aspect of that self (Turner [1984] 1996: 62). By
integrating these sociological schools of thought, Turner creates a tentative outline fora
sociology of the body.
The founding elements of a sociology of body or action, as proposed by Turner
([1984] 1996), are the embodiment of the agent, the body as symbolic system, and the
body as a symbol system linked to relations of power (Turner [1984] 1996). The embodied
agent, akin to Giddens reflexive actor (1981, 1993), is not wholly biology, not entirely
culture, but a non-dualist composition of nature and nurture (Turner [1984] 1996). The unit
of analysis in the sociology of the body, the embodied actor, is constrained through politics
of the body as well as liberated through reflexive interaction with self and society. The latter
function of the reflexive body is less important to Turners analysis of the body being that
symbolic relationships of power are inherently related with previous sociological
investigations concerned with the determinism of social structure. Focusing upon the
structural impositions which shape action and thought, Turners analysis extends
Foucaults discussion of social control at the site of the body (1977) and more generally
Bourdieus meaning of habitus (Bourdieu 1977, 1990a, 1990b, 1998). An understanding of
the symbolic body, not completely rooted in determinism, is first needed to understand how
structures may impose themselves on the social constitution of the body.
Impression Management
Grounding his work in the conversation of symbols which occurs through verbal
and non-verbal communication, Erving Goffman (1959,1963,1967) advances the position
of the reflexive and embodied actor. Using status symbols, stigma symbols, and
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disidentifiers to express the self through the visible body, Goffman (1963) emphasizes
visibility in the construction of self. Goffman understood that social information can be
manipulated by the actor to create determined expressions of self. [T]he arts, basic in
social life, through which the individual exerts strategic control over the image of himself
and his products that others glean from him (Goffman 1963: 130), allow the reflexive actor
to manipulate the impression he casts in social settings. Acknowledging the interpretive
agent in the manufacture of self, Goffmans work declares the individual body as medium
of social interaction (Applerouth and Edles 2007).
In the social context where norms and moral codes shape conduct, Goffmans
ideas become better related to the institutional constitution of reflexivity. When discussing
interaction as a theater (1959), the individual role is set in front of an audience who judges
the identity management performed by the actor. The individual front, or the individuals
regular performance for others, has most often been pre-defined and is selected, rather
than created by the actor (Goffman 1959). Instead of defining the individual as creative and
self determinant, Goffman likens individuals to pegs on which collective meanings are hung
(1959). And the means for producing and maintaining selves do not reside inside the peg;
in fact these means are often bolted down in social establishments (Goffman 1959: 253).
Implying that individual choice is often determined by norms and moral codes of conduct,
Goffmans tone harmonizes with Bourdieus habitus (1990a) and the prevailing
determination of action by structure.
Using a micro interpretation of interaction, Goffman provides sociology of the body
a means of interpreting the use of the body in social action. The body is the vehicle for
self-performances and the target through rituals of degradation of social exclusion" (Turner
[1984] 1996: 68). If verbal, and especially non-verbal, cues elicited from the body are used
to construct ones reality for self and others, the outward control and surveillance of the
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body by authoritative institutions profoundly shapes knowledge of self and reality. Just as
the individual peg is bolted to the frame of social establishments (Goffiman 1959), individual
impression management is dictated largely by dominant institutional structures. Corporal
symbolic cues, residing in the body as disease and pathology, and on the body's surface
as indicators of class, health, gender, etc., become units of panoptic analysis. By
displaying the body in communication and consumer societies, those with legitimate capital
and status to produce visual advertisement increasingly determine our perceptions of self,
other, justice, and truth.
Discipline and Sociology of the Body
Looking back to Foucaults interest with demographics and bodies, the panoptic
surveillance of regulated populations is highly interrelated to the control of consumptive
populations. Regulation of individual self and population take on different forms in late
modem consumer societies. Having been reared on ideologies espousing pervasive
individuality, the primary actor controls ones self through diet, exercise and medical
regimens (Turner [1984] 1996). To regulate populations and cultures, political economies
control bodies through regulations on production, biological reproduction, and finally
through the regulation of bodies in political/urban space (Turner [1984] 1996):
Urban bodies were politically dangerous without the web of institutional
regulation and the micro-disciplines of control. The surveillance and
supervision of urban populations were achieved through regulation and
classification, which made possible the centralized registration of bodies
for policing under a system of panopticism (p. 120).
Completing a regulatory system by which to examine and transcribe the bodies of the
individual, advanced societies use a calculative understanding of actors to impose control
over their masses. Through the shift from traditional to advanced societies, religious norms
lose their importance in population control, being replaced by disciplines characteristic of
factories and machines, namely Fordism and Taylorism (Turner [1984] 1996; 164). These
66


management systems impose themselves on the individual at the site of the body and are
extremely pervasive forms of control within economic, social and leisurely institutions.
Scientific Management
Management of populations and bodies is a field of study expounded upon
extensively by industrialists of the early 1900s. Fredrick Taylor ([1911] 1967) was
motivated to produce utmost efficiency of workers within industrial environments. In
attempts of normalizing and maximizing the initiative of the worker, conception of the task
idea and proper means of execution are determined by management and distributed to the
worker (Taylor [1911] 1967). When the laborer succeeds in fulfilling the task idea in the
time limit set forth by management, they can expect to be rewarded with increased
monetary compensation (Taylor [1911] 1967). Through the separation of conception from
execution, the efficiency and production of scientific management eclipses the old type of
management dependent exclusively on the initiative of the worker (Taylor [1911] 1967).
Taylor forged a more precise form of management and labor relation than ever expounded
before (Braverman 1974). The argument against Taylors formation of scientific
management has produced critical response in numerous literary circles.
The general case against Taylors scientific management ([1911] 1967) is the
manipulative coercion exercised in the ordering of production (Gramsci 1971), the divorce
of labor from the creative skills of the worker (Braverman 1974), and the domination of
knowledge exercised by management (Braverman 1974). Instead of actively being a part
of the productive process, Taylorized production is conceived, controlled, observed, and
corrected by the centralized knowledge of management (Braverman 1974). Dehumanizing
the worker, scientific management reduces labor to standardized and enforced action.
Using dystopian fiction to elaborate the sickness of the scientific management model and
possible implications of this method on future societies, Huxley (1932) separates
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conception and execution to the point of a foolproof system of eugenics, designed to
standardize the human product and so to facilitate the task of the managers (p. xvi).
Conveyed through both fictional and non-fictional terms, the intellectual opposition to the
scientific management of the worker has been prolific.
The individual who experiences the domination of precise management techniques
is surely influenced at the level of the micro self. Once conditioned and adjusted to the
dictates of scientific management and control of action, the individual unfortunately has
more time to think about the fact that their work gives them no satisfaction (Gramsci 1971).
Desperately needing to legitimize the managed self, the individual turns to the late modern
form of moral salvation offered by consumerism. With the moral grounding of self having
shifted from religious to managerial methods, the con temporary body becomes a site of
pleasure and self discipline. In consumer culture, the body becomes centered on sensual
pleasure, discipline,- and consumption. Within consumer culture the body is proclaimed as
a vehicle of pleasure: it is desirable and desiring and the closer the actual body
approximates to the idealized images of youth, health, fitness and beauty the higher its
exchange value (Featherstone 1982: 21-22). Methods used to secure an increased
exchange value become popular sites of bodily regulation; organizations that offer
instruction and services allowing for the individual obtainment of current cultural values
centered on the body. These spaces of willful regulation of the corporal self become sites
of body practice.
Body practices enable the body to be formed and regulated, permitting individuals
to secure tools of positive impression management in consumer societies. Participation in
social body practices foster bonds and create social networks, re-affirming some common
understandings while rejecting others (Turner [1984] 1996). The practice of body in a group
context also allows for the display and performance of the self towards a group within
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common meaning systems. The new personality requires validation from audiences
through successful performances of the self (Turner [1984] 1996: 195). The micro level
practice of self regulation through bodily regimentation is set within the macro level
regulation of populations, production, and consumption. The relations of macro level
practices of domination and surveillance come to define micro level practices of self
regulation, and take on many of the same characteristics. Through a calculating hedonism,
the individual actor use deliberate means to shape their bodies and promote their well
being; general evidence of the narcissistic culture of modem capitalism (Turner [1984]
1996). The use of regulatory practices espoused by modem bureaucratic enterprises are a
means of regulating and creating a new self, inextricably linked to modem postural yoga
Sociology of the Body and Core Power Yoga
Having a new framework from which to understand the types of body practices that
occur at Core Power Yoga, I will re-examine the meaning of Core Power practice. Taking
Goffman (1959,1963,1967) and Bourdieu (1977, 1990a, 1990b, 1998) as my guiding
theoretical positions, the constrained cognitive choice exercised by the Core Power
participant will be crucial to this sections analysis. Adhering to Turners propositions of the
accurate sociology of the body ([1984] 1996), the Core Power participant will be viewed as
an at least partially autonomous actor whose social, not individualistic, composition
consists of the interaction between body and mind, nature and society. Understood through
impression management, scientific management, and the interaction between micro and
macro social control, Core Power becomes a site of multifaceted meaning for regulation of
self and society. Recognizing the reflexive interaction between the Core Power Yoga
organization and the Core Power participant, both set within a reflexive conversation with
late modem consumer society, this section attempts to flesh out the latent symbolic
meanings to be found at Core Power Yoga.
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As the conversation of visual cues becomes impregnated with meaning derived
from the agreed upon definitions created through social interaction (Blumer 1969),
methods of impression management (Goffman 1959,1963, 1967) are used to guide
behavior towards these common frames of reference. In consumer culture, the increasing
importance of desirability, axially balanced on youth, fitness, beauty, and health
(Featherstone 1982), creates a forte for individuals and organizations that promise to
generate bodies that conform to norms of consumer culture. Arenas of body practice that
offer methods of body maintenance find success in consumer culture for two explicit
reasons; first, individuals consume body practices because methods of bodily maintenance
provide tools used for positive impression management in an embodied culture and;
secondly, because the methods of bodily maintenance that indicate a machine metaphor of
the body (Featherstone 1982) conform to the highly differentiated and specialized workings
of late modern consumer economy. Mutually beneficial for Core Power and the participant,
Core Power is taught in classes that can increase the amount of income generated per
hour, on the other hand affording the actor validation of visible self through successful
performance for others in class. As ones yogic repertoire becomes more distinct and
advanced, chances of positive impression management in the studio become increasingly
possible.
Consumed by reflexive actors, the choice to use Core Power Yoga as a tool for
increasing social capital through impression management is cemented by the familiarity
late modern actors have with methods of scientific management exercised in specialized
social and economic environments. Revisiting habitus (Bourdieu 1990a), mental structures
and choice in action are largely determined by spatial relation to economic and cultural
capital (1998). Coming from populations that enjoy enough affluence to consume relatively
expensive body practices, Core Power participants have likely been subjugated by, or at
70


least are obedient to, the methods used to differentiate, stratify, and control populations.
Being socialized in a late modem environment where dominant institutions apply power
using rational authority, the enforcement of discipline through surveillance, and the
separation of conception from execution, Core Power yogis choose to shape their docile
bodies in an environment that constrains them very much like other prolific social
institutions. Core Power Yoga successfully combines consumer need satisfaction with an
efficient organizational structure, validating legitimate authority that allows for the
accumulation of capital and abundant organizational growth.
The interaction of modernist forms of authoritative organizational structure with the
emphasis on the individual body of consumerism is highly evident at Core Power Yoga. An
example of the progression from charismatic origins to highly regimented forms of
structure, Core Power has advanced and evolved into a bureaucratic institution that enjoys
authority rooted in rational, traditional, and charismatic grounds. An organization
embedded in late modem consumer society, the primarily rational structure of Core Power
markets themselves to a population of consumptive bodies in need of legitimation.
Promoting an image of self that conforms to consumer cultures prominence of youth,
health, and leisure, Core Power extends control over bodies through management
practices vital to the control of laboring populations. Core Power and its consumers are
legitimated by the spiritual roots of yoga, offering transcendence to the participant and
authority to the producer. In addition, Core Powers organization and the identities of their
consumers are legitimated by the likeness of Core Powers organizational methods to other
successful business models. The legitimation of self and structure found at Core Power
incorporates modem and late modem perspectives, effectively integrating the theoretical
perspectives outlined in my thesis.
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CHAPTER 7
LEGITMIZATtON OF SOCIETY AND SELF
Using modem and late modern theoretical positions to understand the significance
of a specific contemporary yoga studio, thus far Core Power has been examined as a site
where both structure and agency are exercised. While allowing for proper discussion of
sociological theory, not one prospective can take into account the multifarious importance
Core Power plays in our times. Synthesizing modernist and late modem perspectives,
Core Power may be understood as it exists; a bureaucratic organization that produces
legitimation of dominant structures and self through manipulation of the body. Using
prevailing organizational methods elaborated by Weber ([1922] 1968) and management
systems intrinsic to controlling criminal (Foucault 1977) and laboring populations (Taylor
[1911] 1967), Core Power validates both economy and their own organization through
structuring themselves upon the governing principles of late modem economy. Providing a
site of body practice (Turner [1984] 1996), Core Power also offers a means of self
legitimation in a health and beauty fixated consumer culture. Through a fusion of ideas
covered in the previous chapters, I will elucidate the process by which Core Power
confirms both dominant organizational structure and individual self in consumer culture.
Analysis of Core Power as site of institutional legitimation will provide a critical view of Core
Power. Understanding the legitimation of self through Core Power in turn provides
evidence of affirming the legitimacy of dominant organizational structures. Understanding
Core Power as a local of legitimation, the increasing popularity of Core Power and MPY as
a whole will be presented as a clear sociological phenomena.
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Legitimation of Dominant Authority
As delineated in Chapter 2, Weberian perspective provides tools to further the
understanding of power, domination, social action, and legitimacy. As an organization,
Core Power enjoys a collective confirmation of their organizational philosophys legitimacy,
evident in their increasing popularity and capital holdings. While containing threads of
traditional authority, Core Power derives the majority of their legitimacy through charismatic
and rational-legal sources. Recognizing themselves as a yoga studio, Core Power is
afforded authority through the charismatic status honor acquired by heredity of office
holding (Weber [1922] 1968: 251). The charismatic lineage of yoga provides great
prestige to Core Powers mission, regardless of Core Powers definition of self as secular
practice (Core Power Yoga, L.L.C. 2006). Charismatic authority legitimizes the purest form
of domination exercised by Core Power; social control derived from bureaucracy.
The organizational structure of Core Power is clearly hierarchical, as delineated in
Chapter 5. Using forms of social control similar to scientific management (Taylor [1911]
1967) as well as Foucauldian discipline and surveillance (Foucault 1977), Core Power
confirms the dominance of their organization through an un-even distribution of knowledge,
and also by creating a site of regimentation, enforced movement, and hierarchical
surveillance. The execution of yoga at Core Power is controlled by trained instructors in
such a way that the body of the practitioner is an object to be managed and manipulated.
At Core Power, like many arenas of late modem social life, humans become subordinate to
bureaucratically organized patterns of behavior, i.e., regimens (McGuire 1990). Anatamo-
chronological control (Foucault 1977) is now produced in leisurely settings where
consumers may discipline their own bodies in attempts of status obtainment. Body
practices common in the narcissistic culture of modem capitalism (Turner [1984] 1996)
promote the imperative of health (Lupton 1995), where physical condition is equated with
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moral purity. The ethics of health (Garrett 2001) produce new cathedrals of consumption
(Ritzer 2005) where commodities such as Core Power Yoga may be consumed. Core
Powers market is commodity consumers, consisting of members of the privileged classes
who tend to treat the body as an end in itself (Bourdieu 1978: 838). Using the body as
signifier of ethical health consumption, the Core Power participant legitimizes the service
based commodity market that subjugates individuals to idealized images of health
(Featherstone 1982). Consuming body practices in organizational structures similar to
those that dominate economies, Core Power and its participants validate the legitimacy of
hierarchical organizational practices.
A late modem perspective assists in understanding the above analysis as a
struggle between life world and system (Habermas 1984,1987) or the duality of structure
(Giddens 1981, 1993). Bourdieu (1977, 1990a, 1990b, 1998) provides a perspective that
emanates through my analysis. Viewing Core Power as a structure and system defined by
its relationship to economic and cultural capital in late modem society, evidence abounds
confirming the domination of Core Powers rational structure over the agency exercised by
its participants. Marketed towards working professionals and stay-at-home moms (Core
Power Yoga, L.L.C. 2006), the population which Core Power attracts are those likely to be
exposed and imposed on by dominant organizational ideologies and practices. Multiplying
the dominance Core Powers structure exercises over its participants, the intuitively rather
than traditionally designed Core Power practice (Core Power Yoga, L.L.C. 2006)
disregards yogas historical lineage of knowledge. Without equal access to yogic teachings
that profess both acceptance and emancipation, Core Power participants are coerced into
consuming a practice which they have little chance, or desire, to evolve through
communicative action. Participation in a practice that divides knowledge once again
confirms the prevailing hierarchical distribution of knowledge which dominates late modem
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societies. The reflexive process in this instance dominates the yogic consumer through
custody of yogic knowledge enforced by an efficient bureaucracy.
Recognized as a whole, Core Power instills dominant forms of social control into
their followers. Exercising legitimate authority, Core Power is an ideological exercise that
enforces dominant forms of population control at the site of the body. The mask of
charisma worn by Core Power makes the social control hidden in their practice particularly
insidious (McGuire 1990). Social control exercised over the mindful body of the participant
is extremely potent (McGuire 1990), especially when latently embedded in a leisurely and
spiritual practice.
Core Powers methods resemble the social control mechanisms used to create
docile bodies and tame labor. In addition to religion and diet, MPY and Core Power are a
system through which the institutions of normative coercion operate[ ], bringing about a
regulation of individuals in the interest of social stability through the regulation of their
bodies (Turner [1984] 1996: 22). Understood through this lens, the critical consumer may
abandon Core Power for other forms of health obtainment that adhere to egalitarian
principles or types of yoga closer to the authentic charismatic roots from which Core Power
has evolved. On the other hand, Core Power provides it participants means of self
legitimation in a consumer society fixated on body, beauty, and health. Trapped in the
reflexive relationship between self and society, the individual must negotiate the best
means of obtaining cultural goals, dominant values, and spiritual aspirations. Possibly not
the most desirable location for acquiring each of these objectives, Core Power offers an
efficient path towards these ends, and therefore serves as a location of self legitimation.
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Legitimation of Self
Core Power Yoga has been understood multifariously, using sociological
scholarship to understand the many levels of meaning found at Core Power. As an
organization, Core Power adheres to bureaucratic principles to maintain efficient business
practices, yet the origins of their philosophical content were founded on renunciation of
society and isolation from non-practitioners (Strauss 2005). The term yoga being primarily
used as a selling point steeped in charismatic status honor, what spiritual and sacred
elements of classic yoga are still found in Core Powers practice? Focusing upon the
posture branch of Patanjaiis teachings, the positions arising from this spiritual lineage are
instilled with meaning beyond their consumer culture use value. Encouraging each
participant to embark on their own spiritual journey (Core Power Yoga, L.L.C. 2006), the
religious, spiritual, and transcendent properties inherent in Core Power practice must be
recognized. At the site of the body, Core Power offers a ritual that creates a sense of
togetherness (McGuire 1996) and a new imaginary body where the body becomes a
blessed vehicle for the obtainment of sacred states (Garrett 2001). Introducing the
possibility of transcendence and strength to the individual body, Core Power potentially
may create bodies of resistance (McGuire 1996) through the use of technologies of the self
(Foucault 1988). To balance critique of Core Power as a regulative bureaucracy, the
transformative aspects of Core Power must be identified.
Religious implications
As a religious practice, Core Power may offer inroads to the sacred through
assurance of grace, orthopraxy, and deep emotion. Through regulation of time, space,
movement, and respiration, Core Power provides means by which to secure spiritual
connections and sacred meaning. Focusing upon the body, a site of ever increasing
importance in late modern consumer culture, Core Power practice shapes the vehicle by
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which individuals recognize themselves. As a group of mindful bodies, ritual action may
create a strong sense of communion (McGuire 1996). Through orthopraxy, the precise
conformity in ritual behavior (Roberts 2004: 79), Core Power provides their customers a
ceremony of bodily emphasis akin to that experienced by practitioners of Islam.
Disseminating rituals by which to regulate the body, the subjective conditions experienced
by Core Power participants heighten awareness of spiritual possession and provide the
practitioner the assurance of grace (Weber [1922] 1968: 538). Experienced in a group
setting, intense intersubjectivity and mystical experience may be experienced through the
lived body as deep emotion (McGuire 1996). As a ritual practice with outcomes of profound
sensation, Core Power offers its customer base at least some means of religious
realization.
Adhering to Turners ([1984] 1996) definition of secularization, Core Power is a
secular institution who takes on religious functions. As a bureaucracy operating with
legitimate rational authority, Core Power offers its participants a familiar environment to
interact with. Within consumer culture, body maintenance is presented as a prerequisite for
the obtainment of acceptability (Featherstone 1982). Seeking the assurance of grace and
means to secure desirable bodies, Core Power practitioners knowingly consume Core
Power as a way of satisfying these very real needs. Set in an accountable and rational
environment the body practices of Core Power are trusted and palatable based on their
likeness to dominant organizational forms. Imposing management of the body parallel with
means of managing forces of labor (Taylor [1911] 1967), spirituality and desirability are
obtained with maximum efficiency and consistency. Combining rational conduct with
legitimation of a sacred and desirable self, Core Power has grown as an organization
based on the authentic needs of bodies in late modem consumer culture.
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Ethical Self Care
Core Power being an inherently bodily practice, the individual awareness of bodily
self must be fostered if one is to advance as a yogi. Through visualizing ones body from
the outside, one becomes aware of the subtle movements of each part of the body,
creating a new imaginary body (Garrett 2001: 333). Creating a new awareness through
the technologies of self (Foucault 1988), Core Power participants are provided avenues of
self reflection and transformation. Foucaults (1988) focus on transformation of self is
grounded in the ethical possibilities this alteration will manifest. Elaborated by Markula
(2004) as an ethics of self-care, the technologies of self, when founded on critique and
self-aestheticization, can be a liberative political activity. When a new imaginary body is
created through practices of ethical self care, the individual may emerge with transformed
knowledge that seeks to positively alter self and society.
At Core Power, as in the hybrid fitness classes studied by Markula (2004), the
hierarchy of knowledge dis-allows the transformative nature of the technologies of self to
be actualized. The instructors at Core Power are those that may directly affect the new
understanding of self created through yoga practice. Without regularly participating in Core
Power classes, I can only assume based on the organizational structure of Core Power
that what is taught at Core Power teacher training does not contain messages of revolt nor
liberation from the dominant ideologies of society. Though there must be elements of
ethical self care disseminated through Core Power practice, the content and ends of these
teachings are likely far from revolutionary.
Integration of Structure and Self
Comparing the elements of organizational and societal legitimation next to the
means of self legitimization, my personal beliefs about Core Power practice are apparent.
While containing possible avenues of liberation for the participant, the highly rationalized
78


structure of Core Power prohibits the formation of emancipatory knowledge. Diverging far
from the origins of yoga, Core Power produces a reduction of yoga that is palatable to both
political economy and the individuals who are dominated by these institutions. Owned by a
former IT executive and proliferating through franchising, the obvious goal of Core Power is
profit. The possibilities of liberation espoused by a long history of yoga has gradually
decomposed, beginning with Vivekanandas reformulation of yoga for Western tastes, into
a marketable practice with little interest in yogas historical lineage.
As the final proposition of my argument, it is my belief Core Power legitimizes
selves embedded in a late modem consumer soiciety dominantly organized by rational-
legal authority. Rather than providing customers the truth of yogas long history, what is
disseminated by Core Power justifies the consumers subordinate role. Using methods of
discipline and management analogous to the forms of social control found in economic
environments, Core Power produces docile bodies that may be more easily adapted to
specializations of work and consumption in late modem life. As a location where principles
of social control are distributed in a leisurly and spiritual environment, the participants
habitus becomes structured upon dominant systems of regulation. The fact that dominant
methods of social control are transmitted in a leisure environment where particpants derive
spiritual meaning is particularly pernicious. Providing a space where guided teachings
allow the individual to find what threads of spiritual connection remain in contemporary
societys rational dominance, Core Power legitimizes the identities of their customers as
embodied consumers and specialized laborers who finding spiritual bliss through scientific
managment. The high fees levied upon Core Power customers reduce the participant base
to middle-upper class individuals who assign to religion the primary function of legitimizing
their own life pattern and situation in the world (Weber [1922] 1968: 491). The population
who seeks Core Power training are those whose habitus is already strucured by un-equal
79


relation to economic and cultural capital. Affirming the dispositions and mental structures
understood and expressed through language and action (Bourdieu 1990a), Core Power
reinforces the hierarchies of power that determine lifestyles and access to resources.
The overarching theme of my argument maintains that Core Power legitimizes
individuals as docile bodies ready to consume and produce. It is my belief that Core
Powers importance in the legitimation of consumer identities may spread far beyond the
privileged classes, possibly being grasped upon by large corporations, military institutions,
and governments to produce a population of highly capable docile bodies that find
sanctification in being precisely managed. Promoting the rational conduct of the hyper-
efficient monocratic bureaucracy, Core Power Yoga implants the iron cage of rationality
into the participants body, creating an ideal citizen whose embodied self is actualized
through the most effective means of social control in economic organizations. By providing
a local where manifest spirituality and positive impression management may be fostered,
the latent truths of Core Powers adherence to principles of legitimate domination and
stratification are easily overlooked by Core Power participants.
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CHAPTER 8
CONCLUSION
Borrowing from classical and contemporary sociological theory, the meanings and
implications of Core Power Yoga have been intricately dissected. Using Weberian
perspective, Core Power Yoga has been understood as a bureaucratic institution whose
legitimacy resides in charismatic, traditional, and rational-legal grounds. The review of
rationalization in social theory strengthens both Webers and my own argument, revealing
that numerous theorists have reacted to the progression of societies from traditional,
loosely organized collectives to the hyper-rationalized, tremendously specialized, and
largely individualistic cultures which we experience as contemporary reality. The trajectory
of modem postural yoga from the transcription of yogic knowledge to the highly evolved
and specialized practice which is now Core Power supports and is clearly defined by the
rationalization argument. The routinization of yogic knowledge is apparent in my discussion
of Core Power Yoga and justifies my analysis as a topic of sociological importance.
Focusing upon the individual experience of Core Power, late modem perspectives
have allowed for a deep reading of the Core Power experience. As the reflexive
conversation between individual and society navigates between agency and structure,
agency increasingly becomes structured habitus constructed upon dominant external
institutions and ideologies. As embodied individuals in a visual and symbolically driven
consumer culture, Core Power participants find self legitimation through body practices that
secure tools for positive impression management. Shaped through management
techniques parallel to those that structure modem economies, the Core Power practitioner
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finds elements of religious ritual and the assurance of grace in the anatamo-chronological
control exercised upon their bodies. Legitimizing the self through dominant means of social
control, Core Power participants latently legitimize dominant structures in late modern
consumer society. Granting individuals and society validity, Core Powers visibility and
importance will surely increase as societies advance towards consumer ideologies.
Setbacks and Future Research
My analysis of Core Power has been both enlivened and constrained by the
methodology chosen to understand Core Power Yoga. As a thematic analysis of Core
Power, my arguments have been constructed upon general theories used to describe a
multitude of processes and phenomena. Without direct participant observation, my
understanding of Core Power's structure and experience of its participants is limited to
what is found at Core Powers website (www.coreDOwervoaa.comL To expand my thesis
and continue this research, an ethnographic examination of Core Power through field
research would provide evidence of Core Powers organizational techniques and
specifically elaborate upon the interaction between instructors and instructed. Examining
the latent implications embedded in visible and audible cues generated through interaction
between instructor and participant would allow for greater understanding of the tacit
knowledge that actors are generally unaware of (Neuman 2003). Experiencing Core Power
as a particpant would provide direct involvement with the group under study, providing
myself with an insiders view of Core Powers techniques of domination and impression
managment. Through careful observation, note taking, and interaction with the Core Power
environment, participant observation would allow for the testing of the principles
expounded in my argument. The importance of my participation as a Core Power
participant or instructor is crucial to the testing of the theories outlined in this thesis.
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