Spiritual identity, women and yoga
If you ask women why they are attracted to yoga many will list spirituality’49. Now there can be many reasons why women responding to a sociological questionnaire find it more convenient to answer that they are motivated by spirituality’ rather than for instance vanity’. But it seems without doubt that some women are attracted to yoga because of its framing as a spiritual practice’.
There are no firm answers as to why women dominate spirituality. 50 According to the sociologist L. Woodhead (2007) there has been a broad consensus among sociologists that in Western societies since WW2 there has been a trend to find a meaning in life within private and domestic spheres. Some sociologists express this by saying that late industrial societies are characterised by the sacralisation of the inner life’. They say this is caused by the life conditions of contemporary Western societies, which deprive people of a strong sense of identity.51 To compensate for this lack of identity – an identity previously generated by religion, local communities, and nation – many people today seek to regain their identity by turning to inner spirituality’. We are, according to this train of thought, talking about a general cultural transformation, which however came to strongly influence women in particular. For some reason women seemed more exposed to this sacralisation of inner life’. Why this female dominance in spirituality?
According to Woodhead (2007) one reason could be that men are tightly integrated in the production process, whereby they gain identity as producers (i.e. identifying themselves through their occupation – as an accountant or a lawyer for instance). However this does not apply to women. Many women do not have a job but are still isolated at home in a family. Other women – while working (often only part-time) – are still mainly occupied with domestic issues and children and hence do not identify strongly with their jobs. Hence they lack this process of identity generation seen among men. So this sociological theory argues that due to women’s situation – either being staying-at-home-women with abundance of time or being professional women caught in double jobs of careers and home – they are turning to other sources in order to find social identity. They then turn inwards to find their identity and in this way they compensate for their lack of occupational identity.
ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING 36 Sit in a cross-legged or Yoga poses gaiam Lotus posture. This breathing technique is performed in three parts: inhalation, retention, exhalation Yoga poses gaiam . The flow of your breath is directed by stopping your nostrils alternately. Study the illustration and note carefully the position of the hand and fingers. Place the tip of your right thumb against your right nostril. Put your index and middle fingers together on your forehead on the third eye’ center. Place your ring finger lightly against your left nostril. The hand remains relaxed.