In the discussion that follows here, I will attempt what I have decided to call an onto-poetic reading of the yogic practice of kumbhaka. I choose the double-barrelled nomination 'onto-poetic' since I would like to use my experience of kumbhaka both to think of certain current ontological paradigms and implications, and also to allow myself the flexibility and discipline that I associate with the poetic register. I will draw on three particular thinkers, namely Alain Badiou, Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray. Badiou makes very explicit metaontological claims that, I believe, have something to contribute to a reading of kumbhaka. Derrida, for his part, has written extensively about phonologocentrism and its inherent links with speech and breath in the history of phallocentric metaphysics. Irigaray, finally, demonstrates a way to think unity, breath and praxis so as to bring these conceptual strands together in a kind of elegant, but urgent, agency. What can the very practice of kumbhaka help me to think? And how can such thinking impact on what happens when I practice pranayama that involves kumbhaka? Kumbhaka can be situated as a practice within the broader discipline of Yogic pranayama. Yoga, as it often encountered in this historical moment in the so-called West, can appear to emphasize physical posture (which are certainly as aspect of its breadth). Yoga, however, as a technology of existential and ontological inquiry, has often, throughout its long and meandering history, made use of the manipulation of, and abstinence from, breath. I will begin by cursorily outlining the place of pranayama itself within the yogic canon of practice. Then, I will go on to explain specifically the technology of kumbhaka, before embarking on my onto-poetic discussion.
Field of Research
229999 Philosophy and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
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