Embodied Pedagogies for Transformation: Bringing Yoga Strategies into College Classrooms


  • Audrey Lundahl Texas Woman's University
  • AnaLouise Keating Texas Women's University


Yoga, Embodiment, Pedagogy, Trauma-Informed Pedagogy, Social Justice Education, Wellness


We argue that incorporating a yogic pedagogical approach in college classrooms, specifically classrooms that cover issues of race, gender, sexuality, and violence, allows an instructor and thus their students to focus on embodiment and specifically how our bodies hold physical and psychological wounds of oppression while creating new methods to understand oppression more deeply. We suggest that incorporating body awareness practices like yoga into the classroom can promote both personal healing and a deeper understanding of systemic oppression by demonstrating the connections between the two. Body-based pedagogy allows students to think critically, mindfully, holistically, and creatively about responding to injustice while envisioning and enacting a healed worldview.


Antony, M. G. (2016). “Tailoring Nirvana: Appropriating yoga, resignification, and instructional challenges.” International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 12(3), 283-303.

Anzaldúa, G. E. (2015). Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Obscuro. AnaLouise Keating, ed. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Bennett, B. (2012). Emotional Yoga: How the Body can Heal the Mind. New York, NY: Fireside.

Berila, B. (2016). “Mindfulness as a Healing, Liberatory Practice in Queer Anti-Oppression Pedagogy.” Social Alternatives 35(3), 5-10.

Carter, J. F. (2016). “’I’m Feelin It’: Embodied Spiritual Activism as a Vehicle for my Queer Black Liberation.” Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis. Beth Berila, Melanie Klein, and Chelsea Jackson, eds. 29-40. Lexington Books.

Clark, B. (2011). The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga. Vancouver: Wild Strawberry Productions.

Desikachar, T.K.V. (1999). The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice, rev. ed. Inner Traditions.

Farhi, D. (2003). Bringing Yoga to Life: The everyday Practice of Enlightened Living. Harper One.

Feuerstein, G. (2011). Deeper Dimensions of Yoga: Theory and Practice. Boulder, CO: Shambhala.

Hartman, D. and Zimberoff, D. (2006). “Healing the Body-Mind in Heart-Centered Therapies.” Journal of Heart-Centered Therapies 9(2), 75-137.

Horton, C. (2016). “Yoga is not Dodgeball: Mind-Body Integration and Progressive Education.” Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis, Beth Berila, Melanie Klien, and Chelsea Jackson, eds. 109-124. Lexington Books.

Keating, A. (2013). Transformation Now! Toward a Post-Oppositional Politics of Change. University of Illinois Press.

Keating, A. (2007). Teaching Transformation: Transcultural Classroom Dialogues. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Maparyan, L. (2012). The Womanist Idea. London: Routledge.

Maxwell, R. W. (2009). “The Physiological Foundation of Yoga Chakra Expression.” Zygon 44, (4), 807-824.

Scofield, B. (2012). “Yoga for War: The Politics of the Divine.” 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, and Practice. Carol Horton and Roseanne Harvey, eds. 133-149. Kleio Books.

Scurlock-Durana, S. (2017). Reclaiming Your Body. San Francisco: New World Library.

Shahjahan, R. A. (2014). “Being ‘Lazy and Slowing Down: Toward decolonizing time, our body, and pedagogy.” Educational Philosophy and Theory 47, (5). 488-501.

Singleton, M. (2010). Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice. Kindle ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stallings, C. (2015). “Removing the Danger in a Business Way”: The History and Memory of Quakertown Park, Denton, Texas. Texas Woman’s University, PhD Dissertation.

Thompson, B. (2014). Survivors on the Yoga Mat. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

White, D. G. (2011). “Yoga, Brief History of an Idea.” Yoga in Practice. David Gordon White, ed. 1-23. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Wilcox, H. N. (2009). “Embodied Ways of Knowing, Pedagogies, and Social Justice: Inclusive Science and Beyond.” NWSA Journal 21(2), 104-120.

williams, a. K., Lama Rod Owens, and Syedullah, J. (2016). Radical Dharma. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

Yamasaki, Z. (2017). Transcending_trauma_with_yoga. “During trauma, the nervous system.” Instagram, 7 September 2017.






Case Studies