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Soc Sci Med. 2007 Jul;65(1):112-24. Epub 2007 Apr 10.

The 'world of yoga': the production and reproduction of therapeutic landscapes.

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Department of Geography, Université de Rennes 2 Haute Bretagne, Campus Villejean, Place du Recteur Henri Le Moal, 35043 Rennes Cedex, France.


Yoga is becoming more and more fashionable all around the world. This activity, partly considered as therapeutic, reveals contemporary ways of producing global practices. Via a questionnaire completed by individuals at yoga centres in India and France, the paper analyses this phenomenon using the concept of therapeutic landscapes. Furthermore, it examines how these therapeutic landscapes are influenced by globalisation. Bringing together the concepts of therapeutic landscapes, globalisation and the practice of yoga, the paper analyses the production and reproduction of yogic therapeutic landscapes in the world's space. Constituted of natural physical elements and built structures, these therapeutic landscapes are also strongly linked to emotional qualities and intimate feelings evoked by the place and related to health and well-being. The paper also underlines that the emergence of internationally recognised therapeutic landscapes demands a cultural and social geographical approach that could help to examine the repercussions of local and global phenomena on therapeutic landscapes. Indeed, very often, yogis, all around the world, refer to ideal places where they rarely go. Consequently, they create an imagined therapeutic environment that the paper describes.

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