Hagar Shalev

Hagar Shalev

Department of Asian studies

Subject: Hatha yoga Bodily Perception

Advisors: Prof. Yigal Bronner

Abstract: The dissertation deals with the redefining of the bodily perception in Hatha Yoga. The corpus of texts dealing with Hatha Yoga contains various physical practices and deals, among other issues, with the relationship between physical energy (śakti) and the soteriological state of liberation (mokṣa). By examining these texts a new discourse of health and immortality appears as well as a detailed catalog of physical exercises. Thus, the main questions of the dissertation are: How is the human body conceptualized and constructed in this textual corpus? What, according to these texts, is the body’s direct connection with immortality, health, and the soul’s freedom from earthy existence? What is the interface between the Haṭhayogic body in its strictly anatomical sense and its underlying metaphysical body?  The way to answer these questions dominates a diachronic axis when multidisciplinary research is conducted: a textual philological study that examines texts between the 11th and 15th centuries in the Sanskrit language. The second part is an ethnographic study centered on the main three ascetic orders in modern India (Daśanāmīs, Rāmānānīs, Nāth) who are the heirs of the textual tradition and whose lives are devoted to yoga.
By examining the body as a cultural product, in both the scriptures and the living tradition, it will be possible to better understand the historical transformation of this tradition and the ways in which modernity has shaped, distorted and even reconstructed the early notions of yoga. Such an examination can shed new light on the categorization of the body in the sciences of religion and anthropology.


•    Sharabi, Asaf and Hagar Shalev. 2016. From Ruler to Healer: Changes in Religious Experience in the Western Himalayas. HIMALAYA, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies. 6 (2):20-35.
•    Shalev, Hagar and Asaf Sharabi. 2018. "Sanskritization of the Upper Castes: The Case of Mahāsū Followers." Anthropos, 113 (1), 258–267.
•     Sharabi, Asaf and Hagar Shalev. 2018. Charismatic Mediumship and Traditional Priesthood: Power Relations in a Religious Field. Religion 48 (2): 198-214. 

Rotenstreich Stipend 2018/19

Presidential Stipend 2015/16