Lara Monticelli

Critical Research on Sociological Alternatives

Lara Monticelli

Critical Research on Sociological Alternatives

Explorations

yoga

I started practicing yoga and meditation as an attempt to overcome the stress of completing my PhD. Not long after I realized how empowering and emboldening it is to become more conscious of one’s physical body and sensations, as well as one’s thoughts and emotions. In the words of activist and scholar Angela Davis, self-care and self-love are indeed radical acts of resistance and resilience. Alongside these realizations, I was struck by how yoga – especially in the West – has become commodified and elitist, obsessed by appearance and performativity.

Fascinated by the millennia-old philosophy of yoga, I completed a year-long training course to become a certified integral yoga teacher during my post-doc in Florence. With this foundation, I collaborated with Elena Aldi – a dancer, yoga teacher and writer – to create a retreat combining yoga and meditation with radical ecology at the eco-village of Granara in the Italian Apennine mountains. Thanks to Stefano and Dario, two of the founders, our participants learned about permaculture, bio-architecture, local food networks, self-sufficiency, community energy production, and horizontal decisional methods. In the words of J.K Gibson-Graham, Granara represents an attempt to reimagine the economy and ourselves in the process.

The etymology of the word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit “yuj” which means “to yoke” or “to unite”. In this sense, yoga is a way to “making kin”, as Donna Haraway would put it, with ourselves as well as with other human and non-human beings. Looking to the future, Elena and I plan to continue designing opportunities of collective learning on how to take care of ourselves and our shared home: planet Earth.

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