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Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public SchoolsReforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion?$
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Candy Gunther Brown

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648484

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648484.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021



Identifying and Explaining Religious Effects

(p.270) Chapter 13 Religion
Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools

Candy Gunther Brown

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter 13 reports on research that demonstrates a correlation and supports a causal connection between longer-term, more intense participation in nominally secular yoga or mindfulness and changes in religious self-reporting and affiliations. The chapter develops a theory to explain how embodied practices may produce religious effects. Participating in practice communities may shape perception through 1) intensification and heightened awareness of sensory experiences; 2) reinterpretation of experiences through the lens of socially constructed beliefs and values; and 3) cultural associations that remain after subtracting religious language. This interplay may elicit emotional and affective responses, inspire attitudes performed metaphorically, and establish ideas in memory. Because meditative practices are embodied, regularly repeated, and emotionally charged, such practices may be more efficacious than doctrinal teachings in conveying and reinforcing religious meanings. This chapter argues that marketing yoga and mindfulness as secular science can both veil and heighten religious effects through encouraging involvement by those who would abstain if they initially perceived these practices as religious. Practitioners may experience emotional reactions or affectiveresponses that motivate actions to generate desired emotions; internalize metaphorically enacted attitudes; and interpret experiences as confirming truth and goodness of religious assumptions, values, and world views associated with yoga or mindfulness.

Keywords:   theory, embodied practices, religious effects, perception, sensory experiences, reinterpretation, cultural associations, religious meanings, emotional reactions, affective responses

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