5,992 research outputs found

    Yoga, Christians Practicing Yoga, and God: On Theological Compatibility, or Is There a Better Question?

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    Houston is a wildly diverse city; nonetheless it should come as no surprise that the Houston Chronicle “Belief” section frequently features stories about church expansions or declines, pastoral developments, and other reports on Christian communities. Christians, after all, make up over 70% of the city’s population. A provocative cover of a 2011 Belief section, however, shed light on a very different face of religion in Houston. The cover featured an image of local yoga teacher and entrepreneur Jennifer Buergermeister donning fashionable yoga attire and in the posture of a South Asian goddess, complete (thanks to clever photography) with six arms. The headline read, “THE SOUL OF YOGA.” In the article, journalist Shellnutt quotes Buergermeister on how yoga helped her connect with “God as a creator, as a source” and brought her “closer to my divinity.” Another local yoga teacher and entrepreneur, Roger Rippy, was also interviewed for the article and is quoted denying that yoga is a religion because it is not based in dogma, but it is, nonetheless, “about your own particular practice and your own particular relationship with God.”

    The Malleability of Yoga: A Response to Christian and Hindu Opponents of the Popularization of Yoga

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    FOR over three thousand years, people have attached divergent meanings and functions to yoga. Its history has been characterized by moments of continuity, but also by divergence and change. This applies as much to precolonial yoga systems as to modern ones. All of this evidences yoga’s malleability (literally, the capacity to be bent into new shapes without breaking) in the hands of human beings

    ‘Namaste All Day’: Containing Dissent in Commercial Spirituality

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    Health, well-being, and the ascetic ideal: Modern yoga in the Jain Terapanth

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    This dissertation evaluates preksha dhyana, a form of modern yoga introduced by the Jain Shvetambara Terapanth in 1975. Modern yoga emerged as a consequence of a complex encounter of Indian yogic gurus, American and British metaphysical thinkers, and modern ideas about science and health. I provide a brief history of the Terapanth from its eighteenth-century founder, Bikshu, to its current monastic guru, Mahaprajna, who constructed preksha dhyana. I evaluate the historical trajectory that led from the Terapanth's beginnings as a sect that maintained a world-rejecting ascetic ideal to its late twentieth-century introduction of preksha dhyana, which is popularly disseminated as a practice aimed at health and well-being. The practice and ideology of preksha dhyana is, however, context specific. In the Terapanthi monastic context, it functions as a metaphysical, mystical, and ascetic practice. In this way, it intersects with classical schools of yoga, which aim at ascetic purification and release from the world. In its popular dissemination by the samanis, female members of an intermediary Terapanthi monastic order, it functions as a physiotherapeutic practice. The samanis teach yoga to students in India, the United States, and Britain whose interests are primarily in yoga's physical and psychological benefits. In this way, it is a case study of modern yoga, which aims at the enhancement of the body and life in the world. I demonstrate how the samanis are mediators of their guru, Mahaprajna, and thus resolve ancient and contemporary tensions between ascetic and worldly values. I also demonstrate how Mahaprajna and the samanis construct preksha dhyana as a form of modern yoga by appropriating scientific discourse and attributing physiological function to the yogic subtle body. I argue that preksha dhyana can be located at an intersection with late capitalist cultural processes as well as New Age spirituality insofar as its proponents participate in the transnational yoga market. Finally, I conclude with some thoughts on the successes and failures of the Terapanth in its attempt to globally disseminate preksha dhyana

    Commentary: Pain, Stigma, and the Politics of Self-Management

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    Thermal Transport in Chiral Conformal Theories and Hierarchical Quantum Hall States

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    Chiral conformal field theories are characterized by a ground-state current at finite temperature, that could be observed, e.g. in the edge excitations of the quantum Hall effect. We show that the corresponding thermal conductance is directly proportional to the gravitational anomaly of the conformal theory, upon extending the well-known relation between specific heat and conformal anomaly. The thermal current could signal the elusive neutral edge modes that are expected in the hierarchical Hall states. We then compute the thermal conductance for the Abelian multi-component theory and the W-infinity minimal model, two conformal theories that are good candidates for describing the hierarchical states. Their conductances agree to leading order but differ in the first, universal finite-size correction, that could be used as a selective experimental signature.Comment: Latex, 17 pages, 2 figure

    LemurFaceID: a face recognition system to facilitate individual identification of lemurs

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    Background: Long-term research of known individuals is critical for understanding the demographic and evolutionary processes that influence natural populations. Current methods for individual identification of many animals include capture and tagging techniques and/or researcher knowledge of natural variation in individual phenotypes. These methods can be costly, time-consuming, and may be impractical for larger-scale, populationlevel studies. Accordingly, for many animal lineages, long-term research projects are often limited to only a few taxa. Lemurs, a mammalian lineage endemic to Madagascar, are no exception. Long-term data needed to address evolutionary questions are lacking for many species. This is, at least in part, due to difficulties collecting consistent data on known individuals over long periods of time. Here, we present a new method for individual identification of lemurs (LemurFaceID). LemurFaceID is a computer-assisted facial recognition system that can be used to identify individual lemurs based on photographs. Results: LemurFaceID was developed using patch-wise Multiscale Local Binary Pattern features and modified facial image normalization techniques to reduce the effects of facial hair and variation in ambient lighting on identification. We trained and tested our system using images from wild red-bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubriventer) collected in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Across 100 trials, with different partitions of training and test sets, we demonstrate that the LemurFaceID can achieve 98.7% ± 1.81% accuracy (using 2-query image fusion) in correctly identifying individual lemurs. Conclusions: Our results suggest that human facial recognition techniques can be modified for identification of individual lemurs based on variation in facial patterns. LemurFaceID was able to identify individual lemurs based on photographs of wild individuals with a relatively high degree of accuracy. This technology would remove many limitations of traditional methods for individual identification. Once optimized, our system can facilitate long-term research of known individuals by providing a rapid, cost-effective, and accurate method for individual identification

    Matrix Model Description of Laughlin Hall States

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    We analyze Susskind's proposal of applying the non-commutative Chern-Simons theory to the quantum Hall effect. We study the corresponding regularized matrix Chern-Simons theory introduced by Polychronakos. We use holomorphic quantization and perform a change of matrix variables that solves the Gauss law constraint. The remaining physical degrees of freedom are the complex eigenvalues that can be interpreted as the coordinates of electrons in the lowest Landau level with Laughlin's wave function. At the same time, a statistical interaction is generated among the electrons that is necessary to stabilize the ground state. The stability conditions can be expressed as the highest-weight conditions for the representations of the W-infinity algebra in the matrix theory. This symmetry provides a coordinate-independent characterization of the incompressible quantum Hall states.Comment: 31 pages, large additions on the path integral and overlaps, and on the W-infinity symmetr

    Infinite Symmetry in the Quantum Hall Effect

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    Free planar electrons in a uniform magnetic field are shown to possess the symmetry of area-preserving diffeomorphisms (WW-infinity algebra). Intuitively, this is a consequence of gauge invariance, which forces dynamics to depend only on the flux. The infinity of generators of this symmetry act within each Landau level, which is infinite-dimensional in the thermodynamical limit. The incompressible ground states corresponding to completely filled Landau levels (integer quantum Hall effect) are shown to be infinitely symmetric, since they are annihilated by an infinite subset of generators. This geometrical characterization of incompressibility also holds for fractional fillings of the lowest level (simplest fractional Hall effect) in the presence of Haldane's effective two-body interactions. Although these modify the symmetry algebra, the corresponding incompressible ground states proposed by Laughlin are again symmetric with respect to the modified infinite algebra.Comment: 28 page

    Modular Invariant Partition Functions in the Quantum Hall Effect

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    We study the partition function for the low-energy edge excitations of the incompressible electron fluid. On an annular geometry, these excitations have opposite chiralities on the two edges; thus, the partition function takes the standard form of rational conformal field theories. In particular, it is invariant under modular transformations of the toroidal geometry made by the angular variable and the compact Euclidean time. The Jain series of plateaus have been described by two types of edge theories: the minimal models of the W-infinity algebra of quantum area-preserving diffeomorphisms, and their non-minimal version, the theories with U(1)xSU(m) affine algebra. We find modular invariant partition functions for the latter models. Moreover, we relate the Wen topological order to the modular transformations and the Verlinde fusion algebra. We find new, non-diagonal modular invariants which describe edge theories with extended symmetry algebra; their Hall conductivities match the experimental values beyond the Jain series.Comment: Latex, 38 pages, 1 table (one minor error has been corrected
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