Practicing on the platform: an autoethnography of presence in the zoom-mediated ashtanga yoga 'mysore room'

Potter, Joshua
Thumbnail Image
Other Contributors
Esrock, Ellen
Jeansonne, Christopher
Malazita, James
Gordon, Tamar
Issue Date
Communication and rhetoric
Terms of Use
This electronic version is a licensed copy owned by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, NY. Copyright of original work retained by author.
Full Citation
The global Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption to social practices of nearly every kind, impelling groups and institutions to migrate in-person activities onto digital videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom. A major concern within contemporary media studies is to understand how this now-paradigmatic form of communication is reconfiguring “communities of practice” as they move onto the platform and seek to recreate the felt, collective “presence” of embodied interaction. However, little attention has been paid to interactive physical practices, including athletics, dance, and various somatic therapies that rely on non-verbal forms of communication, including touch and breathwork. My "hybrid autoethnographic" study focuses on Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a method of modern postural yoga practice that has, since the 1970s, expanded from its point of origin in Mysore, India to become one of the most prominent transnational practice systems. By undertaking extensive participant observation in the hybrid-reality "Mysore Room" and ethnographically tracking how the broader community has adapted to rolling cycles of respiratory crisis, I situate the phenomenon within a history of "transomatic mediations" that have carried the method as body-to-body knowledge across a range of media technologies.
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Dept. of Communication and Media
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
Rensselaer Theses and Dissertations Online Collection
Restricted to current Rensselaer faculty, staff and students in accordance with the Rensselaer Standard license. Access inquiries may be directed to the Rensselaer Libraries.