Embodied Information in Yoga: proposing a research topic at the intersection of information and contemplation

Document Type : Original Article


Research Assistant, Department of Information Science and Knowledge Studies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. Ph.D Scholar, School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand


Purpose: the aim of this study is to introduce and enable research at the intersection of information behaviour studies and contemplative studies by proposing yoga as a research context in everyday life.
Methodology: This conceptual paper builds on discussions of the everyday information behaviour, transcendental Information, and pleasure and profound in information science. First, contemplation is defined and discussed, along with the movement-based contemplative practices and embodiment approach. Next, yoga is proposed and explored as a contemplative practice in higher level of everyday life which consists embodied and transcendental information.
Findings: Everyday life of people in their modern world involves deep aspects of human engagement with information not only for solving problems and survival, but also for pleasure and profound in daily life. Contemplative practices such as Yoga are examples of higher things in life which become more popular both in Iran and other parts of the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and its psychological impacts the number of people who turned to yoga and online yoga is increasing. Yoga is a movement type of contemplative practice. The information or knowledge in this practice is different from what we have known as traditional definitions of information. Individuals find compassion, meaning, awareness and silence by doing yoga. It engages human body in many ways and changes the perception of human about the strength and functionality of the body. In all the yoga processes information can be involved. It involves various types of sensory, tactile and physical information that are acquired and interpreted, and used with the help of human sensory capacities (such as sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) and in relation to other forms of information. There are many moving, stretching, and balancing through a series of postures, there are breath practices which are also embodied. The physical environment, such as music, mirrors, smells, or diversity of participants, their body size, age, gender, clothing, and movements shape the information landscape of yoga practices. Embodiment is a new turn in information science which tries to bring the body into focus, as the way individuals experience information. When performing yoga, human receives tactile and audio information from the environment in which she/he is located and adjusts her/his body to prevent unnecessary movements and to perform the desired pose. Sometimes even seeing other people's movements and postures, feeling the pain in the muscles, hearing rhythm of the music or sounds of the nature, and feeling the temperature of breath can be sources of embodied information and sensual knowledge for the practitioner.
Conclusion: This paper builds on discourse at the intersection of contemplative studies and information science, also connecting this with recent turn of embodiment. This study extends the literature on transcendental information behaviour, elaborate yogis’ information experiences with an embodied perspective, and illustrate a relationship between information and contemplation. The kinds of embodied information employed by yoga practitioners might be recognized and appreciated more widely throughout society and opportunities for technological development and further research will be outlined.


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