The Student as Witness

Cultivating Creativity in the Yogic Body of Research


  • Rebecca Ingalls Drexel University



writing pedagogy, composition theory, research paper, creativity, genre theory, yoga, embodiment


Taking a hybrid approach of research and narrative, theory and reflection, this essay utilizes yogic theory as a lens to discuss how students can negotiate one of the more challenging aspects of their research writing: freely setting out into the realm of creative, original research while negotiating genre-based constraints. I present research on genre and the “containment” of composition that highlights some of the past and current discussion about the potentially inhibiting heuristics that can shut down students’ constructions of agency and creativity in researched writing. Drawing upon research in contemplative pedagogy, essential texts of yogic philosophy, and images of the body in asana, I use the philosophy and language of yogic practice to propose a pedagogy that invites students to see their way toward an embodied practice of research, one that helps them to acknowledge and negotiate generic constraints, seek innovation, and accept uncertainty in their research-based writing.

Author Biography

Rebecca Ingalls, Drexel University

Rebecca Ingalls (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Freshman Writing Program at Drexel University. Her work in composition and cultural rhetoric may be found in inventio; Academe; The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies; POROI; Harlot; Journal of Teaching Writing, and The Journal of Popular Culture. She is also one of the editors of the new collection, Critical Conversations About Plagiarism (Parlor Press, 2012).



How to Cite

Ingalls, R. (2012). The Student as Witness: Cultivating Creativity in the Yogic Body of Research. Writing and Pedagogy, 4(2), 169–190.



Research Matters