The Student as Witness
Cultivating Creativity in the Yogic Body of Research
Keywords: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.
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