Dissertation Title:

Yoga as Personal Mythology: Blending Psychology, Mythology and the Wisdom of East and West to Revision the American Yoga Practice


Alanna Kaivalya

Date, Time & Place:

December 22, 2015 at 12:00 pm
South Hall, Lambert Road campus


The practice of yoga is far more powerful than it is currently being given credit for in the West. It is seen as primarily a physical practice, but the benefits of yoga reach far beyond the body and mind. Yoga is capable of producing emotional, spiritual, and psychological wholeness—benefits that are not being fully explored or developed in contemporary practice. This dissertation is based on a simple premise: yoga is a very powerful but currently incomplete practice that must be augmented and evolved in order to deliver on its great promise of psychospiritual wholeness, or enlightenment. In the West, an over-reliance on the physical practice fails to address the totality of the practitioner’s consciousness. This incomplete picture has robbed practitioners of the elegant truth that the state of yoga is accessible with techniques that give access to the entirety of the psyche. By clearing up misconceptions and integrating mythology, psychology, ritual, and philosophy with existing yoga practices, this work revisions modern yoga in the West as a truly holistic practice and functioning personal mythology for the present day practitioner.

The production component of this dissertation delineates practices that augment how yoga is typically practiced such as instruction on how to build personal rituals, specific asana sequences that correspond with the energetic body, and modern applications of meditation and principles of yoga philosophy. The theoretical portion of this dissertation offers that substantive groundwork behind the practices and theories put forth in the production component, and offers the context within which this new yoga model thrives in the present day.



This is due to Pacifica’s conditional use permit, which restricts campus parking. Please call 805-896-1887 or 805-896-1888 for a shuttle pickup from the Best Western. A Pacifica shuttle driver will pick you up within 10 minutes or so and take you to the campus.

Thank you for your kind consideration

  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies, Track E, 2012
  • Chair: Dr. Patrick Mahaffey
  • Reader: Dr. Stephen Aizenstat
  • External Reader: Dr. Carol Horton
  • Keywords: Yoga, Psychology, Mythology, Ritual, Alchemy, Hero’s Journey, Philosophy