Yoga Minds, Writing Bodies: Contemplative Writing Pedagogy

  • Pedagogy, composition studies, yoga, postsecondary education, first-year composition, inclusivity

By Christy I. Wenger
Copy edited by Don Donahue. Designed by Tara Reeser.

CoverIn Yoga Minds, Writing Bodies, Christy Wenger argues for the inclusion of Eastern-influenced contemplative education within writing studies. She observes that, although we have "embodied" writing education in general by discussing the rhetorics of racialized, gendered, and disabled bodies, we have done substantially less to address the particular bodies that occupy our classrooms. She proposes that we turn to contemplative education practices that engages student bodies through fusing a traditional curriculum with contemplative practices including yoga, meditation, and the martial arts. Drawing strength from the recent "quiet revolution" (Zajonc) of contemplative pedagogy within postsecondary education and a legacy of field interest attributable to James Moffett, this project draws on case studies of first-year college writers to present contemplative pedagogy as a means of teaching students mindfulness of their writing and learning in ways that promote the academic, rhetorical work accomplished in first-year composition classes while at the same time remaining committed to a larger scope of a writer's physical and emotional well-being.

Table of Contents

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Front Matter



Introduction: From the Sticky Mat to the Classroom: Toward Contemplative Writing Pedagogy

Chapter One: The Writing Yogi: Lessons for Embodied Change

Interchapter One: Using "Body Blogs" to Embody the Writer's Imagination

Chapter Two: Personal Presence, Embodied Empiricism and Resonance in Contemplative Writing

Interchapter Two: Habits of Yoga Minds and Writing Bodies

Chapter Three: Situating Feelings in Contemplative Writing Pedagogy

Interchapter Three: The Writer's Breath

Conclusion: Namaste



Appendix A

Appendix B

About the Author

Christy I. Wenger is Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric and Composition at Shepherd University, where she directs the Writing and Rhetoric program. Her research has focused on the intersections between feminisms, contemplative traditions and composition. In addition to bringing her own practice of yoga into the classroom, she has partnered with local yoga instructors to create learning communities between first-year experience courses and first-year writing courses and her research has benefited greatly from the generosity of her yoga community. Her work on the materiality of teaching and the value of contemplative pedagogy for writing studies has previously appeared in journals including English Teaching and Practice and JAEPL, and has been shared at conferences held by the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the Rhetorical Society of America, and the Association for the Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, among others. She serves on the board of the Assembly for the Expanded Perspectives on Learning, an organization that allows her to connect with other compositionists interested in alternative pedagogies. Her additional scholarly interests include feminist writing program administration, digital pedagogy and feminist disability studies.

Publication Information: Wenger, Christy I. (2015). Yoga Minds, Writing Bodies: Contemplative Writing Pedagogy. The WAC Clearinghouse; Parlor Press. 

Publication Date: February 9, 2015.

ISBN: 978-1-64215-063-6 (pdf) | 978-1-64215-064-3 (epub) | 978-1-60235-660-3 (pbk.)
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0636

Contact Information:
Christy I. Wenger:


Review by Roxanne Rashedi, Composition Forum, Summer 2016.

Perspectives on Writing

Series Editor: Susan H. McLeod, University of California, Santa Barbara

Acrobat Reader DownloadThis book is available in whole and in part in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). It will also be available in a low-cost print edition from our publishing partner, the University Press of Colorado.

Copyright © 2015 Christy I Wenger. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. 216 pages, with notes, figures, and bibliographies. Available in print from Parlor Press or at any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. Available in digital format for no charge on this page at the WAC Clearinghouse. You may view this book. You may print personal copies of this book. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this book on another website.