Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Shawn McNiff

Second Advisor

Laury Rappaport

Third Advisor

Neal Klein


This dissertation examines visual art as a form of yoga and contemplative practice through the lens of art-based research (ABR) and methods of meditation. Essentially, yoga joins together cognitive, somatic, and socially engaged practices that illuminate a synergistic view of our finite physical self with our infinite Self (Atman) as embodied consciousness. Included in this discussion are contemplative seeing (darshan), art as worship (rasa), the Shaivite view of creation (spanda), theophanic imagination, and the origins of images. This research was further catalyzed by the author’s diagnosis of prostate cancer. As physical disease progressed from diagnosis through treatment, art and meditation became applied methods for studying these events. Consequently, a deeper understanding of how art is yoga and contemplative practice resulted. Note to the reader: The Sanskrit words in this dissertation are spelled out in English rather than with the proper diacritical marks. The author acknowledges the importance of accurate pronunciation in the Sanskrit language; however, this paper is not attempting to address matters of language as much as the importance of specific theoretical concepts and connections. The author therefore has made an effort to make this work accessible to a wider audience than religious studies scholars of language and philosophies related to Yoga traditions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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