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Women's athletics as an Embodied Transformative Practice

Women's athletics as an Embodied Transformative Practice

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Published by Laurie Bakes
A feminist perspective on the athlete's inner experiences
A feminist perspective on the athlete's inner experiences

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Published by: Laurie Bakes on May 02, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/30/2012

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Bakes - 1
Women’s Athletics as an Embodied Transformative Practice
This paper is submitted by Laura BakesAs an Honors ThesisIn partial fulfillment of the requirementsFor the Master of Arts in Religious StudiesDate ___April 20, 2009
 
 ____ -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Faculty Signature Date-----------------------------------------------------------------------------Department Chair Date-----------------------------------------------------------------------------Student Date
Department of Religious StudiesNaropa UniversityBoulder, Colorado
 
Bakes - 2Title: Women’s Athletics as an Embodied Transformative PracticeLaura BakesMaster of Arts, Religious StudiesApril 20, 2009Jeremy Lowry, Faculty Mentor 
Table of Contents
Abstract 3Introduction 4Biology of Play 8Biology, Bliss and Flow 9Embodied Consciousness 13Play as Sacred 18The Phenomenon of Flow 21Flow State Occurrences and Transformative Practice 24The Mind-Body Benefits of Athletics 27Feminist Implications 33Critiques of Women’s Athletics 39 New Identities and Embodied Joy 42Future Implications 54Conclusion 56Personal Reflection 57Bibliography 59
 
Bakes - 3
Abstract
Title: Women’s Athletics as an Embodied Transformative PracticeLaura BakesMaster of Arts, Religious StudiesApril 15, 2009Jeremy Lowry, Faculty Mentor The term,
 flow,
was originally coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the 1990s. In his book,
Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience
, he explained the phenomenon as a distortion of time, amerging of action and awareness, a loss of the sense of self (or self-consciousness-less) and absorption.The experience of flow is a complex interweaving of biological, chemical, and meaning-making processes. The union of mind and body during the state of flow allows the athlete to re-discover humangrace. This state is a natural (organic) human experience that does not require religious ideology.Athletics, viewed through these perspectives, is an integral, transformative practice. Sport can alsorepresent a holistic means for individual and feminist self-determination. The experience of flow and theability to re-shape the body through athletics can introduce women to a unique type of non-sexualized, positive experience within their bodies.

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