International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 278


Irigarayan divinity and Tantric Yogic breath

Shiva Hemmati
  • Shiva Hemmati
  • English Department, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 18 November 2013
  •  Published: 31 January 2014


This contribution offers a reading of Luce Irigaray’s recent works of Western thought in relation to Eastern yogic tradition of “breath”. Irigaray as a French feminist in her theories of ‘feminine divinity’ and ‘sexual difference’ relies on Eastern notion of ‘breath’. This paper aims to reveal the concept of ‘breath’ in the West and East. Unlike Tantric yogic breath which serves as the basis of sexual union, Irigaray in her theories of ‘feminine divine’ and ‘sexual difference’ imagines an embodied and sexed subjectivity for women through breath. She tries to create a divine space for women through their breath and their sexual body. She uses yogic breath as a space between body and spirit, nature and culture, and masculinity/femininity. However, Irigarayan breath derived from yogic tradition is bodily breath. Irigaray considers breathing as a requirement and a necessity especially for bodily divinity. For her, the cultivation of breath in a specific spiritual practice of yoga represents just a way of overcoming repression of women’s body in Western society.
Key words: Breath, women becoming, autonomy, love, feminine divinity, feminine jouissance, intimacy, sexual difference, sexual union, dichotomy, yogic tradition, Hinduism, feminist theory, Luce Irigaray.