Philosophy of Yoga Course Stretches Students’ Perspectives and Limbs

A course that combines yoga and philosophy stretches students' perspectives and limbs while exemplifying Stonehill’s innovation-fostering culture.

Anna Lännström was born and raised in Sweden. Before she came to Stonehill, she studied and taught philosophy at Boston University and served as the assistant director for the university’s Institute for Philosophy and Religion.

Here at Stonehill, she teaches courses in ancient Greek philosophy, Asian philosophies, contemporary moral issues, and philosophy of religion as well as a learning community on yoga, mindfulness and Indian philosophy. Her research background is in ancient Greek philosophy, and she’s the author of Loving the Fine, a book on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics which argues that many of Aristotle’s ideas about how to live remains valid for us today. She has also published several articles on Socrates’ religion, arguing that we have misunderstood Athenian religion and that, once we understand it better, we’ll have to change the way we think of Socrates and his relationship to Athens.

More recently, Lännström’s research interests have shifted in a more practical direction. It has long troubled her that we treat philosophy as an abstract academic discipline, and she wants to return to the Socratic way of thinking where philosophy is an integral part of ordinary life. It also troubles her that Western philosophy frequently operates without input from ‘nonwestern’ traditions and from other disciplines like psychology and religious studies. And so, she asks: How can we broaden philosophy to include insights from other traditions and disciplines, and how will doing so change our understanding of ourselves and the world? How can we better integrate theory and practice, using philosophy to live better lives? This is a large project which she is only just starting, but here are highlights of her work so far:

  • Learning community which integrates the practice of yoga and mindfulness with the study of Indian philosophy
  • Personal Blog for a nonacademic audience about how insights from philosophical traditions as well as practices like yoga and mindfulness can help us handle the stresses and challenges of our contemporary lives.

Education

  • Ph.D., Boston University. Dissertation topic: Aristotle’s ethics
  • M.A., Boston University, Thesis Topic: Speaking about Brahman in Advaita Vedanta
  • B.A., English Writing and Philosophy, State University of New York at Potsdam. Summa Cum Laude.

Courses Taught

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Plato
  • Aristotle
  • Asian Philosophies
  • Yoga, Mindfulness and Indian Philosophy (learning community
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Asian Philosophies
  • Socrates
  • Plato
  • Aristotle
  • Contemporary Moral Issues

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications, Articles & Presentations

  • “Socrates’ Moral Impiety and Its Role at the Trial: A Reading of Euthyphro 6a.”  Polis: The Journal of the Society for Greek Political Thought, 30(1), 2013: 30-48
  • “Trusting the Divine Voice: Socrates and His Daimonion.” Apeiron, 2012, 45(1), 32-49.
  • “A Religious Revolution? How Socrates Undermined the Practice of Sacrifice.” Ancient Philosophy, 2011, 31:2. 261-274.
  •  Loving the Fine: Goodness and Happiness in Aristotle's Ethics. Notre Dame: Notre Dame UP, 2006.
  • Editor. The Stranger’s Religion: Fascination and Fear. Boston University Studies in Philosophy and Religion. Vol. 25. Notre Dame: Notre Dame UP, 2004.
  • Editor.  Promise and Peril: The Paradox of Religion as Resource and Threat.  Boston University Studies in Philosophy and Religion .  Vol. 24.  Notre Dame: Notre Dame UP, 2003.
  • “Yoga and Meditation in the Philosophy Classroom.” Wellness in Asian Traditions of Theory and Practice. Asian Studies Development Program 25th annual conference, Nashville, TN, March 2019.
  • “Learning to Listen: Why Western Philosophy Needs Contemplative Practices,” D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership Conference on Contemplation, Viterbo University, April 2018.
  • “Trusting the Daimonion: Faith and Reason in the Case of Socrates,” Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Religion, Reason and Faith workshop, September 2017, University of Ottawa.
  • “Escaping The Analects: Why We Need to Teach More Contemporary Asian Texts,” APA Committee on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies panel at the Central American Philosophical Association meeting, Kansas City, MI, March 2017.
  • “Using Meditation to Help Us Teach the Bhagavad-Gita,” Teaching Religion panel at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting, San Antonio, TX, November 2016.
  • “Integrating Hatha Yoga and Indian Philosophy in a College Course” (Poster presentation), with Kristy Kuhn and Rachel Santos.  The 8th Annual Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Conference, Amherst, MA, October 2016.
  • “How Can We Critique What We Haven’t Understood? Teaching Cross-cultural Philosophy in Introductory Classes.” Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy panel at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting, Atlanta, GA, November 2015.