scholar of yoga and metaphysical religions
Anya P. Foxen (formerly, Anna Pokazanyeva) received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and currently teaches in the Religious Studies program at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Her research focuses the intersection of South Asian yogic and tantric traditions and Western esotericism and metaphysical religions. She also does work on gender and embodiment and the interplay of religion and science. Her current writing examines the transnational evolution and popularization of yoga in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Dr. Foxen’s most recent project, based on her dissertation work, focuses on the figure of the yogi in India and pre-World War II Europe and America. This project argues that the yogi constitutes a model of the superhuman that moves out of traditional Indian yogic and tantric traditions into a modern register of science and transnational occultism. She positions Paramahansa Yogananda—author of the famous Autobiography of a Yogi—as an example of how this figure represented traditional Indian tropes as well as the Western concerns of spiritual and scientific universalism, Progressive Era health reform, and Orientalist fantasy. Articles based on this research have also appeared in Zygon and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.

Dr. Foxen’s next book-length project will focus on the role and performativity of gender in early modern yoga.


Her ever-abiding “Plan B” is to pursue a career as the reincarnation of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Except healthier and more committed to social justice.