James Mallinson on Hatha Yoga History, Philology and the Khecarīvidyā (#52)

About the Guest:

James Mallinson is Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical and Indian Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He took his BA in Sanskrit and Old Iranian at the University of Oxford, followed by an MA in Area Studies (South Asia), with Ethnography as his main subject, at SOAS. His doctoral thesis, submitted to the University of Oxford, was a critical edition and annotated translation of the Khecarīvidyā, an early text of haṭhayoga.

Dr Mallinson has published eight books, all of which are editions and translations of Sanskrit yoga texts, epic tales and poetry. His recent work has used philological study of Sanskrit texts, ethnography and art history to explore the history of yoga and yogis. His most recent book, written in collaboration with Dr Mark Singleton, is Roots of Yoga, which was published by Penguin Classics in 2017.

From 2015 to 2020 Dr Mallinson will be leading a European Research Council – funded research project on the history of hatha yoga which will result in ten critical editions and translations of key yoga texts, four monographs and two large conferences to be held at SOAS in 2017 and 2019.

In this episode, we discuss:

  1. What it means to be a Philologist and how the method of philology differs from other scholars of ancient text approach translation
  2. The definition and history of Hatha Yoga
  3. Where the definition of Hatha Yoga as the sun and moon come from
  4. The idea of Hatha being related to force in reference to the straight path leading to unethical decisions
  5. When/where do the kundalini/chakra concepts, Laya yoga come from, and how does that intersection take place?
  6. Reflections on the Hatha yoga traditions as it’s presented in the west with the Patajali yoga shastra as the central text for the practice
  7. Jim’s thoughts on the evidence and ideas presented in the book, ‘Yoga Body’
Take the podcast with you
Subscribe in your favourite app