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:
- What it means to be a Philologist and how the method of philology differs from other scholars of ancient text approach translation
- The definition and history of Hatha Yoga
- Where the definition of Hatha Yoga as the sun and moon come from
- The idea of Hatha being related to force in reference to the straight path leading to unethical decisions
- When/where do the kundalini/chakra concepts, Laya yoga come from, and how does that intersection take place?
- 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
- Jim’s thoughts on the evidence and ideas presented in the book, ‘Yoga Body’
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I’m not convinced my yoga is better than your yoga because I am not in your body or your life or your circumstances or family constellation. I do not know where you come from or what makes you tick. I do not know what your body “needs”.
If the yoga industry wants to thrive again, it needs to start teaching more than fitness. Fortunately, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel- all the techniques already exist within yoga’s traditions to offer a class that touches every part of our being. By offering more integrated classes that include pranayama, mantra, meditation and kriya, we can now provide a yoga experience, instead of just yoga poses.
Just as each feature of cosmic order has an essential nature, cosmic order itself has an essential nature. Bringing ourselves into harmony with the essential nature of cosmic order is the way by which we can live peacefully in the world. Conversely, dissonant action relative the essential nature of cosmic order brings about chaos and destruction.
Nikki Costello is an educator with 30 years of teaching and training experience in the Yoga and Wellness industry. She works at the intersection of social justice and Yoga with a focus on facilitating new models of embodied leadership.