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Lectures by Dr Jason Birch

History of Rājayoga: Session One

14 Oct 2014

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.Dr Jason Birchcompleted his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

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History of Rājayoga: Session Two

21 Oct 2014

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries. Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

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History of Rājayoga: Session Three

28 Oct 2014

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries. Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

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History of Rājayoga: Session Four

4 Nov 2014

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries. Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

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History of Rājayoga: Session Five

11 Nov 2014

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries. Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

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History of Rājayoga: Session Six

18 Nov 2014

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries. Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

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History of Rājayoga: Session Seven

25 Nov 2014

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries. Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

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History of Rājayoga: Session Eight

2 Dec 2014

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries. Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

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New Manuscript Evidence for the Practice of Numerous Yoga Postures (Āsana) in the 16–17th centuries

26 Feb 2015

Many of the āsana of modern yoga are not mentioned in the well-known scriptures of Haṭhayoga, such as the Haṭhapradīpikā. This has led to recent claims that relatively few āsanas were practised in traditional Hathayoga and those we see today are largely the invention of twentieth-century Indian gurus. In this talk, these assertions will be assessed in the light of three unpublished manuscripts which contain long lists of āsana. It is apparent that brief references to eighty-four āsanas in the early literature on Haṭhayoga were replaced by actual lists and descriptions of eight-four āsanas after the sixteenth century. During this time in the history of yoga, medieval yoga practices were synthesised with more orthodox Brahmanical literature including Pātañjalayoga.Jason completed his DPhil in 2013 at the University of Oxford. The title of his thesis is, "The Amanaska: King of All Yogas: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation along with a Monographic Introduction." For first half of 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga and Sanskrit for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Since that time, he has been a visiting research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.

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