The earliest systematic treatments of yoga in Sanskrit texts are written by ascetics for ascetics. Over the course of the first millennium CE, however, textual prescriptions for yoga that may be practised by non-ascetics appear and proliferate. This lecture will explore how yoga practices that were developed in ascetic milieux were translated for non-ascetic audiences, a process that continues to this day.
Dr James Mallinson is Lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical and Indian Studies at SOAS, 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. He is currently working on a monograph entitled Yoga and Yogis: the Texts, Techniques and Practitioners of Early Haṭhayoga.