Early Haṭhayoga: Buddhist Tantric Sex to Hindu Physical Yoga

Key information

6:30 PM to 7:45 PM

About this event

Dr James Mallinson

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In this lecture Dr James Mallinson will chart the early history of the use of the term haṭhayoga in Sanskrit texts. It is first found in Vajrayāna (tantric Buddhist) texts from the 8th century, in which it denotes a forceful method of preventing ejaculation by the male partner in sexual ritual. Its earliest usage in a non-Buddhist work is in the c. 12th-century Nāth Śaiva Amaraughaprabodha , in which it denotes one of four methods of yoga (the others are mantra , laya and rāja ). In the Amaraughaprabodha haṭhayoga’s practices are three techniques of manipulating the breath taught in an earlier Vajrayāna text, the Amṛtasiddhi . Subsequent texts on haṭhayoga widen the term’s scope to include other methods of manipulating the vital principles, and then, in the c. 1400 Haṭhapradīpikā , complex postures and methods of breath control.

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Speaker Biography

Dr James Mallinson is Reader in Indology and Yoga Studies at SOAS University of London and Principle Investigator of the ERC-funded Haṭha Yoga Project. His primary research method is philology, in particular the study of manuscripts of Sanskrit texts on yoga, which he complements with ethnographic data drawn from extensive fieldwork with Indian ascetics, and the study of art historical sources.