Yoga, accessibility and disability

Key information

7:00 PM to 8:15 PM
Virtual Event

About this event

Seth Powell

You can watch the recording of this event on YouTube . For other event recordings see our Media page.


A conversation between historical precedent and contemporary concern.

Here at the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies, we aim to bring the best Yoga Studies research to scholars, practitioners and teachers alike. We are experimenting with a new format, bringing together two scholars with different perspectives, in friendly and mutually enlightening conversation. In this event, we aim to discuss a subject at the heart of contemporary discussions of yoga:

Who were the practitioners of premodern Haṭhayoga? Who had access to these texts, teachings, practices? How “accessible" was this yoga? Are there historical examples of yogis with physical disabilities? What do these stories tell us about yoga, the role and view of the body, and the universality of these practices?

Seth Powell will begin with the historical evidence, then we will discuss the importance of that history to understanding contemporary practice and teaching. Do join us, and contribute to this lively and thought-provoking discussion.

This event can be booked via our Eventbrite page.

Speaker Biography

Seth Powell is a scholar of Indian religions, Sanskrit, and yoga traditions. He is currently a PhD Candidate in South Asian Religions at Harvard University where he specializes in the history, theory, and practice of premodern Sanskrit yoga texts and traditions, as well as their intersections with the culture and practice of modern transnational yoga. He is currently dissertating on a fifteenth-century south Indian yoga text called the Śivayogapradīpikā, or the “Lamp on Śivayoga.” His dissertation involves the first critical edition and annotated translation of the text, as well as a study of the relationship between Śaiva ritual, bhakti, and yoga traditions in medieval south India. Seth has also conducted extensive field work throughout the Hindu temples of the Deccan, documenting yoga’s history through its visual and material culture. His work finds itself at the intersections of the disciplines of Indology, religious studies, and art history. Seth is the founder and director of Yogic Studies, an online educational platform dedicated to bridging the scholarly and practitioner yoga communities—offering cutting-edge online courses in yoga’s history, philosophies, and Sanskrit language. He also hosts the Yogic Studies Podcast.

We are hoping to have Melanie Klein join us for this event. Melanie Klein is a successful and highly acclaimed writer, speaker, and professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies. Her areas of interest and specialty include media literacy education, body image, and the intersectional analysis of systems of power and privilege.