On the Amrtasiddhi, the first text to teach the practices of Hatha Yoga



On the Amrtasiddhi, the first text to teach the practices of Hatha Yoga


Thu., Jan 28 2016 - 3:00 PM


Wilson Hall, Room 301

The Amrtasiddhi is a Sanskrit text on yoga which was probably composed in the 11th century CE. It is the first text to teach several practices and principles which became central to the haṭha method of yoga, from which much of the yoga practiced around the world today is derived. In this talk Dr James Mallinson will cast new light on the text’s sectarian origins, its later redactions, and what it tells us about the history of yoga and its practitioners.
Dr James Mallinson is a lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical and Indian Studies at SOAS, University of London. He obtained his BA in Sanskrit and Old Iranian at the University of Oxford, followed by a 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 hatha yoga.
Dr Mallinson has spent several years living with itinerant ascetic practitioners of yoga in India. At the 2013 Kumbh Mela festival he was honored with the title of “Mahant” by the Rāmānandī Saṃpradāya, the largest ascetic order in India today. The ceremony was filmed as part of a documentary on the Kumbh Mela broadcast by the Smithsonian Channel.
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 next book, written in collaboration with Dr Mark Singleton, is Roots of Yoga, to be published by Penguin Classics in 2016.