The ascetic roots of yoga

Talk given at the advaya event 'Beyond Asana: Asceticism, Alchemy, & The Tangled Roots Of Yoga', a lecture series exploring the history & philosophy of Yoga. Yoga is one of the world’s most popular ways to physical and mental wellbeing. In its early descriptions, however, which date to more than two thousand years ago, it is practised by world-denying ascetics and closely associated with methods of self-deprivation, including extreme practises of bodily mortification. In this talk James Mallinson describes yoga’s origins and its transformation from an ascetic path to liberation undertaken by those on the fringes of society to a wholesome method of achieving wellbeing available to all.


James Mallinson

James Mallinson is Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical and Indian Studies at SOAS, University of London.

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