The Dattātreyayogaśāstra ("Dattātreya's Discourse on Yoga"), was written in about 1200 CE. It is the first text to teach both the eightfold yoga system of Patañjali and the physical methods of haṭhayoga. It thus opens the door to the acceptance of physical methods into orthodox Hindu yoga. The text teaches four types of yoga —Mantra, Laya, Haṭha and Rāja, with the teachings on Haṭha constituting 167 of its 193 verses. Haṭha is of two types, an eightfold system corresponding to that of Patañjali, but whose methods are not identical to Patañjali’s and are taught in a more practice-oriented way, and a system comprising of nine physical methods attributed to the ancient sage Kapila.
Dr. James Mallinson has been working on the Dattātreyayogaśāstra for nearly two decades and has recently completed a critical edition and translation of the text, which will be published late next year. The edition, which is an output of the SOAS University of London-based Haṭha Yoga Project (2015–2021) has taken longer than planned because at a late stage Dr. Mallinson discovered five more manuscripts of the text, which transmit an older and slightly longer version of the text.
This course will begin with an overview of the Dattātreyayogaśāstra in which we will look into its date (c. 1200 CE), place of origin (probably the Deccan) and sectarian origins (extra-Vedic Hinduism), as well as the content and structure of the text, and the manuscript sources that have been used to establish it.
Over the remainder of the course Dr. Mallinson will do a close reading of the text, in translation, with analysis of the Sanskrit where necessary and contextual commentary.
Students Will Receive:
- 12 Pre-recorded class sessions (90 min each)
- 5 YS Credits
- 18 Hours of CE credit with YA
- Course Syllabus (PDF)
- Sanskrit-English translation of the text (PDF)
- 6 Multiple Choice Quizzes
- Yogic Studies Certificate (PDF)
- Access to the private Community Forum
Dr. James Mallinson
SOAS, University of London
Dr. Mallinson is Reader in Indology and Yoga Studies at SOAS University of London. His research focuses on the history and current traditional practice of yoga and his primary methods are philology, ethnography and art history. Dr. Mallinson led the Haṭha Yoga Project (2015–2021), a six-person research project on the history of physical yoga funded by the European Research Council. The project’s core outputs will be ten critical editions of Sanskrit texts on physical yoga and four monographs on its history and current practice. Together with Professor Jürgen Hanneder (University of Marburg), Dr. Mallinson is now leading the Light on Hatha Yoga Project (2021–2024) which will produce a critical edition of the Haṭhapradīpikā.
Among Dr. Mallinson’s publications are The Khecarīvidyā of Ādinātha, a Critical Edition and Annotated Translation of an Early Text on Haṭhayoga (Routledge, 2007), a revision of his doctoral thesis, which was supervised by Professor Alexis Sanderson at the University of Oxford, where Dr. Mallinson also read Sanskrit as an undergraduate, Roots of Yoga (Penguin Classics, 2017, co-authored with Mark Singleton) and The Amṛtasiddhi and Amṛtasiddhimūla: The Earliest Texts of the Haṭhayoga Tradition (École française d’Extreme-orient, Pondicherry, 2021). Dr. Mallinson has spent more than ten years living in India with traditional ascetics and practitioners of yoga, and at the 2013 Kumbh Mela was awarded the title of Mahant by the Rāmānandī Saṃpradāya.
This course is eligible for 18 hours of Continued Education (CE) credits with Yoga Alliance
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