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In this episode we welcome back to the Podcast, Sravana Borkataky-Varma. We catch up on her latest book projects, research, and teaching at Harvard Divinity School. We discuss the categories of so-called Classical Tantra vs. Neo Tantra, and some of the nuances of the scholar-practitioner. We discuss gender and transgender, particularly within the hijrā communities, and the recently formed Kinnar Akhara. We then preview the upcoming course, YS 120 | Women and Gender in Hindu Tantra—detailing its four modules: Sacred Transgender Identities, Temple Wives, Guru Mothers, and Superwomen Gurus.Speaker BioDr. Sravana Borkataky-Varma is a historian, educator, and social entrepreneur. As a historian, she studies Indian religions focusing on esoteric rituals and gender, particularly in Hinduism (Goddess Tantra). As an educator, she is currently a lecturer at Harvard Divinity School. She is on leave from her parent organization, the University of Houston where she is the Instructional Assistant Professor. In the past she has taught at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, the University of Montana, Rice University, and Dalian Neusoft University, China.There are five forthcoming book projects that Sravana is simultaneously working on: A monograph titled Divinized Divas: Superwomen, Wives, Hijṛās in Hindu Śākta Tantra, a co-written book titled The Serpent's Tale: Kuṇḍalinī and the History of an Experience, two co-edited volumes titled Living Folk Religions and Religious Responses to the Pandemic & Crises: Isolation, Survival, and #Covidchaos, and a co-edited special issue journal Digital Tantra. Her published articles can be found on sravana.meAs a social entrepreneur, she is the co-founder of a nonprofit, Lumen Tree Portal. Sravana invests in building communities with individuals from various faith backgrounds who believe in kindness, compassion, and fulfillment. LinksYS 120 | Women and Gender in Hindu Tantra 
In this episode we sit down with Rajiv Ranjan to discuss all things Hindi. We learn about Rajiv's remarkable journey from growing up in rural north-east India to MSU university professor, scholar, and author. We discuss the relationship between Hindi and Urdu, as well as Sanskrit and Hindi. We hear about the making of his textbook, Basic Hindi I, and the reasons for making it free and open-access. Rajiv shares with us some of his favorites from the vast world of Hindi literature, and we get a preview of his upcoming series of online Hindi courses at Yogic Studies, HINDI 101 | Elementary Hindi I.Speaker BioDr. Rajiv Ranjan is a professor of Hindi and Urdu language at Michigan State University. He received his PhD in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) from the University of Iowa in 2016. He has been teaching Hindi and Urdu languages in the U.S. since 2010. In addition to his classroom-teaching experience, Rajiv has also taught online at MSU and at Kean University. He taught an immersion program for the South Asia Summer Language Institute (SASLI) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and he has also taught in a study abroad context for the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in India.Rajiv has published an Open Educational Resource (OER) Hindi textbook Basic Hindi I. Rajiv’s primary area of research is generative approaches to SLA. His research interests also include socio-cultural approaches to SLA, second language writing and speaking, language pedagogy, and morpho-syntax.LinksHINDI 101 | Elementary Hindi I Basic Hindi I 
In this episode we sit down with return guest Raj Balkaran to catch up and dive deep into the world of the Devīmāhātmya. Raj shares with us about the publication of his latest book, The Stories Behind the Poses (2022) and how it grew out of the teaching of his previous YS course. We discuss the academic field of Purāṇa study, and how the Devīmāhātmya fits within this larger world of Sanskrit narrative and religious texts. We then discuss the "Greatness of the Goddess," Śākta traditions, the nature of Devī, her theology and nature, and the power of story and narrative to codify and express her divinity. We end with a preview of Raj's upcoming course, YS 208 | Devīmāhātmya: Greatness of the Goddess. Speaker BioDr. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Indian mythology and a spiritual adept. A seasoned online educator, he is also the Founder of the online School of Indian Wisdom where he creates and delivers original online courses integrating scholarship, storytelling and spirituality to apply Indian wisdom teachings to modern life. Beyond teaching and research, Dr. Raj runs a thriving life coaching practice, delivers public talks, and hosts the Indian Religions podcast. LinksYS 208 | Devīmāhātmya: Greatness of the GoddessThe Stories Behind the Poses
In this episode we sit down with Varun Khanna to discuss his upcoming course, YS 207 | The Upaniṣads. We first learn about his background as a pre-med student stumbling into Sanskrit when he tried to study Ayurveda in India, learning Sanskrit as a spoken language, and going on to earn his PhD at Cambridge University. We discuss the mysterious nature of the Upaniṣads, their relation to the earlier Vedic tradition and to later Indian philosophy, the schools of Vedānta, the meaning of key terms like Ātman and Brahman, and what studying the Upaniṣads offers us today in 2022.  Speaker BioDr. Varun Khanna earned both his master’s degree in Sanskrit and his PhD in Hinduism (studying consciousness in the Upaniṣads) at the University of Cambridge. He has been teaching spoken Sanskrit, Pāṇinian Sanskrit grammar, and topics in Indian philosophy since 2008, and is now a Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics teaching Sanskrit at Swarthmore College.Varun’s research interests lie in the intersection of Sanskrit grammar, Vedānta philosophy, and social justice. His latest work centers on the perspectives that ancient Sanskrit literature offers for thinking about equality, freedom, and justice. He is also working on a new Sanskrit primer that incorporates Pāṇinian grammar in order to help students learn the exact boundaries of the rules of Sanskrit.LinksYS 207 | The Upaniṣads
In this episode we sit down with Keith Cantú for a wide ranging conversation on the language and categories of esotericism, the occult, and yoga. We learn about Keith's background, travels, and language training as well as unique experience learning from the Bauls of Bengal.  Listeners/viewers are treated to a live rendition of a Baul song. Keith shares with us his fascinating dissertation research on Sri Sabhapati Swami, lesser-known Tamil yogi who had a substantial impact on nineteenth- and twentieth-century South Asian and Western occult movements. We close out by previewing Keith's upcoming online course, YS 119 | Yoga and Esotericism.Speaker BioDr. Keith Edward Cantú is an Assistant Professor (postdoctoral research associate) at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, where his current research focuses on the political patronage of yogic “meditation halls” (maṭālayams) and “tumuli” (jīva-camātis) in Tamil Nadu. He recently completed his doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the focus of which was the Tamil, pan-Indian, and international reception of the early modern yogi Sabhapati Swami’s system of Śivarājayoga. In addition to his dissertation, which is soon set to be published with an academic press, Keith was the co-editor with Saymon Zakaria of City of Mirrors: Songs of Lālan Sā̃i (Oxford University Press, South Asia Research series, 2017), a volume of nineteenth-century Bengali Bāul Fakiri songs translated by Carol Salomon. He also has published several articles and chapters relating to topics as varied as yoga and cultural authenticity, theosophical orientalism and yoga, the ethnography of Tantra, and Islamic esotericism, and has translated a Sanskrit chapter of the Rasāyanakhaṇḍa on the alchemical wonders of Śrīśailam (forthcoming via the Ayuryog project). When not researching he is also working with the Bengali community at a non-profit clinic as a health education and outreach specialist.LinksYS 119 | Yoga and Esotericism "Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels": Western Esotericism, Yoga, and the Discourse of Authenticity"
In this episode we welcome back Jim Mallinson for an update on his pioneering research into the earliest Sanskrit texts of Haṭha Yoga. We review some of the major findings from the 5-year ERC Haṭha Yoga Project and learn about his latest project, the Light on Hatha Yoga Project (2021–2024) which will produce a critical edition of the Haṭhapradīpikā. We discuss the latest methods in digital Sanskrit philology and the challenges of working with large amounts of manuscript data. We then dive into the Amṛtasiddhi, the "Attainment of Immortality," to learn about this fascinating and important tantric source text for the Haṭha Yoga Traditions, giving a rich preview for Jim's upcoming online course, YS 206 | The Amṛtasiddhi: Haṭha Yoga's Source Text. Speaker BioDr. James 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.LinksYS 206 | The Amṛtasiddhi: Haṭha Yoga's Source Text Amṛtasiddhi: Haṭhayoga’s Tantric Buddhist Source TextHaṭhayoga's Early History: From Vajrayāna Sexual Restraint to Universal Somatic Soteriology
In this episode we speak with Adrián Muñoz about his academic path and research at El Colegio de México where he is currently heading an exciting new project on the history of yoga in Latin America. Adrián tells Seth about his early years and training in grad school in Mexico, discovering the Nāth yogis, travels and field work in India, as well as his love for poetry and the vernacular. We also discuss the Euro-American and Anglophone primacy of academia and the need for (as well as challenges of) non-English research and publications. We then discuss the history of yoga in Latin America, with particular attention to Mexico as we preview Adrián's upcoming course, YS 118 | Yoga in Latin America.  Speaker BioDr. Adrián Muñoz is an Associate Professor at the Center for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de México, where he earned his PhD in South Asian Studies in 2007. He has specialized in South Asian religious traditions, with an emphasis in early modern expressions, but is also interested in the intricate relationships between religion, mythography, and literature across time and languages.  Adrián’s research has usually focused on the history and literature of yoga, often dealing with issues of hagiography, variability, and identity. In recent years, he has been developing a research project on the reception and practice of yoga in Mexico, and coordinates a wider research group devoted to tracing the history of yoga in Latin America.  He has authored various articles and book chapters these issues. His books include Historia minima del yoga (2019, co-authored with Gabriel Martino), Radiografía del hathayoga (2016), and Yogi Heroes and Poets: Histories and Legends of the Naths (2011, coedited with David N. Lorenzen). He also writes poetry.LinksYS 118 | Yoga in Latin AmericaánMuñoz  
In this episode we speak with Edwin Bryant about his upcoming course,  YS 205 | Bhakti Yoga: The Bhāgavatapurāṇa and his latest book Bhakti Yoga: Tales and Teachings from the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2017). Dr. Bryant regales Seth with stories of hitchhiking through India in his youth while studying Sanskrit and Hindi, and meeting his guru in the holy city of Vrindavan. He also talks about his translation of the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, his dissertation exploring the Indo-Aryan migration theory, and his upcoming work In Defense of a God with Form.Speaker BioEdwin Bryant received his Ph.D in Indic languages and Cultures from Columbia University. He taught Hinduism at Harvard University for three years, and is presently the professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University where he teaches courses on Hindu philosophy and religion. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, published eight books, and authored a number of articles on the earliest origins of Vedic culture, yoga philosophy, and the Kṛṣṇa tradition. These include Bryant’s translation of and commentary on The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009), and more recently its sequel entitled Bhakti Yoga: Tales and Teachings from the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2017).LinksYS 205 | Bhakti Yoga: The Bhāgavatapurāṇa 
In this episode we sit down with Sikh scholar and historian Jvala Singh to discuss the history of yoga within Sikhi, the topic of his upcoming Yogic Studies course YS 116 | Sikhism and Yoga. Jvala tells Seth how he met his teacher, his work translating tales of the ten Gurus from the 19th century Sūraj Prakāś, the joys of podcasting, and the publication of Jvala's recent book 54 Punjabi Proverbs (2019, Tattva). They also discuss the legacy of Yogi Bhajan within the Sikh community.Speaker BioJvala Singh is a lecturer for UC Berkeley at the Institute for South Asia Studies. He is currently completing his PhD at the University of British Columbia, where he is examining pre-colonial Sikh historical narratives. His research explores literature in Punjabi and Brajbhāṣā from the 18th and 19th centuries, building off his previous M.A. research completed at the University of Toronto, where he focused on Sikh Brajbhāṣā versions of Sanskrit epics, such as the Rāmāyaṇa. In furthering the accessibility of pre-colonial Sikh Brajbhāṣā texts, Singh runs the Suraj Podcast, where each episode is a chapter summary in English of the voluminous Sūraj Prakāś (1843 CE)—a historical narrative covering the lives of the ten Sikh Gurus written by Santokh Singh (1787-1844).LinksYS 116 | Sikhism and Yogamanglacharan.com54 Punjabi Proverbs (2019, Tattva)
In this episode we talk with Patton Burchett about his latest book A Genealogy of Devotion: Bhakti, Tantra, Yoga, and Sufism in North India (2019, Columbia University Press) and his upcoming course, YS 115 | A History of Yoga and Devotion. Patton tells Seth about the teachers who inspired his studies, and how academics confuse the social and interactive nature of Indian devotional practices with a more solitary Judeo-Christian concept of devotion. They also dive into the competing influences of Persian and Sanskritic culture in North India that shaped the growing Bhakti movements of the time, the communalist politics of modern religious identities in North India, and the relations between bhaktas like Kabīr and yogīs like Gorkhnāth. Speaker BioPatton Burchett is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He earned his PhD in South Asian Religions from Columbia University in 2012 and then spent three years as an Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in Religious Studies at New York University (NYU).  Patton's research focuses on early modern devotional (bhakti) traditions and tantric and yogic religiosity in North India and on the interrelations of magic, science, and religion in the rise of Indian and Western modernities.  He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on bhakti literature and Mughal-era Indian religious history (among other topics), and his first book, A Genealogy of Devotion: Bhakti, Tantra, Yoga, and Sufism in North India (Columbia University Press) was published in 2019.  Links YS 115 | A History of Yoga and Devotion
In this episode we sit down with Kate to celebrate the launch of Buddhist Studies Online. We learn about her story, her background in academia and Buddhism, travels in Asia, how she first met Seth as grad students at Harvard, building course websites for Harvard professors. We discuss her research on pilgrimage and the importance of place and perception within Tibetan Buddhism. Kate gives us a sneak peak at her upcoming online course, BSO 101 | Intro to Buddhism: History, Philosophy, and Practice. We discuss historical Buddha, the 4 Noble truths, common misperceptions about Buddhism, and much more. Speaker BioKate Hartmann is a scholar of Buddhism and professor of Buddhist studies. She received her PhD in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University in 2021. Her research explores the theory and practice of Tibetan pilgrimage to holy mountains, and focuses on the goal of transforming perception. She also holds an MA in the History of Religions from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. She is currently Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming, and is the new Director of Buddhist Studies Online. As part of her training, Kate has spent extended periods of time living in Asia. She has spent summers backpacking across India, living with Tibetan Buddhist nuns in Ladakh, in Dharamsala working in the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, studying at the Dunhuang caves in China, traveling to Lhasa, and conducting research around Boudha in Nepal. She speaks modern colloquial Tibetan and conducts research in Classical Tibetan and Sanskrit. Links BSO 101 | Intro to Buddhism: History, Philosophy, and Practice
In this episode we speak with return guest Dr. Philipp Maas about the ancient school of Sāṅkhya—which he describes as India's philosophy par excellence for its wide and enduring influence on Indian culture. Giving us a taste of his upcoming course: YS 204 | The Sāṅkhyakārikā: Stanzas on All-Embracing Insight,  Maas discusses Sāṅkhya‘s relationship with the Yoga of Patañjali, and dives into the Kārikā—the oldest surviving text of the tradition. We discuss what little we know about the work's author Īśvarakṛṣṇa, its roots in the lost treatise, the ancient Śaṣṭitantra, and much more. Speaker BioPhilipp Maas is currently a research associate at the Institute for Indology and Central Asian Studies, University of Leipzig in Germany, where he works on a digital critical edition of the Nyāyabhāṣya, a Sanskrit work on spiritual liberation through proper reasoning. Previously he had served as an assistant professor and postdoc researcher at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Bonn Germany.He received his M.A. (1997) and Dr. phil. (2004) degrees from the University of Bonn, where he had completed studies in Indology, Comparative Religious Studies, Tibetology and Philosophy. His first book (originally his PhD thesis) is the first critical edition of the first chapter (Samādhipāda) of the Pātañjala Yogaśāstra, i.e. the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali together with the commentary called Yoga Bhāṣya. He has published extensively on classical Yoga and Sāṅkhya philosophy and meditation, Āyurveda, the relationship of Pātañjalayoga to Buddhism as well as on the textual tradition of the Pātañjalayogaśāstra. He is a member of the “Historical Sourcebooks on Classical Indian Thought” project, convened by Prof. Sheldon Pollock, to which he contributes with a monograph on the development of Yoga-related ideas in pre-modern South Asian intellectual history.  LinksYS 204 | The Sāṅkhyakārikā: Stanzas on All-Embracing Insight
In today's episode we talk with Dr. Suzanne Newcombe and Dr. Karen O'Brien-Kop about their recent collaboration co-editing The Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies (2021), and the labor of love that went into creating this interdisciplinary collaboration. We also discuss the history of yoga studies, the difference between academic "field" and "discipline," how academic work can overlap with the daily spiritual practice of the scholar, and what makes Modern Yoga Studies a unique field.Speaker BiosSuzanne Newcombe is a senior lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University, UK, and honorary director of Inform, based in Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College, London. She has published on topics relating to the popularisation of yoga and ayurveda including the monograph Yoga in Britain: Stretching Spirituality and Educating Yogis (2019). She researched the transformation of yoga and ayurveda in modern India as part of the ERC-funded AYURYOG project from 2015-2020.  Karen O’Brien-Kop is a lecturer in Asian Religions and Ethics at the University of Roehampton, UK, and was formerly a senior teaching fellow at SOAS University of London. She received her PhD from SOAS, titled Seed and Cloud of Liberation in Buddhist and Pātañjala Yoga: An Intertextual Study and continues to research classical Sanskrit texts on yoga and meditation. She has published articles in Religions of South Asia and the Journal of Indian Philosophy and is currently working on a monograph on classical yoga and Buddhism.  LinksListeners can receive 20% off the book with the promo code: FLR40 (Should apply to both hardcover and e-book versions). Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies (2021) 109 | Classical Yoga and Buddhism 
In this episode Dr. Theodora Wildcroft discusses her new book, Post-Lineage Yoga: From Guru to #MeToo (2020). We explore the historical shifts that have been reshaping yoga in the west: from the ways schools of yoga have been forced to pivot after the deaths or public denouncements of their charismatic founder-gurus, to the need of modern practitioners to seek out eclectic sources in their education beyond a single voice of authority, and how both recent historical research and social movements have undermined old systems of power in the yoga world, leaving us to wonder if we are indeed in a "post-lineage" era of yoga?Speaker BioTheodora Wildcroft is a teacher, trainer, writer and scholar, and the author of the new book Post-Lineage Yoga: From Guru to #MeToo (Equinox 2020). Her research considers the democratization of yoga post-lineage, and the many different ways yoga communities are responding to concerns about safety in practice. She is at the forefront of the movement for trauma sensitivity, diversity and inclusion.In 2019, she completed her PhD with the Open University in Religious Studies, with the thesis title: Patterns of authority and practice relationships in ‘post-lineage yoga.’ An accomplished writer with two decades of experience in group facilitation, she not only delivers compelling lectures and inspiring writing, but holds careful and thoughtful spaces for groups and individuals to deepen their knowledge, share experiences and acquire new skills. Links http://postlineage.yoga
In this episode, we talk with scholar-practitioner Jacqueline Hargreaves about her work with the Hatha Yoga Project, her unlikely background as an engineer that first brought her to India, and her life as a nomadic yoga researcher with her partner Jason Birch. Jacqueline shares some wonderful stories about her work including a rare audience with Mysore's Royal Family and the discovery of a lost manuscript thousands of miles from India in a very unlikely place. We also discuss her upcoming online course, YS 114 | Rāja Yoga: History, Theory, and Practice which will be co-taught with Jason Birch. Speaker BioJacqueline Hargreaves is an Engineer, senior Yoga Teacher, and independent researcher who examines the contemporary meeting place between historical Yoga practices and their application in the modern world. She is a founding member of the Journal of Yoga Studies, a peer-reviewed academic journal, and the co-founder of The Luminescent, an independent open-access educational platform for publishing cutting-edge, original research from primary sources. She has travelled throughout India for fieldwork into the origins of Haṭhayoga and studied meditation extensively, including mindfulness-based meditation and intensive Zen practice in a remote part of Japan.Hargreaves collaborates with scholars, artists, and scientists to communicate research on both premodern and modern facets of Yoga. Most recently, she curated the exhibition Embodied Liberation I and II at the Brunei Gallery in London for the Hatha Yoga Project (SOAS University of London). In collaboration with the AyurYog Project (University of Vienna), Jacqueline curated the Untangling Traditions series and designed a web-based visual and interactive timeline for premodern yoga and Āyurveda. Hargreaves is currently producing a documentary film, which aims to bring to life the unique content of the postural practice preserved in an eighteenth-century Sanskrit yoga text, Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati, through a visual reconstruction of its extraordinary section on āsana. LinksThe Luminescent ( of Yoga Studies ( Embodied Liberation - The Textual, Ethnographic and Historical Research of the Hatha Yoga Project ( AyurYog Timeline ( Hatha Yoga Project (ṭhābhyāsapaddhati: A Precursor of Modern Yoga (  
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Stuart Ray Sarbacker about his newest book Tracing the Path of Yoga: The History and Philosophy of Indian Mind-Body Discipline (2021, SUNY Press). We explore the origins of yoga, what Stuart calls the numinous and cessative dimensions of yoga, early tantric sources for Haṭhayoga, as well as unique yoga teachings from the Purāṇas. We discuss the importance of mantra and sacred sound, varying interpretations of Aṣṭāṅgayoga, and the under-appreciated influences of Buddhism and Jainism throughout yoga's history.Speaker BioStuart Ray Sarbacker is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University. His work is centered on the relationships between the religious and philosophical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, especially with respect to the practices of yoga and tantra, including both bodily disciplines and contemplative practices. He also works on issues related to method and theory in the study of religion, with a particular focus on religious experience and its interpretation. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has performed institutional study and fieldwork in India, Nepal, and Japan.He has written three books, including Samādhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga (SUNY Press), The Eight Limbs of Yoga: A Handbook for Living Yoga Philosophy (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), and the forthcoming Tracing the Path of Yoga: The History and Philosophy of Indian Mind-Body Discipline (SUNY Press).He is a co-founder and former co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Yoga in Theory and Practice unit, and has also served as the co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Mysticism section. In addition to his academic credentials, Professor Sarbacker is an active yoga practitioner and teacher, having trained extensively in contemporary yoga and meditation traditions in India and the United States.Links Tracing the Path of Yoga (Sarbacker 2021)
In this episode we talk with Daniel Simpson about his upcoming book, The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga's History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices (2021, North Point Press). We discuss his writing process, his background as a foreign correspondent, making the historical texts and philosophies of yoga accessible to modern practitioners, perceptions on yoga in China, and the idea of authenticity in modern yoga practice.Speaker BioDaniel Simpson teaches courses on yoga history and philosophy at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and on teacher trainings at Triyoga in London. He earned a Master's degree in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation at SOAS, University of London, where he had the good fortune to study with some of the leading researchers in the field. He previously worked as a foreign correspondent – initially for Reuters, then the New York Times – after studying at Cambridge as an undergraduate. His interest in yoga developed in parallel, including frequent trips to India since the 1990s. Daniel's new book, The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga’s History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices, will be published on January 5, 2021, by North Point Press. Links http://www.danielsimpson.info
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Mark Singleton about his journey and career in yoga and academia, his dissertation turned book Yoga Body and its reception 10 years after publication,  the "birth" of modern yoga in the 19th and 20th centuries, the contested history of yoga postures (āsana), as well as his current work on the fascinating relationship between yoga and technology. We also discuss his upcoming online course, YS 113 | Yoga's Past, Present, and Future. Speaker BioMark Singleton’s research interests lie in the intersection of tradition and modernity in yoga. He was research assistant to Dr. Elizabeth De Michelis at Cambridge University’s Dharam Hinduja Institute of Indic Research in 2002-3, and went on to complete a Ph.D at Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity on the modern history of yoga. He taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses at St. John’s College (Santa Fe, New Mexico) between 2006 and 2013.His books include Yoga in the Modern World (Routledge 2008, ed. with Jean Byrne); Yoga Body, The Origins of Modern Posture Practice (Oxford University Press 2010); Gurus of Modern Yoga (Oxford University Press 2014, ed. with Ellen Goldberg); and Roots of Yoga (Penguin Classics, 2017, with James Mallinson). He has also written numerous articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries on yoga.His work on the now-concluding 5-year Haṭha Yoga Project focuses primarily on the history of physical practices that were incorporated into or associated with yoga in pre-colonial India. He is involved in the critical editing of three of the project’s core texts (the Yogacintāmaṇi, Haṭhasaṃketacandrikā and Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati). He is currently writing a new monograph on the subject of Yoga and Technology.Links Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice (2010, OUP)The Yoga of the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati: Haṭhayoga on the Cusp of Modernity (2019, Journal of Yoga Studies)Haṭha Yoga Project
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Amanda Lucia about her new book, White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals (2020, UC Press). We discuss transformational festivals in California, the nature of religious exoticism, white possessivism, and cultural appropriation in North American yoga and bhakti communities.Speaker BioAmanda Lucia is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California-Riverside. Her research engages the global exportation, appropriation, and circulation of Hinduism. She is author of White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals (October 2020), which investigates the intersections of whiteness and religious exoticism among the “spiritual, but not religious” at transformational festivals, such as Bhakti Fest, Wanderlust, Lightning in a Bottle, and Burning Man, with a particular focus on yoga practice. Her previous publications include Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace (2014) and numerous articles. She is currently crafting a body of research on sexual abuse in guru-led religious communities.Links
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Raj Balkaran about his early days of spiritual seeking in Toronto, discovering religious studies, the power of myth and narrative in Hindu traditions, his work on the Purāṇas, the Devī Māhātmya and Sūrya Māhātmya of the Mārkeṇḍeya Purāṇa, as well as a preview of his upcoming online course, YS 112 | Yoga and Hindu Mythology. Speaker BioRaj Balkaran is a scholar of Hindu mythology and author of The Goddess and the King in Indian Myth (2018) and The Goddess and the Sun in Indian Myth (2020), both published as part of Routledge’s Hindu Studies Series. He holds advanced degrees in Hinduism from the University of Toronto and University of Calgary.Alongside his academic training, Dr. Balkaran apprenticed with an Indian master for twelve years as part of a living oral tradition dedicated to the preservation and application of Hindu philosophy. He therefore brings hundreds of hours of traditional transmissions of yoga philosophy to the table, which he dovetails with academic rigor and captivating storytelling.A seasoned online educator, Dr. Balkaran also teaches online courses privately and at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Beyond teaching and research, he enjoys a thriving life consulting practice and hosts the New Books in Hindu Studies Podcast.Links 112 | Yoga and Hindu Mythology
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