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A woman acrobat with her belongings.
Watercolour by unknown Indian artist (19th c). 10-7x12-3cm.
Wellcome Library no. 576528i

Haṭhābhyāsapaddhatī: A Precursor of Modern Yoga

This workshop will present the history and practice of the only sequential āsana routine that has been preserved in a premodern manuscript. One hundred and twelve āsanas, many of which are based on the movements of animals, are described in an eighteenth-century yoga text called the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati, 'a manual on the practice of Haṭhayoga'. 

The āsanas are divided into six sequences and some of them involve repetitive movement and require extraordinary strength and flexibility, as well as the use of rope. Many of these āsanas remain unknown to modern yoga practitioners.

The first session will introduce the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati with a general lecture on the practice it teaches and its place within the broader history of yoga. Obvious questions will be addressed, such as the text's date and authorship, unique features of its content and the role of its āsanas within the system of yoga it teaches. The text's contribution to the traditions of yoga at the Mysore Palace and its possible influence on Kṛṣṇamācārya will be discussed.

The second session will guide participants through a practice based on a truncated sequence using some of the more accessible āsanas in the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati. The Sanskrit descriptions and some nineteenth-century illustrations will be presented so that various possibilities and ambiguities for each āsana can be explored. The earliest known dog and cat poses, which are very different to those in modern yoga, will be included, as well as various birds and reptiles. The poses will be taught in a safe way with options to make it accessible for most body types.



Past Events


The Embodied Moment: Remembering the Restful State

ZEN 2.0
Kamakura, Japan
8th - 9th September 2018


London Yoga Festival - 13th October 2018
Yoga Junction - 7th October 2018
Triyoga (Camden, London) - 11th August 2018
Yogame Studio (Prague, Czech Republic) - 24th June 2018
Yoga Campus (Finsbury Park, London) - 3rd June 2018
YogaJaya (Tokyo) - 25th - 26th April 2018
Jagiellonian University (Krakow) - August 2017
British Wheel of Yoga (Scotland) - 2016
British Wheel of Yoga (Wales) - 2016
British Wheel of Yoga 50th Anniversary - 2015
COMO Shambhala (Singapore) - 2014



Seminar for the Masters of Yoga Studies
The New Story of Haṭha Yoga
Haṭha Yoga Project Team
University Ca' Foscari
7th - 9th September 2018


Yoga Studies Summer School
The Jagiellonian University Institute for the Study of Religions
21st July - 5th August 2017



21st June 2016


Yoga in Wales: The Hidden History of Yoga
British Wheel of Yoga, Wales
5th - 6th March 2016



The Evolution of Yoga: Is history repeating itself?
British Wheel of Yoga - Congress 2015: 50 year celebrations
10th- 11th April, 2015

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