Resources for Orientation on Yoga

Sahapedia Haṭha Yoga Knowledge Tradition Project:

Sahapedia is an open online resource on the arts, cultures and heritage of India. This series of ten articles includes an overview of the history of yoga, as well as articles by subject-matter experts on haṭha yoga, modern yoga, meditation, Pātañjala yoga, prāṇāyāma, the subtle body, mantra, and Āyurveda.

Religion Dispatches on Yoga:

Religion Dispatches is an independent, non-profit, award-winning source for the best writing on critical and timely issues at the intersection of religion, politics and culture. It features timely reflections from scholars on more contemporary and controversial debates involving yoga groups.

Podcasts and Audio Resources: The Religious Studies Project on Yoga

The Religious Studies Project (RSP) is an international collaborative enterprise producing weekly podcasts with leading scholars on the social-scientific study of religion.

The History of Philosophy without any gaps. ‘Yoga.’ Interview with Philipp Maas on the Pātañjalai Yogaśāstra. 26 November 2016.

The Religious Studies Project. ‘Historical, Popular, and Scholarly Constructions of Yoga.’ Interview with David Gordon White. 22 June 2016.

BBC Radio 4/Culture Wise. ‘Secret History of Yoga.’ Featuring Jim Mallinson, Suzanne Newcombe and Mark Singleton. 17 June 2016.

Interfaith Voices. ‘How yoga migrated from India to your local gym.’ Featuring Andrew Nicholson. 11 March 2016.

BBC Radio 4. ‘Yoga’ on Beyond Belief. Featuring Jim Mallinson and Suzanne Newcombe. 10 February 2014.

Academic Review Articles: 

Newcombe, S. (2017) ‘The Revival of Yoga in Contemporary India’ In: Barton, John ed. Oxford Research Encyclopedias: Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.253.

Baier, K. (2012) ‘Modern Yoga Research: Insights and Questions’.

Farmer, J. (2012) ‘Americanasana’ (with special attention to Mark Singleton’s Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice, Stefanie Syman’s The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, and Robert Love’s The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America) in Reviews in American History40:145–158..

Bronkhorst, J, Chapple, C.K., Patton, L.L., Samuel, G., Sarbacker, S. R. and Wallace, V. (2011) ‘Contextualizing the History of Yoga in Geoffrey Samuel’s The Origins of Yoga and Tantra: A Review Symposium’ International Journal of Hindu Studies15(3): 303-357.

Newcombe, S. (2009) ‘The Development of Modern Yoga: A Survey of the Field’ Religion Compass 3(6): 986-1002. A pre-publication draft is available for reference as a pdf. 

Useful Academic Websites:

American Academy of Religion Yoga in Theory and Practice Group
Seeks to elucidate the religious and sectarian representations of yoga in South Asian history and the contemporary yoga culture that have emerged in the past century.

The Haṭha Yoga Project (HPY)
The Hatha Yoga Project is a five-year research project funded by the European Research Council and based at SOAS, University of London, which aims to chart the history of physical yoga practice by means of philology, i.e. the study of texts on yoga, and ethnography, i.e. fieldwork among practitioners of yoga. The project team consists of four researchers based at SOAS, one at the École française d’Etrème Orient, Pondycherry, and one at the Maharaja Man Singh Pustak Prakash, Jodhpur.

Modern Yoga Research Website
This website aims to help you find out more about established and current research into modern yoga and, more generally, about some of the most informative research on earlier forms of yoga. These are different but overlapping fields, and we believe that it is when they come together that a deeper understanding of modern yoga can happen.

Entangled Histories of Yoga, Ayurveda and Alchemy in South Asia (AYURYOG)
This five-year ERC-funded project is examining the histories of yoga, ayurveda and rasaśāstra (Indian alchemy and iatrochemistry) from the tenth century to the present, focussing on the disciplines’ health, rejuvenation and longevity practices.

Yoga Scapes: The Economics of Imagination and Utopian Aspirations of Transglobal Yoga in Japan
A two-year postdoctoral research project starting November 2017 at Kyoto University.  In an effort to shift the gaze of global yoga studies away from a Western perspective, this anthropologically-informed project seeks to privilege the lived experiences of yoga practitioners in Japan.