Beyond Asana: Asceticism, Alchemy, & The Tangled Roots Of Yoga.

Consciousness & Spirituality, Health & Wellbeing

Beyond Asana: Asceticism, Alchemy, & the Tangled Roots of Yoga.

Talk with Dr Mark Singleton, Dr Daniela Bevilacqua, Suzanne Newcombe, Colin Dunsmuir, James Mallinson

Join us for an exciting lecture series taking us beyond asana to explore the tangled roots of yoga. We have invited the most important scholars and teachers in the field.

Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 6:30pm–8:30pm UK Time Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Road, London NW1 6XT (Baker Street Tube)

Book Now

Beyond Asana: Asceticism, Alchemy, & The Tangled Roots Of Yoga.


Each event can be booked separately, or you can attend the whole course for a significant discount. For everyone: students, teachers, and anyone interested in Yoga, Philosophy and History.


Tuesday 3rd October 2017 - James Mallinson, ’The Ascetic Roots of Yoga’; & Mark Singleton *’Yoga as we Know It: The Development of Physical Practices of Yoga’*

James Mallinson: 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 will describe 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.

Mark Singleton: A talk on the physical practices of yoga. A general history of āsana, including the modern. Full description coming soon.

Tuesday 10th October 2017 – Daniela Bevilacqua, ‘Yoga Among Indian Sadhus: Living Ascetic Practitioners of Yoga, Some Theoretical and Practical Insights Yoga Among Indian Sadhus, Some Theoretical and Practical Insights

In this talk Daniela will explore the yoga practice of Hindu ascetics in India. Before describing their physical practice, she will introduce their religious background and affiliation, and then clarify what yoga and haṭha yoga mean according to them. Afterwards Daniela will describe the performance of yoga āsanas made by some of them with her (a kind of sādhu yoga session) and the public performance of yoga āsanas during religious gatherings, creating some comparison with modern yoga practices.

Tuesday 17th October 2017 – Suzanne Newcombe, ’Yoga, Ayurveda, Magic & Alchemy

In the twentieth century, Yoga is often presented as a ‘sister science’ to Ayurveda and is increasingly promoted as able to promote longevity and ‘wellness’. In this talk, Suzanne Newcombe will present some interesting vignettes of points of contact between these traditions. She will outline the extent of current knowledge of the overlapping histories of yoga, ayurveda, longevity practices and rasaśāstra (Indian alchemy and iatrochemistry) from the tenth century to the present, based on the research findings to-date of the ERC-funded AYURYOG project.

Tuesday 31st October 2017 - Colin Dunsmuir,’*Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga Philosophy for Today’*

Colin will begin to reveal the hidden meanings and explain clearly key concepts within Chapters One and Two of yoga’s main philosophical text: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.

The lecture itself will combine practices, with clear, down-to-earth explanations and group discussions of the key promises of yoga. Drawing from a number of tools: asana; pranayama; meditation; visualisation and mantra, the evening will be a wonderful mix of experience, teaching and participation.

The theory, experience and the practices will lead us to take practical examples that will de-mystify the often confused concepts such as: how yoga views the mind; how yoga can be practiced to find stability and peace; and how we can use yoga to overcome obstacles in our lives?

You should leave with a solid framework of understanding that shows a system that is as relevant today as it was over 2000 years ago.

Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 6:30pm–8:30pm UK Time Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Road, London NW1 6XT (Baker Street Tube)

Book Now

Dr Mark Singleton #

Mark Singleton works on yoga in tradition and modernity. He was research assistant to Elizabeth De Michelis at Cambridge University’s Dharam Hinduja Institute of Indic Research in 2002-3, and went on to complete a PhD at Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity.

Read Dr Mark Singleton’s profile

Dr Daniela Bevilacqua #

Daniela Bevilacqua is an Indianist who uses ethnographic and historical methodologies to dig into religious issues of Indian culture. In 2006 she graduated in Oriental Languages from the University of Rome, Sapienza, presenting the thesis Nityasumangali, the ritual and propitiatory role of the Devadasi. In 2009 she completed her MD, specializing in Modern and Contemporary Indian History.

Read Dr Daniela Bevilacqua’s profile

Suzanne Newcombe #

Suzanne Newcombe is a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University (UK) where she researches modern yoga from a sociological and social-historical perspective.

Read Suzanne Newcombe’s profile

Colin Dunsmuir #

When Colin Dunsmuir was rushed to hospital in his late teens, just two hours away from dying, he had an extraordinary experience that was to change his life forever.

Read Colin Dunsmuir’s profile

James Mallinson #

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

Read James Mallinson’s profile