Roots of Hatha Yoga

The Haṭha Yoga Project (HYP) is a five-year (2015-2020) 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 and two at the École française d’Extrême Orient, Pondicherry.

The project’s primary outputs will be critical editions and annotated translations of ten Sanskrit texts on haṭha yoga, four monographs, and a range of journal articles, book chapters and encyclopedia entries. In September 2016 a workshop for twenty scholars working on critical editions of Sanskrit texts on yoga was held at SOAS and All Souls, Oxford. A public conference will be held at SOAS in 2020.

In our webcomic we follow the path of Dr James Mallinson, lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical Indian Studies at SOAS. When he was 17, Mallinson traveled across India for several months and became fascinated with the lifestyle of the Indian ascetics. Back to England he started studying Sanskrit. 25 years later he was honored with the title of mahant (religious superior) in recognition of his long association with the Rāmānandī Indian ascetic saṃpradāya.


James Mallinson (researcher)

James Mallinson is Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical and Indian Studies at SOAS, University of London.
He took his BA in Sanskrit and Old Iranian at the University of Oxford, followed by an MA in Area Studies (South Asia), with Ethnography as his main subject, at SOAS. His doctoral thesis, submitted to the University of Oxford, was a critical edition and annotated translation of the Khecarīvidyā, an early text of haṭhayoga.
Dr Mallinson has published eight books, all of which are editions and translations of Sanskrit yoga texts, epic tales and poetry. His recent work has used philological study of Sanskrit texts, ethnography and art history to explore the history of yoga and yogis. His latest book, written in collaboration with Dr Mark Singleton, is Roots of Yoga, published by Penguin Classics in 2016.

Piero Macola (artist)

Graphic novel author and illustrator, he was born in Italy in 1976. He studied comics at ESA Saint-Luc in Brussels then moved to Paris in 2002, where he currently lives. He is the author of the followings graphics novels: Kérosène; Le tirailleur (Futuropolis publishing); Dérives (Atrabile) ; Aller simple (Coconino Press - Vertige Graphic). All of them published in France.
He makes illustrations and short comics stories for press, magazines and youth publishing.