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Siddhas, Munis and Yogins but no Naths: The Early History of Hathayoga

Wahlstrom Lecture
OCHS Library
Dr James Mallinson
Tuesday, 19 May 2009 - 2:00pm

The Nath order has long been credited with being the originators of hatha-yoga and the authors of the Sanskrit texts on its practice. Text critical study of those works and research into other sources for the same period show this not to be the case: not one of the twenty Sanskrit texts that make up the corpus of early (pre-1450 CE) works on hatha-yoga was written in a Nath milieu. Furthermore, no single sect can be credited with starting hatha-yoga. On the contrary, hatha-yoga developed as a reaction against the sectarianism and exclusivity of tantra and was available to all, regardless of sectarian affiliation.