Dr. James Mallinson: About a thousand years ago the practice of yoga changed fundamentally. Prior to this period the only physical methods undertaken by yoga practitioners in India, apart from techniques of breath-control, involved mortifying the body by holding difficult positions for long periods, sometimes years on end. These methods, identified as physical techniques of tapas, continue to be practised by ascetics in India today.
In my presentation I shall briefly outline the evidence for physical yoga methods prior to this period before turning to the corpus of texts on haṭhayoga, i.e. yoga in which physical methods predominate, and charting the formalisation of these new yoga techniques.
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