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Re: [Indo-Eurasia] yogic bands

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  • Jim Mallinson
    [Mod. Note. Please set to UTF-8 if reading in a browser. - Steve.] Dear All, Yogic bands: I learnt from the list a while back about the illustration of a
    Message 1 of 14 , Aug 1, 2012
      [Mod. Note. Please set to UTF-8 if reading in a browser. - Steve.]

      Dear All,

      Yogic bands: I learnt from the list a while back about the illustration of a yogapaṭṭa at Sanchi (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/7621). Between then and these Tibetan images there are references in yoga texts. The sopāśraya ("with a support") āsana mentioned in the Yogasūtrabhāṣya is said in the 10th-century Tattvavaiśāradī to be yogapaṭṭāsana. Narasiṃha is often depicted (as "Yoganarasiṃha") with a yogapaṭṭa (esp. at Vijayanagar). There is a c.1250 Chola example that is going in the Smithsonian's Yoga: The Art of Transformation exhibition that opens in October 2013 and for which I'm contributing a couple of essays for the catalogue (deadlines yesterday...). There are also plenty of Mughal images from the 16th century onwards depicting ascetics with yogapaṭṭas. I haven't read any detailed descriptions of what to do with the bands, nor have I seen Indic depictions in which they are used for the more contorted postures shown in the "15th-century" Tibetan painting.

      The earliest Indic depictions of non-seated āsanas that I know of are carvings on the prākāra wall around the Śrīśailam Mallikārjuna temple in Andhra Pradesh, which can be dated to 1510 CE. Rob Linrothe has written about these (as has Richard Shaw). Linrothe and Shaw have both (I think) reproduced pictures of a carving of kukkuṭāsana from the prākāra wall. Shaw (I think) says that mayūrāsana, the peacock, is also shown there but I am yet to see pictures confirming this. I went to Śrīśailam 20 years ago but unfortunately didn't have a camera.

      The earliest paintings of non-seated yogic āsanas that I know of are in a manuscript of the Persian Bahr al-Hāyat in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, dated 1602 CE. It has 23 pictures of āsanas, amongst which is a headstand and kukkuṭāsana, the cock. Curiously the headstand is a misinterpretation of the Persian text, which clearly says that the yogi is to sit in siddhāsana. The rest of the āsanas are not very gymnastic at all, but slightly strange seated postures for meditations on various nirguṇa themes. There are parallels in a 1660 CE manuscript of the Sanskrit Yogacintāmaṇi and I'm working on that with Carl Ernst for the Smithsonian exhibition. It's very interesting how much more detail the Persian text supplies.

      I digress. Because I'm working with the exhibition I'm reluctant to make any of the materials public (I'm still waiting for permission to use one from the Chester Beatty Library on my blog www.khecari.com, 4 months later) for fear of upsetting the lenders. But if anyone wants any article pdfs (mine, others') or images, please write off-list. Oh, yes, the earliest Sanskrit description of a non-seated āsana that I have found is in a 9th-century Vaikhānasa Saṃhitā. I've recently written this up, shoehorning it into an article for the JIP. Draft available if anyone wants it.

      Re the date of the Tibetan images: I'm completely out of my depth here but just a couple of days ago was in a discussion about Tibetan āsana practice based on a book called Yantra Yoga by Chogyal Norbu. The implication of the book's introduction is that it is evidence for 7th-8th century haṭhayoga āsana practice in Tibet, but the text is a mixture of root text and modern commentary, with (as far as I can tell after a quick flick through) the āsana stuff all in the commentary bit. I ran it past a Tibetologist colleague of mine who confirmed my hunch that even the root text is late medieval. These Tibetan physical practices appear to be quite distinct from Indic hathayoga.

      OK, sorry for a rushed message, but those deadlines need seeing too.

      All the best,

      Jim



      On 1 Aug 2012, at 02:42, rodo pfister wrote:

      > sorry, did not realise that this site is not open.
      >
      > anyway, some questions to the yoga specialists:
      >
      > is the very creative use of a yogic band on the picture now posted here
      > <http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/dffichje.jpg> a special style?
      > is the use of the band described anywhere, or is it something too
      > practical to be mentioned?
      >
      > such use would not seem to fit into the story about the military origin
      > of some postures?
      >
      > it seems that the dating issue of the painting from the Phuktal
      > Monastery (Phugtal Gompa) in Zanskar or Zangskar (Ladakh, Northern
      > India) is probably not that easy to answer, and I wonder if we have
      > Tibetanists on the list to help us out.
      >
      > in pictures online one sees that it is built
      > --quite spectacularly--
      > around a cave on a cliff, most probably over some stretch of time; it
      > was founded in early 12th c. CE, and it lies quite high at 3850 m.
      >
      > however, Linrothe --the photographer who has 9000 pictures on the closed
      > site-- has dealt with dating issues and even with Chinese influences
      > etc. in his many works (or so it seems from the book descriptions i read).
      >
      > one could/should study some of the following, or go trekking:
      >
      > Linrothe, R. N. (1992). Compassionate malevolence: Wrathful deities in
      > esoteric Buddhist art. Ph.D. Diss. University of Chicago.
      >
      > Linrothe, R. (1999). Ruthless compassion: Wrathful deities in early
      > Indo-Tibetan esoteric Buddhist art. London: Serindia Publications.
      >
      > Linrothe, R. N., & Sorensen, H. H. (2001). Embodying wisdom: Art, text
      > and interpretation in the history of Esoteric Buddhism. Copenhagen:
      > Seminar for Buddhist Studies.
      >
      > Linrothe, R., Watt, J., Busta, C., Ricard, M., Rhie, M. M., & Rubin
      > Museum of Art (New York). (2004). Demonic divine: Himalayan Art and
      > beyond. New York: Rubin Museum of Art.
      >
      > Linrothe, R. N., Rubin Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), & Frances Young
      > Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery. (2004). Paradise and plumage:
      > Chinese connections in Tibetan Arhat painting. New York: Rubin Museum of
      > Art, in collaboration with the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and
      > Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.
      > / Chicago: Serindia Publications.
      >
      > Linrothe, R. N., & Rubin Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). (2006). Holy
      > madness: Portraits of tantric siddhas. New York: Rubin Museum of Art.
      >
      > rodo
      >
      > Am 01.08.12 02:18, schrieb yukifarmer:
      > >
      > > Unfortunately, the site that Rodo refers to below is not open access
      > > -- and I can't get to it.
      > >
      > > However, here is the magnificent images he has forwarded to me of
      > > early Tibetan yoga postures -- including some using a variety of
      > > meditation bands:
      > >
      > > <http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/dffichje.jpg>
      > >
      > > Per Rodo, the catalog gives this as ca. 15th century, which I find
      > > _extremely_ unlikely, given the nature of the poses:
      > >
      > > > Title: Tonba Lhakhang. Interior. Mural. Detail: figures.
      > > > Date: ca. 15th c.
      > > > Location: Phuktal Monastery. Zangskar.
      > > > Subject: TIBETAN PAINTING
      > > > ARTstor Collection: Rob Linrothe: Tibetan and Buddhist Art
      > > > ID Number: Record: 2005-113454
      > > > Source: Image and original data from Skidmore College
      > >
      > > The sequence does have affinities with those we find in Tibetan murals
      > > from three centuries later shown, e.g., in Ian Baker, _The Dalai
      > > Lama's Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet_ (New York,
      > > 2000; first paperback edition 2012).
      > >
      > > If the mural above were really 15th century -- and not 18th or so --
      > > it would overturn a lot of our current thinking about medieval asana
      > > practice. I assume it is grossly misdated.
    • Steve Farmer
      [Set to UTF-8 if reading in a browser.] Thanks much for all this new information, Jim! On the dating of the so-called Yantra Yoga, which you refer to at the
      Message 2 of 14 , Aug 1, 2012
        [Set to UTF-8 if reading in a browser.]

        Thanks much for all this new information, Jim!

        On the dating of the so-called Yantra Yoga, which you refer to at the end: When Mark was out here last, a few months ago, he led us through a practice based in part on the text.

        I subsequently bought the book, "translated from Tibetan, edited and annotated by Adriano Clementé, with the precious help of the Author [the Tibetologist Chogyal Namkhai Norbu.]"

        <http://www.amazon.com/Yantra-Yoga-The-Tibetan-Movement/dp/1559393084>

        A well-known Tibetologist friend (on our List), whom I'll leave for now unnamed, wrote me about that time that Chogyal Nakhai Norbu "will be remembered as one of the greatest Tibetan scholars of our time."

        But he quickly added (when I asked him about yantra yoga in particular):

        > his use of sources is... devoid of chronological layering. This in a nutshell is the biggest criticism that can be leveled against his books.... He is also a spiritual teacher of Westerners, which is always problematic it seems to me.

        On the latter: Chogyal Nakhai Norbu currently has a large New Age following both in Italy, where he has taught for many years and is best-known, and in the United States, all of whom are convinced they are following "ancient Tibetan yoga practice."

        When you actually work through the claimed root text of Yoga Yantra -- "The Union of the Sun and Moon Yantra by Vairocana" (supposedly 7th-8th century, as you point out) -- you quickly find that it has all the earmarks of a modern and not medieval nor even early-modern text.

        It describes in a straightforward manner 75 or so asanas, many of which can be quickly identified as poses that didn't enter into "yoga" until the 1920s and 30s, via Indian wrestling, Western gymnastics and calisthenics, dance, and other physical movement traditions.

        These include what we'd now consider to be (I'll skip the fake-traditional Sanskrit terms applied to them since the 1930s) downward dog, triangle pose, the warrior poses, crow poses, and a dozen others that entered into Indian yoga (via the so-called pizza effect) for the first time in the 20th century, or in a few cases a little earlier, as is now well-known through Mark's studies and those of many others, going back to the mid 1990s, when Norman Sjoman published his book on yoga in Mysore.

        "The Union of the Sun and Moon Yantra" in the form given to us at least in this translation has none of the familiar signs of medieval or even early-modern yoga texts: no signs at all of textual layering, none of the familiar inconsistencies and obscurities in technical terms we find in such texts, a suspiciously straightforward narrative style, and only the most commonly known (today) of the magical and mystical components seen in genuine premodern yogic texts.

        It reminds me much of the putatively authentic 9th-century Sanskrit text known as "Nathamuni's Yoga Rahasya" that T. Krishnamacharya supposedly had chanted to him in a vision when he was 16 years old, around 1904. In its published form in the 1990s (as edited and translated by his son, TKV Deskikachar) it again contains asanas that we know that Krishnamacharya himself first introduced into yoga in the 1930s.

        It is interesting that the claimed medieval "Union of the Sun and the Moon" discusses many of the same poses: I guess it is possible that some parts of the text may have come from the 19th century, but it certainly has 20th-century additions from the 1930s at the earliest.

        Fake yoga history is fun -- at least the first couple dozen times that you encounter it.

        Nice 7-minute video of a modern rendition of some of the more extreme -- and not Krishnamacharya-like parts of modern yoga yantra -- here.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6um8x7IqX4

        Anyone who watches it all the way through will recognize (in those huge leaps presumably aimed at kicking Kundalini up the "central channel" and other violent poses meant to clean the "nadis") why "hatha" yoga is the "violent" or "forceful" yoga.

        The murals shown in the background are from the "Secret Temple" book (showing 18th century Tibetan frescoes) noted in my post yesterday (cited again below).

        Cheers and thanks again!
        Steve

        Cheers,
        Steve


        On Aug 1, 2012, at 4:59 AM, Jim Mallinson wrote:

        > [Mod. Note. Please set to UTF-8 if reading in a browser. - Steve.]
        >
        > Dear All,
        >
        > Yogic bands: I learnt from the list a while back about the illustration of a yogapaṭṭa at Sanchi (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/7621). Between then and these Tibetan images there are references in yoga texts. The sopāśraya ("with a support") āsana mentioned in the Yogasūtrabhāṣya is said in the 10th-century Tattvavaiśāradī to be yogapaṭṭāsana. Narasiṃha is often depicted (as "Yoganarasiṃha") with a yogapaṭṭa (esp. at Vijayanagar). There is a c.1250 Chola example that is going in the Smithsonian's Yoga: The Art of Transformation exhibition that opens in October 2013 and for which I'm contributing a couple of essays for the catalogue (deadlines yesterday...). There are also plenty of Mughal images from the 16th century onwards depicting ascetics with yogapaṭṭas. I haven't read any detailed descriptions of what to do with the bands, nor have I seen Indic depictions in which they are used for the more contorted postures shown in the "15th-century" Tibetan painting.
        >
        > The earliest Indic depictions of non-seated āsanas that I know of are carvings on the prākāra wall around the Śrīśailam Mallikārjuna temple in Andhra Pradesh, which can be dated to 1510 CE. Rob Linrothe has written about these (as has Richard Shaw). Linrothe and Shaw have both (I think) reproduced pictures of a carving of kukkuṭāsana from the prākāra wall. Shaw (I think) says that mayūrāsana, the peacock, is also shown there but I am yet to see pictures confirming this. I went to Śrīśailam 20 years ago but unfortunately didn't have a camera.
        >
        > The earliest paintings of non-seated yogic āsanas that I know of are in a manuscript of the Persian Bahr al-Hāyat in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, dated 1602 CE. It has 23 pictures of āsanas, amongst which is a headstand and kukkuṭāsana, the cock. Curiously the headstand is a misinterpretation of the Persian text, which clearly says that the yogi is to sit in siddhāsana. The rest of the āsanas are not very gymnastic at all, but slightly strange seated postures for meditations on various nirguṇa themes. There are parallels in a 1660 CE manuscript of the Sanskrit Yogacintāmaṇi and I'm working on that with Carl Ernst for the Smithsonian exhibition. It's very interesting how much more detail the Persian text supplies.
        >
        > I digress. Because I'm working with the exhibition I'm reluctant to make any of the materials public (I'm still waiting for permission to use one from the Chester Beatty Library on my blog www.khecari.com, 4 months later) for fear of upsetting the lenders. But if anyone wants any article pdfs (mine, others') or images, please write off-list. Oh, yes, the earliest Sanskrit description of a non-seated āsana that I have found is in a 9th-century Vaikhānasa Saṃhitā. I've recently written this up, shoehorning it into an article for the JIP. Draft available if anyone wants it.
        >
        > Re the date of the Tibetan images: I'm completely out of my depth here but just a couple of days ago was in a discussion about Tibetan āsana practice based on a book called Yantra Yoga by Chogyal Norbu. The implication of the book's introduction is that it is evidence for 7th-8th century haṭhayoga āsana practice in Tibet, but the text is a mixture of root text and modern commentary, with (as far as I can tell after a quick flick through) the āsana stuff all in the commentary bit. I ran it past a Tibetologist colleague of mine who confirmed my hunch that even the root text is late medieval. These Tibetan physical practices appear to be quite distinct from Indic hathayoga.
        >
        > OK, sorry for a rushed message, but those deadlines need seeing too.
        >
        > All the best,
        >
        > Jim
        >
        >
        >
        > On 1 Aug 2012, at 02:42, rodo pfister wrote:
        >
        >> sorry, did not realise that this site is not open.
        >>
        >> anyway, some questions to the yoga specialists:
        >>
        >> is the very creative use of a yogic band on the picture now posted here
        >> <http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/dffichje.jpg> a special style?
        >> is the use of the band described anywhere, or is it something too
        >> practical to be mentioned?
        >>
        >> such use would not seem to fit into the story about the military origin
        >> of some postures?
        >>
        >> it seems that the dating issue of the painting from the Phuktal
        >> Monastery (Phugtal Gompa) in Zanskar or Zangskar (Ladakh, Northern
        >> India) is probably not that easy to answer, and I wonder if we have
        >> Tibetanists on the list to help us out.
        >>
        >> in pictures online one sees that it is built
        >> --quite spectacularly--
        >> around a cave on a cliff, most probably over some stretch of time; it
        >> was founded in early 12th c. CE, and it lies quite high at 3850 m.
        >>
        >> however, Linrothe --the photographer who has 9000 pictures on the closed
        >> site-- has dealt with dating issues and even with Chinese influences
        >> etc. in his many works (or so it seems from the book descriptions i read).
        >>
        >> one could/should study some of the following, or go trekking:
        >>
        >> Linrothe, R. N. (1992). Compassionate malevolence: Wrathful deities in
        >> esoteric Buddhist art. Ph.D. Diss. University of Chicago.
        >>
        >> Linrothe, R. (1999). Ruthless compassion: Wrathful deities in early
        >> Indo-Tibetan esoteric Buddhist art. London: Serindia Publications.
        >>
        >> Linrothe, R. N., & Sorensen, H. H. (2001). Embodying wisdom: Art, text
        >> and interpretation in the history of Esoteric Buddhism. Copenhagen:
        >> Seminar for Buddhist Studies.
        >>
        >> Linrothe, R., Watt, J., Busta, C., Ricard, M., Rhie, M. M., & Rubin
        >> Museum of Art (New York). (2004). Demonic divine: Himalayan Art and
        >> beyond. New York: Rubin Museum of Art.
        >>
        >> Linrothe, R. N., Rubin Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), & Frances Young
        >> Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery. (2004). Paradise and plumage:
        >> Chinese connections in Tibetan Arhat painting. New York: Rubin Museum of
        >> Art, in collaboration with the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and
        >> Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.
        >> / Chicago: Serindia Publications.
        >>
        >> Linrothe, R. N., & Rubin Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). (2006). Holy
        >> madness: Portraits of tantric siddhas. New York: Rubin Museum of Art.
        >>
        >> rodo
        >>
        >> Am 01.08.12 02:18, schrieb yukifarmer:
        >>>
        >>> Unfortunately, the site that Rodo refers to below is not open access
        >>> -- and I can't get to it.
        >>>
        >>> However, here is the magnificent images he has forwarded to me of
        >>> early Tibetan yoga postures -- including some using a variety of
        >>> meditation bands:
        >>>
        >>> <http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/dffichje.jpg>
        >>>
        >>> Per Rodo, the catalog gives this as ca. 15th century, which I find
        >>> _extremely_ unlikely, given the nature of the poses:
        >>>
        >>>> Title: Tonba Lhakhang. Interior. Mural. Detail: figures.
        >>>> Date: ca. 15th c.
        >>>> Location: Phuktal Monastery. Zangskar.
        >>>> Subject: TIBETAN PAINTING
        >>>> ARTstor Collection: Rob Linrothe: Tibetan and Buddhist Art
        >>>> ID Number: Record: 2005-113454
        >>>> Source: Image and original data from Skidmore College
        >>>
        >>> The sequence does have affinities with those we find in Tibetan murals
        >>> from three centuries later shown, e.g., in Ian Baker, _The Dalai
        >>> Lama's Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet_ (New York,
        >>> 2000; first paperback edition 2012).
        >>>
        >>> If the mural above were really 15th century -- and not 18th or so --
        >>> it would overturn a lot of our current thinking about medieval asana
        >>> practice. I assume it is grossly misdated.
      • Steve Farmer
        Typo correction in two spots: his name as I correctly had it in the first reference to him is Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. (I left the m out in two uses of his
        Message 3 of 14 , Aug 1, 2012
          Typo correction in two spots: his name as I correctly had it in the first reference to him is Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. (I left the 'm' out in two uses of his name, now corrected.)

          You can see him in this other video on so-called yantra yoga. The claim that the forms of yoga demonstrated by the Italian and American yoga teachers featured in the video is "ancient" is no truer than similar claims about Mysore-style yoga.

          <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk4NIQL6s2c&feature=related>

          Steve

          On Aug 1, 2012, at 12:29 PM, Steve Farmer wrote:

          > [Set to UTF-8 if reading in a browser.]
          >
          > Thanks much for all this new information, Jim!
          >
          > On the dating of the so-called Yantra Yoga, which you refer to at the end: When Mark was out here last, a few months ago, he led us through a practice based in part on the text.
          >
          > I subsequently bought the book, "translated from Tibetan, edited and annotated by Adriano Clementé, with the precious help of the Author [the Tibetologist Chogyal Namkhai Norbu.]"
          >
          > <http://www.amazon.com/Yantra-Yoga-The-Tibetan-Movement/dp/1559393084>
          >
          > A well-known Tibetologist friend (on our List), whom I'll leave for now unnamed, wrote me about that time that Chogyal Namkhai Norbu "will be remembered as one of the greatest Tibetan scholars of our time."
          >
          > But he quickly added (when I asked him about yantra yoga in particular):
          >
          >> his use of sources is... devoid of chronological layering. This in a nutshell is the biggest criticism that can be leveled against his books.... He is also a spiritual teacher of Westerners, which is always problematic it seems to me.
          >
          > On the latter: Chogyal Namkhai Norbu currently has a large New Age following both in Italy, where he has taught for many years and is best-known, and in the United States, all of whom are convinced they are following "ancient Tibetan yoga practice."
          >
          > When you actually work through the claimed root text of Yoga Yantra -- "The Union of the Sun and Moon Yantra by Vairocana" (supposedly 7th-8th century, as you point out) -- you quickly find that it has all the earmarks of a modern and not medieval nor even early-modern text.
          >
          > It describes in a straightforward manner 75 or so asanas, many of which can be quickly identified as poses that didn't enter into "yoga" until the 1920s and 30s, via Indian wrestling, Western gymnastics and calisthenics, dance, and other physical movement traditions.
          >
          > These include what we'd now consider to be (I'll skip the fake-traditional Sanskrit terms applied to them since the 1930s) downward dog, triangle pose, the warrior poses, crow poses, and a dozen others that entered into Indian yoga (via the so-called pizza effect) for the first time in the 20th century, or in a few cases a little earlier, as is now well-known through Mark's studies and those of many others, going back to the mid 1990s, when Norman Sjoman published his book on yoga in Mysore.
          >
          > "The Union of the Sun and Moon Yantra" in the form given to us at least in this translation has none of the familiar signs of medieval or even early-modern yoga texts: no signs at all of textual layering, none of the familiar inconsistencies and obscurities in technical terms we find in such texts, a suspiciously straightforward narrative style, and only the most commonly known (today) of the magical and mystical components seen in genuine premodern yogic texts.
          >
          > It reminds me much of the putatively authentic 9th-century Sanskrit text known as "Nathamuni's Yoga Rahasya" that T. Krishnamacharya supposedly had chanted to him in a vision when he was 16 years old, around 1904. In its published form in the 1990s (as edited and translated by his son, TKV Deskikachar) it again contains asanas that we know that Krishnamacharya himself first introduced into yoga in the 1930s.
          >
          > It is interesting that the claimed medieval "Union of the Sun and the Moon" discusses many of the same poses: I guess it is possible that some parts of the text may have come from the 19th century, but it certainly has 20th-century additions from the 1930s at the earliest.
          >
          > Fake yoga history is fun -- at least the first couple dozen times that you encounter it.
          >
          > Nice 7-minute video of a modern rendition of some of the more extreme -- and not Krishnamacharya-like parts of modern yoga yantra -- here.
          >
          > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6um8x7IqX4
          >
          > Anyone who watches it all the way through will recognize (in those huge leaps presumably aimed at kicking Kundalini up the "central channel" and other violent poses meant to clean the "nadis") why "hatha" yoga is the "violent" or "forceful" yoga.
          >
          > The murals shown in the background are from the "Secret Temple" book (showing 18th century Tibetan frescoes) noted in my post yesterday (cited again below).
          >
          > Cheers and thanks again!
          > Steve
          >
          > Cheers,
          > Steve
          >
          >
          > On Aug 1, 2012, at 4:59 AM, Jim Mallinson wrote:
          >
          >> [Mod. Note. Please set to UTF-8 if reading in a browser. - Steve.]
          >>
          >> Dear All,
          >>
          >> Yogic bands: I learnt from the list a while back about the illustration of a yogapaṭṭa at Sanchi (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/7621). Between then and these Tibetan images there are references in yoga texts. The sopāśraya ("with a support") āsana mentioned in the Yogasūtrabhāṣya is said in the 10th-century Tattvavaiśāradī to be yogapaṭṭāsana. Narasiṃha is often depicted (as "Yoganarasiṃha") with a yogapaṭṭa (esp. at Vijayanagar). There is a c.1250 Chola example that is going in the Smithsonian's Yoga: The Art of Transformation exhibition that opens in October 2013 and for which I'm contributing a couple of essays for the catalogue (deadlines yesterday...). There are also plenty of Mughal images from the 16th century onwards depicting ascetics with yogapaṭṭas. I haven't read any detailed descriptions of what to do with the bands, nor have I seen Indic depictions in which they are used for the more contorted postures shown in the "15th-century" Tibetan painting.
          >>
          >> The earliest Indic depictions of non-seated āsanas that I know of are carvings on the prākāra wall around the Śrīśailam Mallikārjuna temple in Andhra Pradesh, which can be dated to 1510 CE. Rob Linrothe has written about these (as has Richard Shaw). Linrothe and Shaw have both (I think) reproduced pictures of a carving of kukkuṭāsana from the prākāra wall. Shaw (I think) says that mayūrāsana, the peacock, is also shown there but I am yet to see pictures confirming this. I went to Śrīśailam 20 years ago but unfortunately didn't have a camera.
          >>
          >> The earliest paintings of non-seated yogic āsanas that I know of are in a manuscript of the Persian Bahr al-Hāyat in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, dated 1602 CE. It has 23 pictures of āsanas, amongst which is a headstand and kukkuṭāsana, the cock. Curiously the headstand is a misinterpretation of the Persian text, which clearly says that the yogi is to sit in siddhāsana. The rest of the āsanas are not very gymnastic at all, but slightly strange seated postures for meditations on various nirguṇa themes. There are parallels in a 1660 CE manuscript of the Sanskrit Yogacintāmaṇi and I'm working on that with Carl Ernst for the Smithsonian exhibition. It's very interesting how much more detail the Persian text supplies.
          >>
          >> I digress. Because I'm working with the exhibition I'm reluctant to make any of the materials public (I'm still waiting for permission to use one from the Chester Beatty Library on my blog www.khecari.com, 4 months later) for fear of upsetting the lenders. But if anyone wants any article pdfs (mine, others') or images, please write off-list. Oh, yes, the earliest Sanskrit description of a non-seated āsana that I have found is in a 9th-century Vaikhānasa Saṃhitā. I've recently written this up, shoehorning it into an article for the JIP. Draft available if anyone wants it.
          >>
          >> Re the date of the Tibetan images: I'm completely out of my depth here but just a couple of days ago was in a discussion about Tibetan āsana practice based on a book called Yantra Yoga by Chogyal Norbu. The implication of the book's introduction is that it is evidence for 7th-8th century haṭhayoga āsana practice in Tibet, but the text is a mixture of root text and modern commentary, with (as far as I can tell after a quick flick through) the āsana stuff all in the commentary bit. I ran it past a Tibetologist colleague of mine who confirmed my hunch that even the root text is late medieval. These Tibetan physical practices appear to be quite distinct from Indic hathayoga.
          >>
          >> OK, sorry for a rushed message, but those deadlines need seeing too.
          >>
          >> All the best,
          >>
          >> Jim
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >> On 1 Aug 2012, at 02:42, rodo pfister wrote:
          >>
          >>> sorry, did not realise that this site is not open.
          >>>
          >>> anyway, some questions to the yoga specialists:
          >>>
          >>> is the very creative use of a yogic band on the picture now posted here
          >>> <http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/dffichje.jpg> a special style?
          >>> is the use of the band described anywhere, or is it something too
          >>> practical to be mentioned?
          >>>
          >>> such use would not seem to fit into the story about the military origin
          >>> of some postures?
          >>>
          >>> it seems that the dating issue of the painting from the Phuktal
          >>> Monastery (Phugtal Gompa) in Zanskar or Zangskar (Ladakh, Northern
          >>> India) is probably not that easy to answer, and I wonder if we have
          >>> Tibetanists on the list to help us out.
          >>>
          >>> in pictures online one sees that it is built
          >>> --quite spectacularly--
          >>> around a cave on a cliff, most probably over some stretch of time; it
          >>> was founded in early 12th c. CE, and it lies quite high at 3850 m.
          >>>
          >>> however, Linrothe --the photographer who has 9000 pictures on the closed
          >>> site-- has dealt with dating issues and even with Chinese influences
          >>> etc. in his many works (or so it seems from the book descriptions i read).
          >>>
          >>> one could/should study some of the following, or go trekking:
          >>>
          >>> Linrothe, R. N. (1992). Compassionate malevolence: Wrathful deities in
          >>> esoteric Buddhist art. Ph.D. Diss. University of Chicago.
          >>>
          >>> Linrothe, R. (1999). Ruthless compassion: Wrathful deities in early
          >>> Indo-Tibetan esoteric Buddhist art. London: Serindia Publications.
          >>>
          >>> Linrothe, R. N., & Sorensen, H. H. (2001). Embodying wisdom: Art, text
          >>> and interpretation in the history of Esoteric Buddhism. Copenhagen:
          >>> Seminar for Buddhist Studies.
          >>>
          >>> Linrothe, R., Watt, J., Busta, C., Ricard, M., Rhie, M. M., & Rubin
          >>> Museum of Art (New York). (2004). Demonic divine: Himalayan Art and
          >>> beyond. New York: Rubin Museum of Art.
          >>>
          >>> Linrothe, R. N., Rubin Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), & Frances Young
          >>> Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery. (2004). Paradise and plumage:
          >>> Chinese connections in Tibetan Arhat painting. New York: Rubin Museum of
          >>> Art, in collaboration with the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and
          >>> Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.
          >>> / Chicago: Serindia Publications.
          >>>
          >>> Linrothe, R. N., & Rubin Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). (2006). Holy
          >>> madness: Portraits of tantric siddhas. New York: Rubin Museum of Art.
          >>>
          >>> rodo
          >>>
          >>> Am 01.08.12 02:18, schrieb yukifarmer:
          >>>>
          >>>> Unfortunately, the site that Rodo refers to below is not open access
          >>>> -- and I can't get to it.
          >>>>
          >>>> However, here is the magnificent images he has forwarded to me of
          >>>> early Tibetan yoga postures -- including some using a variety of
          >>>> meditation bands:
          >>>>
          >>>> <http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/dffichje.jpg>
          >>>>
          >>>> Per Rodo, the catalog gives this as ca. 15th century, which I find
          >>>> _extremely_ unlikely, given the nature of the poses:
          >>>>
          >>>>> Title: Tonba Lhakhang. Interior. Mural. Detail: figures.
          >>>>> Date: ca. 15th c.
          >>>>> Location: Phuktal Monastery. Zangskar.
          >>>>> Subject: TIBETAN PAINTING
          >>>>> ARTstor Collection: Rob Linrothe: Tibetan and Buddhist Art
          >>>>> ID Number: Record: 2005-113454
          >>>>> Source: Image and original data from Skidmore College
          >>>>
          >>>> The sequence does have affinities with those we find in Tibetan murals
          >>>> from three centuries later shown, e.g., in Ian Baker, _The Dalai
          >>>> Lama's Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet_ (New York,
          >>>> 2000; first paperback edition 2012).
          >>>>
          >>>> If the mural above were really 15th century -- and not 18th or so --
          >>>> it would overturn a lot of our current thinking about medieval asana
          >>>> practice. I assume it is grossly misdated.
        • Geoffrey Samuel
          [Mod. note. Dear Geoffrey: I m sending the note through as is since we can t figure out what encoding it is - UTF-8 doesn t read the Unicode. Some email
          Message 4 of 14 , Aug 2, 2012
            [Mod. note. Dear Geoffrey: I'm sending the note through as is since we can't figure out what encoding it is - UTF-8 doesn't read the Unicode. Some email Programs might figure it out automatically. We can also repost if you can ID the right encoding for it.

            He doesn't say he wrote the text himself. The book clearly states that it was collated by "Dzoghenpa Namkai Norbu" from two manuscripts vaguely identified on p. 32. He does claim it is 8th century, reflecting "A pure and uninterrupted tradition" (cf. among other places, p. 5, in his Preface). The Italian translator, Adriano Clemente, who worked directly with him in producing the translation, also says the same in the book's Forward, page 1. Clemente goes further, claiming it is the oldest extant text discussing postural yoga (see page 1 and n. 3). There is plenty of evidence in the text, pace the authors, that the recension is mid 20th century. Some of the poses are indeed known from earlier 18th century texts & murals, but most (including what we'd call Downward Dog, p. 22) are just standard Mysore-derived poses. - Steve.]

            Dear All,

            As far as I know Chögyal Namkhai Norbu does not claim that the Yantra Yoga text goes back to the 8th century - he wrote it himself, after all - but that the practices are in a direct line of transmission back to the time of Vairocana in the 8th century.

            That is unverifiable, in the absence of early texts. However 'Yantra Yoga' exercises (Yantra is a translation of the standard Tibetan term for these practices, ’phrul ’khor) do appear to have been a part of Tibetan tantric practice for many centuries, and it seems plausible that they were transmitted in some form in the 11th to 12th centuries (the phyi dar or later transmission period), if not earlier. They exist in all major Tibetan traditions, and there are plenty of older Tibetan texts that describe and/or refer to them. A quick search of the tbrc.org database for ’phrul ’khor yielded 86 references, including relevant references by Rang byung rdo rje (1284-1339) and Padma dkar po (1527-1592), and Sle lung Bzhad pa'i rdo rje (1697-1740), as well as texts attributed to Mar pa Chos kyi blo gros (1012-97).

            Andrea Loseries-Leick gives brief descriptions of some of the existing Tibetan traditions in her article 'Psychic Sports - A Living Tradition in Contemporary Tibet" in Helmut Krasser, Michael T. Much, Ernst Steinkellner, Helmut Tauscher, eds., Tibetan Studies I & II: Proceedings of the 7th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Graz 1995, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Vienna 1997), vol. 2, pp. 583-593 - I can provide a pdf if people are interested. As she notes there, these practices were traditionally regarded as secret. The film, The Yogis of Tibet, directed by Jeffrey M. Pill (JEHM films, 2002), however shows some sequences as performed by yogis of the ’Bri gung Bka’ brgyud tradition, see

            http://www.theyogisoftibet.com/
            http://www.merrynjose.com/artman/publish/article_21.shtml

            Of course none of this means that these practices have continued unchanged over the centuries, but this tradition is not a modern invention.

            Geoffrey Samuel

            Research Group on the Body, Health and Religion (BAHAR)
            School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University,
            Humanities Bldg, Colum Drive, Cardiff CF10 3EU, UK
            Tel. +44 29 2087 0558
            http://www.bodyhealthreligion.org.uk/BAHAR/
            New book: Introducing Tibetan Buddhism, out May 2012.
            For details, see http://www.taylorandfrancis.com/books/details/9780415456654/
          • sogbs22
            [Mod. note. Thanks much, Geoffrey. It s the same work, which went from Tibetan to Italian to English in multiple stages, translated in all cases by disciples
            Message 5 of 14 , Aug 2, 2012
              [Mod. note. Thanks much, Geoffrey. It's the same work, which went from Tibetan to Italian to English in multiple stages, translated in all cases by disciples of Norbu working under his direction. The Preface by Norbu in the Italian and English editions is reported to be the same one that is found in the 1982 Tibetan text. His edition and commentary were both produced over two decades after he arrived to teach in Italy in 1960, at the age of 22, and began attracting Western disciples. Like the Tibetan edition, the Italian and English versions sharply separate what is said to be the "original" 8th-century text and Norbu's commentary. But most of "The Union of the Sun and Moon Yantra" at least as Norbu represented it to his Italian students is clearly a mid-20th century production, and itself heavily reflects ideas about yoga in general that were quite popular in the 1980s. Happy to discuss the evidence at length. There are striking similarities as already pointed out to the supposed "9th century" text of "Nathamuni's Yoga Rahasya" put out in Sanskrit around the same time by T. Krishnamacharya. - Best, Steve.]

              Sorry about the encoding problem. It looks as if we were referring to somewhat different texts; I was looking at Namkhai Norbu's introduction to the Tibetan version published by the Dzogchen Community in 1982 (I am not sure if this is generally available, though it sounds as if it is the basis of Clemente's translation, which I haven't seen). This 1982 text consists of a 'root text' attributed to Vairocana (pp.1-31), and an extended commentary (pp.33-264) which Norbu clearly identifies as his own work.

              The root text is attributed to Vairocana, but given the prevalence of gter-ma (visionary) teachings in this tradition, it could have been written down at almost any time between the 8th and 20th centuries. It is not specifically termed a gter-ma revelation however. It is described as being reproduced on the basis of a text from Adzam Gar, an Eastern Tibetan religious centre dating from the early 20th century with which Namkhai Norbu was associated.

              I'll send the Loseries-Leick article through separately, and you can perhaps make it available to the list

              Geoffrey

              --- In Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com, Geoffrey Samuel <SamuelG@...> wrote:
              >
              > [Mod. note. Dear Geoffrey: I'm sending the note through as is since we can't figure out what encoding it is - UTF-8 doesn't read the Unicode. Some email Programs might figure it out automatically. We can also repost if you can ID the right encoding for it.
              >
              > He doesn't say he wrote the text himself. The book clearly states that it was collated by "Dzoghenpa Namkai Norbu" from two manuscripts vaguely identified on p. 32. He does claim it is 8th century, reflecting "A pure and uninterrupted tradition" (cf. among other places, p. 5, in his Preface). The Italian translator, Adriano Clemente, who worked directly with him in producing the translation, also says the same in the book's Forward, page 1. Clemente goes further, claiming it is the oldest extant text discussing postural yoga (see page 1 and n. 3). There is plenty of evidence in the text, pace the authors, that the recension is mid 20th century. Some of the poses are indeed known from earlier 18th century texts & murals, but most (including what we'd call Downward Dog, p. 22) are just standard Mysore-derived poses. - Steve.]
            • Benjamin Fleming
              [Set Browser at UTF-8] Dear Jim, Below is a link to a photo I took of what I believe is the kukkuṭāsana at Śrīśaila. I was not studying this pose or yoga
              Message 6 of 14 , Aug 5, 2012
                [Set Browser at UTF-8]

                Dear Jim,

                Below is a link to a photo I took of what I believe is the kukkuṭāsana at Śrīśaila. I was not studying this pose or yoga at all when I took it, but, my dissertation work led me to this site as part of my research on the twelve jyotirliṅgas.

                I have other pictures of the wall, including some images that look to be yogic poses, if you are interested I can send them along. Quality is digital pocket camera circa 2003.

                Link to image:
                https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21086328/kukkutasana_srisaila.jpg

                Best,
                Benjy


                On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 7:59 AM, Jim Mallinson <jim@...> wrote:

                **
                > The earliest Indic depictions of non-seated āsanas that I know of are
                > carvings on the prākāra wall around the Śrīśailam Mallikārjuna temple in
                > Andhra Pradesh, which can be dated to 1510 CE. Rob Linrothe has written
                > about these (as has Richard Shaw). Linrothe and Shaw have both (I think)
                > reproduced pictures of a carving of kukkuṭāsana from the prākāra wall. Shaw
                > (I think) says that mayūrāsana, the peacock, is also shown there but I am
                > yet to see pictures confirming this. I went to Śrīśailam 20 years ago but
                > unfortunately didn't have a camera.
                >
                >
                > --

                Benjamin Fleming
                Visiting Scholar, Dept. of Religious Studies
                Cataloguer, Sanskrit Manuscripts, Rare Book & Manuscript Library,
                University of Pennsylvania
                249 S. 36th Street; Cohen Hall #201
                Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A.
                http://www.benjaminfleming.com


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Dr. Nilima Chitgopekar
                [Mod. Note: Hi Nilima, here for now is a photo of the same part of the wall from further back, giving perspective to the yogic image in relationship to others.
                Message 7 of 14 , Aug 5, 2012
                  [Mod. Note: Hi Nilima, here for now is a photo of the same part of the wall from further back, giving perspective to the yogic image in relationship to others. https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21086328/wall_srisaila.JPG - BF]

                  Dear Benjy,

                  This is a very useful photograph and please do send the others , If Steve feels it is not necessary, at my personal email, please.


                  Thanks

                  Nilima


                  From: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Benjamin Fleming
                  Sent: 06 August 2012 08:30
                  To: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [Indo-Eurasia] yogic bands


                  [Set Browser at UTF-8]

                  Dear Jim,

                  Below is a link to a photo I took of what I believe is the kukkuṭāsana at Śrīśaila. I was not studying this pose or yoga at all when I took it, but, my dissertation work led me to this site as part of my research on the twelve jyotirliṅgas.

                  I have other pictures of the wall, including some images that look to be yogic poses, if you are interested I can send them along. Quality is digital pocket camera circa 2003.

                  Link to image:
                  https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21086328/kukkutasana_srisaila.jpg

                  Best,
                  Benjy

                  On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 7:59 AM, Jim Mallinson <jim@... <mailto:jim%40khecari.com> > wrote:

                  **
                  > The earliest Indic depictions of non-seated āsanas that I know of are
                  > carvings on the prākāra wall around the Śrīśailam Mallikārjuna temple in
                  > Andhra Pradesh, which can be dated to 1510 CE. Rob Linrothe has written
                  > about these (as has Richard Shaw). Linrothe and Shaw have both (I think)
                  > reproduced pictures of a carving of kukkuṭāsana from the prākāra wall. Shaw
                  > (I think) says that mayūrāsana, the peacock, is also shown there but I am
                  > yet to see pictures confirming this. I went to Śrīśailam 20 years ago but
                  > unfortunately didn't have a camera.
                  >
                  >
                  > --

                  Benjamin Fleming
                  Visiting Scholar, Dept. of Religious Studies
                  Cataloguer, Sanskrit Manuscripts, Rare Book & Manuscript Library,
                  University of Pennsylvania
                  249 S. 36th Street; Cohen Hall #201
                  Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A.
                  http://www.benjaminfleming.com

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Steve Farmer
                  [Set to UTF-8.] Very nice. Is there a narrative of some sort that links the carvings? I can t quite make out what pose the figure is making just to the right
                  Message 8 of 14 , Aug 5, 2012
                    [Set to UTF-8.]

                    Very nice. Is there a narrative of some sort that links the carvings?

                    I can't quite make out what pose the figure is making just to the right (as you face the wall) of the one in kukkuṭāsana, but it does look like a bind or start of a bind of some sort.

                    Best,
                    Steve

                    On Aug 5, 2012, at 9:29 PM, Dr. Nilima Chitgopekar wrote:

                    > [Mod. Note: Hi Nilima, here for now is a photo of the same part of the wall from further back, giving perspective to the yogic image in relationship to others. https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21086328/wall_srisaila.JPG - BF]
                    >
                    > Dear Benjy,
                    >
                    > This is a very useful photograph and please do send the others , If Steve feels it is not necessary, at my personal email, please.
                    >
                    >
                    > Thanks
                    >
                    > Nilima
                    >
                    >
                    > From: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Benjamin Fleming
                    > Sent: 06 August 2012 08:30
                    > To: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: Re: [Indo-Eurasia] yogic bands
                    >
                    >
                    > [Set Browser at UTF-8]
                    >
                    > Dear Jim,
                    >
                    > Below is a link to a photo I took of what I believe is the kukkuṭāsana at Śrīśaila. I was not studying this pose or yoga at all when I took it, but, my dissertation work led me to this site as part of my research on the twelve jyotirliṅgas.
                    >
                    > I have other pictures of the wall, including some images that look to be yogic poses, if you are interested I can send them along. Quality is digital pocket camera circa 2003.
                    >
                    > Link to image:
                    > https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21086328/kukkutasana_srisaila.jpg
                    >
                    > Best,
                    > Benjy
                    >
                    > On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 7:59 AM, Jim Mallinson <jim@... <mailto:jim%40khecari.com> > wrote:
                    >
                    > **
                    >> The earliest Indic depictions of non-seated āsanas that I know of are
                    >> carvings on the prākāra wall around the Śrīśailam Mallikārjuna temple in
                    >> Andhra Pradesh, which can be dated to 1510 CE. Rob Linrothe has written
                    >> about these (as has Richard Shaw). Linrothe and Shaw have both (I think)
                    >> reproduced pictures of a carving of kukkuṭāsana from the prākāra wall. Shaw
                    >> (I think) says that mayūrāsana, the peacock, is also shown there but I am
                    >> yet to see pictures confirming this. I went to Śrīśailam 20 years ago but
                    >> unfortunately didn't have a camera.
                    >
                    > Benjamin Fleming
                    > Visiting Scholar, Dept. of Religious Studies
                    > Cataloguer, Sanskrit Manuscripts, Rare Book & Manuscript Library,
                    > University of Pennsylvania
                    > 249 S. 36th Street; Cohen Hall #201
                    > Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A.
                    > http://www.benjaminfleming.com
                    >
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