Yoga Body, a book by Mark Singleton---Add "dharma"

George Thompson gthomgt at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 10 16:19:19 UTC 2011

Dear List,

We are all familiar with the dvanda compound naama-ruupa.  I think that both
of these terms refer to things that are substantive.  If you are a
thoughtful person, you know that the use of words is important -- not a
quibble at all.

I happen to think that Singleton's use of words is sloppy, if not
deceptive.  Those of you who care more about asanas than words can ignore
everything that I have said in this discussion.

I myself am done with it, and disgusted with it.

George Thompson

On Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 9:21 AM, <mkapstei at> wrote:

> Some of those who are interested in the substantive
> question of the evolution of the asana system
> (and not the quibble about the use of the word
> "homonym") may wish to take a look at the documentary
> film "Yogis of Tibet." This includes a striking scene
> of a monk performing the physical yoga taught
> in connection with the "Six Dharmas of Naropa."
> Of course, one cannot affirm that this practice, in
> the form now known, strictly repeats 10th-11th century
> Indian Buddhist practice, as is claimed. But it
> should be noted that the textual record about it in
> Tibet does trace back at least to the 12th c., so
> there is no reason to imagine that it is a very recent
> invention, though it may have undergone some changes
> over time.
> What is notable is that, although it does involve poses
> that also are practiced in Hatha Yoga as we know it today,
> it resembles the latter practice not at all. It is
> far more dynamic.
> I am not sure that it allows us to draw any firm conclusions
> about the evolution of the asana system, but it does,
> in my view, add a small bit to the evidence in favor
> of Singleton's essential argument (which is not, as
> some have pointed out, the silly question about whether
> "yoga" has become a homonym or not). I am convinced
> that he is correct to hold that modern gymnastic yoga
> emerged under the raj, and that the physical practices
> of earlier Hatha Yoga were quite different.
> Matthew T. Kapstein
> Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies
> The University of Chicago Divinity School
> Directeur d'études
> Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

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