In this episode, we speak with Dr. Jason Birch (SOAS, University of London) about his early training in yoga and Indology, the early 2000s yoga scene in Rishikesh, Sanskrit manuscript hunting in India, his Oxford thesis on the Amanaska, Rāja Yoga traditions, the history of āsana, the significance of the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati, Krishnamacharya and the legendary "Yoga Koruṇṭa", embodied philology, and more.
Jason Birch is a post-doctoral researcher fellow at SOAS, University of London. After completing a first class honours degree in Sanskrit and Hindi at the University of Sydney under Dr. Peter Oldmeadow, Jason was awarded a Clarendon scholarship to undertake a DPhil in Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, under the supervision of Prof. Alexis Sanderson. His dissertation (submitted 2013) focused on the earliest known Rājayoga text called the Amanaska and included a critical edition and annotated translation of this Sanskrit work along with a monographic introduction.
He is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at SOAS working on the Haṭha Yoga Project, a 5-year ERC funded project which is now in the final year of completion. His particular area of research for the project is the history of physical yoga on the eve of colonialism. Jason is currently editing and translating six principle texts on Haṭha and Rājayoga, which will soon be available for publication.
He also collaborates with Jacqueline Hargreaves on The Luminescent, an online hub for sharing yoga research.