Hatha yoga

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Hatha yoga (Skt. haṭha-yoga; Tib. དྲག་ཤུལ་སྦྱོར་བ་ or བཙན་ཐབས་ཀྱི་རྣལ་འབྱོར་,[1] Wyl.drag shul sbyor ba or btsan thabs kyi rnal 'byor)—a system of physical exercises and breathing control used in yoga.[2]

The scholar James Mallinson has traced the origin of hatha yoga back to a text called the Amritasiddhi, which he asserts, contrary to earlier beliefs, to have been written in a Buddhist milieu. He then asserts that we can trace the origin of hatha yoga further back to buddhist sexual yogas found in the buddhist tantras. One of the earliest instances of the word hatha yoga can be found in the Guhyasamaya Tantra. James Mallinson quotes the Vimalaprabha to provide a definition of hatha yoga:

Alternative Translations


  1. These two Tibetan translations of the term haṭha-yoga are found in the 18th chapter of the Guhyasamāja-tantra (found separately in the Tibetan canon as the 'later tantra (uttara-tantra, rgyud phyi ma) and the Vimalaprabhā commentary on the Kalachakra Tantra.
  2. Oxford dictionary

Further Reading