Report of the 2nd International Conference on Philosophy & Praxis of Yoga – 2021

International Conference on
Philosophy & Praxis of Yoga 2021

Hatha Yoga: Unravelling Texts & Traditions

A Brief Report


Indic Academy and Indica Yoga in association with Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai had organised a two-day online conference on the theme, ‘Hatha Yoga: Unravelling the Texts and Traditions’. This was the second edition of the Philosophy and Praxis of Yoga Conference series started last year. This conference intended to explore some of the following sub-themes including

  1. Origin, history & development of Hatha Yoga
  2. Studies on Natha, Siddha & other traditions
  3. Influences of & interaction with various traditions including
    • Vedic rituals and practices
    • Shad darshanas
    • Tantra & Shaktism
    • Shaivism, Kashmiri Shaivism, Vaishnavism etc.
    • Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc.
    • Dance & Martial Arts
  4. Texts & Manuscripts
  5. Documentation & Temple Iconography
  6. Light on Practices, Techniques & Methods
  7. Living Traditions, Teachers & Lineages
  8. Colonial and Contemporary Perspectives

The conference spread over two days witnessed a host of interesting, unique and insightful presentations and talks related to various aspects of Hatha Yoga. There were about 7 invited talks and about 15 paper by eminent scholars, practitioners and researchers. Here is a brief report of the proceedings of the conference.

Day 1 – 24th April, 2021

The proceedings of the first day of the conference commenced with the introduction to the conference by Dr.  Vinayachandra Banavathy, Director, Indica Yoga and opening remarks by Prof. Nagaraj Paturi, Director of Indica Academy.

The inaugural keynote was delivered by renowned master and scholar, Sri S. Sridharan, Senior Trustee, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram set the tone for the entire proceedings of the conference. In line with the theme of his presentation, ‘Hathayoga: Tradition, Continuity & Innovation, Sri Sridharan touched upon the Vedic roots of Hathayoga; on how the only essential aspects of Yoga perpetuated avoiding Vamachara practices in Hatha tradition and finally emphasized on the need to work on innovative individual centric approach to Yoga practices to suit current day requirements.

This keynote address was followed by the first invited talk by Prof. Kannan, the Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj Chair Professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Chennai. He spoke on ‘Yogataravali: An Overview’ giving a detailed critical appreciation of the said text.  

In the next session, the following three papers were presented by the scholars:

  1. An introductory study of Nathaguru Virupakha Siddha & his work Amrta-siddhi-yoga by Dr. Anuradha Shivakumar, Researcher, Kuppuswami  Sastri Research Institute, Chennai
  2. Yoga in temple architecture & iconography shared principles, theories, praxis of Hathayoga & Vastu shastra, Sri Abhiji Sahadale, Goa.
  3. The uniqueness of Yoga-karnika among Yogic texts by Sri Venkatakrishnan P. A., Research Scholar at Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Vishvamahavidyalaya, Kanchipuram.

The post-lunch session on day one commenced with a special talk by Prof. Madhusudan Penna, Dean, Dept of Philosophy & Indian Culture, KKSU, on the topic Hatha-Vedanta: An Amalgamation Towards Synthesis, which was well received by the participants.

In the second paper presentation session that ensued, the following four papers were presented by the respective scholars:

  1. tasya bhumisu viniyogah - Individual Centric Practices of Yoga - Insights from Sri T Krishnamacharya's Yoga Rahasya by Smt Nrithya Jagananthan, Director, KYM Institute of Yoga Studies Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai
  2. The origin of the Cakra system & kundalini, Sri Koenraad Elst, Researcher on Indology, Belgium
  3. Some Salient features in Yoga taught in Saivagamas, Dr. T Ganesan, Research Associate, The French Institute, Puducherry
  4. Satkarmas the means for higher realisation by Smt Vijaya Hariharan, Senior Faculty, Yoga Bharathi, Bangalore

Day 2 – 25th April 2021

The second day of the conference started at 9:00 am IST with a guest lecture by Dr. Sthaneshwar Timalsina, Asst Prof, San Diego University on the topic, ‘Relation of Hathayoga with Tantric Agamas.’ It was a very interesting session that invoked a lot of positive response from the participants.

The following four papers were presented in the next session:

  1. Some Salient features in Yoga-sangraha by Dr. Muthulakshmi Researcher, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai
  2. Yogabija of Goraksanatha & other Yogic texts an analysis by Dr. S. Annapura, Researcher, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai
  3. Yogacintamani: A detailed Survey of available manuscripts by Sri Gaurav Kadlag, Research Scholar of Kavikilaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University, Nagpur.
  4. Goraksa-sataka- A unique text of Hathayoga by Smt V. Preethi Researcher, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai

Further, there were three guest lectures by:

  1. Dr. Jason Birch, Post Doc Fellow, Hathayoga Project, SOAS University of London on the topic, ‘The Hathayoga Project: Objectives, Contributions & Way Forward’
  2. Dr. K. S. Balasubramanian, Deputy Director, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai on ‘Contributions of Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute in Hathayoga Studies and Research.’
  3.  Dr. Jayaraman Mahadevan, Director, Research, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai on the topic, ‘Why should yoga practitioners consult the Hathayoga commentary lore?

The last session of the conference resumed post lunch had the following four presentations:

  1. Some Yogic Practices for the cure of diseases as gleaned from Hathayoga Texts by Dr. Yamuna Devi, Associate Professor, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai
  2. Description of Nadis in Hathayoga texts, Dr Vidyuta , Researcher, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai
  3. Vasistha-samhita on Vayus & Marmasthanas by Smit Lavanya V. Eswar, Researcher, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai
  4. Role of Hathayoga in Tamil Yoga Tradition of Avvaiyar by Sri R. Parthasarathy, Professor-Emeritus, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai

After the paper presentations, Prof. Kannan, and Swami Japasiddhananda, Head, Department of Sanskrit and Philosophy, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, shared their observations on the conference. Both the eminent academicians congratulated the organizers for conceptualizing and conducting this conference.  They appreciated the organizers for choosing a rare yet important theme for the conference and for the systematic work in knitting the sessions together seamlessly and in a scholarly manner.

At the end, valedictory address was delivered by Sri Hari Kiran Vadlamani, founder of Indic Academy. Sri Vadlamani elaborated upon the work of the Indic Academy generally and particularly in the field of Yoga and his vision for Yoga, globally. He commended the quality of the papers presented in the two-day conference and invited scholars to join hands in furthering the research work in the field of Yoga. The conference concluded with Dr. Vinayachandra Banavathy proposing the vote of the thanks to all contributors, organizers and participants. About 300 people participated in the two-day event.

Dr. Vinayachandra Banavathy, Curator, PPYC-2021

Dr. Jayaraman Mahadevan, Co-curator, PPYC-2021 

(All the papers presented at the conference will be published on our website)