Yoga Scholars Seek Community’s Help

Two esteemed scholars have launched a Kickstarter campaign to write a definitive sourcebook on yoga's history.

When it comes to yoga history, there are many holes in the story, say yoga scholars Mark Singleton and Jim Mallinson. Much of the information available today is misleading, inaccurate, or contrived, and not from ancient texts, but from the imaginations of writers who wrote most of the translations available today.

That’s why Singleton and Mallinson want to write a new book that relies heavily on ancient texts, many of which have never been translated, geared to a general audience. They’ve created a campaign on Kickstarter to raise $50,000 for their project, The Roots of Yoga: A Sourcebook from the Indian Traditions.

“This will be very valuable in seeing the range of approaches available to us as yoga practitioners, as well as in understanding where our own practices come from and how much they have changed,” says Singleton, who wrote the acclaimed book Yoga Body in 2010. “Today it seems to me that we only have a small fraction of yoga’s possibilities available to us. Roots of Yoga will help rectify that.”

While Yoga Body explored the adaptations of yoga in the last 150 years, Roots of Yoga will go back to the origins of yoga. “It will also show, I believe, the incredible changes that have occurred in yoga in the modern world, as well as many of the possibilities for practice that have been forgotten by many of us,” Singleton explains.

So why turn to the yoga community to raise money to fund the two-year process of research and writing? Because this book is intended for everyday yoga practitioners, not just academics or yoga experts. Generating funds and support, on Kickstarter will make it a book “for and by the community.”

“People shouldn’t think because they’re old texts that they’re going to be dry, dusty and difficult. They’re not. And they shouldn’t think that only expert yoga teachers or scholars can read this stuff,” Singleton says. “It’s amazing, juicy, delightful material. I think everyone with a deeper interest in yoga should strike up a friendship with these texts.”

For more information or to make a donation visit the Kickstarter page.