Presentation by Dagmar Wujastyk: "Healthcare and longevity practices in yoga, ayurveda and rasaśāstra" at the online conference: Embodied Philosophy: Yoga Reconsidered


Presentation by Dagmar Wujastyk: "Healthcare and longevity practices in yoga, ayurveda and rasaśāstra" at the online conference: Embodied Philosophy: Yoga Reconsidered

Sunday, Feb 18, 2pm EST (7pm GMT, 8pm CET)

Healthcare and longevity practices in yoga, ayurveda and rasaśāstra

The practice of yoga is today widely associated with the improvement of mental and physical health and a general increase in well-being. In India, yoga is considered an indigenous form of health practice: The Ministry of AYUSH supports education and research in yoga medicine, and has established first steps in the regulation of practice with a voluntary certification scheme through the Quality Council of India. Now often predominantly associated with physical practices (postural and breathing exercises), the health-related aspects of yoga practice have been promoted globally since the middle of the twentieth century. However, in its historic origins, the attainment of yoga was understood as a soteriological undertaking, and its auxiliary practices were directed at the attainment of spiritual aims.

When did yoga become medicine? And how are medical claims within yoga traditions connected to the dominant Indian medical traditions of the past? Can ideas about healing and well-being arising in historic yoga traditions be linked to the scholarly medical tradition of Ayurveda, or to the heterodox medicine of rasaśāstra (Indian alchemy and iatrochemistry)? How do these traditions compare with each other in their medical goals, concepts and practices?

These are some of the questions the AyurYog project, a major research project funded by the European Research Commission, seeks to answer. The project examines the histories of yoga, ayurveda and rasaśāstra from the ninth century to the present. The goals of the project are to reveal the entanglements of these historical traditions, and to trace the trajectories of their evolution as components of today's global healthcare and personal development industries. Currently, the project’s researchers are focusing on health, juvenescence and longevity practices called rasāyana as potential key areas of exchange between the disciplines of yoga, ayurveda and rasaśāstra.

In my lecture, I will talk about AyurYog’s research and introduce you to the history of longevity and juvenescence practices developed in yogic, ayurvedic and rasaśāstra contexts.


Live stream on Sunday, Feb 18, 2pm EST



Online Conference: Yoga Reconsidered: An Online Conference on Modern Yoga Research


An Online Conference on Modern Yoga Research hosted by Embodied Philosophy

A movement is afoot within the yoga and scholarly communities to clarify the historical backdrop of yogic practice.

For the duration of yoga’s contemporary popularity, ambiguous and oftentimes mythological narratives have occluded a clear and coherent understanding of yoga’s history, due in part to a lack of access to many of yoga’s root texts and scriptures.

Initiatives like the University of London’s “Hatha Yoga Project”, the University of Vienna's "AyurYog project" and the website “Modern Yoga Research” ( are contributing to a radical sea change in what we know and how we understand the historical foundations of hatha yoga. In what centuries do we first see the emergence of yogic postures? For what objectives were these postures originally intended? What other yogic practices existed alongside hatha yoga posture that have since been widely forgotten?

This online conference seeks to highlight contemporary yoga research in an effort to clarify and demystify the historical underpinnings of modern yoga. More than simply giving an account of what we now know and still don’t know, this conference seeks to ask the question: so what?

What does a more sophisticated historical perspective do to contemporary yoga practice, if anything at all? In what ways is our experience as yoga and meditation scholar-practitioners augmented by this deeper knowledge? What epistemological questions arise when the historical narrative that aligns with a particular school or lineage stream conflicts with objectivist accounts of the academy?

This conference seeks to educate all those who are interested in yoga by challenging our given mythologies about what yoga is and where it comes from. This conference doesn’t seek to simply dismantle mythologies but to reimagine them — to dissolve the lenses of illusion in the service of a more expansive understanding of what yoga is here to teach us.




Friday, February 16th, 2018

  1. 6pm EST: David Gordon White
  2. 8pm EST: Jacqueline Hargreaves

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

  1. 10am EST: Philipp Maas
  2. 12pm EST: Veena Howard
  3. 2pm EST: Mark Singleton
  4. 4pm EST: Ruth Westoby
  5. 6pm EST: James Mallinson
  6. 8pm EST: Debashish Banerji

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

  1. 10am EST: Christopher Key Chapple
  2. 12pm EST: Seth Powell
  3. 2pm EST: Dagmar Wujastyk
  4. 4pm EST: Suzanne Newcombe
  5. 6pm EST: Jason Birch

© Ayuryog 2015 - University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.1 & Hof 2.7 (Campus), 1090 Wien