The early evidence of yoga in Jainism is scattered across many canonical texts, which do not propose a single method. There is therefore a wide range of different practices that form Jain yoga. These include, but are not limited to, abandonment of body (kāyotsarga), meditation (dhyāna), ascetic heat (ātāpanā), various stages of renunciation (pratimā), reflections (bhāvanā), contemplation (anuprekṣā) on dogmatic subjects. Yoga in the context of Jainism requires textual study using a diachronic and a synchronic approach. These canonical terms are different from the medieval presentation of yoga by Haribhadra, Śubhacandra and Hemcandra. In the canonical texts (4th c. BCE – 6th C. CE), Jain understandings of yoga were an intrinsic part of asceticism rather than a separate practice. In the medieval period Haribhadra and Hemcandra’s works on Jain yoga were much influenced by Patañjali’s Yogasūtra and other Hindu Tantra literature.
Dr Samani Pratibha Pragya is scholar of Jain Studies and her specialisms include the Jain yoga, Meditation and Healing, Jain Terapanth lineage, to which she belong as a Samani (saint). She is a senior disciple of Acharya Mahashraman. Her current research centres on the history and methods of modern Jain meditation and yoga. She had received her PhD on “Prekṣā Meditation: History and Methods” from SOAS. At present she is working as a Visiting Research Fellow at SOAS with Dr Flügel on Terapanth data pertaining to the Jaina-Prosopography project. She had established JVB Jain World Peace Centre, London. At present, she is spiritual head of it and is an authorised Prekṣā yoga and meditation teacher. She initiated a rural development project at Tamkore, Rajasthan and established Mahapragya International School there. She worked for underprivileged girls’ education in Jhunjhunu district. From August 2023 Dr Samani Pratibha Pragya will take up the Adjunct Professor position at Florida International University, USA.
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