Christopher P. Tompkins, MTS, MA, and PhD candidate is a Yoga practitioner and Sanskrit scholar specializing in the tradition of Tantric Shaivism. He has three degrees in Religion and Sanskrit, including Masters Degrees from Harvard and UC Berkeley. My research focuses on the ritualized practices of Hatha Yoga as originally presented in the earliest surviving Tantras - untranslated works that pre-date the later Hatha Yoga manuals by centuries. In 2012 I founded the Kashmir Shaivism Preservation Project, which seeks to preserve and share the literal legacy of Kashmir Shaivism.
That year I returned from Srinagar, Kashmir with 12,500+ pages of scanned manuscripts from endangered texts belonging to the Tantric traditions of this region. Samples of these can be viewed here (work in progress).
To date, I've acquired over 24,000 pages of manuscripts spanning the vast range of Philosophy, Ritual and Yoga representing the medieval Tantric tradition. I lecture around the world in universities and Yoga centers on the history, philosophy and practices of Indian Yoga.
My Patreon PhD Writing Campaign: 'Tantric Origins of Kuṇḍalinī'
I'm currently raising funds through Patreon to support the writing and final editing of my doctoral dissertation which I plan to file in the Spring of 2018.
At it's essence, this work is for the yoga community, to enrich our understanding of history, lineage, and current evolution of practices today. I would be honored by your support, and honored to share discoveries with you from my years investigating the original Kundalini-based Yoga taught in the Tantras, most of which has been lost to the modern world.
For more information, please click here.
YOGAVIDHI - WHAT’S IN A NAME?
In the earliest tantras, the term vidhi means regimen, referring to a ritualized sequence of mantra-based yoga practices. The Yogavidhi of the Tantras was prescribed as a daily practice of sequenced techniques meant to engage the subtle energies (śhaktis) that sustain the body. The goal is drawing them into a single point of concentration comprised of pure sonic energy, known as Kuṇḍalinī Śhakti (the coiled power).
The core practice of Tantric Yogavidhi thus became known as Kuṇḍalinīyoga, the ‘application of the Coiled’ Power, one which was never ‘dormant’ or ‘asleep’ at the base of the body. This ‘coiled power’ is universally capable of breaking through all emotional, physical and mental blockages that keep human beings in bondage. The techniques comprising the Yogavidhi sequence were performed on three levels – mentally (mānasā), vocally (vācikā) and physically (kāyikā), all of which were meant to manifest and engage Kuṇḍalinī in the body.
The ultimate goal of this Yoga was to incite a complete immersion (samaveśha) into the source Self. This was celebrated by Tantric Masters as the liberated state (mokṣha), one comprised of being (sat), consciousness (chit) and bliss (ānanda).
My work brings an understanding to the science imbued within this pan-tantric Yogavidhi, including the sequence (vinyāsa) of techniques crucial to its performance, later omitted from the haṭha-based texts known to the West, all of which claim to represent the ‘Kuṇḍalinī-based Yoga of the Tantras.’