In this episode, we speak with Dr. Karen O’Brien-Kop (University of Roehampton) about her intertextual research on Pātañjala and Buddhist Yoga, rethinking the category of “Classical Yoga,” the yoga of Yogācāra Buddhism, Buddhist definitions of yoga, botanical metaphors for liberation, the mysterious Dharmamegha Samādhi ("the raincloud of Dharma”), her forthcoming co-edited volume, The Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies (2020), her upcoming online course YS 109, more.
Karen O’Brien-Kop is Lecturer in Asian Religions and Ethics in the Department of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Roehampton, London, UK. She received her PhD from SOAS University of London, is a specialist in the historical study of meditation and yoga within Asian religious traditions, and analyses early Hindu and Buddhist meditation manuals in Sanskrit.
She has taught on the MA Traditions of Yoga and Meditation at SOAS University of London, and at the University of Roehampton she has designed a new BA module 'Yoga, Meditation and Health'. Since 2018, she has served on the committee for the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies, an academic research and teaching centre focused on public engagement. In the American Academy of Religion, Karen is a committee member for the Yoga in Theory and Practice Unit and co-chair of the Indian and Chinese Religions Compared Unit. She has published peer-reviewed articles in Religions of South Asia and Journal of Indian Philosophy and is co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies (2020), an interdisciplinary volume of 34 chapters from global contributors. Karen is currently working on a book project on rethinking classical yoga in relation to Buddhism.