Scott talks to Dr Matthew Clark, a long term practitioner, yoga philosophy teacher and yoga academic.

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Scott and Matthew have known each other for over 15 years. Scott first met Matthew when he hosted him for a yoga philosophy workshop on Sadhus. Scott saw in Matthew a deep knowledge of yoga with an open and honest outlook.

Scott and Matthew recorded in November 2019 at Matthew’s home in Brighton. They have a wide ranging conversation on Matthew’s life as yoga practitioner, researcher and academic.

Matthew shares openly has way in to yoga and contemplative practice in the early 1970s through hallucinogens, how his inquisitiveness led him to India to study with many gurus and was sceptical of all of them, how he moved into academia to research yoga history and philosophy and now how his life’s work has turned into the study of Soma, a deity and ritual drink that dates back to the Rig Veda.

Please note: In this conversation Matthew talks openly about hallucinogenics and plant medicine. It’s important to take incredible care if you decide to ingest anything that changes the way you see the world, but here Matthew explains in detail the context these drinks and potions were taken in relation to the ancient vedic tradition of ritual.

Since 2004, Dr. Matthew Clark has been a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London. He is one of the administrators of the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies in London and is also one of the editors of the Journal of Yoga Studies.

His publications include:

  • The Daśanāmī-Saṃnyāsīs: The Integration of Ascetic Lineages into an Order (2006), which is a study of a sect of sādhus; 
  • The Tawny One: Soma, Haoma and Ayahuasca (2017), which is an exploration of the use of psychedelic plant concoctions in ancient Asia and Greece;
  • The Origins and Practices of Yoga: A Weeny Introduction (revised edition) (2018). 

‘Matthew is such a rich source of personal experience and academic knowledge. He has truly studied himself to understand how mystical experiences and yoga are related. This vast conversation brings a deeply historical lens to the ancient practices of yoga and how we can perhaps relate to them now.
Scott Johnson – January 2020

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