December 27, 2021


Michael Sheehy on "Tummo: Fierce Lady of Yogic Heat"

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Frances Garrett Tony Scott
Michael Sheehy on "Tummo: Fierce Lady of Yogic Heat"
Buddhist Studies Footnotes
Michael Sheehy on "Tummo: Fierce Lady of Yogic Heat"

Dec 27 2021 | 00:38:58


Show Notes

The contemplative technique of tummo (gtum mo, caṇḍālī) – literally, the “fierce lady” – is a consummate practice of Vajrayāna Tibetan Buddhist yoga. To understand this somatic yoga and breathwork practice, this presentation discusses (a) tummo in the context of a Buddhist tantric practice curriculum; (b) the philosophy and practice of inducing yogic heat and rapturous bliss described in classical Tibetan yoga manuals, including a discussion of subtle body physiology, thermogenesis, and the correlation of tummo with sexual yoga; (c) popular depictions that introduced tummo to the modern Buddhist imagination, including drying wet sheet ceremonies in Tibet and contemporary spin-offs; and (d) scientific research on the neurophysiological effects of arousal induced by tummo on core body temperature, cerebral blood flow, and cognitive correlates. The presentation concludes with reflections on working with technologies of breath in yogic Buddhism.

This presentation is part of the Buddhism and Breath Summit, which took place online in 2021, with a group of researchers exploring Buddhist practices of working with the breath or the “winds” of the body. The event was co-hosted by Frances Garrett and Pierce Salguero, and co-sponsored by the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto and You can watch the video of this talk and find other resources from the Buddhism and Breath Summit at

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