Ramesh Bjonnes has been teaching and writing about yoga philosophy and history for the past 25 years. He is the co-founder of the Prama Institute, a yoga retreat center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, USA, where he is director of the Prama Wellness Center. He is the author of three books on yoga and Tantra, including A Brief History of Yoga. His forthcoming book is titled The Lost Teachings of Tantra. Websites: www.prama.org www.rameshbjonnes.org
Yoga to Live By: The Philosophy and History of Yoga | Oct 14 – Nov 11
Date and Times: Wednesdays from 7:00pm – 9:00pm EST - Oct 14, 21, 28 & Nov 4, 11
*Students will receive Certificate of Completion and 12 CEUs from Yoga Alliance
**Sign up today and receive a free copy of Ramesh Bjonnes’s book A Brief History of Yoga
As the yoga boom in the West continues, with millions of people practicing asanas in yoga studios or joining teacher training programs, there is a growing need to understand the deeper philosophy and the complex history of yoga. Since much of the history of yoga is shrouded in myth, hidden behind academic walls, or tainted with political agendas, there is a growing need to take a fresh look at yoga’s roots. The philosophy of yoga may seem abstract and foreign to many practicing yogis, but when looking closer, yoga philosophy has many practical wisdom teachings that can help guide and inspire us through life’s many challenges. In this course, we will dust off the old texts, make the oral teachings come alive and wander back into yoga’s remarkable and multifaceted history and make it all more relevant to our lives as modern yogis. By joining this course, you will be part of reshaping the history of your practice.
Embracing a wide variety of sources and evidence, from ancient philosophy texts to contemporary books and academic scholarship, from archeology to mythology, from teacher-student lineages and oral histories to genetics, you will journey into the colorful and sometimes controversial world of ancient, premodern, and modern yoga philosophy and history.
Together, we will investigate many angles and questions about yoga philosophy and history and why both are important windows into living and breathing a yogic lifestyle.
We Will Explore
When and where yoga originated and what the oldest philosophical ideas were based on? Is yoga a part of the Hindu religion? How to find the balance between ancient tradition and contemporary innovation? Is the Western practice of yoga cultural appropriation, appreciation, or both? How old are the oldest poses; which ones were created a hundred years ago, and which ones were made up yesterday?
We Will Discuss
What yoga is for you—an exercise system, a religion, a science, a spiritual path, or all of the above? If westerners romanticize or misrepresent the yoga tradition? How you can make yoga philosophy more practical and relevant in your own and your students’ life? How to navigate the conflicting histories about yoga’s origin, what it is now, and where it is going in the future?
This course is divided in five two-hour classes covering five historical time periods:
- The Ancient Yoga Period: The Four Vedas, the early Shaiva Tantra--Samkhya Philosophy and Ayurveda.
- The Epic Yoga Period: the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita—the philsosphy of Bhakti, Karma and Jnana Yoga
- The Classical Yoga Period: The Yoga Sutras, The Kundali Upanishad (one of the earliest description of asanas) Buddhist Yoga—the philosophy of Vedanta and Yoga Sutras
- The Medieval Yoga Period: The Tantra Renaissance, Classical Hatha Yoga, Kashmir Tantra—non-dual Tantra philosophy
- The Modern Yoga Period: From Vivekananda to Krishnamacarya, from B. K. S. Iyengar to John Friend, from Indra Devi to Sean Corn, from Yogananda to Anandamurtii, from post-lineage yoga to the future of yoga and Tantra, including modern yoga and Tantra philosophy
“I finished the course yesterday and just wanted to send you a HUGE THANK YOU for the incredible course. Really gave me a lot of perspective on what yoga history is and on what yoga is all about, changing my relationship with yoga for the better. I took so many notes that I could write a book with them.”
Kevin Salkeld, Lima, Peru
“Huge thank you for the curation of this course, I'm really excited about where you will guide us and feeling very confident in your abilities to continue to blow my mind. I also appreciate the continued circling back to the "why.” Really great teaching, especially with such heady stuff.
–Austin Richman, Colorado Springs, USA
“I want to thank you… for the amazing teaching you do—you are the embodied example of how a yogic approach to differing views works! I loved it!
--Anastasia Schmierer, Berlin, Germany
What People Say About Ramesh Bjonnes’ Writings
“This book is a source that any person, lay or scholar, will benefit from reading, because here is a practitioner whose fine mind reaches into his heart, converging one into the other. Bjonnes is now an important voice for the study of living Tantra.”
–Douglas Brooks, Professor of Religion, University of Rochester
“The writings of Ramesh Bjonnes cut right to the core of the spiritual journey. His essays enter through my mind and then travel to my heart, where they blossom like beautiful flowers of love and truth.”
–Jai Uttal, Grammy-nominated world musician and kirtan artist