Where do I come from?
Where am I going?
Who am I?
Philosophy, to me, has always been about the meaning of life and yoga philosophy, better than any of the Western philosophies, has given me answers to these most profound questions.
I have pondered these questions since I was a child and satisfied my deep curiosity when I began to study yoga in my late teens. To me, yoga philosophy is not speculative, not just an intellectual exercise, but rather an expression of the insightful wisdom that yogis discovered by living in harmony with nature and in practicing deep meditation.
Since I grew up in a historical place in Norway and played in an old Viking fort in my youth, I have always been interested in history and felt drawn to understand the past so that I can better understand the present. Thus, I was naturally drawn to the history of yoga as well.
I soon discovered, however, that history, like human psychology, is often complex and sometimes flat out contradictory. Yoga history is no different.
Initially, I was introduced to an uncommon perspective on yoga history—that yoga hailed from the Tantras rather than the Vedas. But when I researched a wide variety of evidence, from ancient texts to contemporary books and academic scholarship, from archeology to mythology, from teacher-student lineages and oral histories to genetics, I discovered that the history version that I had learned contradicted the more widely accepted history of yoga. So, what was true?
That question is what I start with when taking yoga students on a discovery tour to better understand their practice. Many students found that the journey through yoga’s philosophy and history helped deepen their practice and experience.
If you join me in one of my courses, we will investigate many angles and questions about yoga philosophy and history, such as:
- When, and where, did yoga originate?
- How old are the oldest poses and which ones were developed a few years ago?
- What is the difference, and more importantly, the similarities between the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali and Tantra?
- What are the main philosophical tenets of Tantra and Vedanta?
- What are the main meditation practices taught in the Yoga Sutra?
- Is our understanding of yoga romanticized fact?
- When did yoga reach the Western world?
- Why are there conflicting histories?
- How to balance tradition and innovation?
- Is your own practice of yoga cultural appropriation?
- Is yoga an exercise system, a religion, a science, a spiritual path, or all of the above?
- How can I practice according to yoga philosophy and live a more authentic yogic life?
In this program, you will learn new ways to think through the facts and the mis- and dis-information about yoga philosophy and its historical roots. You will appreciate how the yoga tradition developed from practices deeply rooted in the guru system to a modern exercise system blended with spirituality to the cutting edge culture of post-lineage yoga. You will also explore how ancient and modern traditions continue to blend and inform each other.
Here is what you can gain from my yoga philosophy and history course:
- Clearly understand the main tenets of yoga philosophy.
- Learn about the great teachers and traditions in yoga’s 5,000+ year history.
- Identify the mis- and dis-information about yoga’s past and discern fact from fiction.
- Discover fascinating and even contested details about yoga’s origins, history, philosophies, and future.
- Step out of your individual views of yoga to learn from and share with a diverse group of people in order to create a larger vision and understanding of the practice.
- Embrace the study of philosophy and history as an essential part of being human and part of an ethically grounded and evolving yoga journey.
Click here to learn about the different sections of the course and to register for our next session.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ramesh is the Director of the Prama Wellness Center where lifestyle is considered our best medicine. Ramesh is also a writer, yogi and workshop leader. He studied yoga therapy in Nepal and India, Ayurveda at California College of Ayurveda and is a certified yoga detox theraphist from the AM Wellness Center in Cebu, Philippines. He has taught workshops in many countries and is the author of four books, including Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (InnerWorld) and Tantra:The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House India).