One of the most profound things that my studies and lecturing in yoga, Hinduism, and world religions has taught me, is that when you situate yoga ideas within their historic and cultural contexts they tend to make more sense. Not only that, this type of context allows us to develop a more inclusive, sensitive, and respectful understanding of the rich culture and heritage that many yoga ideas come from, as well as the ability to represent yoga with greater maturity. This is something I now feel passionately about sharing with other yoga students and instructors.
The more I learn about the history of yoga, and the intersection of yoga and politics, economics, gender, and various philosophies, the more I realise that the ‘world’ of yoga could benefit greatly from a good deal more contextual and ethical discussions. These types of discussions are likely to benefit new teachers in particular.
For these reasons, and because I seem to be obsessed with thinking and talking about yoga topics, I have developed a number of Continuing Professional Development sessions, for yoga groups and training teachers, on a range of specialist topics. These topics include (but are not limited to):
- Sacred Texts: What are the major ideas contained in prominent South Asian sacred texts, from a scholarly perspective? Texts include the Vedas, Upuniṣads, Yogasūtra, Bhagavadgītā, and other less well known Sanskrit texts relating to yoga.
- What is Yoga anyway? Is yoga a physical practice, a science, a philosophy, a religion or in part all of these? This session encourages a complex and plural consideration of this thing we call ‘yoga’.
- A Brief History of Postural Yoga: This session looks at the development of postural practice and meet some of the major figures who have had a huge influence on the āsana based yoga we know today.
- Yoga, Science, and the Subtle Body: This session explores the history of science and yoga and investigates the connections and contradictions between modern yoga and the subtle body.
- An Expanded Discussion of Modern Yoga Ethics: A detailed investigation into contemporary considerations of yoga, gender, body image, and intersectional feminism.
If you believe your yoga community or training teachers could benefit from a discussion on any of these topics, please contact me for more details.