This four week course will use the physical practices – āsana – from different historical periods to unlock yoga’s teachings, histories and philosophies. The sessions will be organised around practice, lecture, and discussion. We will recreate (safe) physical practices. We will examine texts, iconography and art historical sources to clearly frame the history of yoga, pulling out the main practices and philosophies as they occur historically.
The sessions will be organised around –
1. Ancient self-mortifications – tapas
2. ‘Classical’ yoga – the Pātanjalayogaśāstra
3. The yoga of force – practices of the Haṭhapradīpikā
4. Posturing on the eve of modern yoga – the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati
The sessions are designed to bring history alive and contextualise the practices which you do now. You should take away a clear understanding of the historical development of yoga, its relevance to your life and practice, and the inspiration and tools to continue your explorations of yoga’s history and philosophies.