Ruth Westoby presents an overview of the history of yoga over the last four thousand years or more. Through a timeline and thematic breakdown Ruth discusses the principle definitions of yoga, practices of yoga, and objectives or states of yoga. We will explore the ideas that underpin Indian thought: karma (retributive action), duḥkha (unsatisfactoriness), saṃsāra (the wheel of repeated birth and death), and moksa (freedom) as they are formed in the Vedic and Upaniṣadic period.
This is the first in a series of five seminars on the history and philosophy of yoga which can be taken individually or collectively. Whilst each session will build on the material presented in earlier sessions a recap will be given to enable students to attend individual sessions. Each session will open with chanting sections of texts relating to the subjects of study. The lecture will be accompanied with rich visual images.
Primary sources, key concepts and further reading suggestions will be given. There will be plenty of time for contemplation and discussion. Whilst there will be sitting practices there will be no postural practice. The best text to accompany these sessions is James Mallinson and Mark Singleton’s Roots of Yoga, published by Penguin in 2017.