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21 May @ 09:00 - 24 May @ 16:305700kr
Y O G A P H I L O S O P H Y
YOGA IN LIFE
A deepening immersion in Yogic Philosophy
Welcome to this workshop for Yogateachers and dedicated students of yoga. The main course is 25 hours and for those of you who is in on our Yoga for Life 500 hr level, you have additional 10 hours total with homeassignments and reading.
21-24 May 2020
Yoga Shakti, Stockholm
DENNA UTBILDNING ÄR INKLUDERAD i paketpriset för 500 h utbildningen
So, what is yoga philosophy? In short, it is the name of the thoughts and ideas that underlies the development of the yoga techniques. Traditionally yoga was not about wellness, stress reduction or flexibility. Rather yoga was about recognizing and overcoming the patterns of human existence that leads to suffering. This brought the ancient yogis to investigate the deep structures of life, and the path of yoga philosophy is therefore a journey towards the core of what it is like to be human. Yoga philosophy can be seen as the key to unlock the potential of the old Indian techniques, and it is invaluable if you wish to navigate in the jungle of the modern yoga world.
We can trace yoga philosophy back around 2500 years, and the thoughts have developed and branched out ever since. This makes the topic incredibly vast and terribly complex, and trying to make sense of yoga philosophy can easily be overwhelming and frustrating. However, there is a group of thoughts that forms what can be called “the heart of yoga”.
All schools of yoga philosophy – though otherwise very different from each other – agree on these thoughts, and these thoughts will serve as the focal point of the course. This will bring us to study important Indian concepts like: Suffering (duḥkha), ignorance (avidyā), desire (tṛṣṇā), reincarnation (saṃsāra) and liberation (mokṣa/nirvāṇa). From “the heart of yoga” we shall follow a couple of the most important philosophical developments in the yoga tradition, and look at concepts like: Indifference (vairāgya), impermanence (anitya), emptiness (śunyāta), karmayoga, discernment (viveka) life force (prāṇa), haṭhayoga, power/life (Śakti) and tantra.
There are many ways to present yoga philosophy, and I would like to give you an idea about what you can expect from the course and me. My first priority is to present the Indian thoughts in a way, where the students can relate the philosophy to their own life and yoga practice. Therefore, we shall take quite a broad perspective on the philosophical points and prioritize to reflect on how the ideas relate to our own experiences.
So rather than technical readings of the old texts, you can expect a presentation of the ideas followed by reflection and discussion. The reason for this priority is simple. For me, the first and foremost point of yoga and yoga philosophy is to reduce suffering and promote more freedom, connection and happiness. And I find that when yoga philosophy becomes an academic study of how exactly the old Indian yogis saw the world, it becomes difficult to feel the thoughts. What is more, to really take the philosophical points in, you need to put in some serious, honest reflection and challenge your fundamental believes about yourself. Without making the philosophy course into a therapy group, I find that the way to go is through reflection, sharing and discussion. This, in my opinion, is a wonderful and important part of working with philosophy although it sometimes takes courage and a good deal of letting go.
Compendium and assignments
To assist you in your learning process, I have written a compendium for the course, which will provide you with the key points of the course plus a bit of back-ground knowledge, to help you in your further studies afterwards.
After the course I will provide you with three assignments, which will help you to digest what you have learned, and to connect it more closely to your own life and yoga practice.
Being Danish I understand Swedish pretty well – well enough to ask for direction in the street, but not well enough to have a philosophical discussion. The course, therefore, will be taught in English. Even though it is probably not anyones first language, I am sure that it will work out perfectly. The major part of the required reading material will be in Swedish, but there will also be a few texts in English.
In the course, we shall not be doing very much actual text study, and the only book that I will ask you to read before the course is my own book:
- “Närmare något” (Simon Krohn).
After the course you will probably find it much easier to make sense of the old yoga texts, and after the course I will strongly advise you to read:
- Yogasūtra of Patañjali
(I can warmly recommend the one by Georg Feuerstein and the one by Chip Hartranft)
- Bhagavad Gītā
(I can warmly recommend the Swedish translation by Martin Gansten)
- Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā
(Any copy that you can get your hands on will probably do fine)
- The Yoga Tradition (Georg Feuerstein)
- Tantra Illuminated (Christopher Wallis)
The yoga practice
When you study yoga philosophy you will naturally gain a better understanding of the yoga techniques and their potential. It is therefore natural that we shall connect the philosophy to a yoga practice, and this will be an important part of the philosophy course. The way I like to approach it is to first give a lecture on a philosophical point, then allow for personal reflection or discussion and finally guide a yoga class in which we can experience the philosophical points in our own practice. Since practice is a key component in the course, I wish to say a few words about it.
Firstly, I want to make clear that the yoga practice will be very basic, and that you neither need to be particularly flexible, strong or experienced to participate. Actually, I find that difficult yoga techniques generally make it hard to connect to the yoga philosophy, and therefore it serves our purpose to keep it simple. Also, I wish to make clear that it does not matter which kind of yoga style you have practiced before. In this course our practice will not focus on how precisely to do the poses. Rather we shall look at our intensions, reactions and how to work with the mind and concentration in the practice.
Furthermore, it is important to note, that the ancient Indian idea of a yoga practice had very little resemblance to the modern western yoga. Until just a hundred years ago, yoga was predominantly about meditation, and for this reason a part of the practice will consist of meditation techniques, and even though it will not be the major part of the practice, I think you should know this beforehand.
Finally, I just wish to say that I am already excited about our days together in Stockholm.
All the best,