Yoga Philosophy Program
The Indian word for philosophy is darshana, which literally means ‘vision’. Studying and working with yoga philosophy is a means to have a vision of your innermost being, as well as to have a vision of a way of living in this world that is anchored in that sacred core of life. The Yoga Philosophy Program at YogaKula is second to none, as it features teachers who are steeped in the spiritual traditions of ancient India, making them accessible, so that we can actually use them to improve our quality of daily life. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience the original texts and teachings of the Yoga Tradition.
Yoga Philosophy Series at YogaKula
Yoga Philosophy Faculty:
Carlos Pomeda: MA Sanskrit and Religious Studies
Carlos Pomeda is an internationally acclaimed Eastern Philosophy Scholar and former monk of the Saraswati order. Carlos will convey to you the profound teachings of the Indian Yoga tradition in a way that is clear, meaningful and applicable.
Dr. Douglas Brooks, PHD
Dr. Douglas Brooks is among the world’s leading scholars of Hindu Tantrism. Through lecture and discussion, Dr Brooks will unfold the philosophy of intrinsic goodness that underlies the practice of Anusara Yoga. Dr Brooks holds a PHD from Harvard and is currently a Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester in New York.
Paul Muller-Ortega, PHD
Paul Muller Ortega is recognized internationally as one of the world’s most highly respected scholars in the field of Indian Religion and Hindu Tantra. and is the author of The Triadic Heart of Shiva. He received his Ph.D. from The University of California at Santa Barbara and currently teaches at the University of Rochester. Dr. Muller-Ortega is known for his unparalleled scholarly authenticity and for being a charismatic and eloquent teacher with a unique capacity to convey esoteric truths in ways that create profound shifts in his students. Integrating this with the wisdom gained from forty years teaching and practicing meditation, Dr. Muller-Ortega will take you on a guided tour of consciousness that will be inspiring and enlightening.
Sally Kempton, also called Durgananda, is a preeminent author and founder of the dharana Institute. A brilliant and insightful meditation teacher, Sally will provide you the tools for the process of inner exploration, integrating heart, mind and body in a way that opens you to experience your natural state of wisdom and love.
Christopher D. Wallis, PHD
Christopher D. Wallis has been teaching meditation and yoga philosophy both academically and in spiritual contexts for the past nine years. His students enthusiastically speak about his inspirational style, especially the refreshing way that he balances intellectual rigor with heart-opening love for the tradition and its practitioners.
Why study Yoga philosophy?
The sages who promulgated the various branches of the Indian spiritual tradition wrote that practice without knowledge was fruitless. The true goal of Yoga is a total integration of body, mind, and spirit into a harmonious whole that directly empowers us to fulfill our potential and attain the supreme peace that is our true nature. Without intellectual understanding and knowledge, spiritual practices may lack a clear sense of direction. By the same token, knowledge without practice is also fruitless. For this reason, the philosophy workshops at YogaKula will feature an engaging contemplation of India’s wisdom tradition, with a focus on immediately applying these liberating teachings to our daily lives. By integrating study and contemplation with meditation and hatha yoga, we have an opportunity to transcend our apparent limitations and fulfill our potential for boundless joy.
Who studies Yoga philosophy?
If you are:
- A yoga-practitioner who has always wanted to know the secrets of the spiritual tradition behind your practice
- A total beginner who feels drawn to the Eastern articulation of our universal human spirituality
- A yoga teacher who wants to deepen your experience and offer your students a more profound and integrated vision
- Someone who wants to attain greater physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being
- Someone who knows the fulfillment and joy that meditation, spiritual wisdom, and yoga practices can bring and longs to develop them to the limit.
Benefits of Yoga Study
The practice of meditation and related disciplines:
- Calms the mind and nervous system
- Heals psychological trauma
- Balances mental and physical energies
- Enhances peak experiences
- Increases contentment and equanimity in daily life
- Leads to the discovery of one’s true nature
- Results in freedom from pain
The study of yoga philosophy:
- Cultivates, refines, and sharpens our mental faculties
- Clears away confusion regarding the obstacles to our growth
- Clarifies the various possible routes to spiritual fulfillment
- Maps the psychological terrain traversed on the spiritual path
- Provides meaning to human existence
- Explains the causes of—and solutions to—the problem of suffering
- Offers the possibility of radical freedom
The practice of hatha-yoga and related physical disciplines:
- Improves, strength, flexibility, and vitality
- Refines circulation and reduces stress
- Improves digestion and boosts the immune system
- Rejuvenates body and mind
What you do with your mind affects your body; what you do with your body affects your mind.
Meditation: The Inward Path
What completes the practice of Yoga is its internal element, meditation. This series of courses, in three levels, detail the ancient practice of meditation that is the very foundation and backbone of the Yoga Tradition. A variety of simple and powerful meditation techniques are introduced and developed in ways that are accessible and yet just challenging enough to allow for growth opportunities. Guidance by our faculty is thorough and supportive, and students can expect to receive a good grounding in the basic forms of meditation.
More and more people are finding that establishing a regular practice of meditation in their lives helps them to find inner peace and centeredness, to sharpen their concentration and the way they perceive what occurs in their lives. Meditation invites you to enhance your experience of being alive, and it also offers you much more: the possibility to find out your deepest identity and the natural joy that radiates from within your own being.
Simply put, meditation holds the key to transformation.
Offered in three levels:
- Level I – Establishing the Foundations
- Level II – Widening the horizons
- Level III – Deepening the experience
Meditation courses include:
- Introduction to meditation
- Advanced meditation techniques
- Pranayama (breath control)
This series of classes will be of interest to:
- Hatha Yoga Teachers seeking direct experience of the inner dimensions of yoga
- Meditators and spiritual seekers interested in deepening their understanding of the dynamics of meditation as well as the various approaches to the practice
- Students curious about this profound and fascinating practice
- Anyone interested in enriching their life, investigating and unfolding their own potential, or simply seeking an increased sense of well-being
The contemplation of spiritual wisdom is an essential part of the path of Yoga. ‘Philosophy’ in the Indian context refers not to dry speculation, but a lively engagement with the most immediate and personal questions of life, as well as a set of practices to attain the deepest levels of insight. Yoga philosophy constitutes a formula for dynamic action.
- History and Overview of Yoga /The Secret Teachings of the Upanishads
- The Yogas of Action, Knowledge and Devotion (Bhagavad-gita)/The Bhakti Sutras: Joyous exultation of the Divine
- Patanjali’s Classical Yoga: Blueprint for Transformation
- Vedanta: Seeing the Oneness of Being Beyond Illusions
- Tantra: the Wheel of Divine Energy
- Kundalini-yoga: Charting the Inner Landscape/ Hatha Yoga and the Natha Tradition:Spiritual and Physical Alchemy
- Upanishads and Vedanta
- The Bhagavad Gita
- Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra I
- Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra II
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika
- Tantra and Kashmir Shaivism
Each one of these workshops is available on DVD with a Study Guide availble here
Other courses in the Yoga Philosophy area include:
- Yoga of Death and Dying: “What lies beyond?”
- Living Yoga
- Psychology of Yoga
- Cosmology of Yoga
- Yogic texts study group
Yoga and Health
Meditation and hatha-yoga enhance and improve health, but health can be further balanced through these courses offered at Yogakula.
- Therapeutic Yoga