Conventional wisdom tells us that the paradoxical language of yoga’s ancient spiritual literature signifies Absolute Oneness; that despite any appearance to the contrary, we’re all One.
The speculative metaphysics of Neuroscience suggest that human psychology is just an autonomic meme machine with no one at the controls; that despite any appearance to the contrary, we’re all none.
Western religious traditions claim that an all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present God created the world and us along with it; that despite any appearance to the contrary, we’re all loved.
Contemporary seekers looking for a coherent resolution to these conflicting messages need look no further than Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s radical concept of acintya-abheddābeddha-tattva: the truth of inconceivable simultaneous oneness and difference.
At the dawn of the 16th century, the Bengali saint and spiritual activist Śrī Caitanya introduced a profound insight that brings clarity to the paradoxical verses of the Upaniṣads, persuasively refutes the notion of ‘no-self,’ and firmly establishes the philosophical basis for bhakti-yoga as a comprehensive science of self-realization. In this talk, I’ll unpack Caitanya’s revolutionary thesis, give his revelation some historical context, and explain its enduring significance for contemporary spiritual seekers.
This is a free 60-minute talk preceded by a joyful kirtan and followed by a sumptuous and equally free vegetarian lunch (donations of any amount gratefully accepted).
What does yoga philosophy have to do with what we do on our yoga mats? Is ‘reality’ really an illusion? What does ‘karma’ actually mean? Are there ‘correct’ interpretations of Sanskrit scriptures? In this workshop we’ll look the origin and historical development of yoga philosophy, de-mystify its terminology, and explore some of classical yoga’s more challenging propositions. Participants will gain a frame of reference for recognizing different schools of yoga philosophy, learn techniques for accessing the essential messages of classical yoga wisdom texts, and have the opportunity to consider whether the traditional ideas of yoga philosophy are still relevant to life in the 21st century. This workshop is for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the philosophy that forms the foundation for our yoga practice. Discussion and experiential exercises - recommended for both teachers and practitioners who want to deepen their experience of yoga.
The Bhagavad-gita describes three paths of yoga – the yoga of action, the yoga of mystic perfection, and the yoga of knowledge – that are informed by and find their ultimate fulfillment in a fourth path: the path of devotional service. This workshop combines lecture, discussion, and experiential learning exercises that will illuminate the teachings of this foremost of ancient yoga wisdom texts. Suitable for both yoga teachers who want to integrate the wisdom of the yoga tradition into their classes and serious yoga students who want to deepen their understanding of and appreciation for the philosophical foundations of their physical practice.
Set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between the warrior, Arjuna, and his friend and charioteer Krishna, the Bhagavad-gita is the most essential wisdom text of yoga. The objective of this weekend immersion is to provide yoga teachers and serious students with insights into how to hear the Gita’s message and recreate Arjuna’s revelatory experience in our own lives.
- The backstory of the Bhagavad-gita
- How to identify the principle topics of the Bhagavad-gita
- How to follow the dialog
- Conceptions of identity and relationships
- Karma, samsara, and liberation
- The conception of the Supreme Person in the Bhagavad-gita
- Ethics and violence in the Bhagavad-gita
- Navigating translations, interpretations, and cultural frames of reference
- How to chant the Gita’s Sanskrit verses
- 8 life lessons from the Bhagavad-gita
Somehow or other, Arjuna has become entangled in a complex web of duplicity and intrigue that’s about to culminate in a devastating war. Faced with many of the emotions and problems that we encounter every day, Arjuna turns to Krishna for guidance. Through lecture, discussion, and experiential learning exercises, we’ll explore the wisdom of Krishna’s teachings in the Gita, discuss strategies for accessing transcendental knowledge, and see how we can practically apply these ancient teachings to our lives in the modern world.
This Weekend Immersion is open to both seasoned and novice teachers, serious yoga practitioners, and anyone interested in learning more about the implications and applications of traditional yoga philosophy.
$250 for weekend, $195 for Sol members and recent alumni.
**12.5 CEU’s available for yoga teachers.
I was speaking with a fellow yoga teacher last week about how to integrate philosophical themes into our classes. She mentioned that sometimes she’s not so interested in hearing any philosophy, that sometimes she takes a class with the intention of just letting go of stuff that’s been weighing her down.
And when she takes a class to unload her own stuff she’s not particularly interested in hearing about the teacher’s stuff. It’s a common practice for teachers to connect with students at the start of a class by sharing a bit of what’s going on in their own lives.
For me, it’s standard operating procedure: I always come prepared to share a little bit of my life with my students as a way to inject some element of yoga philosophy into my class.
Many of the teachers that work with me do so because they want to learn this particular skill: the art of seamlessly embedding yoga philosophy into a class in order to help students connect their outer physical practice to a deeper inner practice.
But sharing a personal realization about yoga philosophy can go either way. For one student, it may be exactly what they needed to hear in order for them to be able to let go of whatever they needed to unload. For another, it may be just the opposite: unwelcome static that hinders their ability to let go of whatever they were hoping to let go of.
So, what should a yoga teacher do? Should a yoga teacher share their personal realizations as a way to teach yoga philosophy or is it better to just invite students to use their practice as a way to work out whatever they need to work out? [Read more…] about How to Help Students Let Go
The Yoga-sutras are codified instructions that describe a science of self-realization. They include instructions on psychology, ethics, theology, metaphysics, and meditation. The objective of this weekend immersion is to provide yoga teachers and serious students with insights into Patanjali’s systematic approach to the practice and experience of yoga. Topics include:
- How to follow the literary form of the Sutras
- The commentarial imperative in the system of Vedic knowledge
- Yoga psychology
- A comprehensive analysis of the 8 limbs of yoga
- Yoga as a moral philosophy
- The role of Isvara in the Yoga-sutras
- The mystical experience of yoga
- Navigating translations, interpretations, and cultural frames of reference
- Sanskrit chanting: how to recite the Sutras
- The perfection of yoga in the Yoga-sutras
The basic premise of the Yoga-sutras challenges our sense of identity, flies in the face of modern assumptions, and defies conventional wisdom about the nature of reality. Through lecture, discussion, and experiential learning exercises, participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of Patanjali’s system of yoga and its implications for the modern practitioner.
This Immersion Weekend is a part of the Yoga Philosophy course offered through Sol Yoga’s 300-Hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training. For more information about Yoga Teacher Training programs at Sol Yoga, click here.