In this course students will be able to:
Developed by the ancient Hindu sages in the Indian subcontinent, yoga is a psycho-somatic discipline with its roots going back over 5,000 years. The word “yoga” means “union” and hints at the final goal of yoga practice–to be in union with one’s true nature. This goal, which leads one on the path of optimal health and human wellness, can be achieved by following the practices developed as a part of an integrated and holistic system of yoga.
In this course, we will explore the concept of Pancha Kosha, the five sheaths of human personality as defined in yogic texts: Annamaya Kosha — the physical layer; Pranamaya Kosha — the vital layer; Manomaya Kosha — the emotional layer; Vijnanamaya Kosha — the intellectual layer; and finally the Anandamaya Kosha — the pure-consciousness layer of our existence.
Furthermore, we will study Sage Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga, popularly known as Ashtanga Yoga. These eight steps give a comprehensive and systematic approach to developing one’s mind. Ashtanga Yoga includes Yama (guidelines for ethical relationships), Niyama (guidelines for ethical personal living), Asana (postures for physical practice), Pranayama (controlled and deliberate breathing patterns), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind from distractions), Dharana (focus of the mind upon a goal), Dhyana (the expansion of the focused mind into everyday life), and Samadhi (Complete Absorption in Oneself).
Yoga is not just a practice of asana and meditation on the mat. While such a practice constitutes the practice of Raja Yoga, the other three disciplines that we include are: Karma Yoga — the yoga of detached action; Bhakti Yoga — the yoga of love, acceptance, and devotion; and Jnana Yoga — the yoga of contemplation and reflection, completing the holistic practice of yoga. By combining all four streams of yoga — Raja yoga, Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, and Jnana yoga — one is able to achieve a state of peace, creativity, and fulfilment in life.
We will learn about each stream of yoga and delve deeply into Raja yoga, which focuses on disciplining the mind and body using yoga practices. This holistic yoga course contains guided physical yoga practices, lectures, discussions, and offline assignments.