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The Yoga of the Yoga Sutras

Course content

In this course, we will cover a variety of topics contained in the yoga sutras, including:

  • The meaning of yoga, and the ultimate objective of all yogic disciplines.
  • The three main streams of abhyasas (practices) that are presented by Patanjali, namely Kriya Yoga (yoga of action), Ashtanga Yoga (8-limbed yoga) and Samadhi Yoga (Inner practices to develop equanimity).
  • The obstacles in the path of yoga and strategies to overcome them.
  • We will especially highlight the popular practices such as asanas, pranayama, etc and how they fit into the broad scope of yoga. Specifically, what are the unique benefits of asanas? Pranayama? Dhyana? And so on. We will also learn how they beautifully complement each other.
  • In addition to the in-depth analysis and understanding of the 8-limbs of Ashtanga yoga, we will also gain clarity and precise definitions on important terms presented in the yoga sutras, such as abhyasa, vairagya, chitta, vritti, klesha, samyama, parinama, kaivalya, and many more. This clarity will extraordinarily help in one’s own yoga practice.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand and articulate What is yoga and freedom as enunciated by Patanjali 
  2. Assimilate the value of embracing a yogic discipline in one’s life
  3. Distinguish the four ingredients, three streams and eight limbs of yoga 
  4. Determine which stream of yoga may be appropriate for one’s own life
  5. Recognize the five afflictions of the mind, and the nine obstacles to quietening it 
  6. Integrate strategies for quietening the mind when it is gripped by emotion

Class Structure:

There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour with one or more faculty every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on self-study and reflection each week. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 60 minutes, the discussion time will be free format, and can continue for an additional 30 minutes maximum. During the course, students will be required to submit one or two short essays. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learnt and assimilated so far.  Selected essays may qualify for being published on the University’s website. 

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study 

Program: Community Education Program (CEP), Certificate Program in Hindu Studies (CPHS)  

Faculty / Instructor: Dr. Shriram Sarvotham 

Area of Study: Yoga Studies

Start Date: 17th July 2021

End Date: 25th September 2021

Time: 11:00 am EST – 12:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Summer 2021