In contemporary times, before India came to be recognized for its prowess in the software industry, it was Yoga that gave it standing on the world stage. In the United States alone, there are yoga studios galore and yoga has become a multibillion-dollar industry. As it entered the popular consciousness, however, the ancient practices of Yoga have undergone substantial changes, with they at times having been reduced to mere physical exercises. This course will revolve around interrogating the following questions: 1. What is the correct and true understanding of Yoga as understood and enunciated by the sage Patanjali? 2. What is the role that asanas loosely translated as body postures have in the scheme of Yoga? 3. If asanas are mere one part or limb of the Yoga world, what are the other limbs that are equally if not more important? 4. Is there a systematic or gradual psycho-spiritual evolution that runs through all the eight limbs of Yoga? 5. What are the psycho-spiritual consequences if we focus only on asanas and maybe a bit of paranayama, loosely translated as breathing exercises, to the exclusion of the other limbs of Yoga? This course, in other words, will give an authentic understanding of the world of Yoga as described by the sage Patanjali. Since Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are built on the Darshana of Sankhya, this course in the beginning stages itself will unpack the worldview of Sāṅkhya, and given that the Bhagavada Gītā is a synthesis of Sāṅkhya and Yoga, it will prepare the students for a deeper philosophical understanding of the Bhagavada Gītā.
In this course, the student will
- gain a traditional understanding of Yoga as enunciated by the sage Patanjali;
- acquire the full meaning of the term Yoga as it is understood in contemporary enunciation of sages;
- understand the nuances of psycho-spiritual evolutionary growth that Yoga entails;
- learn about the philosophical foundations on which Yoga is predicated.
Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundations
Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study
Instructor: Dr. Kundan Singh