Daniel presents ancient texts for modern times.
Combining storytelling, humour and insight, his practical approach makes yoga philosophy accessible and relevant. He teaches courses for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, on teacher trainings around the UK, and at Triyoga in London. He also offers private tuition, online and in person.
A former reporter, Daniel brings clarity to complex subjects. Drawing on a master’s degree from SOAS, and two decades of experience, he aims to help students explore their own path.
He is writing a book about yoga philosophy aimed at practitioners. He also writes for magazines, while working freelance as an editor.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is often said to be the source of yogic teachings. Yet the text lists no postures, gives limited instructions and its ultimate goal is a state of isolation from worldly existence. So what makes it relevant to modern practitioners? Reading the sutras together – with reference to extracts from traditional commentaries – we will clarify their message and how it’s interpreted. Over four weekly sessions (from September 23, at Triyoga Camden), we will discuss how Patanjali’s ideas can be used to find freedom in embodied activity.
Control of the breath is one of the oldest yogic practices. Although modern classes are focused on postures, the main physical technique in early texts is pranayama. This is said to be the key to inward focus, and freedom from suffering. In this afternoon workshop at Globe House Yoga, near London Bridge (Saturday 14 September, 2:00 - 4:00 pm), we'll explore a variety of traditional methods, as well as discussing the theory behind them, along with their place in yoga history. Contact Daniel to book.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ranju Roy and Dave Charlton, who have written a book about practical engagement with yoga philosophy (which I recommend). Their approach to the Yoga Sutra is a refreshing combination of accessible and scholarly, as we discuss on their podcast. Although the text has the ultimate aim of renouncing the world, they show how its underlying psychology can also be applied in daily life - improving our relationships with each other and ourselves.
It can be hard to express liberating insights without sounding banal. Perhaps mindful of the limits of words, some of the earliest teachings on oneness say it is conveyed by a single syllable. Chanting Om is said to teach the meaning of all of the Upanishads. This message is meant to be realised, not discussed, but some interpretive guidance is helpful. The first author to offer it as a philosophy was Gaudapada, whose verses - or Karika - on the Mandukya Upanishad laid the foundations of Advaita Vedanta, a widely influential system of ideas.
It can feel daunting to study alone. We often have books that we’d like to explore, but don’t find time to sit and read. And even if we do, they might spark questions we struggle to answer. It helps to discuss ideas with someone else who offers structure and support. Whatever your priorities — from reading a text to a broader inquiry on how modern practice relates to tradition — we’ll focus clearly on your goals, devising a plan that helps achieve them. Online and in person (location permitting).
A sample of earlier work. Use the search box below to browse for more.
Mindfulness adapts Buddhist meditation to everyday life. It seems effective at managing depression and anxiety, and is taught in schools to boost resilience and grades. Whilst it can help to share techniques to cope with stress, this limits the scope for transformation. A fixation on self gets reinforced, which serves a brutal market system. However, if mindfulness in schools were to cultivate "moral and civic virtues," as British MPs suggest it should, it could foster compassionate "pro-social" action.
It was an honour to be part of this discussion with two of the foremost scholars on yoga, James Mallinson and Mark Singleton, reflecting on the work behind their book Roots of Yoga, which was recently published. The conversation took place in the members' room at the New York Society Library, and was filmed. An audio recording is available for download.