Over the past 2,500 years, yoga has evolved from a way of transcending the world to a multi-billion-dollar industry. But where did it come from and what was it for? A Brief History of Yoga is a four-week course that puts practice in context, presenting an overview of how it developed. Accessible and fun, combined with academic depth, it explores common themes in traditional teachings, considering what makes them yogic, and whether they are relevant to modern practitioners.
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 published this year. The conversation took place in the members' room at the New York Society Library, and was filmed. An audio recording is available for download.
I'm teaching online courses on yoga philosophy for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. The next one starts on 22 April, and runs for two months. It includes a weekly video lecture and readings from yoga texts, plus an optional essay (due for submission a few weeks after the course). There's also a forum for online discussions and Q&A, in which I draw on recent studies with researchers at the SOAS Hatha Yoga Project. The cost, including all materials, is £95.