Yoga is about our relationship with everything. It has evolved over thousands of years, from seated meditation to sequenced postures. Traditionally, practices involve concentration and connection, stilling the mind while developing strength and flexibility.
The ultimate goal is transcendent. Originally, this meant freedom from rebirth. Practitioners today have other priorities. Although ancient texts are still inspiring, some of their teachings might need reinterpreting.
Combining scholarly knowledge with practical insight, Daniel makes modern sense of timeless wisdom. His experience includes an MA in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation (from SOAS in London), and over fifteen years of study with senior teachers round the world.
He teaches online for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, on teacher trainings and in workshops. He also works with private students.
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.
Two of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga highlight ethics. Although the Yoga Sutra’s teachings on yama and niyama have social aspects, their ultimate goal is renouncing the world. Unless we retreat like Iron Age ascetics, might they need rethinking? Are other rules more relevant to modern challenges, from social instability to environmental meltdown? Can yogic ethics be adapted to serve new priorities? Come and share ideas and discuss alternatives! Booking now for Sunday, 18 August (14:30 - 17:00), at Triyoga Camden.
Daniel’s next online course for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies begins on 13 October. There are seven weekly lessons on yoga philosophy, with supplementary reading, a forum for discussion and an optional essay at the end of the course. Including all materials, it costs £110 (or $140). Enrol via the OCHS website, which has more details.
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).
This approach to yoga is dynamic and accessible. It is suitable for beginners as well as those with some experience. You don't have to be bendy, or exceptionally fit. Many sports stars use yoga to help them recover and stay injury-free: the practice helps to focus the mind while building strength and flexibility. Classes are on Sunday mornings (11.00-12.00) at Upper Rissington Village Hall. The cost for four sessions is £25. If you have any questions, please contact the teacher, Daniel Simpson.