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Course Descriptions

Advanced Sanskrit

The focus is on building vocabulary and translation skills of classical to medieval Sanskrit texts pertaining to yogic studies – including selections from the Yoga Upanishads. Advanced grammatical constructs are studied. Includes a group project with the original translation of yogic texts and comparison with previous published efforts. (3 units)

Basic Sanskrit

The devanagari alphabet, basic grammar and vocabulary building are covered. The metrical structures in prayers/mantras (used in temples and for chanting) are studied. Usage of the Sanskrit/English Dictionary is practiced. Select readings from good sayings (subhashitas) and classical works (like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Kalidasa’s works, Panchatantra); simple conversations in Sanskrit; daily prayers in Sanskrit; enactment of daily life situations using Sanskrit vocabulary by participants. Conveys an understanding of the major Sanskrit terms used in various yogas. (3 units)

Bhakti and Karma Yogas

The origin and history of devotion to the Divine as a yogic discipline is examined. This will include an exploration of the Bhakti Sutras. The main Masters of Bhakti such as Kabir, Nanak, Tukaram and Chaitanya are introduced. To complement the theoretical foundations, there will be practical sessions for japa, slokas and bhajans, as well as a simple yogic puja. The source of selfless action as a yogic discipline is investigated together with a practical program to train in performing karma yoga. This course brings together the two powerful means of devotion and service to the Divine. (3 units)

Education and Research in Yoga

The role of the yogacharya or spiritual teacher is examined. This will be followed by an exploration of the values and qualities that should be developed by a yoga student. We will evaluate ancient and modern methods of teaching yoga. We will analyze how the teachings of yoga will change the personality of students. Elements of successful yoga education in modern culture are outlined. Students will employ research and statistical methodologies to the scientific study of yoga. Effort is made to reframe yoga in scientific terms and to enable an understanding and teaching of yoga from a scientific platform. (3 units)

Hatha Yoga

The origins, definitions, objectives and practices of Hatha Yoga are analyzed through three main texts – Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gherand Samhita, and Shiva Samhita. The contribution of the Nath Yogis is studied. An elaboration of the relationships between Hatha, Raja and Patanjali’s Yogas is included. Detailed practice of the main yogasananas, bandhams, pranayamas and mudras are taught during the practical sessions. (3 units)

Introduction to Indian Philosophy

This is an overview of the fountainhead of human philosophies that explores and seeks to solve our existential and experiential problems. The six main darshans of traditional Indian philosophy are studied, together with that of Buddhism and Tantra as exemplified by Kashmiri Shaivism. The main texts of the various schools are examined and the main tenets are compared from the perspective of addressing current human problems. (3 units)

Introduction to Yoga

The origin, history and authenticity of the yoga experience through the ages, from Vedas to the Upanishads, and from 500 BC through the Middle Ages up to the present times. Various yogic movements such as the Upasana, Buddhist, Pashupati, Tantric, Bhakti, Vedanta, Hatha and Integral are described along with their representative literature and practices. The lives and teachings of the key Masters of Yoga such as Sanat Kumar, Vashista, Vishvamitra, Yagnavalkya, Lakulisha, Patanjali, Gorakhnath, Shankaracharya, Kabir, Lahiri Mahasaya are introduced. (3 units)

Introduction to Yoga Therapy

The application of yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation techniques to affect physical and mental health those who suffer from illnesses that are difficult to treat with conventional medication. An examination of the effectiveness of yoga techniques to treat stress, chronic digestive disorders, insomnia, nervous disorders, diabetes and asthma. Includes practice sessions. (3 units)

Kriya Kundalini Yoga I

An introduction into the theory and practice of the integral yoga revealed through the ages by Mahavatar Babaji, the immortal essence of yoga. The works of Lahiri Mahasaya, Shri Yukteswar and Paramhansa Yogananda are studied. The relevance of this type of yoga in modern times and as a means of Self-Realization and Self-Actualization among householders is revealed. The tradition of initiation into the practices of Kriya Yoga is followed during the practice sessions. There will be personal guidance in a core sadhana (spiritual practice) to provide each participant with an experiential foundation to support the theoretical knowledge. (3 units)

Kriya Kundalini Yoga II

The chakras or subtle energy system are studied in detail together with an examination of the methods of opening the chakras. The source texts of chakra and kundalini yogas are referenced. The origins, history and methods of mantra yoga are introduced. A scientific model for the operation of mantras is studied. Traditional initiations into the mantras and chakra kriyas are given in order to enable the students to realize their highest energetic and spiritual potentials. (3 units)

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

A detailed study of the sutras with emphasis on the super-conscious states of awareness called Samadhi and their various stages of revelation during the eightfold process described by the sage. An examination of the major commentaries is undertaken to elucidate the deeper aspects of the sutras. The unique themes proposed by Patanjali are explained in the context of the Samkhya and Buddhist philosophies. (3 units)

Philosophy of Yoga

Yoga as a practical system of attaining specific spiritual goals preceded the development of its metaphysical bases. Over the course of time, various philosophical schools have influenced the development of yogic discipline. A survey of Vedic and Upanishadic influences is followed by studies of Samkhya, Patanjali, Vedanta, and Saiva Siddhantam. A comparative and critical examination is pursued - how each contributed to different aspects of yoga as well as the development of new forms of yoga. (3 units)

Raja Yoga

This course discusses the origin and development of Raja Yoga, the theory and practice of meditation, Raja Yoga as the culmination of Hatha Yoga, types of concentration and meditation techniques, and types of Samadhi. The key texts of Raja Yoga are analyzed. Practical sessions complement the theory classes. (3 units)

Sanskrit Study II

A guided reading of Bhartrihari’s Satakatrayam and self-study to keep up the Sanskrit flames kindled in the beginner’s class. (2 units)

The Upanishads and Yoga

Upanishads as representative of Vedic spiritual science; the concepts of Atman - individual being and Brahman - Universal Being; the universe as Lila - divine play; law of karma and reincarnation; ideal of moksha or liberation from samsara. A study of the ten major Upanishads and their relationship to the philosophy and practice of yoga is undertaken. (3 units)

Yoga and Bhagavadgita

The Gita is considered to be the epitome of the Sanatana Dharma – the perennial spiritual philosophical teachings for all of humanity. The texts of various translators and commentators such as Shankara, Ramanuja, Jnaneshwar, Vivekenanda, Aurobindo, Gandhi, S. RadhaKrishnan and others are referenced to show the spiritual, social, ethical and humanistic message of the Gita. The main concepts of karma, incarnation, dharma, selfless action, yajna, loving devotion to the Divine and the various yogas are examined in the context of the Mahabharata and subsequent elaborations. There will be daily readings of the Gita in Sanskrit. (3 units)

Yoga East & West

Yoga is non-religious and universal. The teachings of Jesus Christ and the Lord Buddha are examined from primary texts to understand them in light of the yogic experience. Both Jesus and Buddha can be considered to be the highest representative of Yoga in the West and East respectively. A universal model for yoga that can be followed by all humanity irrespective of their religion or beliefs is proposed. (3 units)