Yoga philosophy

Statue of Patanjali

Yoga Philosophy

The old, sometimes ancient Indian writings (initially actually only oral teachings) contain a profound knowledge and wisdom that are also relevant for the 21st century. Deep down, we as human beings have not really changed during the last millenia. And deep down, we are all still confronting the same questions:

Who am I? What is the purpose of my being? Where do I come from, and where do I go from here? How can I be a source of happiness and joy for others and myself – and not the origin of pain and sorrow?

Each one of us has to find our individual answers to these questions. There is no general recipe. Still – contemplating the answers of the ancient seers may support us, give us strength, impulse and a direction.

 

Yoga philosophy circle

About once per month, we meet for 90 min to chant together and read – in the appropriate slowness – through the “classics” of yoga philosophy.

At the present time, we are engaged with the yoga sutras of Patanjali that describe the eight fold path to liberation (“ashtanga yoga” in the sense of spiritual development).

This treatise will certainly keep us occupied for some more time.

The Yoga philosophy circle is open for all interested people – and you can join in at any time, also just for a trial. It is held in German.

 

                      self study (svādhyāya)

Yoga philosophy circle (in German)

Chanting mantras and

studying the "Yoga Classics",

 currently: the Yoga Sutras, chapter II

Oct 17, 10.30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Nov 14, 10.30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Dec 12, 10.30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

 

Cost:
included in the monthly fee
one unit on the 10 class card (17 €)
drop-in 22 €

online

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Yoga Sutra of Patanjali

The yoga sutra was compiled around 200 C.E., and it contains some 200 very concise sutras (compressed verses to make memorization easier – with the opposite effect on understanding). Their focus is mainly the yoga of the mind, the calming of the consciousness.

The sutras describe – amongst many other things – an eightfold path, from which Ashtanga (Vinyasa) Yoga derives the first word in its name. One has to be careful: not every practitioner of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Ashtanga is on the way to enlightenment- and there are people, who are very advanced on this eightfold path, who have never even touched a yoga mat.

One example for a contemporary translation and commentary can be found on Ron Steiner‘s website.

At Ashtanga Yoga Plus, we will during 2021 and probably also in 2022 dive deeply into the Yoga Sutra, during the monthly Yoga Philosophy circles.

The following diagram is a summary of the essential aspects of the eightfold path, based on a book by Desikachar (The heart of yoga) and developed by my colleague Martina Vogt. If you have never been exposed to the subject, it hopefully picks your curiosity. It is a lot of fun to delve into, if philosophy is of interest to you.

 

 

An overview over the eightfold path (copyright Martina Vogt, published with kind permission)

Recommended Reading:

James Mallison, Mark Singleton (Hrsg.): Roots of Yoga. Penguin Classics, 2017.

Georg Feuerstein: The Yoga Tradition – Its History, Literature, Philosophy and Practice. Hohm Press,1998, 2001.

Peter Connolly: A Student’s Guide to the History and Philosophy of Yoga. Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2007, 2014.

Workshops on yoga philosophy

From time to time, I also offer weekend workshops on yoga philosophy.

Should you be interested in such a workshop, please let me know. I shall then inform you well ahead of time of the exact date. If there are a sufficient number of English speakers, I can also offer the workshop in English.

Gherandasamhita 1.5

„Just as from the repeated study of the alphabet,

One may come to understand the sacred texts,

So, too, by means of yoga,

One may attain knowledge of the real truth

(translation by Zoë Slatoff: Yogāvatāraṇam, p. 275)