Yoga Origins, Lineages And Cultural Appropriation

Mondays and Wednesdays August 16, 18, 23 and 25, 2:00-3:30pm EDT/11:00am-12:30pm PDT. Recordings will be available for 30 days after the end of training for those participants who were unable to join live.

The images collected here are philosophical artifacts that have been appropriated from their origins, and this symbolizes the appropriation of Yoga: it takes away from the source culture but then prevents participants in these source cultures from enjoying what was taken. In our 𝙇𝙄𝙑𝙀training we shall explore these issues and how participants can learn from Yoga without appropriating from authentic, credible and accomplished South Asian teachers. The structure of this live training is discursive, with time allotted for 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙌 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝘼. This course provides you an opportunity during the live trainings to directly interact with your Course Directors, Anusha Wijeyakumar and Dr. Shyam Ranganathan.

Syllabus for Four LIVE Sessions with interactive Q and A

Recordings will be available for 30 days after the end of training for those participants who were unable to join live.

  • 1. How We Learn About Yoga (August 16, 2:00-3:30pm EDT/11:00am-12:30pm PDT)

    In this session, we will learn about the origins of Yoga as a South Asian criticism of earlier Indo European ideas of the natural world. We will also gain familiarity with the logical skills necessary for studying this history, and the contrary anti-logical skills (interpretation) that undermine this task. The contrast between the two is already set out in the Yoga Sutra, I.2-4. Various sources will be explored, including the Upaniṣads, Bhagavad Gītā, the Yoga Sūtra, as well as Buddhist and Jain Sources. Questions that will be addressed: Why is something Yoga? Why are Buddhism and Jainism different schools from Yoga? How could we identify Yoga in other cultural traditions.

  • 2. Colonization and the Rebranding of Yoga (August 18, 2:00-3:30pm EDT/11:00am-12:30pm PDT)

    In this session, we learn about the mechanisms of colonialism (interpretation) the origins of this approach in the Linguistic Account of thought from the West and it’s creation of religious identities as part of its colonial marginalization. Yoga is gradually re-understood in this process of colonialism from a basic option of philosophy (one of four basic ethical/dharma theories) to techniques of wellness and spirituality. Knowledge that is based on research and logic is replaced by opinion. Learn how the history of Western imperialism leads to the blog and YouTube theory of knowledge. We contrast this with guidance from the the Yoga tradition, to work on yourself and your own dharma as opposed to appropriating the dharma of another.

  • 3. Lineages and the Colonial Experience (August 23, 2:00-3:30pm EDT/11:00am-12:30pm PDT)

    In the third session we explore the contrast between the early Yoga tradition and the later tradition that reveals one stark difference: an emphasis on lineages, which correlates with Western encroachment on South Asia. Participants will learn how the idea of a lineage and its importance has roots Western philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, but no grounding in the ancient philosophies of meditation. We will review later applied Yoga works, such as the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā and note ways in which it, and similar texts, continue precolonial yoga, but represent a departure from precolonial yoga.

  • 4. Cultural Appropriation (August 25, 2:00-3:30pm EDT/11:00am-12:30pm PDT)

    With the colonial methodology of interpretation, Yoga can be interpreted for any number of non-yogic ends, for the explanation by way of interpretation relies on the beliefs of the interpreter (and their cultural agenda), and not the logic based method for inquiry and research. Several changes in the history of how yoga is talked about, including its reduction to āsana, can be explained by this interpretive approach. Participants will learn how to identify and resist agendas of appropriation, found in Yoga Studies publications and the wider yoga community.

Download the Syllabus

For those interested please feel free to download the syllabus for further consideration.

Pricing options

𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙪𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙋𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜: $179, for students who need financial support. 𝙎𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙧 𝙋𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜: $249, for students who can afford to pay for their own enrollment. 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙋𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜: $295, for attendees who would like to contribute to another student's enrollment.

Anusha Wijeyakumar, MA, CPC, E-RYT, Dip Mentoring (she/her/hers)

Your Co-Instructor

Anusha Wijeyakumar, a sought after motivational speaker around the world on the science of mindfulness and meditation is the Wellness Consultant for Hoag Hospital in Orange County, CA, lecturer at San Diego State University for their Religions of India program, Contributing Editor with Yoga Journal, Faculty member with Off The Mat and Yoga Teacher and Podcast host with Yoga International. And yes, she is also an experienced Yoga teacher. She is one of the first people to create a meditation program to be used in clinical research at Hoag Hospital. She is co-founded the movement Womxn of Color + Wellness @wocandwellness which is focused on decolonizing wellness and making yoga and wellness more equitable, accessible, and inclusive. Anusha’s first book Meditation with Intention: Quick & Easy Ways to Create Lasting Peace was released in January 2021 by Llewellyn Worldwide. Please check out Anusha's book and follower her on Instagram @shantiwithin.

Shyam Ranganathan, MA, MA, PhD, E-RYT, DE&I Advisor (he/him/his)

Your co-instructor

Dr. Shyam Ranganathan is a member of the Department of Philosophy at York University in Toronto, and the York Center for Asian Research. Dr. Ranganathan is also a DE&I consultant for small and large scale organizations. Shyam is unique in the Yoga world as he is both a trained philosopher and scholar of yoga and South Asia. He is a field changing researcher, who has spent the last two decades identifying and treating problems of cultural appropriation in the academy. He is translator and commentator of Patañjali's Yoga Sūtra (Penguin 2008), editor of two scholarly volumes, author of two monographs, and over 50 peer-reviewed, yoga related articles. Shyam is an experienced teacher of students of various degrees of exposure to philosophy and yoga, with over 20000 hours of teaching experience, and over 4000 students to date. Shyam holds an MA in South Asian Studies, an MA and PhD in philosophy, and is a CYA-E-RYTGOLD yoga teacher (over 1000 hours training). He is also founder of YogaPhilosophy.Com, the first yoga philosophy education school run by a professional philosopher and scholar of yoga---and has formed the first certification program for Yoga Philosophy that meets the standards of professional philosophy instruction. Follow Shyam on IG @yogaphilosophy_com.

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  • If I do not understand something, may I ask questions during the class?

    A majority of time will be dedicated to student questions that will be answered by Anusha Wijeyakumar and Dr. Shyam Ranganathan. All participants will have an opportunity to explore this topic and receive guidance from Anusha and Dr. Shyam.

  • Do I have to know anything about Yoga or Cultural Appropriation to Attend?

    This presentation assumes no background knowledge. All topics will be explained in detail by Anusha Wijeyakumar and Dr. Shyam Ranganathan.

  • Will I be able to participate if I cannot make the specified times.

    The specified times are when the class will meet with Anusha Wijeyakumar and Dr. Shyam Ranganathan to explore the workshop topic. However, all participants will have access to the recording of the class for 30 days. You may listen to the recoding at your convenience.

Space is Limited to Facilitate interactive Q and A

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