Course curriculum

  • 1

    Getting Started

    • Welcome

    • Course Materials

    • Required Books and Audios

    • Review and Respond

    • Practical Guidelines for Studying

    • Course Objectives

    • Organization of the Materials in this Course

  • 2

    Overview

    • Intro to the Overview

    • Basic Components of The Yoga Tradition

    • Overall Organization of The Yoga Tradition

    • Invocation Before Teaching

    • Yoga Scholar vs Yoga Practitioner by Georg Feuerstein

    • In Praise of Study (Svâdhyâya)

    • For Reflection

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 3

    Introduction: The Impulse toward Transcendence

    • Intro to the Introduction

    • Reaching Beyond the Ego Personality

    • The Yoga of Science by Georg Feuerstein

    • Technologies of East and West (YT, pp. xviii-xix)

    • Reality and Models of Reality (YT, pp. xviii-xix)

    • Yoga Symbolism

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The War of the Gods and Antigods

    • Yoga and the Modern West

    • East and West by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

    • For Reflection

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 4

    Lesson 1: The Building Blocks

    • Intro to the Building Blocks

    • Building Blocks

    • The Essence of Yoga

    • Dakshinamûrti-Stotra

    • Tejo-Bindu-Upanishad

    • Is Yoga a Religion?

    • For Reflection

    • What’s in a Name?—The Term Yoga

    • Traditional Definitions of Yoga

    • For Reflection

    • Degrees of Self-Transcendence: The Practitioner (Yogin or Yoginî)

    • For Reflection

    • Guiding Light: The Teacher

    • The Washerman and the Lion (story)

    • Select Readings on the Guru Disciple Relationship

    • The Guru: Dispeller of Darkness

    • The Guru Function: Broadcasting Reality (Excerpt)

    • True Gurus, False Gurus, Crazy Gurus (Excerpt_

    • Eight [Verses] on the Teacher (Guru-Ashtaka)

    • For Reflection

    • Learning Beyond the Self: The Disciple

    • Further Reading

    • On Discipleship

    • Giving Birth to a New Identity: Initiation

    • Crazy Wisdom and Crazy Adepts

    • Further Reading

    • Siddha-Siddhânta-Paddhati (Selection)

    • For Reflection

    • Unshakeable Faith (story)

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 5

    Lesson 2: The Wheel of Yoga

    • Intro to Lesson 2

    • The Wheel of Yoga

    • Râja-Yoga: The Resplendent Yoga of Spiritual Kings

    • Hatha-Yoga: Cultivating an Adamantine Body

    • Jnâna-Yoga: Seeing with the Eye of Wisdom

    • The Tripura-Rahasya

    • Jnâna-Yoga: The Path of Wisdom

    • Yoga of Discernment

    • Amrita-Bindu-Upanishad

    • For Reflection

    • Bhakti-Yoga: The Self-Transcending Power of Love

    • The Depth of Bhakti

    • Bhakti-Sûtra of Nârada

    • Bhakti-Yoga

    • Worship Govinda (Bhaja-Govinda)

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Karma-Yoga: Freedom in Action

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Mantra-Yoga: Sound as a Vehicle of Transcendence

    • A World of Sound

    • Mantra-Yoga: Sounding Out the Depth Within

    • The Gâyatrî-Mantra

    • The Sacred Syllable Om

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • Laya-Yoga: Dissolving the Universe

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Integral Yoga: A Modern Synthesis

    • Aurobindo’s Life and Yoga

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 6

    Lesson 3: Yoga and Other Hindu Traditions

    • Intro to Lesson 3

    • A Bird’s-Eye View of the Cultural History of India

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Glow of Psychic Power: Yoga and Asceticism

    • Tapas: Creative Fire

    • Asceticism and Gautama the Buddha

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Delight in Nothing: Yoga and the Way of Renunciation

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Yoga and Hindu Philosophy

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Pûrva-Mîmâmsâ

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Uttara-Mîmâmsâ (Vedânta = Jnâna-Yoga)

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Reflections on the One

    • The Life of Shankara

    • Sâmkhya

    • Satkârya-Vâda

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Yoga

    • Vaisheshika

    • Nyâya

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Yoga, Âyur-Veda, and Siddha Medicine

    • Indian Naturopathic Medicine

    • Alchemy

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • Yoga and Hindu Religion

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • Questionnaire: option to submit

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 7

    Lesson 4: Yoga in Ancient Times

    • Intro to Lesson 4

    • Pre-Classical Yoga

    • History for Self-Understanding

    • Jean Gebser’s Contribution toward a New Epistemology

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • From Shamanism to Yoga

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • Yoga and the Enigmatic Indus-Sarasvati Civilization

    • The Indus-Sarasvati Civilization Revisited

    • Further Reading

    • The Language Behind the Indus Glyphs

    • For Reflection

    • Sacrifice and Meditation: The Ritual Yoga of the Rig-Veda

    • Of Seers and Ecstatics

    • The Four Vedas by Georg Feuerstein

    • Further Reading

    • Rig-Veda (Selection)

    • Spells of Transcendence: The Magical Yoga of the Atharva-Veda

    • Further Reading

    • Atharva-Veda (Selection)

    • The Mysterious Vrâtya Brotherhoods

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 8

    Lesson 5: The Whispered Wisdom of the Early Upanishads

    • Intro to Lesson 5

    • The Whispered Wisdom of the Early Upanishads

    • For Reflection

    • The Brâhmanas

    • Sacrifice (Yajna)

    • The Âranyakas

    • For Reflection

    • Dawn of the Upanishadic Age

    • The Extent of the Upanishadic Literature

    • For Reflection

    • The Brihad-Âranyaka-Upanishad

    • For Reflection

    • The Chândogya-Upanishad

    • For Reflection

    • The Taittirîya-Upanishad

    • For Reflection

    • Other Ancient Upanishads

    • For Reflection

    • The Early Yoga Upanishads

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • The Universal Wisdom of the Upanishads

    • The One and the Many

    • Further Reading

    • Early Upanishadic Meditation: Upâsanâ

    • For Reflection

    • For Reflection Assignent: option to complete requirements

  • 9

    Lesson 6: Jaina Yoga The Teachings of the Victorious Ford-Makers

    • Intro to Lesson 6

    • Historical Overview

    • Further Reading

    • Vardhamâna Mahâvîra

    • The Twenty-Four Tîrthankaras

    • Short Biographies of Rishabha, Nemi, and Pârshva

    • The Sacred Literature of Jainism

    • Further Reading

    • Hemacandra: Philosopher, Statesman, and Yogin

    • For Reflection

    • The Path of Purification

    • For Reflection

    • The Seven Categories of Existence

    • For Reflection

    • The Jaina Ladder to Liberation

    • For Reflection

    • Jaina Yoga

    • For Reflection

    • Further Glimpses Into Jaina Yoga

    • Haribhadra Sûri

    • Yoga-Drishti-Samuccaya (Selection)

    • Nonharming According to Jaina Yoga

    • The Fivefold Salutation Prayer

    • The Jaina Universe

    • Anekântavâda: The Jaina Theory of Nonabsolutism

    • The Path of the Lay Follower in Jainism

    • For Reflection

    • Questionnaire (option to submit)

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to compete requirements

  • 10

    Lesson 7: Yoga in Buddhism

    • Intro to Lesson 7

    • The Birth and Evolution of Buddhism

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Spreading of the Buddha’s Teaching

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Great Teaching of the Small Vehicle: Hînayâna Buddhism

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Four Noble Truths

    • Further Readings

    • For Reflections

    • The Doctrine of Dependent Origination

    • Further Reading

    • The Yogic Path of Hînayâna Buddhism

    • Studying the Buddha’s Pali Sermons

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Wisdom and Compassion: The Great Idealism of Mahâyâna Buddhism

    • Further Reading

    • The Doctrine of Emptiness

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Prajnâ-Pâramitâ -Hridaya-Sûtra

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Doctrine of the Three Bodies of the Buddha

    • For Reflection

    • The Mâdhyamika School

    • Further Reading

    • Mahâyâna-Vimshaka of Nâgârjuna

    • Stray Thoughts on Mâdhyamika Philosophy

    • The Life of Nâgârjuna

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Vijnânavâda and Yogâcâra Schools

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Mantrayâna

    • For Reflection

    • Sahajayâna

    • Song of Master Bhusuku

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Kâlacakrayâna

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Kâlacakra-Mandala

    • Further Reading

    • The Ch’an or Zen School of China and Japan

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Jewel in the Lotus: Vajrayâna (Tantric) Buddhism

    • Further Reading

    • Tantric Buddhism

    • Further Reading

    • The Tradition of Tibet

    • Branches of Tibetan Vajrayâna Buddhism

    • The Nature of Buddhist Tantra

    • Aspects of Vajrayâna Buddhism

    • For Reflection

    • Sacred Gestures (Mudrâ)

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Mandala

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Maithunâ

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Great Adepts of Tantric Buddhism

    • Further Reading

    • The Six Yogas of Nâropa

    • Further Reading

    • Vajrayâna Buddhist Yoga

    • For Reflection

    • Karma

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 11

    Lesson 8: The Flowering of Yoga

    • Intro to Lesson 8

    • Premable

    • Overview

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Heroism, Purity, and Asceticism: The Râmâyana of Vâlmîki

    • Further Reading

    • Understanding the Râmâyana

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Immortality on the Battlefield: The Mahâbhârata Epic

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Befriending the Mahâbhârata

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Bhagavad-Gîtâ: Jewel of the Mahâbhârata

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Mystical Activism of the Gîtâ

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Bhagavad-Gîtâ (Selection)

    • Ethics, Sacrifice, and Action

    • For Reflection

    • The Yogic Teachings of the Anu-Gîtâ

    • Further Reading

    • The Liberating Gospel of the Mahâbhârata Epic: The Moksha-Dharma

    • Moksha-Dharma (Selection)

    • The Sixfold Yoga of the Maitrâyanîya-Upanishad

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Intangible Yoga of the Mândûkya-Upanishad

    • Further Reading

    • Morality and Spirituality: Pre-Classical Yoga in the Ethical-Legal Literature

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Yogic Teachings in the Legal Literature

    • For Reflection

    • General Character of India’s Ethical-Legal Literature

    • Ayodhyâ

    • For Reflection

    • Questionnaire (option to submit)

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 12

    Lesson 9

    • Intro to Lesson 9

    • The History and Literature of Pâtanjala-Yoga

    • Further Reading

    • Patanjali—Philosopher and Yogin

    • Hiranyagarbha

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Codification of Wisdom—The Yoga-Sûtra

    • The Yoga-Sûtra of Patanjali

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Obstacles on the Path According to Patanjali

    • For Reflection

    • The Elaboration of Wisdom—The Commentarial Literature

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 13

    Lesson 10: The Philosophy and Practice of Pâtanjala-Yoga

    • Intro to Lesson 10

    • The Philosophy and Practice of Pâtanjala-Yoga

    • Further Reading

    • The Chain of Being: Self and World From Patanjali’s Perspective

    • For Reflection

    • The Kriyâ-Yoga of Patanjali

    • For Reflection

    • Who or What is the Self in Self-Realization?

    • For Reflection

    • The Eight Limbs of the Path of Self-Transcendence

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Spiritual Discipline

    • For Reflection

    • Ethics

    • Further Reading

    • Yoga Begins and Ends with Virtuous Action

    • Is Nonharming an Old-Fashioned Value?

    • For Reflection

    • Self-Restraint

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Posture

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Breath Control

    • Further Reading

    • Breath and Soul

    • For Reflection

    • Sense Withdrawal

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Concentration

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Meditation

    • What Is Meditation?

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Ecstasy

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Liberation

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Liberation by Georg Feuerstein

    • Questionnaire (option to submit)

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 14

    Lesson 11: The Nondualist Approach to God Among the Shiva Worshipers

    • Intro to Lesson 11

    • Overview

    • Further Reading

    • Shiva: The Ultimate Good

    • For Reflection

    • The Left-Hand Followers of Shiva: ”Skull-Bearers,” “Phallus-Wearers,” and Other Ascetics

    • The Pâshupata Tradition

    • For Reflection

    • The Kâpâlikas

    • The Kâlâmukha Order

    • The Aghorî Order

    • The Lingâyata Sect

    • Further Reading

    • The Power of Love: The Shiva Worshipers of the North

    • Northern Shaivism

    • The Pratyâbhijna School

    • Lallâ—Love Poetess Extraordinaire

    • Further Reading

    • Shiva-Sûtra of Vasugupta

    • Vasugupta’s Shaiva Yoga

    • Further Reading

    • For the Love of God: The Shiva Worshipers of the South

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Life of Abhinava Gupta

    • Reflections on the History of South India

    • Further Reading

    • The Âgamas, Yoga, and Tantra: Âgamas and the Vedic Tradition

    • Further Reading

    • Tamil Shiva-Bhakti

    • Further Reading

    • Sex, Ascetism and Mythology

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection: option to complete requirement

  • 15

    Lesson 12: The Vedântic Approach to God Among the Vishnu Worshipers

    • Intro to Lesson 12

    • God Is Love

    • Further Reading

    • The Âlvârs

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • The Bhâgavata-Purâna

    • Further Reading

    • Uddhava-Gîtâ (Selection)

    • The Alchemy of Hatred

    • The Devî-Bhâgavata

    • The Goddess

    • The Divine Mother: A Philosophical and Personal Quest

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • The Gîtâ-Govinda

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflections

    • The Bhakti-Yoga of the Vaishnava Preceptors

    • The Life of Râmânuja

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Tears of Love

    • Surrender in Vaishnava Devotionalism

    • Jnânadeva and Other Saints of Maharashtra

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • The Minstrel-Saints of Medieval Bengal

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • Popular Love Mysticism of the North

    • Further Reading

    • The Vaishnava Schools

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Questionnaire (to submit)

    • For Reflection: option to complete requirement

  • 16

    Lesson 13: Yoga and Yogins in the Purânas (YT, pp. 295–301)

    • Intro to Lesson 13

    • The Naked Ascetic

    • Yogic Teachings in the Purânic Encyclopedias

    • For Reflection

    • The Mârkandeya-Purâna

    • The Yoga of the Linga-Purâna

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection Assignment: option to complete requirement

  • 17

    Lesson 14: The Yogic Idealism of the Yoga-Vâsishtha (YT, pp. 303–310)

    • Intro to Lesson 14

    • Overview

    • Mind Only: The Idealistic Approach

    • The Yogic Path

    • Yoga-Vâsishtha

    • Reflections on the Teachings of the Yoga-Vâsishtha

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • For Reflection Assignments: option to complete requirements

  • 18

    Lesson 15: God, Visions, and Power: The Yoga-Upanishads (YT, pp. 311–331)

    • Intro to Lesson 15

    • Overview

    • Sounding Out the Absolute

    • Light

    • Sound, Breath, and Transcendence

    • Photistic Yoga

    • Cutting Through the Knots of Ordinary Awareness

    • Bodily Transmutation: The Upanishads of Hatha-Yoga

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • For Reflections Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 19

    Lesson 16: Yoga in Sikhism

    • Intro to Lesson 16

    • Main Points

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Questionnaire (option to submit)

    • For Reflections Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 20

    Lesson 17: The Esotericism of Medieval Tantra-Yoga

    • Intro to Lesson 17

    • Bodily Pleasure and Spiritual Bliss: The Advent of Tantra

    • The New Approach of Tantra

    • For Reflection

    • Goddess Worship

    • Further Reading

    • Mahâlakshmî-Stotra

    • For Reflection

    • The Little Mothers: Mâtrikâs

    • For Reflection

    • The Tantric Antiritualist School

    • Further Reading

    • Sarahapâda

    • For Reflection

    • Further Reading

    • The Tantric Literature

    • A Comparison Between Hindu and Buddhist Tantras

    • Further Reading

    • The Hidden Reality

    • For Reflection

    • Tantric Ritual Practice

    • The Erotic Universe

    • Tantra and Neo-Tantrism

    • The Magic of Powers

    • Further Reading

    • Kula-Arnava-Tantra

    • Further Reading

    • For Reflection

    • Questionnaire (option to submit)

    • For Reflections Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 21

    Lesson 18: Yoga As Spiritual Alchemy: The Philosophy and Practice of Hatha-Yoga

    • Intro to Lesson 18

    • The Enlightenment of the Body: The Origins of Hatha-Yoga

    • Styles of Contemporary Hatha-Yoga (trigger warning)

    • Walking the Razor’s Edge: The Hatha-Yogic Path

    • For Reflection

    • Âsanas for the Body and the Mind

    • The Literature of Hatha-Yoga

    • Goraksha-Paddhati

    • Further Reading

    • Questionnaire (option to submit)

    • For Reflections Assignment: option to complete requirements

  • 22

    Lesson 19: Modern Yoga

    • Intro to Lesson 19

    • Nineteenth-Century Yoga (New chapter; not found in YT)

    • Further Reading

    • Swami Vivekananda’s Speech at the World’s Parliament of Religions

    • Twentieth-Century Yoga (new chapter; not found in YT)

    • Final Practical Assignment

  • 23

    Completion of the Course

    • Completion Options

    • Certificate of Completion

    • Moving Forward