Patañjali’s Yogasūtra: A Guided Tour
October 31, November 1, 7 & 8
Please join Yogeshwar (Will Humphrey) of Yogeshwar Yoga as he guides you through an Introduction to the Yogasūtra. This will be offered over a series of 4 workshops. Each workshop is 3 hours long, and introduce some of the major themes of the Yogasūtra.
$199 plus applicable taxes
These sessions are eligible for 3 continuing education (CE) hours (12 hours for all four) for those teachers who are registered with Yoga Alliance, under the Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics (YPLE) category.
Also each session is eligible for 3 hours SSCY YTT 300* elective credits.
*Note: SSCY YTT 300 program dates to be announced in 2021.
Schedule & Session Summaries
Session One | The Call to Yoga
October 31 | 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM PT
The content of the Yogasutra may blossom into rarefied meditation, power, and insight, but its roots are in the mud of human vulnerability, dissatisfaction, and suffering. In this session, we’ll explore what the text says about why and how we come to yoga in the most authentic sense: not as perfectly happy and happily perfect, but with a deep longing that our usual conditioning and strategies don’t seem to fulfill. We’ll look at the Yogasutra’s discussions of duhkha, or suffering, and klesha, or affliction, and see how the text diagnoses these problems and provides medicines for their cure.
Session Two | Mapping Reality
November 1 | 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM PT
In this session, we’ll explore the Yogasutra’s map of who—or what—we really are, and the parts and principles of our lived experience that work together to create our whole sense of reality. Ultimately, this map helps us to understand the nature of the suffering we discussed in the first session, as well as the nature of the relief that the Yogasutra offers for it. In large part, the Yogasutra uses Samkhya, one of the oldest schools of Indian philosophy. Understanding the basic tenets of Samkhya is thus crucial for making sense of the Yogasutra on anything more than a superficial level. We’ll make our way through this philosophy in a down-to-earth and straightforward manner, guided by the axiom that Samkhya is not describing the mysteries of some unattainable, far-off realm, but the very flesh and bones, so to speak, of conscious experience.
Session Three | Stilling the Mind
November 7 | 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM PT
In this session, we’ll turn to the central practical endeavour of the Yogasutra: stilling the movements of the mind so as to reveal our deepest nature as pure conscious awareness. While the so-called eight-limbed (ashtanga) yoga will receive some attention and discussion, participants will also learn that this does not exhaust the practices presented in the Yogasutra. We’ll explore a variety of other techniques, aids, and supports to the overall aim of quietening the mind that appear in the text, and relate them back to the larger picture of yoga philosophy.
Session Four | Beyond the Mind
November 8 | 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM PT
So, what happens when the mind finally quiets down? As in, really quiets down? In this session we’ll explore the Yogasutra’s descriptions of samadhi and samapatti—very subtle meditative states that upend our everyday sense of duality—and how they in turn reveal the wisdom that leads to liberation. Even if such states seem out of reach in one’s own practice, reflecting on them can still help to clarify the overall theory and practice of Patanjali’s Yogasutra. Plus, it can be an interesting way to recognize the mechanics and the boundaries of the conceptual mind.
Meet Your Instructor
Yogeshwar William Humphrey
Yogeshwar has been practicing yoga since 2006, and he did his first teacher training in 2008 at Mount Madonna Center, near Santa Cruz, California. He also spent several years in residence there, where he deepened his study and practice of yoga and completed an additional 300 hours of yoga teacher training in 2011. He also became a staff instructor of āsana, prāṇāyāma, meditation, and yoga philosophy for resident staff, retreat guests, and Mount Madonna Center’s own YTT. In addition, he served as a pūjārī at the Center’s Hanumān Temple, which also sparked an interest in the Sanskrit language and Vedic and Tantric forms of ritual. Following his time at Mount Madonna, Yogeshwar completed an M.A. in Religious Studies at the University of Calgary. His studies focused on Eastern Religion and Philosophy, as well as Sanskrit, and in 2016 he wrote and defended a thesis comparing the Yogasūtra’s accounts of samāpatti, or meditative absorption, with currents in 20th century continental philosophy. During his studies, he also continued to teach āsana and meditation at various studios and venues in Calgary. Yogeshwar is deeply involved in life at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga, where he teaches at asana classes, hosts a weekly Yogasūtra class, and helps plan and orchestrate ongoing ritual observances (pūjā and yajña).