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Courses

Darshan: Yoga & the Art of Seeing

  • Yoga Philosophy
  • By Tias Little
  • On Demand

About the Course

In yoga seeing is equated with knowing. Yet this seeing is not merely to see with the eyes but involves another kind of seeing. In this course, we explore the art of seeing. We consider the third verse of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras that suggests that the very essence of yoga is seeing. In the practice of yoga postures, we focus the gaze called drsti in order to concentrate awareness.  In rituals of devotion throughout India, yoga requires being “seen” by the deity. To be seen by a force greater than ourselves is critical to yogic revelation.  This involves not only being seen but seeing the power of the divine. In this class, we explore darshan as instrumental to the path of yoga and how yogic seeing leads to a state of profound union.

For centuries humankind has rendered images (cave painting, stone monoliths, sacred geometry) to connect to a great mystery beyond ourselves. How does image connect us to the divine? In yoga, knowledge comes through witnessing or seeing (vidya). How can we learn to see and in what ways, if any, does god become visible? In this module, we will explore how awareness itself is like a mirror, a lens, or an eye with a capacity to see.
In the iconography of India and Tibet, psychological states such as anger, fear, bliss, or enlightenment get personified as demonic or divine figures. In this module, we investigate how archetypal energies incarnate in the forms (murti) of peaceful and wrathful entities and that seeing the image is necessary for transformation.
In this module, we investigate the powerful influence that the eyes assert over the brain and body. Tias shows slides of the eye-brain connection along with the cranial bones, brainstem, and pituitary gland. Practice includes meditation using the third eye (the Ajna chakra) and how it is an opening to the subtle body.
In order to heal the subtle body, we must not only see but allow ourselves to be seen. While imperative for healing, being seen can evoke real fear and terror. In this module, we look at the emotional and psychological challenges around seeing and being seen, especially in light of the proliferation of the screen in today’s society.

Students who take this course will:

  • Explore how image is critical for spiritual  revelation
  • Practice drsti:  the eyes as a means to harness meditative awareness
  • Gain insight into Tantra as a way of seeing the divine
  • Read verses from the Upanisad and Yoga Sutra that describe yoga as seeing
  • Learn the difference between vidya and avidya, seeing and not-seeing
  • Explore yantras from the yoga traditions that enhance the power of seeing
  • Learn about Avalokitesvara, the deity with 1,000 eyes
  • Learn the subtle body connections to the third eye, the brainstem and the spine
  • Explore icons of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions that enhance the power of seeing

About Tias Little

Tias Little synthesizes more than 30 years of study in classical yoga, Sanskrit, Buddhism, anatomy, and trauma healing in his dynamic, original style of teaching. Tias was an English major at Amherst College and earned a Master’s degree in Eastern Philosophy from St. John’s College in Santa Fe in 1998. Tias co-directs Prajna Yoga, an internationally-acclaimed yoga school located in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife Surya. He is the author of three books: Meditations on a Dewdrop, Yoga of the Subtle Body, and Practice is the Path: Lessons and Reflections on the Transformative Power of Yoga.

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Unlimited Membership

  • Access to this course, plus…
  • Member Only Content
    Unlimited access to premium articles, special podcast series, and other member only content.
  • EPTV Streaming Video Service
    Access to EPTV Original Series and our video library of over 250+ hours of lectures, talks and workshops.
  • Wisdom School Courses
    Access to 60+ on-demand courses plus two new courses every month.