In this tour de force course trilogy on the history of yoga, no Sanskrit page, meditation cushion, or yoga block is left unturned. Embracing a wide variety of evidence, from pre-Common Era texts to contemporary books and academic scholarship, from archeology to mythology, from teacher-student lineages and oral histories to genetics, we invite you to journey with us into the colorful universe of ancient, premodern, and modern yoga.
We will investigate many angles and questions about yoga history: When and where did yoga originate? Was the Buddha a yogi? Is our received information romanticized alternative fact? When did yoga reach the US? What are the oldest poses and which ones were made up yesterday? How should we navigate conflicting histories? Can we strike a balance between tradition and innovation? Is the Western practice of yoga cultural appropriation or appreciation? What, after all, is yoga—an exercise system, religion, science, spiritual path, or all of the above?
By exploring yoga’s past and its ever-changing modern moment, you will gain new ways to think through information, mis- and dis-information about its origins and diverse unfolding expressions. You will learn how the yoga tradition developed from Indian practices deeply rooted in guru lineages to modern spiritual, exercise systems and post-lineage cultures. You will also study how ancient and modern traditions continue to blend and inform each other. A detailed 5000+ year timeline of texts, teachers, and traditions is provided.
Ramesh Bjonnes is the co-founder and Director of the Prama Wellness Center, a retreat center specializing in yoga and Ayurveda in the spirit that a balanced lifestyle is our best medicine. Ramesh is also a writer, yogi and workshop leader. He lived in India and Nepal for several years in the 1980s learning directly from the traditional teachers of Tantric yoga. He studied yoga therapy in India, Ayurveda at California College of Ayurveda and yoga detox therapy in the Philippines. He is the author of four books, including Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (InnerWorld) and Tantra: The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House). Ramesh lives and practices with his wife in an eco-village in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Websites: www.rameshbjonnes.com & www.prama.orgÊ