Course 1 – Yoga Humanities

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Students explore Yoga’s 4,000+ year old history and how to use this wisdom in everyday life. They will look at how the philosophy has evolved throughout these years and transformed to meet the needs of different times to become what it is today.

Learning Objective
Students learn the major concepts found in the Vedas, Upanishads, Epic Period, TantricPeriod, and the rise of Yoga in the late twentieth century through current time. Students will learn how to use these concepts as tools for living in the modern world.


  • Students will learn about the earliest roots of yoga (Arcaic 4500 – 1500 BC) through the Vedic, Preclassical, Classical and Post-Classical. This understanding will include the major themes and contributions (including texts) of each period; Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Radiance Sutras.
  • Students will learn about the inaccuracy of many “myths” or popular beliefs about yoga history.
  • Students will gain understanding of the major yogic concepts of: Koshas, Kleshas, Prana, Nadis, Bandhas, Gunas, Doshas Prakriti and Purusha
  • Students will learn the correct Sanskrit pronunciation and meaning of important yogic terms.
  • Students will learn the differences and similarities in the major modern yoga schools and the Krishnamacharya lineage of Shanti Yoga School.
  • Students will practice incorporating yoga history, philosophy and ethics into their own lives.
  • Students will practice incorporating yogic philosophy and ethics into themes for teaching.
  • Through Satsang and Svadhyaya, students will explore how these ancient principles apply to their personal lives.
  • Students will learn the mythology behind yoga asanas and practice weaving this information into teaching, practice and svadhyaya


  • “Introduction” through Part One of Moving into Stillness, Schiffmann
  • Course One Lesson PDFs (NOTE: I have added extra material via pdfs in this Course. These might help you understand the material more but can also be saved for later).
  • Chapters 1, 2 & 3 Teaching Yoga, Mark Stephens
  • Introduction & Chapter 1 (Yoga, Concept & Meaning) and Chapters 2, 11 & 15 and Part III in Heart of Yoga, Desikachar. Extra reading: Chapters 8 – 10 in Heart of Yoga, Desikachar

Journaling – This is for you! Write just a few words, draw pictures or compose long essays. You might keep a small notebook with you and jot down notes as they come to mind or you might sit down at a particular time each day to write. This journal will serve as a personal outlet for your exploration of yoga and a resource for when you begin to teach. In it you will:

  • Keep track of your personal yoga practice (record date, time, as well as your thoughts & questions), this is also where you can keep your Observations.
  • Record your impressions derived from the readings as they pertain to practice and everyday life
  • Record other classes you attend, describe the sequence, what worked & what didn’t, how others responded, etc.
  • What is your Intention for taking this training? Keep this in your journal or manual.
  • What is yoga? What would you say to inspire someone to try it?
  • Why does yoga speak to me? How does it inform my day?
  • How does the “Yoga as Self-Transformation” article apply to my life?
  • What do we teach when we teach yoga?
  • What do YOU want to teach?
  • Keep track of your own personal yoga practice & outside classes you attend (record
  • Consider your “history,” how did it lead you to want to study yoga?
  • Review all Yamas and work each day with one (to set an intention for the day/your practice [asana and meditation] or before a difficult situation).
  • Practice saying the Yamas in English and Sanskrit.Pick & describe one incident from your journaling in which you used the concept of ahimsa to more effectively deal with a situation.
  • Why do you think ahimsa could be the most “all encompassing” Yama?
  • Discuss how “Satya” & “Ahimsa” affect communication.
  • Read the Shanti Code of Ethics. Which Yamas/Niyamas do you see?
  • What do you believe is Pantanjali’s main instruction in regards to “asana”?
  • Why do you think Brahmacharya has been linked to celibacy? Provide another interpretation.
  • What is the basic difference between the Yamas & the Niyamas?
  • What are your obstacles to personal practice?