Intro to the History of Yoga: Philosophy, Practice, Transformation


Intro to the History of Yoga is a deep dive into the ocean of ideas, practices, and culture that evolved into modern yoga. We look at over 2500 years of Indian cultural and spiritual innovation, including profound philosophical inquiry into the nature of existence and experience, and the disciplines of meditation, mantra, ritual, and breath that are the heart of yoga as a spiritual practice.

The course explores yoga from two perspectives: history and practice. Through the lens of history, ideas are explored by looking at the cultural conditions that surrounded them, the dynamic social and political contexts in which yoga developed. Through the lens of practice, we engage with the teachings of yoga as spiritual practitioners, concerned with the result of dedicated practice in our lives and relationships now.

course includes
  • 8 2-hour classes, recorded live in Berkeley, CA in 2017
  • Guided meditations for personal practice
  • Comprehensive handouts, including text excerpts & suggestions for further study
  • Inquiry questions to support you on your path
  • 3 interactive video conference calls with Dr. Oakes

Course is in beta/test mode for the 2018 Spirit Rock Dharma Yoga Program.
Thank you for your patience & understanding!

namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammasambuddhasa

Let’s dive in.

Course Content

Classes Status

Course Intro


Class 1: The Śramana Movement


Class 2: The Buddha & his Community


Class 3: Patañjali’s Yoga


Class 4: Devotion: The Bhagavad Gītā & the Birth of Bhakti


Class 5: Deities & Hindu Mythology in the Purāṇas


Class 6: Mantra, Ritual, & Magic in Tantra


Class 7: Haṭha Yoga: Breath, Sex, & Power


Class 8: Yoga in Modernism: Universalism, Embodiment, Globalization


Course Completion