Yoga Teacher Training History & Philosophy Module

  • Do you teach or manage a Yoga Teacher Training Program?

  • Do you wish your curriculum included more comprehensive teachings on the ideas, practices and cultures that evolved into modern yoga?

  • Are you searching for the right guest instructor to help you achieve this?

  • Would having an affordable solution help you maximize the use of your time and resources?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, this course is for you!

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

Dr. Sean Feit Oakes

A 20-hour online course, ready to plug into your Yoga teacher training program. Designed for serious students of yoga and meditation, this is a university-level introduction to Yoga history from an engaging scholar-practitioner. 

We partner with Yoga Schools who are dedicated to educating the next generation of teachers in a way that honors the root traditions of Yoga, supports teachers in their own spiritual practice, and lays the foundation for a lifetime of study and growth.

Even in the most thoughtfully designed programs, there is limited time to create depth of study in history and philosophy while meeting all of the demands of preparing students to teach effectively.

Let this course help you!

Fulfill Your Hours

This course provides 20 non-contact hours towards Yoga Alliance program requirements

They can be categorized as Philosophy and/or Elective

Plug-In Ready

This course can stand alone or integrate with your class curriculum. Using the handouts, discussion points and suggested practices can also provide a foundation for class contact hours.

Added Options

Book Dr. Oakes for a live guest lecture or video calls to offer follow up for students or supplement with additional content. 


Customize the learning experience to meet your needs. Have students complete the course as a prerequisite or set a schedule for them to follow. 

Course Overview

Partnering together means more than just receiving the course for your students. Dr. Oakes and his team will be by your side throughout the whole process, helping you meet your program goals. 

included for students
  • Log-in access to the course on a user-friendly, digital learning platform
  • 16 hours of engaging, high quality video lecture, including stories, philosophy, images, and excerpts from classical texts, recorded live in Berkeley, CA in 2017
  • Hundreds of beautiful slides with classical imagery & text excerpts
  • Guided meditations for personal practice
  • Comprehensive downloadable manual, including text excerpts & suggestions for further study
  • Inquiry questions that explore the relevance of the material for contemporary practitioners
  • Opportunities to engage with Dr. Oakes and community through a Facebook group and video chats
  • The ability to learn from anywhere, anytime, and at their own pace
  • Repeat and replay content as much as desired
included for you
  • Course access for the program director and lead instructors
  • Support from Dr. Oakes regarding your questions and how to best answer student questions
  • Opportunity to book a guest appearance or video conferences with Dr. Oakes
  • The ability to use course practices and reflection questions as homework assignments or in-class discussion
  • Ongoing administrative support including student set-up and technical support as well as progress and course completion reports
  • University-level education materials for a fraction of the cost!
Affordable Pricing
  • All of this can be part of your program, year after year, for one wholesale price per student
  • No minimums or additional hidden costs

Interested in learning more?

We are happy to provide more details and offer you a sample of the course. Please reach out with any questions you may have or to discuss pricing.


Course Syllabus

1.1 Intro: What is Yoga?
1.2 The Indus Valley Civilization
1.3 Two Vedic Hymns
1.4 Yoga in the Upaniṣads
1.5 Death as Guru: The Kaṭha Upaniṣad
1.6 Q & A, 25 Tattva (elements)
1.7 Practice: 5 Great Elements & 5 Senses
1.8 Q & A
Class 1 Inquiry: Renunciation & discomfort

2.1 Śramana review & stories of Young Gotama
2.2 Gotama studies Yoga
2.3 Gotama’s ascetic practice & childhood insight
2.4 Q & A: formless concentration & ancient yoga practice
2.5 Early Buddhist philosophy & practice
2.6 Two Early Buddhist practices
Class 2 Inquiry: The Buddha & his community

3.1 Opening Practice: Sense Experience & Awareness
3.2 Core Doctrines of Classical Yoga
3.3 The Philosophical Schools of Yoga & Sāṃkhya
3.4 The Philosophy of the Yoga-Sūtra, part 1
3.5 Patañjali Q & A: Yama
3.6 The Philosophy of the Yoga-Sūtra, part 2: 8 Limbs
3.7 Meditation based on the Yoga-Sūtra of Patañjali
Class 3 Inquiry: Flow, stillness, ethics

4.1 The Great Indian Epic: Mahābhārata, part 1
4.2 The Great Indian Epic: Mahābhārata, part 2
4.3 Teachings of the Bhagavad Gītā, part 1: karma
4.4 Teachings of the Bhagavad Gītā, part 2: yoga; colonialism
4.5 Teachings of the Bhagavad Gītā, part 3: bhakti
4.6 Bhakti Practices: mantra, chanting, kirtan
Class 4 Inquiry: Karma & Devotion

5.1 Intro to Second Half of Course & Review
5.2 Two Classical Yoga Practices: Meditation & Mantra; Q & A
5.3 So many Gods & Goddesses
5.4 Myth: Churning the Ocean of Milk
5.5 Vaiṣṇava Bhakti: Stories of Viṣṇu in the form of Kṛṣṇa
5.6 Śaiva Goddess Worship: Stories of Devī in the Forms of Durgā & Kālī
Class 5 Inquiry: Deities & mythology

6.1 Review & Intro to Tantric Philosophy: Dualism & Non-dualism
6.2 Tantra in Indian History: Philosophy & Practice
6.3 Tantra in Practice: The Guru Principle, Q & A
6.4 Principles of Tantra: Definitions, Texts, Doctrines
Class 6 Inquiry: social norms & gender in Tantra

7.1 The Tantric Roots of Haṭha Yoga
7.2 Practices of Early Haṭha Yoga
7.3 The Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā: Practices
7.4 The Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā: kuṇḍalinī, lāya, Q & A
Class 7 Inquiry: Health, power, & sex in Haṭha Yoga

8.1 Meditation: Sensation, embodiment, gratitude
8.2 Yoga comes West: Emerson, Vivekananda, Colonialism
8.3 “Modern Yoga”: Northern & Southern Lineages
8.4 Issues: cultual appropriation, spiritual materialism, race, diversity & inclusion, feminism, body image
Class 8 Inquiry: Modernity & all its issues

Preview a Class

Here you can sample a video from the course. This preview is intended to offer a sense of Dr. Oakes’ teaching style and content of the course as well as display the video quality. This video is from Class 3: Patañjali’s Yoga, Section 3: The Philosophical Schools of Yoga & Sāṃkhya.