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Did you know that many yogis used to be warriors? The image of the calm, pacified, docile, and meditating yogi is a colonial concept created by British that has racist roots. Though the colonizers attempted to eliminate these yogic warriors from history, scholarship in yoga studies and allied fields tell some interesting parts of this almost forgotten phenomenon. Listen in here on Dr. Christopher Miller's office hours where he shares some of the highlights of this history and provides resources for further reading.
Yoga does not mean "union", at least not according to Patanjali's Yoga Sutra. In fact, it aims to do just the opposite: to separate the higher self from the lower self. Many yoga teachers have taught that yoga means "to join together or unite", but this is a misinterpretation of the intentions of Patanjali's real goal and the methods for attaining it. Dr. Christopher Miller, Professor of Yoga Studies, unpacks Patanjali's meaning of yoga in detail here.
The Yoga Sutra has a rich and complex history. Learn specifically about its colonial history, and find out why the Yoga Sutra is both a critically important part of yoga studies and a colonized text.
South Asia has produced some of the richest spiritual practices and philosophies known to humankind. For this reason, Western spiritual seekers have traveled there in search of spiritual teachings, gurus, and enlightenment for centuries. Learn about the historical origins of this spiritual search, as well as some of the things to be mindful of if you are preparing for this journey yourself. Here we discuss French Psychiatrist Regis Airault's notion of "India Syndrome" and the dangers of over-exoticizing the East.
The meaning of the term dharma has changed throughout South Asian history and now takes on significant new meanings in transnational yoga. Join Una and I to learn just how different dharma's meaning is today from its ancient use in the Bhagavad Gita, as it has been transformed from a term intended to reinforce social hierarchy to one that is now, at its best, used to push back against class-based and racist social agendas.