I’m saving for my 200hour yoga teacher training. I am planning for it to either be in Thailand or Bali, I will discuss this decision in a future blog post.
I’ve never really been extremely drawn to gaining deep knowledge of Hindu or Yoga Philosophy as I find it quite heavy, although I do have an obsession with studying the chakras and Tantra and have done since my early teens. But I’m also not your typical modern yogi either that sees yoga as a form of fitness. I’m kind of an in-between that includes Pagan and Shamanic ideas into the mixing bowl too.
A couple of years ago I did a short course on Yoga Philosophy with Oxford University’s Hindu studies online program of which I received an Upper 2:1 certificate, and I did it because I felt it was a great introduction for me on my path towards becoming a yoga teacher.
If you are interested in this course, click on the link: Yoga Philosophy online study and I’ve continued my studies in Chakra Balancing & the Subtle also.
In the past I have read the usual classics such as The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, The Upanishads, The book of Dharma, The Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita and at the time I saw it as obligatory reading to feel like an authentic Yogi and teacher but my heart wasn’t in it so I will be rereading these books again.
Recently I’ve had urges to delve deeper into the world of yoga philosophy and the mystical realm of Devotional Practice and Ritual more than ever before.
I’ve also become extremely inspired by a woman named Sharada who records her chanting, facilitates sacred feminine workshops and retreats and has recently published a sacred Devi book with chanting prayer cards. She has studied Yoga, Vedanta, Sanskrit, Satsang, Vedic chanting, Odissi Dance, Puja and much more- I would love to meet Sharada and be trained by her one day.
I feel that this is the direction I also feel pulled towards and even my Teen Yoga teacher includes devotional practice every morning at her alter and she teaches that everything is sacred. She inspired me to set up Menarche yoga classes for Teen girls- a sort of introductory ‘Red Tent’ workshop teaching young women to honour their bodies as they become women and I just think this is very beautiful, especially in a world where we are taught blood from killing is acceptable yet blood that represents the circle of life is offensive or disgusting?
So on top of studying topics on sacred femininity, goddess circles and becoming a priestess. I am gaining more knowledge on the spiritual side to Yoga practice and incorporating that into tailored classes for women’s Devi circles and ceremonies. I want to learn how to chant to Lakshmi- Goddess of love and abundance and thus create a whole yoga and dance class inspired by that deity, but also look deeper into Greek mythology and Celtic stories of incredible warrior women and wild goddesses, to design workshops for women to discover their inner warrior or nurturer or priestess- to honour shakti within, to encourage healing of the feminine- of the mind, body and soul in this patriotic world. I want to include Cacao ceremonies, flower prayers and moon blessings but it all starts at the foundations doesn’t it? I need to go back to the source- the roots of Yoga in order to be the wise woman I hope to become and to have the knowledge to lead such incredible, powerful and nurturing classes!
Right now, I am currently reading this book on Vedanta to get me restarted with building my knowledge again- The Essence of Vendanta by Brian Hodgkinson
Vedanta is a system of philosophy drawn from the Indian scriptures known as the Veda. Although Vedanta forms the philosophical basis for Hinduism. Its teachings are essentially rational, existential and universal.
Anyone who wonders what Eastern thought might have of value to Westerners today will want to have this book. Brian Hodgkinson is uniquely equipped to answer this question. He has been for many years a teacher of Western philosophy, and also has translated the Bhagavad Gita from the Sanskrit, as well as reading other essential texts in Sanskrit. He deals with the ‘great themes’ of human thought such as knowledge and ignorance, the self, consciousness, liberation, time, mind, language, and much else, from the two halves of world thought. This is an exceptional exposition of the Vendanta, especially for those (like myself) who are either new to this topic or want to read something easy to digest when studying such epic scriptures.
Buy it here: The Essence of Vendanta
I am also seeking books by women and for women- Yoga philosophy through the eyes of women because most of these classic scriptures are written by men, and many ancient practices and healing arts performed by women were driven underground and deemed heretic witchcraft- I want to bring the sacred feminine back to the surface, not to overpower the masculine but to be respected as the equal half that has been shunned for hundreds, if not thousands of years!
Photos from Sharada Vaidika