Raja Yoga is one of the six branches of Yoga, it is the Regal Path to experience peace, through the practice of concentration and meditation based on the ancient teachings of the Sutras of Patanjali contained in 200 sutras or aphorisms. This book, which was one of the first written texts on yoga – approximately 2000 years ago – was written in Sanskrit, the educated and sacred language of that time. While there are many versions with commentaries on the sutras, which we explore during the course, the one we use as a textbook in our classes and workshops features commentaries by Sri Swami Satchidananda, but other versions from other authors are also used and recommended. The course is open for beginners and experienced students.

In the past we have offered several Raja Courses ranging from 6 to 12 weeks. Each course covering a different part of the book concentrating on specific sutras. While the study of the Sutras could be approached in an academic way, the goal of this course is to learn from these ancient teachings in a very practical way, and apply them to our everyday life issues and challenges. This year we will offer a Raja Yoga Comprehensive Semester Course, that will offer YA CEU’s to yoga teachers, and could be used as a module for a YA approved 200hr Teacher Training.

1. Intro to the Yoga Sutras: This course includes an introduction to Patanjali, the author of the book, an overview of the entire book, its purpose and benefits. It also explores the first sixteen sutras, which deal with the goal of yoga, “peace” and how to achieve it; the nature of the mind and its thoughts patterns; and the formula recommended to control them through “practice and non-attachment”.

2. The Obstacles: The nine obstacles, which Patanjali lists as impediments to experiencing peace, are contained in the first chapter of the book, and are the basis of this course. It is a very practical course that helps to develop or deepen our personal yoga practice. Additionally, chanting and meditation practices are taught, which Patanjali offers as solutions to help address these obstacles.

3. The Eight Limbs of Yoga and the Yamas and Niyamas: The “Eight Limbs of Yoga”, known also as “Ashtanga Yoga”, is a systematic method towards the experience of peace. Although “asanas” (Hatha Yoga) is the most popular type of yoga practiced in the West, it is only the third rung on this ladder. The “Yamas and Niyamas”, the 10 ethical yogic principles, which are universal and timeless, are the two first rungs of this ladder and constitute a solid foundation for a successful yoga practice and/or spiritual path.

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