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Yogic Living: Oxford Weekend School, 19–20



How do we describe one of steady wisdom and steadfast meditation?

How do they speak? How do they sit? How do they move?
(Arjuna’s query in Bhagavad Gita 2.54)

Mindfulness, goodness, conscious living – traditionally these underpin yogic living. They
are what makes one a yogi. On this weekend we link classical understandings of these
topics to our own lives. We explore yogic ideas and practices that transform life for the
We discover yoga off the mat and without matted hair. A 21st century yoga that doesn’t
depend on retreating to the forest.

At the heart of yoga is an understanding of how the self and the world around us can be
radically transformed. Yogic practice has the power to change old realities into new and
brighter ones.

We take Arjuna’s query above and broaden it. How do they eat? What are their ethics?
What is their state of mind? How do they meditate, and on what? What is their source of
knowledge? How do they understand the changing world around them? And
fundamentally, how do they transcend suffering and cultivate joy?


Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 October 2019

Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (Saturday)
Worcester College, Oxford (Sunday)

Timings (each day)

Morning: 10.00am–1.00pm (includes tea break)
Lunch Break: 1.00–3.00pm
Afternoon: 3.00–5.30pm (includes tea break)


Enrolment fee of £345

includes teas/coffees,
and lunch on Saturday

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Saturday Morning

The Choices that Shape Us

We begin with a philosophical look at matter – the stuff of life – from the workings of
the universe to the micro-cosmos of the mind and body. Using a framework supplied
by Bhagavad Gita and Samkhya Karika we examine the gunas, the threads of the
universe: Goodness, Passion, and Ignorance. We reflect on how this framework can
inform our life: what we eat, how we spend our leisure time, how we organise our
surroundings, and what habits we form.

Tutor: Anuradha Dooney


Eat Like a Yogi

Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga. It is the art of self-healing brought about by a
balanced life-style, routine, and diet. In this session we learn about the three doshas
(energies) – kapha, vata, pitta – and the six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter,
astringent. We see how they work together and learn to make conscious decisions on
when, what, and most importantly how to eat for a good and peaceful life.

Tutor: Dr Daria Ricchi


Saturday Afternoon

Yoga for the Welfare of the World?

We discuss the tension between social activity and inward retreat by looking at yogic
texts. Early yogis were ascetics. They renounced engagement with worldly affairs.
However the tradition also gives us a route to be socially active while upholding yogic
values. We will explore this route and how it relates to modern practice.

Tutor: Daniel Simpson


Yoga Ethics: the Good, the Right, and the Real

Traditionally, yoga can be seen as a key link between two other value systems –
dharma (duty) and bhakti (devotion). Therefore we can discern an ethics of yoga that
leads us to a deep sense of what is good and what is right. This is rooted in a
cultivation of yogic way of seeing things – especially living beings – as they truly are.

Tutor: Simon Haas


Sunday Morning

Suffering and the Pursuit of Happiness

The driving force in life, according to Hindu texts, is the longing for lasting happiness.
Fulfilling that desire is life’s greatest aim. However, the same texts tell us that suffering
is inevitable. Although these two states – happiness and suffering – may seem to be in
tension, Hindu traditions teach that to attain true happiness one first has to understand
suffering. Drawing on the Upaniṣads and the Purāṇas as well as the teachings of
Hindu saints, we will explore the lessons that suffering provides in Hindu spiritual

Tutor: Dr Rembert Lutjeharms


The Yogic Mind

How do we understand the mind? What practices help to control it? Is it necessary to
control it? The mind has been compared to an octopus, grasping in all directions.
Sometimes it’s our best friend and sometimes our worst enemy. In this session we
learn and experience some strategies to harness the mind drawing on lessons from
Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras.

Tutor: Alan Herbert


Sunday Afternoon

Mantra Yoga
From the earliest days of vedic ritual, mantras have been chanted. Sacred sound is
considered an embodiment of the power of truth and order and a way to connect our
world with the cosmos. Tantric, yoga, and devotional traditions have all harnessed the
power of mantra to transform the self, deepen awareness, invoke the mercy of the
Deity, even to gain mystic abilities. Inherent in the practice of mantras is the idea that
sound and consciousness are linked.This session draws from the Upanishads and
Bhagavad Gita and gives students experience in chanting mantras and sacred sound

Tutor: Nandana Nagraj


How to Know: Knowledge, Experience, Faith

How does the yogi learn? We conclude the weekend with an examination of how
knowledge is gained, using Indian philosophy as our guide. We learn how the
pramans (ways of knowledge) work and how they can lead to higher truth. Finally, we
discuss the role of personal experience in relation to faith and knowledge. Is
experience a viable means of gaining knowledge of that which, by definition, is
unknowable? As well as the Bhagavad Gita, we will refer to the Shiva-jnana-bodham,
from the Tamil Shaivite tradition.

Tutor: Dr Nick Sutton



Daniel Simpson
Daniel is one of our key tutors. He teaches the Philosophy of Yoga and the Veda and
Upanishads courses. A Visiting Scholar to the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies in 2019,
Daniel has a Master’s degree in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation from SOAS, University
of London. He’s a devoted practitioner of asana, pranayama, and meditation. Daniel’s
experience as a foreign correspondent helps him make complex subjects accessible.

Dr Nick Sutton
Nick is the Director – and the heart and soul – of the OCHS Continuing Education
Department. He is a dedicated teacher with decades of experience in making sometimes-
confusing traditions relevant. He has created ten online courses and is working on many
more. He has written translations and commentary on Bhagavad Gītā and the Yoga Sūtra.

Anuradha Dooney
Anuradha was awarded a Masters in the Study of Religion at Oxford. She is a faculty
member of the OCHS Continuing Education Department and has played a key role in
curriculum development.

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
Dr Rembert Lutjeharms, OCHS Librarian and chief Sanskritist, studied Oriental Studies at
the University of Ghent, Belgium, and went on to achieve his doctorate at Oxford. He now
lectures in Hinduism at Oxford while pursuing research in Sanskrit poetry, Bengali
Vaishnavism, and Sanskrit hermeneutics.

Dr Kenneth Valpey
Ken Valpey is one of the OCHS’s early students receiving his Doctorate from the University
of Oxford in 2004. He is a theologian with a particular interest in animal ethics. He is an
OCHS Fellow and a co-director of our Bhagavata Purana Research Project.

Alan Herbert
An OCHS student, Alan Herbert is pursuing a D.Phil. in the Faculty of Theology and
Religion at the University of Oxford.

Dr Daria Ricchi
Daria is an Ayurveda counsellor from the Kripalu School of Yoga and Ayurveda and a
researcher. She has a Ph.D. in History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton, and she
is working on the effect of architectural space on our body and mind. Daria is also a
certified vinyasa and yin asana teacher. She has been working for a decade with all range
of bodies and minds, reaching different age groups.

Nandana Nagraj
Nandana studied Sanskrit in a traditional gurukulam in India and has an M.Sc. in Business
Administration. She has led the Easwaramma Women’s Welfare Trust, edited Indian
philosophy and Sanskrit texts, and worked on app development.

Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (Saturday)
Worcester College, Oxford (Sunday)
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On Saturday, a simple and tasty vegetarian (with vegan options) meal will be served at the
Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.


Enrolment fee £345

includes teas/coffees,
and lunch on Saturday

Add to basket (?add-to-cart=10696)


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