The Story of Yoga: A 2,500-year Visual and Textual History


This class is taught by:

Seth Powell

Seth Powell is a longtime practitioner of yoga and a scholar of Indian religions, Sanskrit, and yoga traditions. He is currently a PhD Candidate in South Asian Religions at Harvard University. His research focuses on the history, theory, and practice of medieval and early modern Sanskrit yoga texts and traditions, as well as their intersections with the culture and practice of modern transnational yoga. Seth also holds degrees in the study of religion from the University of Washington (MA) and Humboldt State University (BA). In addition to his academic pursuits, Seth has spent much of the past decade “on the mat” in the American yoga studio culture, engaging in a variety of forms of modern postural yoga including Ānanda, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Anusara, and vinyāsa more broadly. Beginning in 2010, Seth has spent extended periods abroad studying with teachers and yogīs in India, as well as conducting doctoral field work and research. He completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in Ānanda Yoga in Grass Valley, CA, as well as a 200-hour clinical Yoga and Āyurveda training at Santosh Puri Ashram in Haridwar, India. As a scholar-practitioner, Seth is gifted in his ability to present the ancient teachings of yoga clearly in an accessible, light-hearted, and inspiring manner—while maintaining a rigor and sensitivity to traditional Indian knowledge systems. Seth conducts workshops and lectures regularly on the history and philosophy of yoga at studios, teacher trainings, and universities around the country. Visit Seth's website, Yogic Studies to learn more.
This session provides you with a foundational overview and the “big picture” of the history of yoga. Drawing on the latest scholarship in yoga studies, together we will journey from yoga’s shrouded origins as an ascetic tradition in ancient India, to the emergence of postural yoga in the West and around the globe—an incredible journey that takes us from the periphery of premodern Indian civilization to the center of modern American health and wellness! Along the way we will explore attempts to define “yoga”, the relationship between yoga philosophy and practice, the origins and history of yogic āsanas, the multi-billion dollar commercialization of India’s largest religio-cultural export, and much more. Debunking common misperceptions about yoga’s antiquity, we will uncover the incredible ways yoga has changed, innovated, and been adopted by millions of practitioners over the past 2,500 years!
Cost: $85.00 - Includes lunch provided by Surya Cafe | Perennial Members Receive 10 percent off