The Yoga of Action & Devotion: The Bhagavadgītā


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.
In this workshop Seth Powell will read, chant, and explore the Bhagavadgītā, or the “Song of the Lord” — one of the great Sanskrit yoga texts of classical India. Through this timeless dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna—teacher and student, God and devotee—we are gifted a spiritual excursus on the meaning of life, the nature of yoga, one’s social and moral duty (dharma), devotion (bhakti), and ethical action (karma) in the world. The Gītā offers two of the earliest definitions of yoga in a Sanskrit text, both of which we will explore, in addition to the following models of yoga: Karmayoga (“the yoga of action”), Dhyānayoga (“the yoga of meditation”), Jñānayoga (“the yoga of gnosis”), and Bhaktiyoga (“the yoga of devotion”). Unlike more ascetic models of classical Yoga which ask of the yogin to retreat from the world, the Gītā’s universal message promotes a social ethic of engaging in the world through yogic practice, by turning all of one’s activities into yogic service and devotion. We will reflect on the relationship between the Gītā and the Yogasūtra, and moreover, contemplate its relation to our own lives and yoga practice.
Cost: $60 | Perennial Members Receive 10 Percent Off