A philosophy workshop with Philippe Alexis
Saturday Jan 14, 21, 28 & Feb 4
Many of us who practice yoga and meditation focus on the cultivation and control of the mind. Posture, breath control, chanting and meditation practices improve concentration, enable us to create space from our thoughts and provide stability through the emotional ups and downs of our lives. However, we can also use our practice to engage with the ethical aspects of daily life.
Yoga teachings can help us to navigate difficult decisions, define where responsibility lies, and disagree skillfully. Yoga philosophy helps us unveil our inherent power as agents in the world. We will explore:
- Yoga’s contribution to moral philosophy
- The application of yoga ethics to our lives and in history
- Methods for improving our (ethical) yoga practice
No prior preparation or reading is necessary.
About the facilitator: Philippe Alexis began postural yoga and meditation in 1995. Having a degree in philosophy, he was quickly drawn to the theoretical aspects of these practices. He began studying Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras in 2005, and from 2013, in conjunction with Sanskrit teacher Narayanan Ramasany, he taught sutra courses to his local community in Mountain View, California. In 2020 he started studying under Dr. Shyam Ranganathan (Professor of Philosophy, York University, Toronto) and, in 2021, obtained the certificate to teach yoga philosophy.
* Price should not be a reason not to attend this workshop – if this is not affordable please email email@example.com
* Every attendee will also get a signed copy of Dr Ranganathan’s Yoga Sutra translation book (Penguin)
- What would be the format of each session? For example, will each session start with a lecture followed by discussion? Will there be meditation and chanting during each session?
Each session will be a fluid presentation interspersed with questions and discussion. There will be no meditation, postures or chanting.
- Will you be going over the sutras in the book? Or referencing some sutras based on your topic? Should we study before the class?
We will go over about a dozen sutras overall, and reference a lot of the concepts used in the yoga sutras. Unlike many approaches to the yoga sutras, we won’t be going through them methodically and sequentially. And no need to read, prepare or study anything before class.
- Could you tell us the theme (or main topic) for each session?
- Week 1: What is philosophy, what are conventional ethics, how do yoga ethics differ?
- Week 2: The definition of yoga, nature vs. the person, choice vs. experience, Ishvara
- Week 3: Causes of suffering, Egotism, the Yamas, ahimsa (non-violence)
- Week 4: Religion vs. Philosophy, people who are problems, activistic morality, niyamas
- Will you also be comparing the ethical frameworks from other religions or philosophies?
Yes, to better understand yoga ethics we will often compare Patanjali’s ideas to Sankhya, Buddhism, Stoicism, Christianity, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Jainism and other ideologies.
- How can a person who regularly practices yoga asana apply one’s spiritual experience into action in everyday life?
This is one of the questions we will be exploring.
- What if I cannot attend all the 4 sessions?
We will be recording each session so you will be able to watch the ones you miss in your own time and sometimes a make up session can be arranged.