In this self-practice session Ruth hopes to support and enthuse your practice both through the simple act of coming together to practise and through tips and assists where desired. Ruth has a non-dogmatic, relaxed yet precise approach to using the Ashtanga system as a framework for exploring body and mind. All practitioners welcome.
Philosophies of Yoga
Techniques of yoga can be seen as floating free of religious or ideological moorings: they are considered to work regardless of your beliefs. However, the historical and cultural contexts in which yoga has developed have informed yoga practitioners. Today’s practitioners draw on a wide breadth and depth of philosophies to ground their practices.
This workshop will work backwards from the beliefs, theories and philosophies of contemporary practitioners – explored through pooling the perspectives of participants – to sketch their roots in the philosophies of yoga: Sāṃkhya, Vedānta, Buddhism and Śaivism. The intention is to indicate the key doctrines of these schools, their historical relations with one another, and their influences on modern yoga.
The workshop will be part-lecture and part-discussion. Resources will be shared to support and further your own studies.
Ruth Westoby is a doctoral researcher in yoga and an Ashtanga practitioner. Ruth is fascinated by yoga both in academia and practice. Practising since 1996 and teaching since 2004, in 2010 she received an MA in Indian Religions from SOAS with Distinction. The most influential teachers on Ruth’s practice have been Hamish Hendry, Richard Freeman and Sharat Jois. In 2015 she was authorized by Sharat to teach Ashtanga level 2. Ruth collaborated in 2016 and 2017 with SOAS’s Haṭha Yoga Project interpreting postures from a precursor of modern yoga, the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati (http://hathabhyasapaddhati.org). She continues to study Sanskrit and research for a doctoral thesis in constructions of gender in Sanskrit texts on haṭha yoga at SOAS under the supervision of James Mallinson. Ruth teaches on some of the principle teacher training programmes in the UK and helps coordinate the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies. For workshops, writings and footage please see www.enigmatic.yoga.