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Online CPD 20/29 - The History of Yoga in Practice

31st October 2020 - 1st November 2020
at Online ZOOM event

Online CPD 20/29 - The History of Yoga in Practice

Tutor: Wendy Teasdill

Date: 31st October 2020 - 1st November 2020

Time: 10:00 - 13:00

Location: Online ZOOM event

Type of Event: CPD Days

Places Available: 22

This will be an online event using the ZOOM platform. The day will run from 13:00 - 16:00 on Saturday 31st October and from 10:00 - 13:00 on Sunday 1st November. There will be two 1.25 hour sessions each day, with a half hour break between.  The write up of the day is taken from the BWY website and may be subject to some change due to conversion to an online-friendly event. The aims and objectives will still be covered however. If you have any queries about the day, please contact the organiser, Jacqueline Stevenson, on email

The History of Yoga in Practice

Aims of the Morning

    1. To introduce the various strands which contribute to the historical sources of Yoga.
    2. To embody clues from these strands in asana practice in order to promote independent thought.


By the end of the morning, students should be able to:
  1. Debate the evidence of the origins of Yoga
  2. Consider the influence of ancient mysteries on present practice
  3. Perform asanas (or their modifications) which recall the roots of Yoga (Mulabandhasana, Bhujangasana etc.) 
  4. Engage in the more subtle aspects of Yoga practice with awareness
  5. Describe how they feel about chanting mantras from the Vedas
  6. Report how they feel about the importance of the origins of Yoga

Aims of the Afternoon

    1. To increase understanding of the trends and philosophies which influence the development of Yoga throughout history
    2. To develop confidence when teaching the subtler aspects of Yoga practice


By the end of the session, students should be able to:

    1. Outline the main philosophies which underpin Yoga history
    2. Place the main philosophies of Yoga in chronological order 
    3. Describe how they could integrate awareness of a posture’s pedigree into their own practice and teaching
    4. Consider timeless aspects of Yoga philosophy and how they might make it relevant to their practice and teaching
    5. Debate, if asked, how they feel about developing a more textured understanding of the origins of Yoga 
    6. Relate how they feel about making it their own

Teaching Material Used On The Day

Blocks, belts and plasticene

Methods of presenting the subject

Didactic, demonstration, tactile (making plasticine yoga figures)

About the Tutor

Wendy has been practising Yoga for over 40 years and teaching since 1987. She started with Pranayama and soon integrated Iyengar Yoga at adult evening classes, moving on to study with the Iyengar family in Poona, India, several times over the years. She has travelled widely and studied Yoga and mysticism in India and Tibet , using Hong Kong as a base. When she became pregnant, things changed: she has always worked with Prana, but pregnancy brought a more spiral and organic approach to her original Iyengar Yoga discipline.  

Wendy encourages each person to work with autonomy and sensitivity.  She teaches Foundation and Diploma courses for the British Wheel of Yoga and likes to bring the history and philosophy of Yoga alive through practice.

Outline of the content
Introduction. Gayatri Mantra. 
Presentation: Overview of the history of Yoga as we know/don’t know it and an explanation of the Aryan Invasion theory – the Indus Valley Civilisation – how substantial is the evidence of Yoga? – 
The Vedas and where did they come from? 
First use of the word `Yoga’ (referring to yoking oxen/horses to the cart and how this analogy is continued in various texts eg. The Bhagavad Gita throughout history.) The necessity of living with the mystery … 

Practices to embody the various ancient (presumed) sources of Yoga and how the elemental awareness follows through history to modern Hatha Yoga. 
Warm-up; Adho Mukha Svanasana; `Unicorn’ twist (unicorn seals of Indus Valley Civilisation); Mulabandhasana (`Pashupati seal’), Bhujangasana (Earth – precursor to Kundalini found in the Vedas); Makarasana (Water); Salabhasana with some external retention, Bhastrika (Fire); Mrgasana (Deer – Air with reference to `the wind-girt sages’); 
Prana through the ages: The Upanishads; Asceticism, Buddhism, Ashoka and the Epics (The Mahabharata, including the Bhagavad Gita, and the Ramayana): Vrksasana, Virabhadrasana I, II & III – and seated Virasana; 
Viparita Karani (Space). Sitting in a stable and comfortable position and observing the mind, considering Samkhya, Patanjali (the `rational mystic’) and links with Hinduism. Shavasana and chanting of the Mrityunjaya mantra. AUM

Verbal discussion on what we covered in the morning while making yoga figures from plasticene, based upon clay figures found in the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilisation.  

Summary of Tantra, Hatha Yoga, the Gheranda Samhita and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika with awareness of the chakras and the Vayus. How does any of this relate to our contemporary practice and teaching?

Group work on integrating the history of Yoga into practice and teaching (one posture per topic), with different groups working on: the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. 

Yoga Nidra containing images ranging from ancient ruins to lotuses blooming 


Online ZOOM event
Witton Gilbert


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Non-member - online £45.00
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