The last decade has witnessed an exciting surge in critical yoga research. Much of this scholarship is reshaping the history of yoga as we know it! Unfortunately, however, much of this knowledge is secured behind institutional paywalls and specialized academic jargon, and is thus largely inaccessible to the larger yoga public.
On the other hand, within yoga studio culture and teacher training programs, yoga practitioners are often met with “wishy-washy” claims about yoga’s past, and misleading interpretations regarding yoga philosophy.
Yogic Studies was founded by Seth Powell in 2017 to provide continued educational services for the broader yoga community. Yogic Studies aims to bridge the gap between the academy and the studio—seeking to make accessible the highest quality and most cutting-edge research on yoga history, philosophy, and practice for yoga teachers and students.
We offer Harvard-level yoga education for yoga teachers, trainees, and students.
Teaching the Yogasūtra at JPCentre Yoga’s YTT, Boston, MA. 2017.
Photo by Daniel Max.
“As a longtime practitioner of yoga, Seth’s direct experience and intuition inform his understanding and presentation of the most current yoga history, philosophy, and scholarship. Although his indefatigable research alongside the world’s top yogic scholars makes him a living, breathing source of Yoga Vidya, his humble, clear, and concise delivery of the material facilitates a palatable and memorable Satsang for all who are fortunate enough to study with him. Our shala doors are always open to Seth as a friend, yogi, and formidable scholar.”Joey Paz
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.
Seth currently spends his time between coasts, residing in northern California and Cambridge, Massachussetts, with his wife and two young children.