Yogic Studies news, writings, interviews, media, and other vṛttis. 

Seth Powell and Chase Bossart on Yoga Talks Podcast

Seth Powell and Chase Bossart come together with J Brown on his Yoga Talks podcast for an in-depth debate and inquiry into the nature and substance of Patañjali’s Yogasūtras.

They discuss whether the Sūtras and their commentary are written by the same person, differing views on what the text says yoga is, whether it involves stilling the mind to reach a liberation beyond this world or a means of finding clarity and purpose in this existence, distinguishing between mind and consciousness, and the power of deep yogic inquiry. You might want to have your favorite copy of the...

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Yogic Studies Now on Mobile App

Introducing the Kajabi Mobile App

Kajabi, which is the web-based software we use and love to power Yogic Studies, has just recently launched their new mobile app. This means that students can now access and stream all of their Yogic Studies content right on your favorite iOS or Android device.

We've had a chance to play around with it a bit, and while there is still room for improvement (e.g. the Quizzes are not yet accessible; coming soon), overall I think you'll agree that this is a really fantastic tool for us!

I invite you to download the app right here: ...

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Mindful Strength Podcast | Ep. 130 Seth Powell: Bringing Yoga Philosophy to Life


Seth was recently featured on Kathryn Bruni-Young's Mindful Strength Podcast.

Episode 130. Seth Powell: Bringing Yoga Philosophy to Life

In this wide-ranging conversation, Seth and Kathryn talk about what yoga is, how we can define it, what yoga isn’t and some of the problems with our understanding of yoga philosophy. This is a great introduction to yoga philosophy in this day in age, when yoga can mean so many different things to different people. Seth shares information on the history of the strap, and how far back straps have been used. He comments that Iyengar did not invent...

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YS 102 Preview | The Story of Rishi Singh Gherwal

Rishi Singh Gherwal demonstrating uḍḍīyāna bandha. From Complete Yoga, September 1937. From the collection of the Philip Deslippe.


The above black and white photograph depicts a fascinating yet lesser-known figure in the history yoga’s early transmission from India to the West, one "Rishi Singh Gherwal." The Rishi's tale is paradigmatic of an informative, albeit lost, period in yoga's transmission from East to West, and is a case study we will be exploring in the upcoming online course, YS 102: Modern Yoga in the West.

Rakha Singh Gherwal (1889-1964), born an...

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What is the Bhagavad Gītā? A Preview of YS 202


Approaching the Gītā

The Bhagavad Gītā, the "Song of the Lord"—or simply the Gītā, as it is affectionately known—is many things. At approximately 700 verses, spread across 18 chapters, it is first and foremost, an “epic” poem, situated within the sixth book (parvan) of the great Mahābhārata, one of India’s and the world’s longest stories ever told; it is ancient Indian treatise adjudicating the ethics of battle and just war; an excursus on proper conduct (karma) and one’s moral and social duty (dharma) within the cosmic order. It is...

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Happy Mahāśivarātri 2019 from Yogic Studies!

Image source: Śivaliṅga at Elephanta (photo Seth Powell).


Today is Mahāśivarātri, the great night of the celebration of Śiva, which is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Śaivas, and Yogis, around the world. Śiva is often conceived as the archetypal yogi, and the great Lord of Yoga (yogeśvara). It is a day of auspiciousness, of contemplative practice and reflection, where the power (śakti) of yoga practice (sādhana) is believed to be intensified. 

As a small offering on this day, I share with you a brief excerpt from my ongoing translation and study of the 15th-century ...

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How to Use Online Sanskrit Dictionaries Tutorial (Video + PDF)



Click here to download this tutorial and workflow as a PDF

Note: this PDF was generated on Feb 19, 2019 using Mac OS Mojave 10.14 and Chrome


Getting Started

There are many different methods and tools for utilizing Sanskrit dictionaries. Each student or scholar of the language will have their own preferred approach. In this workflow, I will demonstrate a few common and easy-to-use methods.


Printed Dictionaries

The first thing to note is that, especially for a beginning Sanskrit student, it is always best to use a printed physical dictionary. By...

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How to Type Transliterated Sanskrit with Diacritics in Mac OSX (Video + PDF)



Click here to download this tutorial and workflow as a PDF

Note: this PDF workflow was generated on Feb 14, 2019 using Mac OS Mojave 10.14


Getting Started

There are various schemes for transliterating Sanskrit (as well as Pāli, Hindi, etc.) into Roman characters. Most common is the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) which utilizes a system of special “diacritic” marks above and below the characters (e.g., ā, ī, ś, ṣ). It is actually very easy to type on a Mac using diacritics, once you get your machine properly...

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Podcast Interview With J. Brown

In this wide-ranging long form interview with prominent yoga teacher and podcaster, J. Brown, the two discuss Seth's personal background, journey into yoga, and pursuing a PhD at Harvard. In the second half J. and Seth get into some issues regarding the history and interpretation of yoga philosophy, Patañjali's Yogasūtras, the practice of yoga philology, scholarship and practice, and much more! 

Listen to the full episode here: 

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An Introduction to Sanskrit: The Language of Yoga

sanskrit Jan 04, 2019

“refined, ornamented, perfected”

“language of the gods”

Sanskrit is one of the most ancient continuously used languages in the world. Known by tradition as the language spoken by the gods (devavāṇī), it is understood as the “perfected” language (samskrta). For many, Sanskrit is revered as the language and voice (vac) of the entire cosmos—the vibratory ground of reality itself (śabda-brahman). In the Ṛg Veda, Vāc is personified as a Goddess, from whom the entire world assumes its multitude of forms. In later...

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