This online course is designed to give students an understanding of the development of modern yoga in the West in areas including the United States and England, Europe and Australia, Latin America, Russia, and Japan. Students will encounter large-scale historical narratives and key figures in the development of modern yoga in the West, while also engaging with lesser-known characters and fascinating case studies.
While we will move chronologically from the turn-of-the-century to the Second World War, and then through the Counterculture and New Age movement to yoga’s recent boom in popularity, we will also have an eye towards several running themes throughout this history such as modern yoga’s use of medical science, the role of media and technology in the spread of modern yoga, questions of cultural appropriation and consumer culture, scandal and critiques of yoga, the influence of colonialism and geopolitics, and the changing nature of the guru/student model. We will conclude with a look at the current state of modern yoga in the West as well as several key issues and ongoing controversies.
Module 1 — Coming to Terms with Modern Yoga in the West
Module 2 — Mental and Magical: The Early History of Modern Yoga in the West
Module 3 — Physical and Postural: The Recent History of Modern Yoga in the West
Module 4 — Current Trends and Future Issues
- 4 pre-recorded Lectures (90 min each)
- Lectures will release on Fridays, and students can view them anytime thereafter.
- Each Module also includes: recommended weekly readings and a quiz.
- 4 Live Q&A Sessions (90 min)
- Fridays @ 10:00am - 11:30am Pacific
- November 25, December 2, 9, 16
- All live sessions will take place via Zoom and will be recorded for later viewing.
Students Will Receive:
- 4 Pre-recorded Video + Audio lectures (90 min)
- 4 Live Q&A sessions (90 min)
- 4 YS Credits
- 12 Hours of CE credit with YA
- Course Syllabus (PDF)
- Weekly Readings (PDF)
- 4 Multiple Choice Quizzes
- Yogic Studies Certificate (PDF)
- Access to the private Community Forum
PhD Candidate, University of California, Santa Barbara
Philip Deslippe is a historian of American religion with a background in Asian American Studies, American Studies, and literature. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he is writing a dissertation on the early history of yoga in the United States.
Philip has published articles on the history of modern yoga in academic journals such as the Journal of Yoga Studies, Amerasia, Japanese Religions, and Sikh Formations, and in popular venues including Tricycle, Yoga Journal, Air and Space Smithsonian, and the Indian news site Scroll. He has presented his work at several dozen academic conferences, given guest lectures for courses at Stanford, UCLA, Duke, and UC Santa Barbara, and was a lecturer for the teacher training program at Avalon Yoga in Palo Alto, California for over five years. His writing has been translated into Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Turkish.
"This is an incredible course! Anyone who has more than a passing interest in yoga and its place in the contemporary scene needs to listen to Philip's presentation. Highly recommended for yoga practitioners, scholars, teachers and for anyone having an interest in the contemporary culture scene in the West."
— YS 102 Student
"YS 102 is a fascinating overview of the development of modern yoga in the west. The teacher, Philip Deslippe, organised the material well and presented it in an accessible way. I liked how he defined the terms he was using, and was clear about his methodology. The format of the course was engaging, making good use of the online platform, with video lectures that included visual materials, and Q & A sessions with diverse views being expressed. This course had the right amount of depth and breadth for me. I found it very informative and thought provoking and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in how yoga has developed and what forces are changing it into the future. It might just change how you think about yoga!"
— Martha Goldman, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
"YS 102 opened my mind to look deeper at the sources of information and the motivation behind teachers, gurus, and history books. Very interesting material... this course actually made me start trusting myself more as a teacher!"
— Maria Novak, Madison, Wisconsin
"YS 102 was an excellent course that helped me better understand the context for the work I do. Philip’s teaching helped expose a lot of false yoga mythology that I have absorbed under the guise of tradition. I am grateful for his work and gentle guidance around sometimes tricky topics. I highly recommend this class."
— Sarah Henderson, Charlotte, North Carolina
"I loved Phillip's pragmatic approach. This course filled in a lot of gaps in my understanding of the History of Modern Yoga in the West. It was like a really cool, yet abbreviated, Religious Studies course."
— YS 102 Student
"I loved Philip’s teaching style. He made the material accessible, interesting, and fun! I would jump at a chance to take more classes with him!"
— YS 102 Student
This course is eligible for 12 hours of Continued Education (CE) credits with Yoga Alliance
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