YS 202 | The Yogas of the Bhagavad Gītā

26-hour online course 
with Seth Powell (Harvard University)


Distance Learning

Study the history and philosophy of yoga, at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home. 

Digital Svādhyāya

Engage in the traditional practice of "Self-Study," using the latest in modern online learning technologies.

Online Community

Join a thriving online community of yoga teachers, practitioners, and students from around the world. 

Looking to deepen your study of yoga philosophy? Would you like to read and study the Bhagavad Gītā in a formal way, together with a group of yogis from around the world?

Join Seth Powell, PhD Candidate at Harvard University, and a global cohort of students, for this exciting opportunity to dive deep into the timeless wisdom and teachings of the Bhagavad Gītā. This new online course will provide you with an in-depth immersion into the history, philosophy, and theology of the Gītā. Through recorded video lectures, intimate Q&A sessions, readings, and quizzes, together we will immerse into a close and thorough study of one of yoga’s most ancient, important, and mis-understood scriptures!

The Bhagavad Gītā, the "Song of the Lord"—or simply the Gītā, as it is affectionately known—is one of India's and yoga's most beloved scriptures. Through this timeless dialogue between Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa—warrior and charioteer, student and teacher, devotee and God—we are invited into a rich study and reflection on the meaning of life, one’s social and moral duty (dharma), ethical action (karma), devotion (bhakti), as well as the theory and disciplines of yoga. 
Seeking to read the Gītā in its historical and philosophical context, this course will give special attention to the various teachings on yoga in the Gītā, including three of the earliest definitions of yoga in a Sanskrit text! We will explore the well-known (but often misunderstood) models of Karmayoga (“the yoga of action”), Jñānayoga (“the yoga of knowledge”), and Bhaktiyoga (“the yoga of devotion”)—as well as lesser-known forms such as Buddhiyoga (“the yoga of discernment) and Dhyānayoga (“the yoga of meditation”).
As we will see, unlike more ascetic models of classical Yoga which suggest that the yogi must retreat from the world, the Gītā’s universal message promotes a social ethic of engaging in the world through disciplined yogic practice, by turning all of one’s activities into humble yogic service and devotion. Throughout this course, we will reflect on the ethical and philosophical challenges the Gītā puts forth, contemplating their relation to our own modern lives and yoga practice.

Topics covered in this course include:

  • The "epic" context: The Gītā within the Mahābhārata
  • The doctrines of Karma + Saṃsāra
  • The meaning of Dharma
  • The relations between asceticism, ritual, and worldly life
  • The complexities of caste and class
  • Understanding the concepts of Ātman and Brahman
  • Early definitions of the term "Yoga"
  • Karmayoga, the "Yoga of Action"
  • Jñānayoga, the "Yoga of Knowledge"
  • Bhaktiyoga, the "Yoga of Devotion"
  • The relationship between Sāṅkhya, Yoga, and Vedānta
  • The influence of Buddhism and Jainism
  • The Gītā's relationship to the Vedas and Upaniṣads
  • Parallels between the Gītā and the Yogasūtra
  • The Gītā's inclusive theology and the nature of God
  • Understanding the various Sanskrit Commentaries
  • The ethics of the Gītā: Hiṃsā or Ahiṃsā? 
  • And much more!

Students enrolled in this course will receive:

  • 7 pre-recorded video lectures + Q&A (2-3 hours)
  • 7 pre-recorded Q&A sessions (1 hour)
  • 26 Hours of CE credit
  • Course Syllabus with Recommended Readings (PDF)
  • Additional Handouts (PDF)
  • Yogic Studies Certificate upon completion (PDF)
  • Access to the private Yogic Studies Online Community Forum
  • BONUS resources to aid your continued study of the Gītā

This course is eligible for 26 hours of Continued Education (CE) credits with Yoga Alliance

Course Structure

Module 1 — An Introduction to the Gītā: The Song Within the Epic (Ch. 1)

Module 2 — The Nature of the Self, Sāṅkhya, and Yoga (Chs. 2-3)

Module 3 — The Way of Knowledge, Renunciation, and Meditation (Chs. 4-6)

Module 4 — Divine Knowledge, Brahman, & the Theology of Kṛṣṇa (Chs. 7-9)

Module 5 — Kṛṣṇa’s Universal Form & The Yoga of Devotion (Chs. 10-12)

BONUS Module — Vedānta and the BhG Commentarial Tradition

Module 6 — Primordial Nature & the Eternal Person, Prakṛti & Puruṣa (Chs. 13-15)

Module 7 — Concluding the Gītā: The Supreme Secret of Yoga (Chs. 16-18)

Your Instructor

Seth Powell is a longtime practitioner of yoga and a scholar of Indian religions, Sanskrit, and yoga traditions, and is the founder of Yogic Studies. He is currently a PhD Candidate in South Asian Religions at Harvard University, where he is writing his dissertation on the history, theory, and practice of medieval and early modern yoga traditions. Seth also holds degrees in the study of religion from the University of Washington (MA) and Humboldt State University (BA). He has taught and lectured for numerous university courses on the religions and literature of India, Hinduism, Buddhism, and yoga traditions, and presents his research regularly at international conferences.

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. 

Enrollment is OPEN

This course is set up for self-study. Sign up today to begin moving through the modules at your own pace.

2 Monthly Payments

$118 x 2



Onetime Payment




Testimonials for Yogic Studies

"Even though I have been studying BG since 2004, there’s so much more to learn, and this course has provided a lot of academic background and contextual-applied knowledge to keep the process of learning. Thank you Seth!"

Vishvanath | Diego Maldonado
Owner and director of Dhatri, Yoga and Ayurveda School - Santiago, Chile

"I enjoyed this course and got a lot out of it. I had read a version of the Gītā before but Schweig's translation, along with the easy-to-follow commentaries and explanations in the lectures and Q&A sessions within this course, helped me dive deeper and gain a different perspective on a number of levels. Thanks, Seth!"

YS 202 Student

"I have struggled to appreciate the Gītā for many years. I would begin reading and become easily discouraged. This course has provided me with a depth of understanding and appreciation that I never thought was possible."

YS 202 Student

"This course is just AMAZING and comprehensive! The lovers of the Gītā and students will find a lot of interesting resources and discussions. A must for those seeking to understand yoga philosophy! "

Yoga Teacher and Trainer - France

"As a long time student and teacher, I feel lucky to have found Seth Powell and Yogic Studies. It's such a gift to have access to easily understandable and current information about the long and complex history of yoga. Seth has the special skill of making this esoteric material accessible and enjoyable to all of us."

Jivana Heyman
Founder & Director, Accessible Yoga

"Seth knows his stuff! Each week his material was clearly and accessibly presented, completely relevant, and helpfully illustrated. Unlike many academics researching yoga today, Seth's talks were uncluttered with academic jargon, yet he never once talked down to his audience. His smile and enthusiasm were infectious, I looked forward with anticipation to each week's release... This is a terrific introduction to the history and philosophy of yoga, highly recommended to any serious student."

Richard Rosen
Yoga Teacher, Author of "Original Yoga: Rediscovering Traditional Practices of Hatha Yoga"

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