The Śivayogapradīpikā, or the “Lamp on Śiva Yoga” is a lesser-known Sanskrit text on yoga from medieval South India. Written by Cennasadāśivayogin in the early fifteenth century, this treatise offers important teachings on the psychophysical practices of Haṭha and Rājayoga. This online course will offer, for the first time, an in-depth study of the Śivayogapradīpikā–its historical context, significance, theory, and praxis–through a careful line by line study of the text in Sanskrit and English.
Divided into five chapters, and spread across nearly 300 verses, the Pradīpikā teaches a unique system of Aṣṭāṅgayoga, or eight-limbed yoga practice–similar, yet distinct from Patañjali’s well-known model in the Yogasūtra. What is perhaps most unique about the Śivayogapradīpikā, is that its Aṣṭāṅgayoga is taught as a form of ritual worship (pūjā) within a devotional (bhakti) context. Rather than worshiping the deity externally in the temple, the Śivayogin is taught to worship Śiva internally within one’s own mind-body, through the ritual practice of Aṣṭāṅgayoga.
The author of the text, Cennasadāśivayogin belonged to a south-Indian religious tradition called the Vīraśaivas (“Heroic Devotees of Śiva”), who it turns out, were important to the early and formative history of Haṭhayoga in the Deccan region of South India. The study of the Śivayogapradīpikā is thus an invitation to step into the fascinating world of medieval yoga, Śaivism, ritual, and devotion in fifteenth-century south India.
The Śivayogapradīpikā in Translation
No prior study of Sanskrit is required, and no textbook is required for purchase. Enrolled students will receive a PDF of Dr. Powell’s Sanskrit critical edition and English translation–which will serve as the primary text for the course.
Students will leave the course with a much deeper appreciation and understanding of Haṭha and Rājayoga in premodern India, sharper tools to critically read and engage a Sanskrit yoga treatise in translation, and clearer insight into how contemporary yoga practices relate or not to premodern forms of yoga in India.
- Each Weekly Module includes: 2 live classes, readings, and a quiz.
- Live Class Sessions (90 min)
- Tues/Thur @ 10:00-11:30am Pacific Time
- All live sessions will take place via Zoom and will be recorded for later viewing.
Students Will Receive:
- 12 live class sessions + recordings (90 min each)
- 5 YS Credits
- 18 Hours of CE credit with YA
- Course Syllabus (PDF)
- Sanskrit-English edition and translation (PDF)
- 6 Multiple Choice Quizzes
- Yogic Studies Certificate (PDF)
- Access to the private Community Forum
Dr. Seth Powell
PhD, Harvard University
Founder and Director, Yogic Studies
Seth Powell is a scholar of Indian religions, Sanskrit, and yoga traditions, who earned his PhD in South Asian Religions at Harvard University. His dissertation comprised a critical edition, translation, and detailed study of a 15th-century Sanskrit yoga text from south India known as the Śivayogapradīpikā—which uniquely combines yoga, ritual, and devotion. He also works extensively on the visual and material culture of yoga in premodern India, uncovering yoga's past through temple sculptures.
As an educator, Seth is passionate about sharing the latest academic research on yoga's vast history and philosophies and 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 founded Yogic Studies in 2018 and serves as the Director and Head Faculty. He is also the host of The Yogic Studies Podcast.
This course is eligible for 18 hours of Continued Education (CE) credits with Yoga Alliance
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