Christmas Intensive 2021
“The Inward Journey through Asana” – Jayne Orton
“An Introduction to the Upanisads” – Edwin Bryant
Asanas with Jayne: Daily 9:00am – 12:00pm
Break: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
An Introduction to the Upanisads with Edwin : Daily 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Asana classes will be taught by Jayne on four consecutive mornings. The classes are suitable for both Iyengar Yoga Teachers and students experienced in the method at an Intermediate level and without serious medical conditions.
Philosophy sessions will be taught by Edwin on four consecutive afternoons.
About the afternoon sessions...
The Upanisads are the earliest source of Vedic texts wherein can be found the roots of all later Hinduism. It is in these texts that we find notions such as yoga, karma, moksa, atman, reincarnation, bhakti etc first clearly expressed. All later schools of yoga trace their origins back to The Upanisads, so they stand as the foundation of all traditional Hindu spirituality. We can recall that in his first Sutra Patanjali uses the verbal noun ‘anusasanam’. The Sanskrit prefix ‘anu’ means the continuation of an activity. Patanjali is not claiming is to present a new method, but continuing the ancient teachings. This raises the question – ‘continuing from where’? It is, in fact, the Upanisads that we find the earliest and most sacrosanct references to meditational practices that are the clear forerunners of what Patanjali later further systemises and embellishes. All later Hindu schools of yoga trace their origins back to the Upanisads, so they stand as the foundation of all traditional Hindu spirituality – the Gita quotes two verses from the Upanisads verbatim, and echoes numerous others. The Upanisads are also the main canonical texts for the variegated Vedanta traditions, which base their various understandings of the relationship between Brahman, the Absolute Truth, the atman, the individual soul or consciousness in al embodied beings, and the world.
This course will engage the most famous and oft quoted selections from the Upanisads. We will find the earliest seeds of Indian philosophy in these texts, as well as beautiful metaphorically delivered expressions of the spiritual quest. This course is primarily an opportunity to absorb our minds in some of the earliest spiritual insights and teachings in the literary history of humanity.
Course reader: Olivelle, Patrick. The Upanisads, Oxford: Oxford University Press,1996.
Students are requested to bring this translation of the Upanisads, as we will be reading passages from this as the mainstay of the course.
Jayne Orton is an Advanced level Iyengar teacher and long-time student of BKS Iyengar having practised his system devotedly since 1975. She has taught Guruji’s method in Birmingham since 1980 and has been Director of the Iyengar Yoga Institute since 2002. Jayne has travelled teaching intensives all over the world for over 25 years and is now online! She has a great interest in how Guruji’s method of practice builds through fascinating sequencing so one is able to achieve asanas never thought possible - whilst keeping the mind in the present moment .
Edwin Bryant is a Professor of Religions of India at Rutgers University, New York. He has published several books and authored a number of articles on Vedic history, yoga and the Krishna tradition. In addition to his academic courses he currently teaches workshops for yoga studios and teacher training courses all over the world and is also now teaching online.