Introduction to Hindu Ritual, Yoga, Caste, and Gender

Introduction to Hinduism - Hindu Studies Online

This course provides the ultimate introduction to Hinduism, from religious practice to temple ritual to classical yoga and its influence on Hindu culture. This course also includes a comprehensive look at Hindu society as well as an exploration into the caste system.  This course also looks at how does gender plays out within modern Hinduism. This course is ideal for students wanting to expand their general knowledge of Hindu culture and religion. This course particularly focuses on social and cultural aspects, which can help students to gain a more well-rounded understanding of modern Hinduism and how it has developed over time.

Over 7 sessions, this course provides a detailed and engaging introduction to the fundamentals of Hinduism culture and religion. As well as discussing gender and the caste system, this course will also look at Hindu religious literature and through guided sessions, discuss the ways in which Hinduism has faced challenges posed by foreign rule and the onset of modernity.

For more information, take a look at the course breakdown below. If you’re looking for a different course, view our Understanding Hinduism Learning Pathway.

Start Date: 13 October 2024

Course Duration: Seven Weeks

Course Tutor(s): Gitte Poulsen

Course Creator(s): Dr Nick Sutton

207 pages

Optional Assessment: Essay

Pathway(s): Introduction to Hinduism, Yoga Studies

On-Demand Video

The main video component of your course. On-demand means you can watch at the time that suits you.

5hr 9min

Introduction to Hindu Ritual, Yoga, Caste, and Gender



Introduction to Hinduism, Session One: Devotion, Worship, and Ritual

In this session we consider how devotional teachings are reflected in ritual and spontaneous worship. We also include a brief discussion of Vedic fire rituals and Hindu temple worship.

Session Two: Knowledge and Yoga

We continue our consideration of Hindu religious practice with a look at how spiritual knowledge is pursued, with an emphasis on yoga exercises.

Session Three: Caste System

Turning to social Hinduism, we now consider the caste system, and how it is related to Hindu beliefs. We also look at examples of Hindu opposition to caste barriers.

Session Four: Gender Issues

In this session, we consider the role and status of women in Hindu religious teachings as well as marriage and family life.

Session Five: Modern Trends, Part 1

We begin to consider how a number of modern Hindu teachers have sought to reinterpret and reform the tradition. How have they challenged established practices in relation to caste and gender? How do they seek to establish forms of Hinduism appropriate for the modern age.

Session Six: Modern Trends, Part 2

We move into the post-independence (1947) era, considering how Hinduism has been affected by secularism and the pervasive influence of modernity.

Session Seven: Reading Hindu Texts

We conclude by looking at some of the most important Hindu texts, including passages from the Upanishads and Bhagavad-gita, as well as Hindu devotional literature.


Your Tutor

Gitte Poulsen

Gitte Poulsen

Gitte has a Masters in Religious Studies from Aarhus University, Denmark but has completed most of her studies in Varanasi, India, and as a visiting student at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Gitte’s focus is on Yoga, Tantra, and Sanskrit. She is also a dedicated practitioner of āsana and prāṇāyāma. She manages the OCHS Kathmandu Office where she oversees the daily operation and focuses on Nepali and Newari language as well as Śākta traditions among the Newar community of The Kathmandu Valley.

Introduction to Hinduism - Hindu Studies Online
Introduction to Hindu Ritual, Yoga, Caste, and Gender
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