Yogic Living: Oxford Weekend School, 19–20 October

Oxford Weekend School: Yogic Living, 19–20 October 2019


How do we describe one of steady wisdom and steadfast meditation?
How do they speak? How do they sit? How do they move?
(Arjuna’s query in Bhagavad Gita 2.54)

Mindfulness, goodness, conscious living – traditionally these underpin yogic living. They are what makes one a yogi. On this weekend we link classical understandings of these topics to our own lives. We explore yogic ideas and practices that transform life for the better.

We discover yoga off the mat and without matted hair. A 21st century yoga that doesn’t depend on retreating to the forest.

At the heart of yoga is an understanding of how the self and the world around us can be radically transformed. Yogic practice has the power to change old realities into new and brighter ones.

We take Arjuna’s query above and broaden it. How do they eat? What are their ethics? What is their state of mind? How do they meditate, and on what? What is their source of knowledge? How do they understand the changing world around them? And fundamentally, how do they transcend suffering and cultivate joy?


Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 October 2019
Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (Saturday)
Worcester College, Oxford (Sunday)


Timings (each day)
Morning: 10.00am–1.00pm (includes tea break)
Lunch Break: 1.00–3.00pm
Afternoon: 3.00–5.30pm (includes tea break)


Enrolment fee of £345
includes teas/coffees,
and lunch on Saturday

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Saturday Morning

The Choices that Shape Us

We begin with a philosophical look at matter – the stuff of life – from the workings of the universe to the micro-cosmos of the mind and body. Using a framework supplied by Bhagavad Gita and Samkhya Karika we examine the gunas, the threads of the universe: Goodness, Passion, and Ignorance. We reflect on how this framework can inform our life: what we eat, how we spend our leisure time, how we organise our surroundings, and what habits we form.

Tutor: Anuradha Dooney
Eat Like a Yogi

Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga. It is the art of self-healing brought about by a balanced life-style, routine, and diet. In this session we learn about the three doshas (energies) – kapha, vata, pitta – and the six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent. We see how they work together and learn to make conscious decisions on when, what, and most importantly how to eat for a good and peaceful life.

Tutor: Dr Daria Ricchi

Saturday Afternoon

Yoga for the Welfare of the World?

We discuss the tension between social activity and inward retreat by looking at yogic texts. Early yogis were ascetics. They renounced engagement with worldly affairs. However the tradition also gives us a route to be socially active while upholding yogic values. We will explore this route and how it relates to modern practice.

Tutor: Daniel Simpson
Yoga Ethics: the Good, the Right, and the Real

Traditionally, yoga can be seen as a key link between two other value systems – dharma (duty) and bhakti (devotion). Therefore we can discern an ethics of yoga that leads us to a deep sense of what is good and what is right. This is rooted in a cultivation of yogic way of seeing things – especially living beings – as they truly are.

Tutor: Simon Haas

Sunday Morning

Suffering and the Pursuit of Happiness

The driving force in life, according to Hindu texts, is the longing for lasting happiness. Fulfilling that desire is life’s greatest aim. However, the same texts tell us that suffering is inevitable. Although these two states – happiness and suffering – may seem to be in tension, Hindu traditions teach that to attain true happiness one first has to understand suffering. Drawing on the Upaniṣads and the Purāṇas as well as the teachings of Hindu saints, we will explore the lessons that suffering provides in Hindu spiritual practice.

Tutor: Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
The Yogic Mind

How do we understand the mind? What practices help to control it? Is it necessary to control it? The mind has been compared to an octopus, grasping in all directions. Sometimes it’s our best friend and sometimes our worst enemy. In this session we learn and experience some strategies to harness the mind drawing on lessons from Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras.

Tutor: Alan Herbert

Sunday Afternoon

Mantra Yoga

From the earliest days of vedic ritual, mantras have been chanted. Sacred sound is considered an embodiment of the power of truth and order and a way to connect our world with the cosmos. Tantric, yoga, and devotional traditions have all harnessed the power of mantra to transform the self, deepen awareness, invoke the mercy of the Deity, even to gain mystic abilities. Inherent in the practice of mantras is the idea that sound and consciousness are linked.This session draws from the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita and gives students experience in chanting mantras and sacred sound vibration.

Tutor: Nandana Nagraj
How to Know: Knowledge, Experience, Faith

How does the yogi learn? We conclude the weekend with an examination of how knowledge is gained, using Indian philosophy as our guide. We learn how the pramans (ways of knowledge) work and how they can lead to higher truth. Finally, we discuss the role of personal experience in relation to faith and knowledge. Is experience a viable means of gaining knowledge of that which, by definition, is unknowable? As well as the Bhagavad Gita, we will refer to the Shiva-jnana-bodham, from the Tamil Shaivite tradition.

Tutor: Dr Nick Sutton


Daniel Simpson
Daniel Simpson

Daniel is one of our key tutors. He teaches the Philosophy of Yoga and the Veda and Upanishads courses. A Visiting Scholar to the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies in 2019, Daniel has a Master’s degree in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation from SOAS, University of London. He’s a devoted practitioner of asana, pranayama, and meditation. Daniel’s experience as a foreign correspondent helps him make complex subjects accessible.

Dr Nick Sutton
Dr Nick Sutton

Nick is the Director – and the heart and soul – of the OCHS Continuing Education Department. He is a dedicated teacher with decades of experience in making sometimes-confusing traditions relevant. He has created ten online courses and is working on many more. He has written translations and commentary on Bhagavad Gītā and the Yoga Sūtra.

Anuradha Dooney

Anuradha Dooney

Anuradha was awarded a Masters in the Study of Religion at Oxford. She is a faculty member of the OCHS Continuing Education Department and has played a key role in curriculum development.

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms

Rembert Lutjeharms OCHS

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms, OCHS Librarian and chief Sanskritist, studied Oriental Studies at the University of Ghent, Belgium, and went on to achieve his doctorate at Oxford. He now lectures in Hinduism at Oxford while pursuing research in Sanskrit poetry, Bengali Vaishnavism, and Sanskrit hermeneutics.

Dr Kenneth Valpey

Ken Valpey is one of the OCHS’s early students receiving his Doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2004. He is a theologian with a particular interest in animal ethics. He is an OCHS Fellow and a co-director of our Bhagavata Purana Research Project.

Alan Herbert
Alan Herbert

An OCHS student, Alan Herbert is pursuing a D.Phil. in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford.

Dr Daria Ricchi
Dr Daria Ricchi

Daria is an Ayurveda counsellor from the Kripalu School of Yoga and Ayurveda and a researcher. She has a Ph.D. in History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton, and she is working on the effect of architectural space on our body and mind. Daria is also a certified vinyasa and yin asana teacher. She has been working for a decade with all range of bodies and minds, reaching different age groups.

Nandana Nagraj
Nandana Nagraj

Nandana studied Sanskrit in a traditional gurukulam in India and has an M.Sc. in Business Administration. She has led the Easwaramma Women’s Welfare Trust, edited Indian philosophy and Sanskrit texts, and worked on app development.


Worcester College

Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (Saturday)
Worcester College, Oxford (Sunday)
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OCHS Summer School 2019

On Saturday, a simple and tasty vegetarian (with vegan options) meal will be served at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.


Enrolment fee £345
includes teas/coffees,
and lunch on Saturday


* = required field

Contact us

Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

13-15 Magdalen St
Oxford OX1 3AE

Regd Charity No. 1074458

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