Past Events

The Yoga of Mantra & Sacred Singing with Sheela Bringi
University Hall 3700, Theological Studies Village, Loyola Marymount University. Wednesday, May 20. 8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Participants enjoyed the rapturous melodies (raga) of Indian classical music, learned sacred mantras, and participated in call-and-response Kirtan. 

Sheela Bringi, MFA, is a sacred music performer, educator and recording artist. She holds a master’s degree in World Music Performance - North Indian Music from the California Institute of the Arts. Sheela has trained extensively in North Indian classical music with maestros including Pandit G. S. Sachdev and Ustad Aashish Khan, as well as contemporary music with modern greats such as Cecil Taylor and Fred Frith. Raised in the foothills of Colorado, Sheela comes from a family of spiritual teachers, yogis, scholars and devotional musicians from South India. She received training in Vedic chanting, meditation and Hindu religious traditions from her mother, Sreedevi Bringi, a professor of Hinduism, Sanskrit and Yoga Philosophy at Boulder’s Naropa University. Sheela leads workshops around the world on mantra and the sacred music of India. 

As a performer and recording artist, Sheela sings and plays the harp, harmonium and classical Indian bansuri (bamboo flute). Sheela released her first solo album, Incantations, in 2014 to critical acclaim from media including National Public Radio, and has been featured on numerous albums and soundtracks. She has performed worldwide in a wide range of venues, including concert halls and universities presenting traditional material, yoga studios leading kirtans and in dance clubs overtop throbbing, bass-heavy beats (she’s toured with Karsh Kale, DJ Drez, and many others).

The Upanishads with Professor Christopher Chapple
YogaGlo, 1800 Berkeley St, Santa Monica, CA 90404. Friday, May 15 + 22. 9 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Participants joined Professor Christopher Chapple during a special two day retreat-like event at YogaGlo. Topics included the Horse Sacrifice, the stories of Satyakama, Naciketas, and Prajapati, the teachings of Yajnavalkya, Om in the Mandukya, and Yoga in the Svetasvatara and Maitri Upanisads.

Graduate Colloquium 2015

University Hall 3700, Theological Studies Village, Loyola Marymount University. Monday, April 27; Wednesday, April 29; Monday, May 4. 7:30 p.m.

These three special evenings were spent sharing and recognizing the culminating projects of the first generation of students in the Masters of Arts in Yoga Studies.

LMU Yoga Studies Residency at The Covenant House (NYC)

LMU's Yoga Studies faculty and graduate students arrived on Ash Wednesday, February 18, 2015 to begin a six week residency at Covenant House in New York City.  Professor Chris Chapple and six graduate students (Angela Saucedo, Dava Schatz, Jai Levin, Danielle Fowler, Jake Jacobs, and La Toiya Morrison) conducted several daily Yoga and meditation classes to the many youth served at Covenant House, as well as staff from Human Resources, Facilities, Job Placement, and the Mother-Child Program.  Covenant House is the nation's largest provider of transitional housing to displaced youth between the ages of 18 and 21, working with 3000 individuals each year in New York City.  The program ended on Good Friday, April 3rd.  Tom Kennedy, Senior Vice President for Programs, wrote: "Hello All:  I have been wanting to thank you all in some special way since you left.  You know I am a man of many words.  However, you have all brought me to pause.  All I can say is I and we miss you and I and we are eternally grateful for you.  You have changed us.  Our thanks to you is we will do everything in our power to continue what you have begun.  Action speaks louder than words.  And more loudly still our love which we extend everyday to you as part of our Covenant Community."  

Hindu Puja and the Christian Eucharist: A Theological Comparison with Noel Sheth
University Hall 3700, Theological Studies Village. Wednesday, April 15, 2015 from 8:00 - 9:30 p.m.

Participants engaged with Fr. Noel Sheth, S.J., a Professor of Indian Philosophies and Religions (Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pontifical Institute of Philosophy and Religion, Pune, India), former Rector of Papal Seminary (Pune) and reputed scholar in Sanskrit and Pali, for a lecture and discussion.

Thinking with the Yoga Sutra: Translation, Interpretation
Loyola Marymount University. Friday - Saturday, April 10 - 11, 2015.
Video link:

An international group of scholars from Israel, Germany, England, Canada, and various American universities converged at LMU on April 10 and 11, 2015 to discuss current research and to share their work with Yoga Studies graduate students and members of the Yoga community.  Topics included Yoga's usefulness for dealing with trauma, the role of physical postures in Yoga, theological aspects of Yoga, and its role in Indian and American cultural history. Professor Andrea Jain of Indiana University presented the Annual Virchand Gandhi Jain Lecture on Friday night on Jaina Yoga.   

Friday, April 10

Session 1: 9 a.m. - Noon (Malone 112AB, Loyola Marymount University)
   Mario Kozah
   Philipp Maas
   Sthaneshwar Timalsina
   Nischala Joy Devi

Session 2: 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Malone 112AB, Loyola Marymount University)
   Arindam Chakrabarti
   Kevin Perry Maroufkhani
   Stephanie Corigliano
   Yohan Grinshpon
   Andrew Nicholson
   Stuart Sarbacker

Jain Modern Yoga and the Quest for Authenticity: The Yoga Sutra in the Thought of Virchand Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, and Other Modern Yoga Thinker7:30 p.m. (The McIntosh Center, University Hall 3999, Loyola Marymount University)
    Dr. Andrea Jain 

Saturday, April 11 
Session 1: 9 a.m. - Noon (Seaver 200, Loyola Marymount University)
   Chris Chapple
   Daniel Raveh
   Mikel Burley
   Ana Funes

Session 2: 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Seaver 200, Loyola Marymount University)
   Edwin Bryant
   Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
   Ian Whicher
   Stephen Phillips   


Edwin Bryant
Rutgers University

TitleĪśvara in Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra

Description: In this paper, I will argue that the Isvara element in Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra cannot be considered in isolation or immunized from the late and post-Vedic Īśvara traditions that had long been sweeping over the North of the subcontinent by the time of the composition of the text. Much scholarship on the sutras seems to downplay or bypass the corollaries of this, viz., the prima facie view that Patañjali was, in all probability, either a Vaishnava or Śaiva.  This paper will engage this issue, examining the characteristics pertaining to Īśvara specified in Patañjali’s minimalistic sutras in the context of the greater theistic landscape of the time.

Bio: Edwin Bryant a professor at Rutgers University where he teaches courses on Hindu philosophy and religion. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, published six books and authored a number of articles on Vedic history, yoga, and the Krishna tradition. In addition to his academic work for the scholarly community, Edwin's Penguin World Classics translation of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana, the traditional source for the story of Krishna's incarnation, is both for Indology specialists as well as students and those interested in Hinduism from the general reading public and the yoga community.


Mikel Burley
University of Leeds

Title: The Purported Realism of Classical Yoga

Description: It is often assumed by modern interpreters that the objections to Buddhist idealism raised in traditional commentaries on sūtras 4.14-22 accurately reflect an anti-idealist bent in the Yoga Sūtra itself. Drawing upon my research into Classical Yoga and Samkhya, and giving close attention to sūtra 4.14 in particular, I argue that the foregoing assumption is dubious.

Bio: Mikel Burley is Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Leeds. His research interests include interdisciplinary and cross-cultural philosophy of religion, the relation between soteriology and philosophy, and the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the area of Yoga studies, his publications include Haṭha-Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice (Motilal Banarsidass, 2000), Classical Sāṃkhya and Yoga: An Indian Metaphysics of Experience (Routledge, 2007), and “‘A Petrification of One’s Own Humanity?’ Nonattachment and Ethics in Yoga Traditions,” Journal of Religion 94(2): 204-228.


Christopher Key Chapple
Loyola Marymount University

Title: The Path to Origins: Pratiprasava

Description: his presentation will examine directionality as construed in the Yoga Sūtra.  The practitioner of Yoga, rather than remaining outward-facing and prompted by afflictions (kleśa), seeks to understand and gain mastery over the fettering habits that cause suffering.  Both physiological and psychological aspects will be discussed of this practice.

Bio: Dr. Christopher Key Chapple is the Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His research interests have focused on the renouncer religious traditions of India: Yoga, Jainism, and Buddhism. He has published several books with SUNY Press, including Karma and Creativity (1986), Nonviolence to AnimalsEarth, and Self in Asian Traditions (1993), Reconciling Yogas (2003), and Yoga and the Luminous: Patanjali’s Spiritual Path to Freedom (2008). He has also edited and co-authored several books on religion and ecology, including Ecological Prospects: Religious, Scientific, and Aesthetic Perspectives (1994, SUNY), Hinduism and Ecology (2000, with Mary Evelyn Tucker, Harvard), Jainism and Ecology (2002, Harvard), Yoga and Ecology (2009, Deepak Heritage), and In Praise of Mother Earth: The Prthivi Sukta of the Atharva Veda (2011, with O.P. Dwivedi, winner, translation prize, Dharma Academy of North America). He also is editor of the journal Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology (Brill).


Arindam Chakrabarti and Kevin Perry Maroufkhani
University of Hawaii

Title: The Past, The Future, and the External World: Yoga Against Yogacara

Description: If one reads Patanjali's Yoga Sutra (YS) through the lens of the Yoga Vasistha (YV), one can identify strong pan-psychist and non-dualistic elements. By focusing on YS IV.12-24, we will show how the YS bhasya (commentary) explicitly embraces a pluralist realism about the past, the future and the external world, refuting the Mind-only position within the Buddhist tradition. Just before the yogin attains kaivalya (liberation), prasmkhyana (omniscience) may create the illusion of idealism. Final liberation, however, comes only when one is uninterested in such omniscience. Only then does the Yogin become a cloud of dharma and compassion for others.

Bio: Arindam Chakrabarti is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His major areas of specialization are the Philosophy of Language and Logic, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind, and Indian Philosophy. His major publications include Denying Existence, a book on negative existentials and fictional discourse; an introduction to 20th-century Western epistemology in Sanskrit; and five books in Bangla, the latest of which focuses on the philosophy of food and clothing. He has also co-edited several collections of texts, including Knowing from Words (with B.K.Matilal), Universals, Concepts and Qualities (with P.F. Strawson), ApohaBuddhist Nominalism (with Mark Siderits and Tom Tillemans), and Mahabharata Now (with Sibaji Bandyopadhyay). The Eastern Philosophy of Consciousness and the Humanities Project (EPOCH Project), which engages imagination, concepts and emotion, has also been established under his direction.

Bio: Kevin Perry Maroufkhani is a Ph.D. Candidate and Part-time Lecturer at University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is currently finishing his Ph.D. dissertation in comparative philosophy and comparative ethics, focusing on Madhyamaka Buddhist philosophy and systems of practical rationality in the West.


Stephanie Corigliano
Boston College

Title: The making and unmaking of the self: Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra and the experience of trauma

Description: Physical Yoga practice is effective for helping individuals heal from trauma and recover from addiction. Further, physical Yoga is often contextualized within the historical and theoretical purview of Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras. As such, it is important to consider the implication of samādhi and kaivalya as detachment oriented goals that are set forth in the YS. The following essay will present evidence for the effectiveness of Yoga therapy and its connection to the YS. Subsequently, I will consider the concepts of absorption or withdrawal (samādhi) and isolation or utter simplicity (kaivalya) in the context of extreme trauma and in the YS. This comparison highlights the need for a more careful articulation of samādhi/kaivalya in relation to healing therapies and within the field of Yoga philosophy.

Bio: Stephanie Corigliano is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Theology at Boston College.  Her dissertation, “A Hermeneutic of Modern Yoga: Detachment and Spiritual Practice in Christianity and Hinduism,” explores the dialectic tension between life-affirming goals in Yoga (health, balance, well-being) and the world-renouncing asceticism of traditional texts such as Patañjali’s Yogasutra through a comparative study with Christian spiritual praxis.  Previous work includes a master’s thesis entitled, “Eckhart and the Yoga Vasistha: A Comparative Analysis of Detachment and Just Action,” as well as an article and extensive research into the history of Christian Inculturation in India.  Stephanie first practiced with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Rangaswamy in 2000 and was authorized to teach by Jois in 2003.


Nischala Joy Devi
Abundant Wellbeing

Title: Interpreting Patanjali's Yoga Sūtra from a Heart Centered perspective

Description: Patanjali’s Yoga Sūtra has almost exclusively been translated and interpreted from a mental and intellectual view. Changing prospective, we look at it from a heart-centered, intuitive approach. This enables us to understand our true divine nature, see the divinity in others, and live from our hearts through honoring the ancient, yet eternally useful teachings. 

Bio: Nischala Joy Devi is a masterful teacher and healer. For many years she has been highly respected as an international advocate for her innovative way of expressing Yoga and its subtle uses for spiritual growth and complete healing. Her dynamic delivery and deep inner conviction empower each individual, allowing the teachings to expand beyond boundaries and limitations of any one tradition enabling her to touch people’s hearts. She is now dedicated to bringing the Feminine back into spirituality and the scriptures, in her book, The Secret Power of Yoga, a woman’s guide to the heart and spirit of the Yoga Sutras and Secret Power of Yoga Audio book Nautilus Book Silver Award Winner 2009!


Ana Funes
Loyola Marymount University

Title: The Perfect Body in Classical Yoga

Description: Yoga has been called a dualist system because of its alliance with Samkhyan metaphysics regarding the distinction between unconscious nature and self-aware consciousness. In sutra 4.19 Vyāsa argues, on the basis of an analogy between consciousness and space (ākāśa), that consciousness alone, and not the body-mind complex, is self-illuminating. I will show that this analogy could be applied just as much to the yogic notion of perfect body (kāyasampat), in which case we would have a strong phenomenological argument for a non-dualist philosophy of the body in the Yoga Sūtra.

Bio: Ana Funes completed her B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy with a focus on Philosophy of Religion at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, with theses on the topics of Advaita Vedanta and interpretations of the Yoga Sutra, respectively.  She is completing her Ph.D. in Comparative Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Hawaii under the guidance of Professor Arindam Chakrabarti. She is the Clinical Professor for Loyola Marymount University’s Master of Arts in Yoga Studies program.


Yohanan Grinshpon
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Title: The Siddhis and Philosophical Exercise in the Yoga Sūtra

Description: I will present the teaching of the siddhis in the Yoga Sūtra as a call for "effective imagination" (bhavana). By extrapolation, I view "calls for imagination" as one of the essential speech-acts of the Yoga Sūtra.

Bio: Yohanan Grinshpon serves as a lecturer at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where he teaches Indian culture and philosophy. His three books include, Silence Unheard; Deathly Otherness in Patanjala-Yoga (SUNY, 2001), Crisis and Knowledge; The Upanishadic Experience and Story-Telling (Oxford, 2003), and The Secret Sankara (Brill, 2011).


Andrea R. Jain
Indiana University

Title: Virchand Gandhi Jain Lecture

Description: I will situate the Yoga Sutra in the thought of two nineteenth-century thinkers, Virchand Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda, and their disseminations of Jain and Hindu traditions respectively. I will compare the role of the Yoga Sutra in their disseminations to the text’s place in late-twentieth century modern yoga systems, from the Jain preksha dhyana to popularized varieties, with special attention to Iyengar Yoga. I will argue that modern yoga systems cite the Yoga Sutra for varying reasons, ranging from establishing authority based on an ancient transmission going back to the Yoga Sutra to demonstrating that the Yoga Sutra, while authoritative, actually offers nothing more than what is already included in earlier sources that serve as a part of the relevant system’s transmission.

Bio: Andrea R. Jain is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis and author of Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014). Recently, she co-authored Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms (by Jeffrey J. Kripal et al., Wiley-Blackwell, 2014). Her recent publications also include articles in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and Nova Religio and book chapters in Gurus of Modern Yoga (ed. by Ellen Goldberg and Mark Singleton, Oxford University Press, 2014) and The Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion (ed. by Charles Farhadian and Lewis R. Rambo, Oxford University Press, 2014). She is a regular contributor to Religion Dispatches on topics relating to yoga in contemporary culture and Co-Chair of the Yoga in Theory and Practice Group of the American Academy of Religion.


Mario Kozah
American University of Beruit

Title: Liberation and Unification in al-Biruni's Arabic translation of the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali

Description: The fourth section of al-Biruni's "Book of Patanjali", his eleventh century Arabic translation of the Yoga-Sutras, is described as treating the subjects of liberation and unification.  This talk will consider the intellectual and philosophical challenge facing the medieval Arab Muslim reader when presented with the intricacy of composition, translation and allusion that permeates this final section.

Bio: Mario Kozah received his B.A. (Queens' College, 1998) and Ph.D. (Trinity Hall, 2002) from the University of Cambridge in Oriental Studies.  After a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he moved to Lebanon in 2003 and began teaching Arabic and Syriac language and literature at the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages and at CAMES. His first book is entitled The Syriac Writers of Qatar in the Seventh Century (Gorgias Press, 2014). He is currently preparing an anthology of writings by these same Syriac writers (forthcoming, Gorgias Press). In addition, he recently signed a contract with Cambridge Scholars Publishing to produce an edited volume on the Lebanese poet Jawdat Haydar entitled Jawdat Haydar’s Poetic Legacy: Issues of Modernity, Belonging, Language and Transcendence (CSP, 2015). Finally, his book manuscript entitled The Birth of Indology as an Islamic Science. Al-Biruni’s Treatise on Yoga Psychology has just been accepted by Brill Publishers for its series Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Science.


Philipp Maas
University of Vienna

Title: Once More on Postures in the Pātañjala Yogaśāstra

Description: In the present paper, I take a fresh look at the exposition of posture as an ancillary of yoga in Pātañjala Yogaśāstra 2.46-48. This passage contains the famous characterization of posture as sthirasukham, which was understood in various ways by the Sanskrit-commentators and by modern scholars and translators. By weighing these interpretations against each other and by drawing upon different textual versions of the passage under discussion as they are transmitted partly in unpublished manuscripts, I hope to arrive at an improved understanding of Patañjali’s conceptions of what postures are, how they are achieved and which purposes they serve.

Bio: Philipp André Maas is assistant professor at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. His first book (originally his PhD thesis) is the first critical edition of the first chapter (Samādhipāda) of the Pātañjala Yogaśāstra, i.e. the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali together with the commentary called Yoga Bhāṣya. He published, inter alia, on classical Yoga philosophy and meditation as well as on the textual tradition of the Pātañjala Yogaśāstra. For the last couple of years, he worked in several research projects directed by Prof. Karin Preisendanz (at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and at the University of Vienna, Austria) that aim at a critical edition of the third book (entitled Vimānasthāna) of the oldest classical text corpus of Āyurveda, the Carakasaṃhitā. Since 2009 he is a member of the “Historical Sourcebooks on Classical Indian Thought” project, convened by Prof. Sheldon Pollock, to which he contributes with a monograph on the development of Yoga-related ideas in pre-modern South Asian intellectual history.


Andrew Nicholson
Stony Brook University

Title: Patañjali in the Eyes of His Opponents

Description: In this talk I will focus on depictions of Patañjali's system of thought by those who argued against it in first- and early second-millenium India, such as Śaivas and Advaita Vedāntins. One of the shortcomings of 20th century studies of Patañjali's yoga was often a lack of attention to the legacy of Patañjali's Yoga Sūtra and the responses it generated from later thinkers. By looking at the ways Patañjali's ideas were denounced and/or appropriated in other texts, we can come to a better understanding of the Yoga system's place in the intellectual history of medieval India.

Bio: Andrew J. Nicholson is Associate Professor in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies and the Department of Philosophy at Stony Brook University. His first book, Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History (Columbia University Press, 2010), received the award for Best First Book in the History of Religions from the American Academy of Religion. His second book, Lord Śiva’s Song: The Īśvara Gītā (State University of New York Press, 2014), is a translation of and commentary on an 8th century Pāśupata work. He has written numerous articles on Indian philosophy and is the co-chair of the American Academy of Religion's "Yoga in Theory and Practice" Group.


Stephen Phillips
University of Texas, Austin

Title: Yoga and Classical Darśana

Description:  Largely unnoticed in textbook accounts of classical Indian philosophic schools is advocacy of yoga practice and alliance of Nyāya and Vedānta with teachings of the Yoga-sūtra. Yoga and Nyāya, for example, come to differ sharply in how nature is viewed, its components and causal laws. But on the side of subjectivity, puruṣa and ātman, there is more convergence than difference. And Advaita Vedāntins such as the great Śaṅkara propose practices of yoga as prerequisites for inquiry into Brahman the Absolute. At least three philosophic traditions converge in the commentaries of the tenth-century polymath Vācaspati Miśra who often shows influence from one or the other direction in his Yoga-sūtraNyāya-sūtra, and Bhāmatī commentaries. At the end of Nyāya-sūtra chapter four there is not only a substantial and remarkable stretch of sūtras devoted to yoga practice and liberating self-knowledge (NyS 4.2.38-49), there is also an implicit assimilation of philosophic debate as a yoga practice.

Bio: Stephen Phillips is professor of philosophy and Asian studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and has been visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and at Jadavpur University, Kolkata . He received a PhD from Harvard University (1982) after having attended Harvard College (A.B. 1975) and the Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education in Pondicherry. He is the author of seven books, including Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy (Columbia University Press), and Classical Indian Epistemology: The Knowledge Sources of the Nyāya School (Routledge). Phillips is perhaps best known for his first-time translations of late classical Sanskrit philosophic texts, including the thirteenth-century Tattva-cintā-maṇi (“Jewel of Reflection on the Truth about Epistemology”). He has lived in India about six years and sometimes teaches Sanskrit to yoga teachers. He regularly attends hatha-flow yoga classes and teaches a popular course on yoga philosophy and psychology, “Yoga as Philosophy and Practice.”


Daniel Raveh
Jawaharlal Nehru University

TitleAbhiniveśa: Pātañjala-yogaon Life and Death

Description: The aim of my paper is to speculate on what happens after death, a question about which, according to Yama (Death himself), even the gods have doubts. I will look for clues in Patañjali's commentators on the notion of abhiniveśa ("grasping onto life", or "fear of death"), which occurs in the kleśa scheme in chapter 2 of the Yoga Sūtra. I will also draw on the Kaṭha Upaniṣad and try to understand what type of answer, "the śreyas and the preyas (the good and the pleasant) are two different things" (KU 2.1), is to the question of existence-or-not after death. Finally I will work with Daya Krishna's paper "Bondages of Birth and Death: Emerging technologies of freedom on the horizon and the hope of final release from the fundamental bondage of humankind," where he argues that the lack of answer to the mahā-question of life and death is not necessarily an obstacle to freedom.

Bio: Daniel Raveh is Associate Professor in the department of philosophy, Tel Aviv University. He is author of Exploring the Yogasutra (Continuum 2013) and co-editor of Contrary Thinking: Selected Essays of Daya Krishna (OUP 2012). He is now working on a book project titled Narrative and Transfiguration: Sutras, Stories and Yoga Philosophy.


Stuart Ray Sarbacker
Oregon State University

Title: Why Yoga Philosophy Matters: Reflections on the Past and Present of the Aṣṭāṅgayoga System

Description: This presentation will discuss the ongoing import of Patañjali’s aṣṭāṅgayoga system of yoga in the comparative study of philosophy and religion in India and beyond. I will focus on three facets of the ongoing relevance of this system: 1) as a key representative of the codification of brāhmaṇa asceticism and śramaṇa traditions during the “classical” era; 2) as providing the foundational framework for establishing yoga “orthodoxy” throughout the arc of yoga traditions, through the medieval era into the present; and 3) as a constructive philosophical framework for understanding the dynamics of self-transformation and extraordinary accomplishment in a variety of  premodern to contemporary religious and cultural contexts.

Bio: Stuart Ray Sarbacker teaches at Oregon State University where he specializes in the Comparative Study of Religion with a focus on Indic religion and philosophy. His work is centered on the relationships between the religious and philosophical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. He also works extensively on issues related to method and theory in the study of religion. He has written extensively on topics related to the theory and practice of Yoga (both contemplative practices and bodily disciplines) in South Asian religion and on method and theory in the study of religion. His book, Samādhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga (Albany: State University of Press, 2005), deals with the psychological and sociological dynamics of contemplative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.


Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
Himalayan Institute

Title: Meditation on Vishoka and Jyotishmati as a Doorway to Experiencing the Majority of the Practices Described in the Yoga Sūtra

Description: My presentation is primarily based on the texts belonging to the Sri Vidya tradition of tantra, and hatha yoga, particularly Saundaryalahari, Sri Vidyarnava, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and select Upanishads. It will be more practice-oriented than an academic analysis or comparative study.

Bio: Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD, is a modern-day master and living link to the unbroken Himalayan Tradition. He embodies the yogic and tantric wisdom which the Himalayan Tradition has safeguarded for thousands of years. Pandit Tigunait is the successor of Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas and the spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute. Pandit Tigunait is fluent in Vedic and Classical Sanskrit and holds two doctorates, one from the University of Allahabad (India), and another from the University of Pennsylvania. As a leading voice of and the author of 15 books, most recently The Secret of the Yoga Sutra: Samadhi Pada, his teachings span a wide range, from scholarly analysis and scripture translation to practical guidance on applying yogic wisdom to modern life. Over the past 35 years, Pandit Tigunait has touched innumerable lives around the world as a teacher, guide, author, humanitarian, and visionary spiritual leader.


Sthaneshwar Timalsina
San Diego State University

Title: A Phenomenological Approach to Asamprajnata Samadhi

Description: I will discuss the possibility of non-intentional consciousness in the highest state of samadhi. In light of this, I will briefly address my ongoing projects on memory, recognition, and other cognitive aspects that are inspired by my reading of the Yoga Sūtra commentaries.

Bio: Professor Sthaneshwar Timalsina is a professor of Religious Studies (Religions of India, Tantra, Religion and the Body) at San Diego State University. His fields of interest include Vedic and Tantric traditions, Yogacara philosophy, literary theory, and ritual studies. His book include, Seeing and Appearance: History of the Advaita Drstisrsti (published in 2006 by Shaker Verlag), and Consciousness in Indian Philosophy: The Advaita Doctrine of ‘Awareness Only ’ (published in 2008 by Routledge). He is currently working on a third book, Language of Images: Visualization and Meaning in Tantra.


Ian Whicher
University of Manitoba

Title: Reflections on Liberated Consciousness

Description: In this talk I will suggest that the full emancipatory stage of kaivalya, at which yoga practice ultimately aims, is not so much a state of spiritual isolation, as is frequently interpreted, as it is a state of nonattached “seeing” referring not only to the realization of puruṣa but also to the play of prakrti. Thus the yogi “achieves” a spiritual freedom that is not only a freedom from the world, through the transcendence of afflicted ordinary awareness (self as the “seen”), but also a freedom for the world, through a balance of theory and practice, discernment of puruṣa and ethical engagement with the manifestations of prakṛti.

Bio: Ian Whicher is a Professor and Head of the Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. He specializes in Hinduism and the Yoga tradition and is the author of scholarly books and numerous articles including, The Integrity of the Yoga Darśana (SUNY Press), and coeditor of Yoga: The Indian Tradition (Routledge Curzon). Dr. Whicher is currently writing a book on The Yoga of Intelligence.

The Open Heart and Healing with Yuan Miao
University Hall 3700, Theological Studies Village. Wednesday, March 11, 2015 from 8:00 - 9:30 p.m.

Participants engaged with Dakini Yuan Miao, widely renowned as an emanation of Guan Yin energy in a lively lecture, meditation and discussion. This workshop supports both the individual and a collective return to our true nature and the state of an "empty" and generous heart. Opening the heart is part of an awakening process in this time. An empty, open heart allows us to manifest and discover the prosperity, abundance, wisdom and compassion which is our original, Divine nature. Be simple. Be empty. A practice of connecting deeply from the heart and experiencing healing at a profound level.

Day of Play: Yoga Festival
Sunken Gardens, Loyola Marymount University. Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Day of Play brought together Yoga, music, movement, and discussion in order to cultivate awareness, self-care, a supportive community, and positive feelings about one's body. This event was donation based and open to the public. Activites included a group Vinyasa Yoga class, AcroYoga, Yoga Slacklining, vendor booths, food trucks, a discussion panel, and a mindful sound bath meditation.

Partner Peace Practices That Support Global Unity: Talk & Class With Jason Nemer, Founder of AcroYoga
University Hall 3700, Theological Studies Village. Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Peace starts within and is then challenged and hopefully fortified by partnership. In partnership we can heal, grow, reflect and continue to find ways that our yoga practices can extend to the way we relate to others. Others become the next practice, how do we treat strangers like family and how do we avoid ever treating family like strangers? One of the answers is connection, the triad holds true here. Connect to self then partner then world. Another answer is investing in trust, both giving and receiving it like the emotional currency that it is. The third answer is fun, we all like it, want it and can expect it on a daily basis.

Hosted by Dr. Eden Goldman and

Puja and Tantra Talk with Dr. Sthaneshwar Timalsina
University Hall 3700, Theological Studies Village. Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

Dr. Timalsina was born in the Nalang district of Nepal as the eldest son of Tanka Prasad and Premkumari Timalsina. From the rural villages of Nalang, he traveled to Kathmandu at the age of thirteen in search of proper education. On the backdrop of great odds, he managed to complete high school with honors and enrolled at Mahendra Sanskrit University where he received his Bachelors Degree in Sanskrit Literature with a major on Sanskrit Grammar. He then traveled to Benaras, India to receive a Masters degree in Classical Indian Philosophy with a major in Yoga-Tantra. Although many suggested that he should pursue other careers in more emerging fields like Mathematics or the Sciences, he tenaciously followed his passion for the classics with no regard to opposition. His journey ultimately led him to obtain a PhD in Classical Indian Philosophy (with a focus on Advaita Vedanta) from Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany and later travel to the United States. He currently resides in San Diego with his wife and two children. He has published two books, Seeing and Appearance: History of the Advaita Doctrine of Drstisrsti and Consciousness in Indian Philosophy: The Advaita Doctrine of 'Awareness Only', and is in the process of publishing a third, titled Tantric Visual Culture: A Cognitive Approach.

Chasing Peace: A Conversation with Rabbi Abraham Skorka
Burns Back Court, Loyola Marymount University. January 22, 2015 from 7:00 - 9:00pm

Rabbi Skorka is one of Pope Francis’ closest friends and has written with Francis on numerous occasions. Some of these collaborations include: Fe, dignidad, oración, solidaridad (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 2013) and Entre el cielo y la tierra (Editorial Sudamericana, 2010) recently published in English. He is an eminently respected Jewish leader in Argentina whose scholarship has a global reach.  He made a three-city tour with a focus on international relations in Washington, DC, on civil rights in Atlanta, and in Los Angeles, on how the Latino world is having an impact on religion.

Abp. José Gomez accepted the invitation to give a welcome to Rabbi Skorka and took part in the evening’s program. The event was free and open to the public, and featured simultaneous English/Spanish translation.

M2 Project: A Mindful Sound Concert with Jahna and Michael Perricone, and Alicia Spillias
Theological Studies Village, University Hall 3000, Loyola Marymount University. Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 8:00pm

Mindfulness is the act of paying conscious attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity and the willingness to be with what is. Participants experienced this during a special meditation and sound concert, with a brief introduction to mindfulness followed by meditation exercises led by M2 Project’s Jahna Perricone, a mindfulness facilitator (CMF/UCLA) and singer; Master Tibetan Singing Bowl Artist, Michael Perricone; and violinist, Alicia Spillias.  The evening was enlivened with music that accesses deeper meditative states.

Jahna Perricone, CMF, is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and part of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.  She is Director of Mindfulness Programs at C3, Center for Conscious Creatives (node of the Millennium Project), and has led several mindfulness workshops. An accomplished singer, she is currently completing a Mindfulness for Beginners Series on a popular yoga online site and will be releasing her first album of original songs, ‘Into The Mindful Wild’, in early January 2015. www.jahnamusic.comMichael Perricone is a Master Tibetan Singing Bowl Artist and musician who has performed at the Hammer, MOCA and Fowler Museums, numerous festivals, as well as for several movie and internet sites.  He is the recording artist and producer of several music albums, and is the co-owner and CEO of Lotus Post, the finest post recording studio on the west side (imdb). www.lotuspost.comAlicia Spillias has been trained classically on the violin for 24 years and has also branched off into other genres of music including folk and rock/pop. Currently she gigs around Los Angeles with her group, the Organic String Quartet, plays for a variety of orchestras and does session work for film and television.  Alicia is an accomplished vocalist, trained classically since the age of 6 and received her BM in Vocal Performance from Cal State, Northridge. 

Devotions of Attachment and Detachment: the Myriad Divinities of Jainism
Theological Studies Village, University Hall 3000, Loyola Marymount University. Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 8:00pm

The Tirthankara (or Jina) is at the centre of Jain ritual and devotional life. In his liberated state, he is entirely devoid of raga (attachment) and dvesa (aversion) and is therefore completely disengaged from the world.  He responds to no prayers or petitions, and dispenses no saving grace; transactionally he is nonexistent.  Nevertheless, he remains a central focus of much heart-felt devotion.  The Jina – though central – is not the sole focus of Jain devotion. A great many other divinities share the devotional landscape, often presiding over specific domains of need. Drawing upon textual sources as well as upon phenomenological-anthropological research, we discussed the nature of Jina devotion, as well as devotion to more worldly-focused divinities within the Jaina tradition.

Dr. Kamini Gogri is the Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Research Associate at the Buddihist Center and Coordinator for the Jainology, Indian Aesthetics and Communal Harmony Courses at the University of Mumbai.

Yoga and Ecology: From Eco-Apartheid and Separation to Earth Democracy and Unity
University Hall, Loyola Marymount University. November 9, 2014 from 10:00am - 3:00pm

Vandana Shiva, renowned philosopher, physicist, author, and environmental activist, discussed the common principles shared by ecology and Yoga. Dominant sciences of exploitation, of the earth and our bodies, are shaped by fragmentation and separation, and undermine the health of the planet and people. This talk highlighted the connection between Yoga and ecology, which are both based on rejuvenation, unity, and non-separation.

Following the lecture (10:00am - 12:00pm), attendees were invited for lunch and a service learning opportunity in the LMU organic garden. The event concluded at 3 p.m.

Vandana Shiva is the founder and director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, “Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis”; “Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply”; “Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace”; and “Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development”.

Ahimsa Center International Conference: Care, Compassion and Mindfulness
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. November 7-9, 2014

Care, Compassion and Mindfulness was the theme of the 6th biannual conference on nonviolence hosted by the Ahimsa Center at Cal Poly Pomona in suburban Los Angeles. This conference drew upon scientific research and practice-based insights from a variety of disciplines and professions and furthered our understanding of the ways in which we can cultivate care, compassion and mindfulness in our individual selves, in our families and communities, and in the world at large. The cultivation of care, compassion and mindfulness calls for a radical transformation in how we relate to each other as human beings, and how we relate to other beings and to nature; it calls for rethinking our personal lives, work lives and civic lives.

LMU Library “Pub Night” with Professor Brian Treanor
Von der Ahe Suite, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University Library. Tuesday November 4, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

Participants joined Professor Treanor for an evening of discussion on his new book, Emplotting Virtue: A Narrative Approach to Environmental Virtue Ethics. Basic arguments included: that we cannot understand environmental ethics without understanding the kinds of persons we ought to be in order to live well in the environment, and that we cannot fully understand the sorts of persons we hope to be without understanding the narratives that make up our identities. Before we can effectively act to "save the world," we need to have some understanding of how we are and who we hope to become; we cannot understand either of those without understanding where we come from, articulated in the various stories in which we find ourselves caught up.

Theological Studies Colloquium featuring Chris Chapple, Daniel Smith-Christopher and Chuck Hamilton
Theological Studies Village, UHall 3000, Loyola Marymount University. Thursday October 30, 2014 from 3:15 - 4:30 p.m.

This colloquium presentation focused on a just-published festschrift edited by Dr. Christopher Chapple titled "Antonio T. deNicolas: Poet of Eternal Return."

. Chapple introduced the key themes of the book: philosophy, musicology, theories of education, and comparative literary studies.  Professor Daniel Smith-Christopher summarized and responded to an essay about the pervasiveness of "administration" in contemporary society.  Graduate student Chuck Hamilton summarized and responded to a chapter on the Bhagavad Gita by LMU alum Dr. Geoff Ashton (PhD Hawaii), assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

The Darshan of the Imagination: Adoring the Collaborative Emergent Through Clay
Art Therapy Studio (University Hall 2517) Loyola Marymount University. Wednesday October 29, 2014 from 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.

From earth, to artistic collaboration, to fire, to stone, to independent object; clay is a material that easily teaches about change. As participants explored, when clay is formed it transforms into patiently waiting imaginal narratives composed of contexts, emotions, and unique scenes. When listened to and followed, these emerging images inspire reverent seeing reminiscent of the Darshan experience. This workshop explores these themes by materializing through clay, the I/Thou textures of the therapeutic relationship. During this 2.5-hour experience participants recreated a client-therapist relationship and discovered the waiting potential of Imaginal Darshan.

Michael A. Franklin, PhD, ATR-BC, is the coordinator of the Transpersonal Art Therapy program and the Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS) at Naropa University in Boulder Colorado. Prior to Naropa, he practiced as a clinician and directed the Art Therapy programs at the College of St. Teresa and Bowling Green State University. Michael is an international lecturer and accomplished author. His research addresses art as contemplative practice encompassing meditation, social engagement/karma-yoga and art-based research. For more information about Michael Franklin: 

Work as Worship: Art Therapy, Meditation, and Karma Yoga
Art Therapy Studio (University Hall 2517) Loyola Marymount University. Wednesday October 29, 2014 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

What if our work in the world felt like worship? How does meditation training support clinical training and why is it important to include contemplative practice in the curriculum sequence? How does the privilege to work as a therapist in a therapeutic relationship inspire  I/Thou encounters? What lessons from Karma Yoga and other socially engaged practices are relevant for the therapist to consider? These questions were addressed and presented by Dr. Franklin within the context of a contemplative model of training to become an art therapist and counselor.

Michael A. Franklin, PhD, ATR-BC, is the coordinator of the Transpersonal Art Therapy program and the Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS) at Naropa University in Boulder Colorado. Prior to Naropa, he practiced as a clinician and directed the Art Therapy programs at the College of St. Teresa and Bowling Green State University. Michael is an international lecturer and accomplished author. His research addresses art as contemplative practice encompassing meditation, social engagement/karma-yoga and art-based research. For more information about Michael Franklin: 

Community Offering: The Bhagavad Gita within the Great Narrative by Dr. Chris Chapple
YogaGlo (1800 Berkeley Street, Santa Monica 90404), Thursday, September 25th, October 2nd & October 9th from 9 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The Bhagavad Gita, beloved by Emerson, Thoreau, and Gandhi, opens its readers to the big questions in life: Why do bad things happen to good people?  What can be done about family dysfunction?  What is the nature of the self?  What is the best path for action?  How can one be devoted?  What is knowledge? In three different sessions, we will work through the Gita, learning the contours of the four forms of Yoga: Jnana (Knowledge), Karma (Action), Devotion (Bhakti), and Meditation (Raja).  Participants chanted key verses in Sanskrit, developed a working vocabulary of important terms, and understood the place of the Bhagavad Gita within the epic narrative of the Mahabharata.

On Thursday, September 25th, participants worked with the first six chapters of the text, focusing on Jnana and Karma Yoga.  Jnana Yoga teaches the undying nature of the Self and the transience of things in the material world.  Karma Yoga advises that the best action requires a spirit of nonattachment to the fruits of one's labor.

On Thursday, October 2nd, participants studied the next six chapters, with a focus on the nature of Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of devotion. These theological verses proclaim the omnipresence of highest self in all aspects of manifestation, and advise learning how the ultimate goals of life are to be enacted in everyday activities.

On Thursday, October 9th, participants probed into Raja Yoga as expressed in the last six chapters, which focus on the ongoing application of discernment in all circumstances.  By understanding the Gunas (sattva/illumination, rajas/passion, and tamas/heaviness), one gains the tools through which to experience a grounded joy in the midst of all activities.  

Recommended but not required translations included: Winthrop Sargeant (SUNY, with Sanskrit analysis), Antonio T. DeNicolas (Avaratara), Srnivasa Murthy (Long Beach Publications).  Also, consult the links at:

Free Yoga Day and Raga Spirit: movement, meditation, and music!
Loyola Marymount University, Saturday September 20, 2014

All Yoga Day festivities were FREE and open to the public, including: yoga, meditation, lectures, music, and food trucks!

Yoga Day presenters included: Erika Burkhalter, Ryan Brewer, Christopher Chapple, John Casey, Govind Das, Danielle Fowler, Ana Funes, Sara Ivanhoe, Jake Jacobs, Pawan Johar, Denise Kaufman, Pt. Kichlus, Atousa Mahdavi, Sarah Mata, Lori Rubenstein, Angela Saucedo, and... The world premiere of Mary Lou Newmark's "Breathing Room," a convergence of music, science, theatre, poetry, and spirituality - plus her green electric violin! Guests also had the opportunity to participate in an Information Session for the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies program, where met with faculty and students currently enrolled in the program.

The Secret of the Yoga Sutra with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD
Theological Studies Village (Univeristy Hall 3000), Loyola Marymount University. Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

In this inspiring lecture and workshop, grounded in time-tested wisdom, participants discovered the promise hidden in the Yoga Sutra, and gathered the tools and means to experience the missing element of their practice. It was like the Himalayas came right to our doorstep. Main topics included: What is the Yoga Sutra, and why its teachings are so crucial to us now; The Yogic understanding of our body and mind, and how to tap into our innate wisdom; How to access the power of mind and reclaim mastery over our personal world; Reconfiguring our life for joyful and purposeful living; A guided practice for experiencing our self-luminous joy. 

Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD, is a modern-day master and living link to the unbroken Himalayan Tradition. He is the successor of Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas and the spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute. As a leading voice of and the author of 15 books, his teachings offer practical guidance on applying yogic and tantric wisdom to modern life. Over the past 35 years, Pandit Tigunait has touched innumerable lives around the world as a teacher, humanitarian, and visionary spiritual leader.

The Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award Ceremony 
Ahmanson Theater (University Hall 1000), Loyola Marymount University. Tuesday September 16, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

The 2014 recipient of the Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award at Loyola Marymount University was biologist Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., author of more than 80 scientific papers and 10 books, including “Science Set Free.” Sheldrake’s career has been devoted to building a bridge between scientific investigation and spiritual inquiry. Sheldrake pioneered the study of morphic resonance – that all life is connected – and making ethical decisions that factor in far-reaching consequences. Eric Strauss, President’s Professor of Biology at LMU and director of the Ballona Discovery Center, will respond to Sheldrake’s keynote address.

The Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award, named for its benefactors, Navin and Pratima Doshi, is given annually to honor an individual or organization dedicated to fostering understanding between cultures, peoples and disciplines. Past Doshi Bridgebuilder Award recipients are: Dr. Karan Singh, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Huston Smith, Greg Mortenson, Thich Nhat Hanh, Zubin Mehta and Deepak Chopra.

Wah!'s "The Healing Concert"
Ahmanson Theater (University Hall 1000), Loyola Marymount University. Sunday September 14, 2014 at 7:00 p.m

The Healing Concert is an evening immersion into Wah!'s beautiful, meditative music with calming "Blisslights." It is an invitation to access deep relaxation, natural healing and rejuvenation. An accomplished musician, author and one of the founders and leaders of today's World Music movement, Wah! has performed with Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and Neale Donald Walsch. Her second book, Healing: A Vibrational Exchange explores ways you can create more space and healing in your life. Wah! awakens a journey of love and expansion through her music.

Wah!'s CDs have sold thousands of copies and are used throughout the world for yoga, meditation and relaxation. If you've taken a yoga class in the last five years, you have undoubtedly heard her music. A lifelong yogi and graduate of Oberlin College/Conservatory, she has spent 30 years studying yoga and teaching music as an art form and healing medium. Wah!'s second book Healing: A Vibrational Exchange includes her CD of live tracks from The Healing Concert.

For more information on Wah!'s Healing Concert:

Free Community Offering: Compassion: A Hindu-Catholic Dialogue
University Hall 1000, Saturday May 24th, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

With talks by Swami Omkarananda, Rev. James L. Fredericks, Tracy Sachs, & Hunter Joslin. Free and open to the public. RSVP to Dr. Tracy Tiemeier (; 310.568.6234). Funded by: The Martin Gang Institute.

Free Lecture: Unpublished Manuscript Evidence on the Practice of Many Asanas in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by Jason Birch
Theological Studies Village, University Hall 3700, Wednesday May 14th, 8:00 p.m.

It is often noted that the myriad postures (asana) of modern yoga are not to be found in the well-known scriptures of Hathayoga. This has prompted some to assert that relatively few asanas were practiced in Hathayoga and those we see today are largely the invention of twentieth-century Indian gurus. There is certainly some truth in these assertions, but they need to be assessed in the light of three unpublished manuscripts which contain long lists of asanas. 

Jason Birch, DPhil (Oxford), BA (Sanskrit) Hons (USyd), was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University who taught in the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies program. His doctoral research was on the earliest known Sanskrit text on Rajayoga and he is currently working on reconstructing the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism. 

Free Community Offering: The Bhagavad Gita within the Great Narrative by Dr. Chris Chapple
YogaGlo (1800 Berkeley Street, Santa Monica 90404), Thursday, May 15th. 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

The Bhagavad Gita, best known for its teachings on the four Yogas of Knowledge, Action, Devotion, and Meditation, takes place as a song within a song. This series of talks explored the great epic the Mahabharata as well as the Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita.  By helping Arjuna understand his place within the larger context of family and society, Krishna brings freedom of action to the world.

Free Lecture: Vedic Poetry and Its Journey Toward Yoga by Rati Saxena
Theological Studies Village, University Hall 3700, Wednesday April 30th, 8:00 p.m.

Rati Saxena is a Vedic scholar, poet, translator, editor, and Director of the Kritya Poetry Festival. Saxena received her Ph.D. in Sanskrit from the University of Rajasthan and focused her study on the Vedas, with an emphasis on the Atharvaveda. Saxena received the Kendriya Sahitya Akedemy award for translation in 2000 and has published eight collections of poetry in both English and Hindi, including one Travelodge and a critical work on the renowned Malayalam poet Balamani Amma. Her work on the Atharvaveda, entitled: The Seeds of the Mind: A Fresh Approach to the Study of Atharvaveda, was published under the Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts fellowship. Saxena is a founding member of: Asia for the World Poetry Movement - Medellin, as well as both an editor and managing trustee for the bilingual poetry web journal Kritya (, through which she has organized eight national and international poetry festivals. Saxena has been invited to prestigious poetry festivals, including "PoesiaPresente" in Monza (Italy), the Mediterranean Festival, the International House of Stavanger (Norway), the Struga Poetry Evening, Macedonia, and the renown Medellin Poetry Festival in Colombia.

Gallery Talk with Dr. Chris Chapple
Samsung Hall, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Friday, April 18th, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Attendants joined scholar Chris Chapple on a gallery tour of Yoga: The Art of Transformation, beginning with an introduction to three large images that evoke the Hindu goddess, Jaina non-violence, and Buddhist compassion. They explored the miniature Mughal paintings of yogis, the ancient palm leaf manuscripts, scrolls that illustrate battling bands of yogis, and 19th and 20th century images of yoga romance.

Chris Chapple is Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and founding Director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University.  He began Yoga practice more than 40 years ago, entering training in classical Yoga under the guidance of Gurani Anjali in 1972.  He has translated many Sanskrit texts on Yoga, including the Yogadrstisamucaya of Haribhadra, the Yogavasistha discourse on Sevenfold Yoga, and the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.  He contributed the Jaina section to the catalogue for the Yoga exhibit.  His many published books include Reconciling Yogas and Yoga and the Luminous.

Co-presented by the California Institute for Integrative Studies.                       

Free Lecture: Samkhya and Yoga on the Problem of the One and the Many in Indian Philosophy by Dr. Gerald J. Larson
Theological Studies Village, University Hall 3700, Wednesday, April 9th, 8:00 p.m.

This evening featured a presentation by Gerald J. Larson, Ph.D., M.Div., Research Professor, University of California, Irvine, and Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara and Indiana University Bloomington.

Free Community Offering: The Bhagavad Gita within the Great Narrative by Dr. Chris Chapple
YogaGlo (1800 Berkeley Street, Santa Monica 90404), Thursday, March 20th 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

The Bhagavad Gita, best known for its teachings on the four Yogas of Knowledge, Action, Devotion, and Meditation, takes place as a song within a song. This series of talks explored the great epic the Mahabharata as well as the Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita.  By helping Arjuna understand his place within the larger context of family and society, Krishna brings freedom of action to the world.

Free Lecture: The Yogi and the Magician: Yoga, Science, and the Conjuring of Modernity by Dr. Patton Burchett
Theological Studies Village, University Hall 3700, Wednesday, March 19th, 8:00 p.m.

This talk examined the figure of Indian yogi as both a source of wonder and a key foil for notions of modern rationality in the discourses of both Westerners and Indians in the nineteenth and early 20th century. In particular, the lecture demonstrated the little known but significant influence of Victorian stage magicians on Western perceptions of yogis, as well as Hindu reformers' responses to these characterizations of yogis and thus yoga. The talk thus explored the crucial, but ambiguous place held by the yogi in the context of rising "modernity," especially in reference to the problems posed by his association with supernatural powers and his public performances of austerities, "juggling," and sense deceptions. We looked at 19th and 20th century images and discourses of stage magicians with the representations of yogis by Orientalist scholars and colonial officials, looking at the multiple semantic and visual fields of "magic" in order to understand the combination of awe, wonder, skepticism, and dismissal that characterized attitudes toward yoga in an age that saw the rise to dominance of discourses of science and rationality.

Patton Burchett is an Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in the Religious Studies Program at New York University (NYU).  He received his doctorate in South Asian Religions in 2012 from Columbia University’s Department of Religion.  His work focuses primarily on Hindu devotional (bhakti) and tantric traditions in north India in the early modern period (the subject of his current book project, Bhakti Religion and Tantric Magic: Yogis, Poets, & Sufis in Mughal India), but he also has a major research interest in the relations between magic, science, and religion and his next project will examine the interaction and development of these three categories in India by tracing out how “yoga” was perceived, appropriated, and transformed in the service of “modern” projects of both rationality and enchantment, spirituality and secularism. His published work includes “The ‘Magical’ Language of Mantra,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion76.4 (2008), “Bhakti Rhetoric in the Hagiography of ‘Untouchable’ Saints: Discerning Bhakti’s Ambivalence on Caste and Brahminhood,” International Journal of Hindu Studies 13.2 (2009), and “Bitten by the Snake: Early Modern Devotional Critiques of Tantra-Mantra,” Journal of Hindu Studies (2013).

Free Community Offering: Elements in the World: The Witness and Yoga by Dr. Chris Chapple
YogaGlo (1800 Berkeley Street, Santa Monica 90404), Thursday, March 13th, 9:00 a.m.

Samkhya philosophy lies at the core of the religions of India.  Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all rely upon the articulation of the reality as articulated by this ancient and timely tradition.  In this series of lectures (combined with asana and pranayama) we explored how the witness consciousness is served by the dance of material reality, and how that dance can bring one to freedom. This specific workshop, which was be taped for future streaming, addressed the following themes:

* The Art of the Contemplative Gaze
* Engagement in the Dance
* The Samkhya Karika: Philosophical Proofs for Manifest Reality
* The Samkhya Karika: Philosophical Proofs for Witness Consciousness
* Earth, Water, and Fire in the Yogavasistha
* Air, Space, and Freedom in the Yogavasistha

Each theme involved movement and was linked with asana.  

 Free Community Offering: Spiritual Accountancy and Yoga by Dr. Chris Chapple

YogaGlo (1800 Berkeley Street, Santa Monica 90404), Friday, February 28th, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

This workshop, which was taped for future streaming, focused on the Samkhya Karika and addressed the following themes:

* Introduction to the basic concept of witness consciousness (purusa) in relation to the realm of activity (prakrti)
* Bridge between worlds: the role of Buddhi
* The bridge into the ego: how the role of karma shapes identity
* From mind into the world: connecting with body and senses
* Physically, gross and subtle
* The human body, sensory and active

Each theme involved movement and was linked with asana.

Free Lecture: Exhibiting Yoga: The Art of Transformation, History, and Practice with Dr. Debra Diamond
University Hall McIntosh Center, Wednesday, February 26th, 8:00 p.m.

This evening featured a special photo illustrated talk by Dr. Debra Diamond on the Smithsonian exhibit: Yoga: The Art of Transformation. By March, the exhibit will have traveled to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum and will be on view until May 25. 

Dr. Debra Diamond received her Ph.D in South Asian art history from Columbia University (2000) and has published numerous articles on Indian and contemporary Asian art. Diamond is a specialist in Indian court painting, and is currently planning exhibitions on Mughal masterpieces in the Freer and Sackler collections (2012), the visual culture of yoga (Yoga: The Art of Transformation, 2013) and the Freer Gallery’s portrait of Mumtaz Mahal (2014). In 2010, Diamond received the Smithsonian Secretary’s Research Prize for the Gardens and Cosmos: Royal Painting of Jodhpur exhibition catalogue. 

Free Exhibit: The Circuit: From Mother India To the Roof of the World by Hunter Joslin
Hannon Library level 3, Wednesday, February 12th, 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.

The closing reception for The Circuit was a success. Attendants had the opportunity to meet the photographer and celebrate his work. The auction raised $3,313 and all proceeds were donated to graduate scholarships for the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies. To view more of Hunter Joslin's work, please visit

Special Event: Quantum Theory, Cosmology and Ecology: Consciousness Uniting All 
St. Roberts Auditorium, Wednesday, February 5th, 3:00-4:15 p.m.

Menas C. Kafatos is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics at Chapman University. This event discussed how the dialogue between science and spirituality is at crossroads: The old divisions, which allowed separate developments and evolution over the last several centuries in the West, are leading to impasses on many fronts. I claim that one common element which unifies everything is the underlying consciousness, the rock on which both science and religion must ultimately be built and were in fact built in the past and in many schools of thought in both the East and the West. Science, in particular, through developments in quantum theory, cosmology and brain science, is opening the door to common principles which reveal fundamental workings of consciousness. The non-local and entangled characteristics of the quantum universe are not some weird and uncommon phenomena but manifest through the fundamental principles at every level of experience. This realization may lead to an emerging observer-based science of consciousness that in its full rights will enable a meaningful dialogue with religion and lead to new fronts of development. The stakes are high. The piling challenges facing the next generations, not least of which is building a sustainable, ecologically friendly, modern society, cannot be addressed without a meaningful dialogue between science and religion and cannot lead to long lasting solutions if the old truths of perennial philosophies are being ignored.

Free Lecture: The Re-Emergence of Yoga
University Hall McIntosh Center, Monday, January 27th, 2014, 8:00 p.m.

This evening featured a presentation by David Gordon White, Ph.D., of the University of California, Santa Barbara. White is the J. F. Rowny Professor of Comparative Religion.

Information Session: Master of Arts in Yoga Studies
Theological Studies Village: UHall 3700

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. 

The Master of Arts in Yoga Studies is currently accepting applications for fall 2014. In these special information sessions, attendants have the opportunity to meet with faculty members and students currently enrolled in the program. Frequently asked questions were answered on the following topics: Pre-requisites Class schedule Travel to India Scholarships Assistantships Application Deadlines 

Inaugural Celebration for the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies
Loyola Marymount University, Saturday, September 28th, 1:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Festivities included: the US premier of, History of Yoga, the first ever film on yoga made in India, followed by a discussion panel; Asana and meditation classes led by esteemed local and international teachers; At Play with The Radiance Sutras, with Lorin Roche, Ph.D, and Camille Maurine; The Beatles’ Yoga: How the Fab Four’s Passage to India Enlightened the West, with Philip Goldberg, accompanied by Joey Lugassy and all-star band; Taco Trucks: Bollywood Bites, Green Truck, The Surfer Taco.

Vedānta: Its Many Manifestations Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Saturday and Sunday, June 15-16, 2013; Loyola Marymount University, University Hall, St. Roberts Hall

This conference included sessions on the “Origins of Vedānta,” Tantra and Vedānta,” “Neo- Vedānta,” “Vedānta as a Master Template of Human Consciousness,” and “Vedānta and Yoga in into the Future.” The presenters were Jeffery D. Long, professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College; Rita Sherma, visiting professor of Hindu Studies at the University of Southern California; Sthaneshwar Timalsinha, associate professor of Religious Studies at California State University, San Diego; Paul Muller-Ortega, founder of Blue Throat Yoga; keynote speaker Karan Singh, member of India’s Parliament; Yajneshwar Shastri, emeritus professor Philosophy at Gujarat University; Makarand R. Paranjape, Ph.D., professor of English at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Pravrajika Vrajaprana, a nun at the Sarada Convent of the Vedānta Society of Southern California and the author of many books and articles on Vedānta; Alan Combs, the Doshi Professor of Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies; Debashish Banerji, dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles; Philip Goldberg, founder of the Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates in Los Angeles; and Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University.

The Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award Ceremony 
St. Robert's Hall, Loyola Marymount University, Saturday, June 15, 2013

Normally a separate event, the Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award Ceremony was conducted during the Vedānta conference this past summer. The Award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions toward building bridges among peoples, cultures and disciplines. The 2013 award was given to Dr. Karan Singh, who embodies the ideals of the ward through his continued endeavors to improve international and interfaith understanding as a senior statesman, diplomat and scholar.

Ravi Shankar: A Life in Music
University Hall 1000, Tuesday, January 8th, 7:30 p.m.

Ravi Shankar (1920-2012) changed music history. We viewed the BBC documentary “Ravi Shankar in Portrait” and share remembrances.

Information Session: Master of Arts in Yoga Studies
THST Village UHall 3700, Saturday, Jan 12, 10:30 a.m. to noon

Free Lecture: Medical Benefits of Yoga by Dr. Doyle 
THST Village UHall 3700, Wednesday, February 6, 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Doyle is a staff physician at US Health Works. He completed the YogaWorks Teacher Training in 2000 with Maty Ezraty and Lisa Walford. He has achieved further studies in Yoga Philosophy at LMU and with Richard Freeman. He taught Yoga in LMU's Dance Department from 2008-2012 and will teach in LMU's Master of Arts in Yoga Studies starting in the fall of 2013.

Information Session: Master of Arts in Yoga Studies
THST Village UHall 3700, Saturday, Feb 9, 10:30 a.m. to noon

Free Lecture: Yoga Spirituality: Multiple Approaches by Dr. Christopher Chapple
THST Village UHall 3700, Wednesday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Christopher Key Chapple is the Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology at LMU and author of several books, including Reconciling Yogas and Yoga and the Luminous: Patanjali's Spiritual Path to Freedom. In 2002, he established the Yoga Philosophy Certificate Program through LMU's Center for Religion and Spirituality. Dr. Chapple is director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies.

Free Lecture: Buddhist Meditation and Yoga: Vipassana, Zen, and Vajrayana by Dr. John Thomas Casey
THST Village UHall 3700, Wednesday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.

Dr. John Thomas Casey completed his graduate studies in Asian and Comparative Philosophy at the University of Hawaii in 1996 and has taught courses in World Religions, Buddhism, and Sanskrit studies at numerous colleges in Southern California since 2000, including Loyola Marymount University, UCLA, UC Irvine, and presently at Chapman University. He has taught many courses for the LMU Yoga Philosophy certificate program since its inception in 2002.

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