Wednesday Night Lecture Series

Wednesday Night Lecture Series

Join the LMU Graduate Yoga Studies community for a series of free talks, open to the public.

  • "Moon Salutations: Bringing Feminine Embodiment into Yoga Practice"

    Lecture by: Laura Jean Cornell, PhD

    Wednesday, November 17, 2021
    7:30 - 8:30 PM (PT)

    Lecture Description: 
    While traditional Sun Salutation Yoga embraces solar or masculine qualities, the Moon Salutation fills the need for our lunar, feminine qualities. It supports the female body during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause and is also balancing spiritually and psychologically for both men and women. In this evening session you will experience the Moon Salutation sequence and learn the story of its creation.

    About Laura Jean Cornell:
    Laura Jean Cornell, (Yogeshwari), is an award-winning speaker, author, and business mentor. She is Founder of Divine Feminine Yoga, dedicated to helping women heal ~ body, mind, and soul ~ so they can contribute to healing the planet. She has directed eight online conferences empowering women through Yoga, and currently offers writing circles, private coaching, retreats, online courses, and entrepreneurial training.

    Laura is author of the books Moon Salutations: Women’s Journey Through Yoga to Healing, Power, and Peace, and Awakening the Divine Feminine: 18 Stories of Healing, Inspiration, and Empowerment.


    Laura Cornell 

    "Tracing the Path of Yoga: The History and Philosophy of Indian Mind-Body Discipline"

    Lecture by: Stuart Ray Sarbacker

    Wednesday, October 27, 2021
    7:30 - 8:30 PM (PT)

    Lecture Description: 
    Clear, accessible, and meticulously annotated, Tracing the Path of Yoga offers a comprehensive survey of the history and philosophy of yoga that will be invaluable to both specialists and to nonspecialists seeking a deeper understanding of this fascinating subject. Stuart Ray Sarbacker argues that yoga can be understood first and foremost as a discipline of mind and body that is represented in its narrative and philosophical literature as resulting in both numinous and cessative accomplishments that correspond, respectively, to the attainment of this-worldly power and otherworldly liberation. Sarbacker demonstrates how the yogic quest for perfection as such is situated within the concrete realities of human life, intersecting with issues of politics, economics, class, gender, and sexuality, as well as reflecting larger Indic religious and philosophical ideals.

    About Stuart Ray Sarbacker:
    Stuart Ray Sarbacker is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Oregon State University. He is the author of Samādhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga, also published by SUNY Press, and (with Kevin Kimple) The Eight Limbs of Yoga: A Handbook for Living Yoga Philosophy.

    Stuart Ray Sarbacker

    "An Evening with Dr. Farah Godrej"

    Lecture by Dr. Farah Godrej

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021



    Farah Godrej is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside. Her areas of research and teaching include Indian political thought, Gandhi’s political thought, cosmopolitanism, globalization and comparative political theory.  She also studies contemporary issues of justice and inequity in environmentalism, food justice and mass incarceration. Her research appears in journals such as Political Theory, Political Research Quarterly, Theory & Event, The Review of Politics, and Polity, and she is the author of Cosmopolitan Political Thought: Method, Practice, Discipline (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). Her forthcoming book (Oxford University Press, 2021) examines the role of yogic and meditative practices in U.S. prisons.


    Farah Godrej will discuss her forthcoming book, Freedom Inside?: Yoga and Meditation in the Carceral State (Oxford University Press, 2021).  The book offers a combination of personal narrative and scholarly research in order to examine the role of yoga and meditation in U.S. prisons.  It offers a glimpse inside the system now known as mass incarceration, which disproportionately punishes, confines, and controls those from black, brown and poor communities at exponentially higher rates, diminishing their life-chances and creating a vast underclass of disempowered, subordinated citizens.  How do  self-disciplinary practices such as yoga and meditation work when they are taught inside unjust systems?  Do they produce political passivity, quietism, and compliance, if offered as palliatives to accept, cope and comply with unjust power structures?  Or, might they prove disruptive to mass incarceration, if offered as tools to develop awareness and attunement toward injustice, to engage in non-conformist responses that include critique and challenge? The book explores both the promises and pitfalls of yoga and meditation when taught in prisons in different ways. It is is based on four years of immersion in prisons and prison volunteer communities, along with ethnographic work inside a jail, and over sixty in-depth interviews with those who teach and practice inside prisons.  It interweaves academic narratives with personal experiences of collaboration with volunteers and incarcerated practitioners.



    Farah Godrej

    "An Evening with Dr. Arti Dhand"

    Lecture by Dr. Arti Dhand

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021



    Arti Dhand is Associate Professor at the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto. She works on the Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, focusing particularly on questions of gender and ethics. Her current work is a comparative study of the two great works, The Twin Epics of Hinduism.


    "The Mahabharata Podcast: Storytelling in the Time of Plague"

    Arti Dhand discusses The Mahabharata Podcast – its genesis amid the pandemic, its appeal to a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural globalized audience, and the epic's continued relevance to the modern world.


     Dr. Arti Dhand


    "The Construction of Consciousness"

    Lecture by Dr. Lou Cozolino

    Tuesday, February 2, 2021



    In this presentation, Dr. Lou Cozolino will explore recent discoveries in neuroscience of conscious awareness and how they relate to Buddhist practice and philosophy.


    Dr. Cozolino has diverse clinical and research interests and hold degrees in philosophy, theology, and clinical psychology. His interests are in the areas of the synthesis of neuroscience with psychotherapy, education, management, and leadership. He is the author of ten books including The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships, Timeless, Attachment-Based Teaching, The Making of a Therapist, and Why Therapy Works. He has also authored and co-authored articles and book chapters on child abuse, schizophrenia, education, language and cognition. Dr. Cozolino lectures around the world on brain development, evolution, and psychotherapy and maintains and clinical and consulting practice in Los Angeles.

     Dr. Lou Cozolino headshot



    "Living Within a Universe Story"

    Lecture by Mary Evelyn Tucker

    Wednesday, November 11, 2020


    We are being called to a new mode of being human in the age of the Anthropocene. We are discovering our role within a vast evolving universe that gave birth to us and that orients and grounds us. We are seeking ways to nurture ourselves and the life community in an age of disruption and diminishment.

    Inspired by Thomas BerryJourney of the Universe narrates the epic story of the unfolding of the Universe, Earth, and humans over billions of years. Our discussion will explore this Emmy Award winning film, book, and conversation series that can inspire transformative and healing change for a flourishing future.

    Mary Evelyn Tucker is co-director of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology where she teaches in an MA program between the School of the Environment and the Divinity School. With John Grim she organized 10 conferences on World Religions and Ecology at Harvard. They were series editors for the 10 resulting volumes from Harvard. She co-edited Confucianism and Ecology, Buddhism and Ecology, and Hinduism and Ecology. She has authored with John Grim, Ecology and Religion (Island Press, 2014). They also edited Thomas Berry’s books including Selected Writings (Orbis 2014). Tucker and Grim published Thomas Berry: A Biography (Columbia University Press, 2019). With Brian Thomas Swimme she wrote Journey of the Universe (Yale 2011) and was the executive producer of the Emmy award winning Journey film that aired on PBS. She served on the International Earth Charter Drafting Committee and was a member of the Earth Charter International Council.


    Wednesday Night Lecture 2020 - Mary Evelyn Tucker Headshot 

    "White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals"

    Lecture by Dr. Amanda Lucia

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020


    In White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals, religion scholar Amanda Lucia supplies a detailed account of the religious practices of communities of the “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR). For nine years of ethnographic research, Lucia followed yoga practitioners through the transformational festival circuit and analyzed both yoga classes and transformational festivals as important educational spaces for disseminating contemporary spiritual values. In this talk, Lucia focuses particularly on the practice of yoga and discusses the yogic field’s preoccupation with authenticity as a strategy of cultural appropriation. Lucia’s research analyzes various authenticating strategies and demonstrates their interdependence with the predominantly white demographics of yoga in the United States.

    Amanda Lucia is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California-Riverside. Her research engages the global exportation, appropriation, and circulation of Hinduism. She is author of White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals (2020), Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace (2014), and numerous articles. She is currently crafting a body of research on sexual abuse in guru-led religious communities.


    Amanda Lucia 

    An Evening with Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa

    January 29, 2020

    Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa is a kundalini yoga therapist who will speak on the Psychology of Health Recovery.

    Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa, PhD, C-IAYT, YACEP aligns the ancient teachings of Kundalini Yoga with modern medicine as Founding Director of the Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine & Humanology. Under the guidance of Yogi Bhajan she developed and directs the 3-year 1,000 hour IAYT accredited International Kundalini Yoga Therapy Professional Training.


    Headshot of Shanti Shanti Kaur smiling and wearing a white turban and white clothing. 

    Artist with a Camera: An Evening with Robert Sturman

    November 13, 2019

    Lecture by Robert Sturman

    A dedicated yoga practitioner, photographer Robert Sturman has increasingly focused on capturing the timeless grace and embodied mindfulness of asana in his work. His stunning repertoire runs the gamut from yogis perched on rocks surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, to African orphans practicing yoga in Kenya, to breast cancer survivors, bare-chested and scarred. In addition, Sturman has worked extensively photographing war veterans who have embraced the practice of yoga to heal PTSD, in an effort to help change the heartbreaking statistics of veteran suicides each day.

    Sturman's honors include Official Artist of the 47th Annual GRAMMY Awards, 2010 FIFA World Cup Artist Representing America, and Official Artist 2008 United States Olympics. Sturman has been the subject of two separate New York Times articles celebrating his photographs of yoga from around the world.



    Photo of a fire responder in fully uniform practicing yoga and holding side plank pose. 

    Teachings of the Sages: Living Purposefully, Dying Gracefully

    October 16, 2019

    Lecture by Swami Ma Radha Bharati, a disciple of Swami Rama, Swami Veda, and the Himalayan Tradition

    Since 1970, Swami Ma Radha Bharati has studied, practiced and taught the principles of the Himalayan Tradition throughout the world. She has served as founding counsel and director of the Gurukulam at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, and frequently guides the participants of silence and sadhana retreats. She holds an MA and has done Ph.D. work in comparative philosophy and ethics.

     Photo of Swami Ma Radha Bharati sitting in a garden.