Timeless Guidance


Have you ever wondered how ancient wisdom might solve modern problems? Would you like to feel clearer about "authenticity", both in relation to yogic traditions and your own life? Do you have doubts about prioritising postures ahead of philosophy? Have you ever been tempted to study a yoga degree, but felt wary about academia?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then this year-long immersion is for you... It expands on the courses I've taught on the yoga M.A. at SOAS (University of London), at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and online, bringing history to life and exploring the contemporary relevance of yogic ideas. In the process, you'll get:

  • What I teach at university for a fraction of the cost.
  • Engaging and accessible takes on the latest research.
  • Discussions on how to apply it in teaching and practice.
  • More yoga philosophy than most advanced trainings.
  • An international community of like-minded peers.

To prepare for live seminars – held on alternate weeks – we'll read a range of sources, including yoga texts and articles by scholars that provide helpful context. There will also be a pre-recorded video to watch in advance that presents key themes, along with some questions that will sharpen your thinking for group conversations.

Everything you need will be available online, including PDFs of readings and recordings. You can post questions at any time and book one-to-one tutorials, which will help you to develop a final project that relates what you've learned to your personal interests. This can take any format, from writing an essay to visual creations.

With its hybrid of scholarly knowledge and practical inquiry, this course is unique. It will help you to clarify what really matters – identifying themes that connect modern yoga to older traditions and ways to embody them. You'll gain a thorough understanding of how yoga evolved and feel more empowered to communicate its wisdom. I'm excited to be sharing ideas that have changed my own life. I look forward to working together.

Introductory Video


Testimonials

Free Talk / Q&A


I hosted a live presentation about the course and related ideas on June 4, including extensive Q&A. Tune in to get a feel for what's on offer – you can ask questions here.

Daniel Simpson


I designed this course as a transformative mixture of practical insight and critical thinking. It incorporates the best bits of what I've taught at SOAS (University of London), the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and on yoga teacher trainings internationally. 

I'm the author of The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga's History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices, among other publications. My first degree is from Cambridge, I earned my M.A.in yoga studies from SOAS, and I've engaged with these subjects since the 1990s.

My approach is grounded in personal experience and lightened by humour and a passion for stories. Once upon a time, I was a foreign correspondent, working for Reuters and the New York Times. I now draw on those skills to host the Ancient Futures podcast.

danielsimpson.info

Modules and Dates

PART 1

1: INTRODUCTION

Sep 29: Review of objectives and yoga's evolution.

2: ANCIENT ROOTS

Oct 13: Evidence of influence from Vedic traditions.

3: ASCETICS AND TAPAS

Oct 27: Rationales for practice from early renouncers.

4: COSMIC CONNECTIONS

Nov 10: Perceptions of oneness in the Upaniṣads.

5: YOGIC FOUNDATIONS

Nov 24: Practical frameworks from the Upaniṣads.

PART 2

6: DHARMA AND KARMA

Dec 8: Intersections with social and ethical priorities.

7: EPIC INTEGRATIONS

Dec 22: Fusions of influences in the Mahābhārata.

8: WORLDLY ENGAGEMENT

Jan 12: Innovative methods from the Bhagavad Gītā.

9: SĀṂKHYA AND YOGA

Jan 26: The philosophical basis of many early texts.

10: BEYOND "EIGHT LIMBS"

Feb 9: Patañjali's Yoga Sūtra and Buddhist parallels.

PART 3

11: POWERS AND PURĀṆAS

Feb 23: Are siddhis an obstacle or the objective?

12: VEDĀNTA AND YOGA

Mar 9: Rival perspectives that culminate in union.

13: TANTRIC TRADITIONS

Mar 23: Transforming the body for ritual purposes.

14: PHYSICAL METHODS

Apr 6: The origins and development of haṭha yoga.

15: EMBODIED LIBERATION

Apr 27: Transcendent outcomes of medieval haṭha.

PART 4

16: EVOLVING TECHNIQUES

May 11: The development of postural systems of yoga.

17: PHILOSOPHICAL HYBRIDS

May 25: From Indic traditions to the Western New Age.

18: SCIENCE AND WELLNESS

Jun 8: Shifting the focus to mental and physical health.

19: FEMALE PRACTITIONERS

Jun 22: The pre-modern history of women's involvement.

20: CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

Jul 6: Addressing authenticity, abuse and appropriation.

PART 5

FINAL ASSIGNMENT

The culmination of the course is a self-directed project that ties things together. It's a chance to consolidate what you've learned, and to find a way to integrate that with your own interests.

All approaches are welcome, from an extended piece of writing to visual art and multimedia presentations (non-verbal submissions will need to be accompanied by a brief written summary).

This work is undertaken in consultation with Daniel. General guidelines are provided in seminars, and you'll be able to discuss your plans and get ongoing feedback in one-to-one tutorials.

The deadline for submitting your project is September 1, 2025.

Everyone who does so will receive an invitation to a final seminar, in which you'll talk about your work with the rest of the group.

Student Feedback

FAQs


Why take this course?

It's an unparalleled overview of history and philosophy, combining academic rigour in standards of evidence with inspiring guidance on modern applications of yogic ideas.

Can anyone apply?

As long as you're committed to discussing these subjects, and write a short statement that details your interest. Applications are reviewed before confirming your place.

What's the schedule?

We meet via Zoom on alternate Sundays. Materials to help you prepare (including PDFs, a pre-recorded video and questions for reflection) are released two weeks beforehand.

Are recordings available? 

Live participation is strongly encouraged. However, all sessions are recorded for replay (apart from breakout-room discussions). You can also post questions in online forums.

How much work is involved?

To get the most from the course, you'll need to make time for reading (roughly 50 pages per module, with optional extras), watch a 90-minute video and make notes to prepare for a 90-minute live session. This all adds up to about a day every fortnight.

Are there graded assignments?

Each module includes a list of questions to spark ideas for group discussions. You'll be asked to present your responses, but these aren't assessed. If you choose to write an essay at the end of the course, you can opt to have it graded on an academic scale.

What are one-to-one tutorials?

All enrolled students can book two sessions of 30 minutes to discuss any topic in more depth. At least one of these should focus on the final project, exploring how to approach it and ensuring it's on track. Additional tutorials can also be purchased if required.

Are yoga practices included?

We discuss them extensively... Although yoga is a practical discipline, complementary study offers helpful orientation. The course aims to show how traditions evolve, and in the process makes connections between modern methods and earlier approaches.

Do yoga teachers get CE credits?

On completion, you'll receive a certificate for 60 hours of teaching. If you're registered with Yoga Alliance, you can log these as continuing education with a YACEP.

Tuition

EARLY-BIRD RATE
SAVE 15% (ENDS JUN 15 @ 8 AM UK)

Due on acceptance of application

£1,275

One-time payment

Payment Plan

EARLY-BIRD RATE
SAVE £20 / MTH (ENDS JUN 15 @ 8 AM UK)

Spread the cost with regular instalments

£135

Ten monthly payments