Course Summary

Over the past 2,500 years, yoga has evolved from a way of transcending the world to a multi-billion-dollar industry. But where did its practices come from and what was their purpose? How has that changed as traditions transform? Are there common ideas that make practices yogic? If so, are they relevant to modern practitioners?

This four-week course puts contemporary yoga into context, with an insightful and engaging overview of history and philosophy. From the Vedic Upaniṣads, via the Bhagavad Gītā and Yoga Sūtra, to more recent texts on haṭha yoga, we will trace the main themes in yogic teachings, and look at some less commonly studied sources.

Accessible and fun, combined with academic depth, the course explores the latest scholarly findings. Daniel Simpson earned his Master’s degree at SOAS, University of London, where he studied with several of the foremost researchers of yoga history. He is also a devoted practitioner, and approaches the subject from this perspective.

About Your Teacher


Daniel Simpson has been studying yoga in various forms since his first trip to India in the 1990s. He holds an M.A. in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation (from SOAS in London), and teaches courses on yoga philosophy for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. His presentations combine practical experience with the latest research from academia, drawing on his skills as a former reporter to make complex subjects clear and interesting. He also writes about yoga for magazines and on his website:

Course Outline

Join Daniel Simpson as he explores the evolution of physical yoga from its earliest history to modern practice.



  • understand the historical context in which yoga developed

  • become familiar with the principal systems of yoga philosophy

  • get better acquainted with some of the most influential texts

  • learn common factors that make practices yogic, despite variations

  • identify which aspects of the yoga tradition have most resonance

  • hear about the latest discoveries in yoga scholarship

  • gain confidence in reading and analyzing academic writing

  • feel empowered to explore more widely by themselves


A Brief History of Yoga

A 4-WEEK Course WITH Daniel simpson

A One-Time Investment of $127, or Three Payments of $49 (every two weeks).

NOTE: Each week will include a 2 hour Lecture & Q&A on a Sunday Afternoon at 2pm Eastern Time (East Coast USA). Everyone will receive recordings of the Talks, so if you are not available during the Live Lecture, you can watch freely at your own time, again and again.

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