Yoga History, Philosophy, and Culture - Empowered U
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In this course, you will be engaged in active research and conversation aimed towards:

— Elevating critical thinking as a tool of spiritual inquiry.
— Liberating modern Yoga from charismatic power dynamics and consumerism.
— Building communities of sharing and resilience.

We’ll be dipping into the three core texts used in modern yoga culture: the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Separated by over two millennia and vast changes in human perception, culture, resources, and aspirations these three books present a panorama of yogic concern and approach. Respectively, they address the biggest questions: “How must we live?” “Who am I really?” and “What are we capable of?” We’ll learn some best practices for yoga philosophy today: historical sensitivity, cultural competence, an interdisciplinary technique, and the capacity to take pleasure in the uncertain journey towards wisdom. Presentations are interactive, supported by references and resources, enlivened by discussion.

In the course of our journey, we’ll also touch on pressing current questions, such as:

1. How to study and define “yoga” with integrity, humility, and respect. (Sincerely engaging the cultural appropriation issue.)
2. How to understand and what to do about the history of male violence in modern yoga education.
3. How to understand and what to do about the history of photo-centric performance stress in modern yoga.
4. How to understand and avoid cultic dynamics in yoga and spiritual groups. (PRISM)
5. How to resist the co-optation of yoga practice, teaching, and culture as a means of making privilege and consumer capitalism are made more “spiritual”.
6. How and why to practice in the shadow of the climate crisis.

Matthew Remski Bio:
I have been practicing meditation and yoga since 1996, learning from teachers from the Tibetan Buddhist, Kripalu, Ashtanga, and Iyengar streams. Along the way I’ve trained as a yoga therapist and an Ayurvedic consultant, and maintained a private practice in Toronto from 2007 to 2015. From 2008 through 2012 I co-directed Yoga Festival Toronto and Yoga Community Toronto, non-profit activist organizations dedicated to promoting open dialogue and accessibility. During that same period I studied jyotiśhāstra in a small oral-culture setting at the Vidya Institute in Toronto. I currently facilitate programming for yoga trainings internationally, focusing on yoga philosophy, culture, and the social psychology of healthy communities. In all subject areas, I encourage students to explore how yoga practice can resist the psychic and material dominance of neoliberalism, and the quickening pace of environmental destruction.

I’m the author of eight books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Of Threads of Yoga: a remix of Patanjali’s Sutras with commentary and reverie, scholar Mark Singleton writes: “I don’t know of any reading of the yoga sutras as wildly creative, as impassioned and as earnest as this. it engages Patanjali and the reader in an urgent, electrified conversation that weaves philosophy, symbolist poetry, psychoanalysis and cultural history. There’s a kind of delight and freshness in this book that is very rare in writing on yoga, and especially rare in writing on the yoga sutras. This is a Patanjali for postmoderns, less a translation than a startlingly relevant report on our current condition, through the prism of this ancient text.”

My most recent book, Practice and All is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, and Healing in Yoga and Beyond is earning praise internationally as a groundbreaking resource for critical thinking and community health.

I live in Toronto with my partner and our two sons.


Thursday 10:30am-12:30pm (MST) 12:30-2:30 (EST)
January 9th through February 13th
Thursday 6:30pm-8:30pm (MST) 8:00pm – 10:00pm (EST)
February 20th and 27th

The 8 sessions will be live webinars and recordings.

This module will count for credit in EP’s 500 and 800-level courses. Credit will be given upon homework completion.

16 hours live webinar, 9 hours reading/homework.


$400 plus tax ($420).
$105 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot.
The remaining $315 plus taxes is due on the first day of classes, or:

We offer flexible payment plans including:

  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 12 months

Lead instructor

Matthew Remski

A deposit is required to hold your spot. Deposits are not refundable. Cancelations up to 30 days prior to the event may be issued a credit with Empowered Yoga to be used towards a different program. Unfortunately we are unable to issue a credit or refund the deposit within 30 days of the event. Certificates of completion may be issued upon the successful completion of the requirements above. Once a certificate is issued students may be eligible to register with the Yoga Alliance as an RYT. For more info, contact us at

  • January 9, 2020 - February 27, 2020
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm


Suite 201, 1524 91st SW, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6X 1M5