The Ramayana is one of the most popular epics of Indian literature. It tells the story of Rama who is exiled to the forest. When Ravana, a ten-headed evil king, kidnaps his wife, Sita, Rama embarks on a journey to save her. It’s a great adventure story full of magical creatures, palace intrigue, epic battles, and the triumph of hope over despair.
But the Ramayana is more than just an entertaining adventure story. As Rama searches for Sita he faces many difficult moral and ethical dilemmas. With grace and dignity he always strives to follow a path consistent with his social and family obligations (dharma). Rama’s actions illustrate how yoga can be part of our everyday living.
Many of Rama’s adventures involve the yamas and niyamas of yoga including honesty (satya) and non-attachment (vairagya). The Ramayana is also a story of the challenges we face in practicing yoga. The actions of Rama, Sita, and Ravana are symbolic of how our mind (manas) and ego (ahankara) can keep us from attaining the ultimate goal of yoga.
Reading the Ramayana together and sharing our insights with each other is a fun way to enrich our practice of yoga.
February 12, 7:15 to 8:15 PM. Tradition of Indian storytelling, history of the Ramayana, plot overview, main characters, guide for reading the Ramayana.
February 26, 7:15 to 8:15 PM. Discussion of the Ramayana, guide for reading sections of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali relevant to the Ramayana.
March 12, 7:15 to 8:15 PM. Comparison of the yoga teachings of the Ramayana and Yoga Sutras.
This is not an asana class. Class size is limited to 10 students. Register early! Attendance at all three meetings is required. No drop-ins or make-ups.
Purchase of, or access to, two books is required before the first meeting:
Narayan, R.K. The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic. New York: Penguin Books, 2006.
Bryant, Edwin. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: A New Edition, Translation, and Commentary. New York: North Point Press, 2009.