YogaLecture Series: The Roots of Yoga

Two Deeply Insightful Explorations of Yoga's Origins

You practice it, you love it ... where did it come from? What does it mean?

Wednesday, Oct. 4, 7-8 pm

Yoga in Ancient and Medieval India

Around the 5th century BCE, a movement arose in India in which men left their homes to ponder the meaning of life while living under the open air. From this speculation, mental yogic disciplines arose that later became part of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain religious traditions. Much later, during the medieval era, a new focus for yoga arose – that of awakening an inner energy through both mental and physical disciplines. This was the beginning of hatha yoga. In this lecture, we will explore key ideas and texts from early India that continue to inform the yoga movement today.

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 7-8 pm

The Journey of Yoga to America

Yogic forms as we know them in America did not arise in a vacuum. They represent centuries of interchange among British, Indian, and American religious thinkers as well as yoga practitioners. This history is full of surprises: America’s founding fathers’ interest in “eastern religion”; European women’s gymnastics; Ralph Waldo Emerson’s diaries; a 19th-century American Buddhist whose birthday is celebrated annually in Sri Lanka; correspondence between American Unitarian ministers and Ram Mohan Roy, a major reformer of Hinduism. What do these have to do with yoga? This lecture will connect the dots from 18th and 19th century cultural exchanges to the 20th century explosion of yoga.

Dr. Lola Williamson, Emeritus Associate Professor of Religious Studies, taught Asian and World Religions at Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, before recently retiring to Hickory. She has published books and articles about yoga in the West and lectured on the topic throughout the U.S. Her interest in the history and philosophy of yoga stems from 47 years of practicing yoga.

at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Catawba Valley
833 5th Street SE in Hickory

Free and open to the public

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