Yoga Philosophy Foundations | Teacher Training | VIRTUAL

Take a deep dive into Yoga Philosophy in this modular course run by SOAS scholars Ruth Westoby and Dr Matthew Clark. Delve into understanding the origins and development of yoga with four short sessions to give you a foundational base to build upon. Then choose topics that you are drawn to including Tantra, Vedānta & Buddhism as well as more contemporary explorations.

Yoga Philosophy Foundations | Teacher Training | 20 or 30 hours

4, 11, 18 & 25 March (evening weekly foundation sessions) VIRTUAL LIVESTREAM with Ruth Westoby & Dr Matthew Clark

This modular course exposes the student to medieval and contemporary Yoga Philosophy topics. Students will undertake 4 evening sessions for the first month to lay a foundation for further study. You can then choose from subjects and topics for a deep dive on a monthly basis to accrue a  20 or 30 hour certification. To obtain a 20 hour certification you will take the foundation session plus 3 deep dives and for the 30 hour certification you will choose 5 deep dives plus the foundation.  This course can be attended as a stand-alone Yoga Alliance accredited course or as an optional module on our 300-hour programme

Course Overview

Ruth Westoby and Dr Matthew Clark will take you back in time to discover the origins of yoga, as well into the present day to explore modern yoga and critical issues in contemporary yoga. A useful course for those wishing to study for their own personal development, for yoga teachers and those studying or planning to study a level 2 with us. 

You will study one evening a week, for 4 weeks to recap a historical timeline and go over basic concepts before we then deep dive into the philosophy based topics available on this modular course.

At this level of study, students will get a chance to delve deeper into topics and explore them through texts such as the Upaniṣads, Bhagavad Gītā, Amṛtasiddhi and Patañjali. There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss Yoga Philosophical teachings through a contemporary lens and learn how to incorporate philosophy into your yoga teachings today. After the 4 week recap students can choose as many deep dive topics as they wish to study but will need to dedicate a minimum of 20 hours to receive a certificate.

Deep dives will be held monthly on a Saturday morning 9-12pm throughout the year and will cost £40. 

Further communications

It is essential that you are opted in for emails on our website in order to receive all the updates about this course. Please ensure that you are opted in for emails. Log in to your Shala account > Click My Account > Profile > Receive Newsletter. Emails will come from

Course Content

The foundation will cover the following topics and more:

Session 1- general introduction | definitions | World Mythology | emergence of Yoga in the Axial Age | Vedic practices | Upaniṣads | definition of religions | non-ordinary states of consciousness 

Session 2 -Historical timeline & definitions of yoga 

Session 3 -Vedānta | Sāṃkhya | Bhagavad Gītā | Patañjali

Session 4 - Yoga nutshells - glossary of terms explored in foundation & how yoga changes in the modern world as well guide to studying yoga historically and philosophy

The deep dives will be booked as separate workshops to the foundation course and will be listed on the teacher training index as well as the workshops index as and when they are released as well as this page. 


  • A 200-hour yoga teacher training is usually a prerequisite for joining any of our Level 2 trainings but is not essential for joining this course 
  • This course can be taken as a stand-alone course or as part of our 300-YA accredited programme
  • The course is in an interactive VIRTUAL LIVESTREAM format
  • You will receive 20 or 30 hr accredited Level 2 hours as a stand-alone course or towards our 300-hour training 
  • Once you have completed your 300-hour training you can register as a RYT 500 teacher

  • Teacher Bio

    Ruth Westoby

    Ruth Westoby is a doctoral researcher in yoga and an Ashtanga practitioner. As well as offering workshops and lectures at studios and conferences, Ruth teaches on some of the principal teacher training programmes in the UK and beyond. Ruth is researching a doctoral thesis on ‘Bodies in Haṭhayoga: Gender, Materiality and Power’ at SOAS under the supervision of James Mallinson and serves on the steering committee for the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies. 

    Dr Matthew Clark

    Dr Matthew Clark (MA, PhD) has been a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) since 2004. Prior to that he taught Hinduism there between 1999 and 2003. Since 2002 he has been lecturing on yoga at yoga centres in the UK, Europe, Israel, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the USA. To date, he has presented lectures at yoga retreats, workshops and teacher-training courses for twenty-five different yoga teachers and organisations.


    • "

      Ruth is the perfect choice to deliver these kinds of teachings. She covers all the relevant material while still making ample time at each session to answer all kinds of questions in an open, compassionate and engaging way - seriously awesome session


      Jasmine Arnold

    • "

      Matthew has got a wealth of knowledge and he imparts it in a very interesting way. I could listen to his lecture for hours.



    • "

      Ruth is another amazing teacher, it's such a fascinating subject but I think it's a real talent to be able to bring it to life and keep it exciting in the way that she does


      Sarah Dickinson

    • "

      I would defy anyone not to be drawn into Matthews flowing recitals of knowledge from the ancient history of eastern culture and practices, I was with him hook line and sinker


      Jane Woolner

    Express Interest

    Please register your interest in this course so we can keep you updated.

    Course Dates

    The course has the following modules scheduled:

    Thursday 4 March 2021


    Thursday 11 March 2021


    Thursday 18 March 2021

    FOUNDATIONS | SESSION 3 | Vedānta, Bhagavad Gītā. Sāṃkhya & Patañjali |Dr Matthew Clark

    Thursday 25 March 2021


    Saturday 17 April 2021

    DEEP DIVE TOPIC – Yogis, Tibetan yoga, medieval yoga texts ( Haṭhapradīpikā) | Matthew Clark
    9am–12.00pm VIRTUAL LIVESTREAM

    Saturday May 15th 2021

    Deep Dive | The Yoga of the Amṛtasiddhi |Ruth Westoby

    Saturday 17 July 2021

    Deep Dive | The Devine Feminine |Ruth Westoby
    9am–12.00pm VIRTUAL LIVESTREAM

    Saturday 14 August 2021

    Deep Dive | Critically thinking yoga history and philosophy |Ruth Westoby
    9am–12.00pm VIRTUAL LIVESTREAM


    • The cost is £175 for the 4 Foundation sessions. You then go on to choose and book your choice 3 or 5 deep dive sessions that must be taken in 2021. 
    • A non-refundable deposit of £75 is required on booking to save your place.
    • Deep dives will be £40 per 3 hour workshop
    • You can also pay in full at the outset. If you do not pay in full, please ensure that you save your credit card details so we can process the final payment of £100. This will happen 21 days before the start of the course and a receipt will be sent to you when the payment has been taken.
    • 300 hour students get a 10% discount on this training if they have booked three trainings with us including the core. Email us if this is the case and the discount will be applied when the balance is taken

    • The deposit is non refundable but can be transferred to another person 
    • The remaining balance is refundable up to 1 month before the event.  
    • Cancellation 2 - 4 weeks before the event: 50 % of the balance in refund only
    • Cancellation less than 2 weeks before the event: no refund
    Trainings at the Shala are run independently and all payments for training services are accepted on behalf of the individual teachers. 
    • The livestreamed elements of this training will be recorded and anyone who is unable to attend this part can email us to request a link to the recording, which will be available for 7 days after the event. 
    • Late cancellations and no shows will be charged as if you had attended. 
    • In the event that a training is cancelled by the Shala you will be offered a refund or the option to be transferred to an alternative event
    • The course leaders and the Shala reserve the right to photograph or film during the programme and to use these images for our website and marketing purposes