Yoga Philosophy | Act or retreat?

Join Ruth Westoby on this Deep Dive session Act or Retreat? Social activism or solitary retreat?

Yoga Deep Dive |Session 6

16 October 2021 | 9 am - 12 pm | VIRTUAL LIVESTREAM with Ruth Westoby

This session can be attended by anybody, as a stand-alone workshop or as an optional module on our 300-hour programme in conjunction with our Foundation Yoga Philosophy course.  

Course Overview

The solitary retreat, the nice quiet cave, the renouncing of worldly activities – these are often set up as the ideal for pursuing practices of yoga and meditation. But are these practices for self or other, for individual transcendence or the uplift of humanity? Ideals such as the Bodhisattva, the compassionate being who toils for the enlightenment for all sentient beings, suggest an active engagement in the world. Should we look to the yoga traditions for justification of individual renunciation or engaged social activism? This session will unpick ideas from the Indian tradition, such as nivṛtti and pravṛtti dharma, to develop a nuanced appreciation of such questions as how and whether we should try to take our yoga off the mat.


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Course Content

Suitable for anybody interested in this subject matter. Join us to delve deep into the topic and take part in discussions and gain knowledge from Ruth Westoby- Doctoral Researcher at SOAS and Ashtanga practitioner



  • A 200-hour yoga teacher training is usually a prerequisite for joining any of our Level 2 trainings but not essential 
  • This course can be taken as a stand-alone course or as part of our 300-YA accredited programme
  • The course VIRTUAL LIVESTREAM with catch up sessions available for 7 days if you cant attend
  • If you do the Yoga Philosophy Foundations training and 3 deep dives you will gain a 20hr certificate and five deep dives for a 30 hr Certificate with Yoga Allicance
  • Once you have completed your 300-hour training you can register as a RYT 500 teacher

Teacher Bio

Ruth Westoby is a doctoral researcher in yoga and an Ashtanga practitioner. Ruth teaches yoga history, philosophy and critical theory in workshops and on some of the principle teacher trainings in the UK and beyond. Ruth is researching for a doctoral thesis on ‘Bodies in Haṭhayoga: Gender, Materiality and Power’ at SOAS under the supervision of James Mallinson. She serves on the steering committee for the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies

Ruth began to explore yoga practices in 1996 and started teaching postural yoga in 2004. Ruth has studied closely with Hamish Hendry and Richard Freeman. In 2010 she received an MA in Indian Religions from SOAS, University of London, with Distinction. In 2015 she was authorized by Sharat to teach Ashtanga level 2. Ruth collaborated with the Haṭha Yoga Project’s ‘embodied philology’, interpreting postures from an 18th-century text teaching a precursor of modern yoga, the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati, in 2016 and 2017

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Course Dates

The course has the following modules scheduled:

Saturday 26 November 2021

9am - 12:00pm


All of our Deep Dives cost £40 per session including access to recordings for 7 days after