Yoga Philosophy

Delve deeper into Yoga Philosophy with one of the UK's leading scholars, Matthew Clark (MA, PHD) and explore the history of yoga, the primary yoga texts and an introduction to Sanskrit. These five workshops can be attended individually or as a complimentary series.

Yoga Philosophy Workshops

with Dr Matthew Clark in South London

For anyone who has experienced magic on their yoga mat, these Philosophy workshops are the perfect opportunity to understand more about the origins of yoga and the fascinating, rich and relevant ethics behind the system.

Behind the postures and poses lies a vast tradition and Matthew Clark, a long time Ashtanga practitioner and Yogi is both an enthusiastic expert and engaging speaker on the subject, with a wealth of knowledge to share. We are excited to offer these events for the yoga community, particularly for those who have been engaged with a physical practice for some time and are looking to learn more beyond the asana, and for yoga teachers who have already been inspired by study. It's the perfect way to dive deep into the history of Yoga in 2018 and to take your practice further.

Except to journey in your mind to ancient times, into ancient texts and to be fascinated by Matthew's lifetime of study and exploration in India and on Yoga. As well as light-hearted and informative lectures from Matthew, there will be plenty of time for you to ask inquisitive questions and spark thoughtful discussion.

The workshops can be attended individually or as part of a series:

January 14 2018

This lecture will provide a broad, introductory overview of the history of yoga from the earliest records to modern times. We will also briefly survey the migrations of Aryans to India, the performance of Vedic ritual and references to yoga in the Upanishads.

February 18 2018

In this session we will look in detail at the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, its concepts and practices. We will also examine later influential yoga texts, in particular the Hathapradipika (or Hatha Yoga Pradipika), and also concepts in other mediaeval yoga texts.

April 22 2018

Tantras are primarily texts that detail religious rites and metaphysics, which were very influential not only on the religions of Asia but also on the yoga tradition. In this session we explore the practices and concepts of Tantra, including mantras, mudras and yantras. In the second part of the lecture we will expore how yoga practices evolved in the twentieth century, focusing particularly on the influence of Svami Vivekananda and Krishnamacharya.

July 1 2018

In this lecture we will look at the sects, organisation and lifestyle of Sadhus. Sadhus are ascetics who have formally renounced family and home to adopt a religious life. Sadhus are also called yogis. They are the people who have been mostly responsible for the transmission of yoga practices in South Asia.  

September 9 2018

There are many systems of philosophy in South Asia. In this lecture we will explore the most influential of the systems, in particular the various branches of Vedanta, and how these relate to the philosophy of yoga. We will also explore the Sankya system of philosophy, which is traditionally paired with the yoga system of Patanjali. In the second part of this session we will begin an introduction to the Sanskrit language. We will look at the writing system but will mostly focus on the pronunciation of sounds.

Upcoming Schedule


These workshops / lectures are open to all, whether new or studied in Yoga, although some previous understanding is valuable.

Students on our monthly membership receive a 20% discount on this workshop.

Workshops at the Shala are run independently and all payments for workshop services are accepted on behalf of the individual teacher. The teacher's terms are given below.

  • Purchases for workshops are non-refundable
  • Cancellations may be made online up to 24-hours before the start of the workshop in which case your Shala account will be credited and you will be able to rebook for the same workshop on a different date
  • Late cancellations and no shows will be charged as if you had attended
  • In the event that a workshop is cancelled you will be offered a refund or the option to be transferred to an alternative date