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Yoga Philosophy Foundations IN STUDIO or ON DEMAND

This course is an ideal introduction to yogic philosophy, introducing the history, origins, key texts and theories behind the vast subject of yoga. The course is led by Dr Matthew Clark, a truly brilliant down to earth, insightful teacher who never fails to engage his listeners through his talent for storytelling.

Yoga Philosophy Level 1 | Teacher Training | 20 hours

with Matthew Clark

Exploring yoga philosophy is an integral part of any yoga training programme and a fundamental element for anyone wishing to deepen their personal practice. Dr Matthew Clark is a captivating storyteller who brings this topic to life and has an astonishing amount of experience and depth of knowledge that makes this subject accessible, exciting and engaging.

Yoga Philosophy Course Overview

Over the course of five Friday afternoons, Dr Matthew Clark will take you back in time to discover the history and origins of yoga, then back into the present day to explore modern yoga and some critical issues in contemporary yoga. This is a foundational yoga philosophy course for yoga teachers, teacher trainees and yoga practitioners wishing to deepen their understanding of the practice.

The five-part course will take place in the studio, allowing for plenty of interaction, discussion and questions. For anyone who is unable to attend in the studio, the course will be made available on demand approximately 4 weeks after each session.

Matthew Clark is a truly brilliant down to earth, insightful teacher. His wealth of knowledge is remarkable but more remarkable still is how he makes his subject so accessible, interesting and relevant to modern day practitioners.

“Yoga is the science of experimentation on oneself, the cultivation of our own spirit of understanding, a way to free ourselves of dogma and habits…” Matthew Clark

Yoga Philosophy Course Content

In these five yoga philosophy sessions Matthew will pull together many threads not only relating to the complex history of yoga but the relationship to early civilisations and to our modern day lifestyles. We will explore some of the origins and development of yoga to give you a foundational base to build upon.

The course is divided into five main units, comprising two lectures each.  The five sessions break down as follows;


  1. Late Bronze Age migrations to India; the Vedas, ritual and the ancient use of psychoactive plants; Buddhism; Jainism; definition of ‘religion’
  2. Upaniṣads; Sāṃkhya philosophy; Vedānta philosophy; The Bhagavad Gītā(Additional reading: Bhagavad Gītā) 
  3. Patañjali’s yoga sūtras; sādhus/yogīs/yoginīs; Pāśupatas; Kāpālīkas. (Additional reading: Patañjali’s yoga sūtras; Sādhus, Sādhvīs, Nāgās by Matthew Clark)
  4. Tantra; the subtle body and yoga physiology; medieval yoga texts and practices. (Additional reading: Haṭha Pradīpikā [Hathayoga Pradipika])
  5.  Modern yoga (from the 1890s to now); āyurveda; introduction to Sanskrit pronunciation and the devanāgarī script

A summary of the main elements of the course can be found in The Origins and Practices of Yoga: A Weeny Introduction (revised edition) by Matthew Clark. This course can be attended as a stand-alone Yoga Alliance accredited course, a mandatory module on our 200-hour or as an optional module on our 300-hour programme. 

Teacher Bio

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.

Matthew has published articles and books on yoga, soma and sādhus (yogis). His PhD, on a sect of sādhus (saṃnyāsīs), was published in 2006. His recent book, entitled The Tawny One: Soma. Haoma and Ayahuasca, was published in July 2017. Matthew has been visiting India since 1977, visiting around 1,000 pilgrimage sites and trekking about 2,000 miles in the Himalayas. He first engaged with yoga in the mid-1970s, and since 1990 has been regularly practising a form of Ashtanga Yoga. Matthew also writes songs, plays guitar, and makes records as Mahabongo.

Yoga Philosophy Matthew Clark
Matthew Clark | Yoga Philosophy

Course Dates

The course has the following schedule:


Express interest

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

Express Interest

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

Express Interest

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