The Sacred in Exile: What it Really Means to Lose Our Religion

Release date: October 3, 2017
by Gillian McCann and Gitte Bechsgaard

This book addresses the fact that, for the first time in history, a large segment of the population in the western world is living without any form of religious belief. While a number of writers have examined the implications of this shift, none have approached the phenomenon from the perspective of religious studies. The authors examine what has been lost from the point of view of sociology, psychology, and philosophy of religion. The book sits at the nexus of a number of important debates including: the role of religion in public life, the connection between religion and physical and psychological well-being, and the implications of the loss of ritual in terms of maintaining communities.


The Gift of Consciousness: Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras

by Gitte Bechsgaard

The Gift of Consciousness: Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras by Gitte Bechsgaard, RP, is to be read by those who love Yoga in general and practitioners of Yoga in particular. This book acts as a guide book to take a journey from the bank of mundane life towards the bank of spiritual life.

— from the Foreword to The Gift of Consciousness by B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga Master and author

Meticulously researched and compellingly written, The Gift of Consciousness is an engaging and approachable overview of the Yoga Sūtras and through the prism of both Eastern and Western psychology. Grounded in a thorough knowledge of the Sanskrit original and training in psychology, Gitte Bechsgaard opens out these complex texts to the general reading public. Bechsgaard’s clear-eyed approach makes an ancient text relevant to anyone interested in Yoga philosophy and practice. This book, with its emphasis on integrating Yogic insights into everyday life, will be an important resource for Yoga teachers and practitioners, academics, and general readers who have an interest in Eastern religion and philosophy, meditation and psychology.

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About the Authors

Gitte Bechsgaard, PhD, CIYT
Gitte is the founder of Vidya Institute, and is a certified Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher. She has spent 26 years as student, teacher and scholar of Yoga. Aside from Gitte’s work in Iyengar yoga she has also studied privately with her mentor, Sri Krishan Mantriji in the areas of Yoga philosophy, Sanskrit, Jyotish and mantra-shastra. In 2011 she completed her PhD thesis on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras which is published as The Gift of Consciousness: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (Book one: Samadhi Pada). In the last three years she has continued her studies with her primary Iyengar Yoga teacher in Denmark, Jette Berring, as well as Gloria Goldberg and Manouso Manos in the USA. Gitte teaches yoga philosophy, Sanskrit and related Vedic disciplines throughout North America and Europe.

Gillian McCann, PhD
Gillian holds a doctorate in Religious Studies in the area of South Asian religious traditions. She has taught in a variety of academic settings on world religions, women in religion, health and spirituality, and religion and the environment. Gillian is currently an Associate Professor in the Religions and Cultures Department, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario. She has worked both in academia and in partnership with Gitte Bechsgaard at Vidya Institute. Her book Vanguard of the New Age: The Toronto Theosophical Society 1891-1945 was published in May, 2012.