Yoga Sutra Course Details

Module Overview

This 4 module course covers, in depth, “practice relevant” material from the Yoga Sūtras. The teachings will emphasize a firm foundation in the philosophical and psycho-spiritual aspects of Yoga as laid out in Samādhi Pāda (Book One of the Yoga Sūtras) and in The Gift of Consciousness.

Module 1 focuses on the fundamentals of Yoga including Yogic psychology, while Module 2 will mostly center on the transformative power of Yogic practice. In module 3, we will explore the rich variety of contemplative practice laid out in the Yoga Sūtras. In addition, the teachings will focus on the obstacles to Yogic progress as described in traditional Vedic scriptures.  Finally, module 4 will concentrate on Yoga as mystical trance and the subtler limbs of dhāraṇā (concentration), dhyāna (meditation), and samādhi (meditative absorption).

To learn about each of the four modules in greater detail please view below.

Module 1: Fundamentals of Yoga and Yogic Psychology

“Yoga is a mirror to look at ourselves from within” (B.K.S. Iyengar)

In this first Yoga intensive, we will examine the model of the mind that Patañjali provides in the first chapter of the Yoga Sūtras. Along the way, we will explore the concept of Yoga as both the essential means and ultimate destination of the inner journey. The Vedic theory of the three essential modes of nature (tamas, rajas, and sattva), as well as the fundamental tenets of Yogic psychology will be discussed.

Module 2: Cultivation and Yogic Practice

“The word sādhanā is often translated as ‘quest’. The term ‘quest’ conveys the idea of a long and arduous search and investigation through practice.” (B.K.S. Iyengar)

Yogic practice is traditionally viewed as a life-long endeavor. It is an inner pilgrimage of the soul. Through practice we can come to realize our inner potential, for without cultivation, self-betterment remains an abstraction. Practice is a catalyst that brings embodied transformation to life, turning ancient knowledge into lived wisdom. Foundational practice as a transformative power is at the very heart of the teachings in this second Yoga intensive

Module 3: Intensification and Contemplative Practice

“Problems in life will always exist, but through the recognition of your own heart a higher awareness comes about, and you are able to see a greater purpose in everything that happens.” (Swami Chidvilasananda)

In this 3rd module, we will explore the main contemplative practices described in Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras. As a group these meditative techniques are referred to as the citta parikarma practices. This term encompasses a wide range of inward-minded practices all of which hold the power to calm the mind and clarify consciousness. Some of these practices concern the Yoga of right relationship- they relate to the cultivation of concentration in ways that can help us to heal and grow through healthy relationships, either with other people, with a Guru or mentor, with a chosen deity, or perhaps even with our own heart, breath, and higher mind.

Together, these practices offer a most essential and life-giving medicine, a solution to be applied in the face of roadblocks or inner agitation. During this intensive, we will also discuss these perennial “roadblocks” or obstacles, examining how they affect our mind, path, and heart.

Module 4: Destination and Meditation

“We need for life to signify, to touch the eternal, to understand the mysterious, to find out who we are.” (Joseph Campbell)

According to Patañjali, Yoga embraces a wide range of meditative states. All of these fall under the umbrella term of samyama. These states of super-consciousness are primarily characterized by the gradual stilling of the mind through the meditative trinity of dhāraṇā (concentration), dhyāna (meditation), and samādhi (meditative absorption).

When meditative practice intensifies, the seeker experiences a breakthrough of the intuitive, the sacred, and the mystical into their otherwise everyday, conditioned consciousness. In all world religions, we find that the mystical path is characterized by this kind of direct experience of the transcendental or sacred.

Upcoming Sutras Modules


With Gitte Becshgaard & Sheila Haswell

Module 1: August 19-23, 2016

Module 2: January 6-10, 2017

Module 3: August 11-15, 2017

Module 4: January 5-9, 2018



With Gitte Becshgaard & Sheila Haswell

Module 1: August 25-29, 2016

Module 2: April 7-11, 2017

Module 3: August 18-22, 2017

Module 4: January 11-15, 2018

Teaching Strucutre

“To acquire self-knowledge through scriptures and then to practically transmit this studied knowledge (svādhyāya) is sādhanā.” (B.K.S. Iyengar)

We are committed to providing participants with an inspiring course of study that is grounded in the tradition of classical Yoga. At the same time, the program is  flexible and is designed to meet the individual student’s needs in regards to his or her practice, lineage, learning needs, and more. The 2 year, 4-module Yoga Sūtras course is standardized in order to ensure a high level of philosophy teaching in various international locations. This encompasses the content, length, and quality of the sūtra study component. This part of the course is mandatory for all students.

In terms of practice, we welcome all students and teachers of Yoga irrespective of practice level/style and lineage. Because of this, you may choose from 2 forms of practice during the modules:

*Students may wish to attend classes with guided instruction in āsana and prānāyāma from a distinguished Iyengar teacher.

*Alternately, there will be a “self-practice” option—in this case the studio space will be made available at certain times of day so that students can balance the philosophy teachings with their own practice of  āsana and/or prānāyāma. This option may not be available in all locations depending upon studio availability (inquire for details).

Please note that the daily schedule may vary from location to location depending upon the studio or center where the course is being offered. Teaching hours may be shorter on weekdays and longer during evenings/weekend. We will ensure that all students can enjoy approximately 3 ½ hours of philosophy teachings per day (including sūtra recitation) and an equal amount of guidedāsana/prānāyāma (self-practice time will be somewhat shorter).

In the course of your study, in-person training can be complemented with our home-study course. This course also includes a CD so that students can maintain their sūtra recitation practice at home.

Home Study Course

With Gitte Bechsgaard (RP, PhD)

The ancient body of Yogic teachings is incredibly vast and profound – starting with the Vedas themselves, the well-loved texts of Indian spirituality range from terse aphorisms to sprawling epics, from the high philosophy of the Upaniṣads to the life-embracing wisdom of the Bhagavad Gītā. In this course we will use Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras as a springboard to launch us deep into the heart of the Vedic Tradition in regards to philosophy, Eastern psychology, and also embodied Yogic practice. Although the different schools of Indian thought can seem disparate and somewhat overwhelming, upon closer examination there are many essential threads —each one different from the other and yet equally beautiful—that woven together form the overall tapestry of Yogic wisdom from past to present.

Over the course of 12 lessons, you will have the opportunity to acquaint yourself with some of the most essential themes —the core concepts and principles underlying the greater Yoga Tradition and the teachings of the sages. This course of study will be complemented with a variety of self-reflective practice, and relevant sādhanās including sūtra recitation and traditional Indian chants. The program also includes guidance in terms of integrating the philosophical teachings into one’s home-practice and also into asana classes (for those who teach). You will also be encouraged to engage in a dialogue with fellow teachers in your Yoga community and possibly even to participate in Vidya Institute’s upcoming Mentoring Program.

For those who wish to receive a certificate showing their participation in the program, there will be an additional fee and an essay component on the basics of Yoga philosophy.


Please enquire for further details.

Dates & Cost

Costs: $600 per module/$2,400 for all 4 modules program

Please contact us at or (416)532-6554 for payment details.

Your Stay in Toronto

Whether you are planning to take your time in Toronto as a quiet retreat, a healing time, and/or a special vacation, the city offers a range of accomodations, dining experiences, cultural sights, and nature excursions. We’ve compiled some of our favourite places under restaurants and local attractions, including beautiful parks and seasonal activities just outside of the city. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

Further information is also available on Toronto’s tourism website: – See “Visiting Toronto”

  • Accommodations
  • Restaurants
  • Local Attractions