Astanga Yoga London


Yoga philosophy with Ruth Westoby

Ruth leads yoga philosophy workshops. These sessions explore ideas and practices from the long history of yoga. Classes engage with texts through chanting, identifying the meaning of key concepts and discussing their relevance to our lives. Over the last few years we have looked at the Upaniṣads, the Yoga Sūtras, the Bhagavad Gītā, Saṇkhya, Vedanta, Tantra and Haṭha. These sessions are opportunities to come together and share our intrigue for these ancient and illuminating concepts and technologies.

The sessions are open to all. No previous knowledge is required.

If you have any questions please contact Ruth. Please also contact Ruth if you would like to be added to her email distribution list to receive updates about forthcoming sessions.

About Ruth Westoby
Ruth Westoby is authorised level two in the Aṣṭāṅga lineage and a doctoral researcher in yoga. She is fascinated by yoga both in academia and practice. Ruth’s main teachers are Hamish Hendry whom she assists, Richard Freeman, Sharat Jois, and the late Śrī K Pattabhi Jois. She was awarded an MA in Indian Religions from SOAS in 2010 with Distinction. She is currently working on doctoral research into gendered conceptions in Sanskrit texts on yoga at SOAS under the supervision of James Mallinson.

Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad

Saturday 03rd February 11.30am – 2.30pm
£30.00 / concession.
Open to all.

‘Two birds, who are companions and friends, nestle on the very same tree. One of them eats a tasty fig; the other, not eating, looks on.’
Śvetāśvatara 4.6.

This workshop will explore the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad which is closely associated with the articulation of yoga in the centuries preceding the Common Era. It contains ideas worked out within the classical systems of Sāṁkhya and Yoga, as well as establishing the doctrine of one god. In this it is close to the thought of the Bhagavad Gītā. This Upaniṣad includes clear practices on how yoga should be practised.

The workshop will be framed with a little chanting, will situate the text in its historical period, set out the main concepts of the Upaniṣads, and look in detail at the text of the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad. The format will be a combination of lecture and discussion. Tea and snacks are provided. All are welcome, no prior knowledge is required. All you need to bring is inquisitiveness.

‘When earth, water, fire, air, and ether have arisen together, and the body made up of these five becomes equipped with the attribute of yoga, that man, obtaining a body tempered by the fire of yoga, will no longer experience sickness, old age, or suffering.’
Śvetāśvatara 2.12.

The text
Please email me if you would like me to send you a copy of the text. Alternatively get hold of Roebuck, Valerie (1996). The Upaniṣads. Penguin: London or Olivelle, Patrick (1996). Upaniṣads. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Please book and pay in advance either by cash or cheque to Ruth or through Eventbrite. Please pay less than £30 if that is what you can afford – contact Ruth directly.

Upcoming workshops – all dates are TBC
Saturday 21st + Sunday 22nd April Weekend Immersion: History of Yoga
Sunday 10th June 11.30am – 2.30pm Pratyabhijñā Hṛdayaṁ
Sunday 8th July 11.30am – 1.00pm Introduction to Yoga Ideas
Sunday 4th November 11.30am – 1.30pm Introduction to Yoga Ideas

Further information

All workshops will take place at Astanga Yoga London, Dharma Shala.

If you have any questions, get in touch: or 07773 767993. More information on