Yoga philosophy through a South Asian perspective with Shyam Ranganathan [Podcast Episode 8]

In episode 8 of the Accessible Yoga Podcast, Shyam Ranganathan and Jivana Heyman have a discussion about Yoga philosophy through a South Asian perspective. They explore the various ways that Western imperialism shows up in the way we interpret and practice yoga, what the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita both say about our responsibility when it comes to other people (social justice), and how translations, interpretation, and a Eurocentric bias can completely change the context and the meanings of the teachings.

Listen to Episode 8

Download Episode 8 Download Transcript

As you practice the Yamas you are committed to disrupting harm… your responsibility is to make space for other people to have the kind of freedom that you’re working on. -Shyam Ranganathan

Episode 8: Yoga philosophy through a South Asian perspective with Shyam Ranganathan 

In episode 8, Shyam & Jivana discuss:

  • Shyam’s story including why he decided to teach yoga philosophy, why he translated the yoga sutras, and how online education through the Yoga Philosophy school informs his teaching
  • Moral philosophy & ethics (or dharma in south asian tradition), an investigation into the right and the good
  • Shyam talks about how Yoga is a practice of devotion to the ideal of Ishvara, which is defined by unconservativism and self governance, whereas Yoga philosophy is a question of right action (or social justice)
  • How Western imperialism expresses itself as a common theme when we study yoga philosophy (“shut up and get in line” or “don’t question the status quo”) and why intellectual traditions from outside of Europe automatically get labeled as “religion”
  • What Shyam thinks of a guru that makes you earn your status and work your way up their ladder… “That’s Plato, not Patanjali”
  • What Patanjali has to say about how we should deal with folks who advocate for harm (or against ahimsa)
  • Ghandi’s influence on social justice movements and his connection with the sutras
  • How yoga is a practice of "getting over yourself"
  • Karma yoga and Bhakti yoga in the Gita and the sutras
  • How spiritual abuse isn’t yoga, and why modeling yoga after Plato’s model (where a series of hoops is presented as education) is flawed
  • How to have discernment when it comes to finding or vetting a teacher, and noticing where we give our power away
  • How Shyam understands and defines Ishvara, and how that changes the context of the teachings

Connect With Us


Subscribe to the Accessible Yoga Podcast

Subscribe on: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | Google Podcasts | RSS Feed


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.