The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast
243: What Yoga Texts Should I Read? with Chase Bossart
Many yoga teachers are eager learners and always seeking to expand their knowledge about yoga. However the multitude of texts (and their various translations) available can feel overwhelming and daunting to approach. In this episode, Chase Bossart shares his recommendations and expertise around some of the must-read yoga texts.
Chase Bossart is the Director of the Yoga Well Institute, an organization dedicated to yoga, meditation, and holistic health in the tradition of Viniyoga. Chase studied under the tutelage of TKV Desikachar, son of Krishnamacharya who is often described as the father of modern yoga.
Chase shares his insights on how to take the yoga sutras into challenging times, the three fundamental texts he suggests yoga teachers read, and why these are so important for yoga teachers as a foundation in their practice and their teaching. Chase also explains why having a teacher to guide you in your study of the texts can be helpful, and whether yoga teachers need to know Sanskrit and all of the texts to practice or teach yoga. Shannon and Chase also discuss cultural appropriation, how and why yoga has changed so much in its practice in the East vs. West, and much more.
If you have ever wondered what texts you should read to deepen your knowledge of yoga and yoga philosophy, or how the teachings of yoga apply to our daily lives, this episode is for you.
[4:25] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Chase Bossart.
[6:37] Shannon gives a shoutout to Schedulicity.
[7:47] Shannon reads a review from a listener.
[11:25] This interview was recorded on the 20th of January, Inauguration Day in the US. Shannon and Chase discuss the state of things in the US at the moment.
[13:03] How have the yoga sutras held Chase through the challenges we have faced recently?
[19:20] What are the main texts that Chase recommends that yoga teachers read?
[22:14] Chase explains a little more about the Yogasūtra, and Haṭhayoga Pradīpika.
[25:26] These texts are not easy to read or understand. Chase talks about the traditional way that people would go about learning these texts.
[28:40] Not everyone can live with and learn these texts under the tutelage of a teacher. What can they do instead?
[34:12] Chase shares his recommendations on how yoga teachers can approach these texts.
[37:37] Does studying with one teacher mean that we are automatically limiting ourselves to just one person's ideas?
[39:08] Chase shares more about the three texts he recommends for yoga teachers.
[46:09] Context is not well understood in yoga.
[47:33] What is Chase's reaction to someone who just wants to practice yoga and believes that yoga's teachings will come through to them in their practice, without reading the texts?
[53:53] What are Chase's thoughts on bringing yoga from the East to the West? Shannon and Chase discuss the topic of cultural appropriation in yoga.
[60:27] Where should yoga teachers who want to study yoga texts start?
Gratitude to our Sponsors, Schedulicity, and Pelvic Health Professionals.
Quotes from this episode:
"The yoga sutras are very clear that you don't have a lot of influence over what happens."
“Do what you need to do to maintain your equanimity because that is the determining factor in how you respond, and how you respond is going to determine what happens to you next.”
"I think it's so important that people take time to become familiar with yoga as a path, yoga as a way of interacting with the world."
"Yoga, like cooking, is experiential knowledge. Like music or dance. It's not just something that you know, it's something you do."
"It's important to build a foundation before we add lots of stories."
"Another part of difficulty in yoga is that context is not well understood."
"We should be, at least, having a fundamental idea of what is yoga as a practice and as a life philosophy, rather than just what is yoga as an exercise class or some huff and puff."