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International Conference on Philosophy and Praxis of Yoga – A Brief Report


Indic Academy and Indica Yoga in association with Ramaiah Indic Specialty Ayurveda, Bangalore, organized an International Conference of Philosophy and Praxis of Yoga, two days conference on February 15th and 16th 2020. A premiere Yoga University of India – Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA), Karnataka Samskrit University, Bangalore, and the Apex body of all yoga organizations in India – Indian Yoga Association were the esteemed knowledge partners of the event. The conference was held in Ramaiah Institute of Technology campus where about 300 delegates from across India participated along with about 33 paper presenters and 20 invited speakers from across India and abroad. Indica Yoga had partnered with about 12 yoga schools from Bangalore for the event.

Inauguration

The conference was inaugurated in the presence of dignitaries like Padma Bhushan Dr. David Frawley, Founder, The American Institute of Vedic Studies, USA, Prof. Makarand Paranjape, Director, Indian institute of advanced study, Shimla, Dr. M. R. Jayaram, Chariman, GEF (Ramaiah Group of Institutions), Dr. Nagraj Paturi, Director, Indic Academy – Inter Gurukula University Center, Dr. G. G. Gangadharan, Director, RISA, Bangalore, Prof. Veeranarayana Pandurangi, Registrar, Karnataka Samskrit University, Bangalore and Dr. Vinayachandra Banavathy, Director, Indica Yoga.

Dr. Paturi made the opening remarks outlining the need for such a conference to address the emerging issues of authenticity in the field of Yoga. This was followed by the book launch and talk on Prof. Paranjape’s ‘Swami Vivekananda: Hinduism and India’s Road to Modernity’ where he spoke on Swami Vivekananda and Rediscovery of Yoga. Following this, Dr. David Frawley delivered the key note address tracing the roots of Yoga in the Vedas. During the course of his talk he also addressed issues of reductionism, appropriation and distortion concerning Yoga tradition. Dr. Jayaram delivered the presidential address emphasizing on the need to have a direct and intuitive experience of Yoga in addition to a scholastic approach.

Plenary Sessions

In addition to the inaugural and valedictory, the conference had five plenary sessions, each approaching the issue of authenticity in its unique way. Sri Raghu Anantanarayan, Founder, Ritambhara Ashram, Kotagiri and Sri Kathirasan, Managing Director & Founder, Centre for Mindfulnes, Singapore highlighted the issues pertaining to research in the session titled ‘Challenges in authentic research in Yoga. Dr. Gangadharan, Director, RISA, Sri N. V. Raghuram, Founder, Yoga Bharati, USA & India, Dr. Anuradha Choudry, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Humanities & Social Sciences, IIT Kharagpur, spoke at the session titled ‘Yoga and Complimentary Systems’ focusing on the need for holistic approach to Yoga from Ayurveda, Vedanta and Samskrit & Mantrasadhana perspectives respectively. Day one concluded with a panel discussion on ‘Yoga and its purpose’ with Sadhvi Divyaprabha, founder, Chanadramauli International Trust, Varanasi, Sri James Boag, Renowned Yoga Teacher, UK, Sri N. V. Raghuram, Sri Raghu Anantanarayan, Dr. Anuradha Choudry as panelists. Dr. Vinayachandra Banavathy moderated the session.

In the next plenary session titled ‘Elements of Authenticity’, while Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, Director, CYTRER, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth & Chairman, ICYER, Pondicherry, passionately spoke on the importance of the guru-shishya parampara as the key element in knowledge-experience transfer, Dr. Meena Ramanathan, Associate Prof. & Deputy Directory, CYTER, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Pondicherry emphasized the need to and methods of carefully retaining Yoga in Yoga therapy. Speaking in the same session Prof. Madhusudan Penna, Dean, Faculty of Indian Philosophy and Culture, KKSU, Nagpur, brought out the essentiality of Vyasa’s commentary in understanding, deciphering and authenticating Patanjali’s Yogasutra. In the sixth plenary session Sri James Boag offered a short Kirtan session inviting the participants to experience the glory and joy of Bhakti Yoga.

Valedictory Session

The Valedictory was graced by Prof. T. S. Rukmani, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada and Dr. B. R. Ramakrishna, Vice Chancellor, SVYASA Yoga University, Bangalore. While Dr. Vinayachandra Banavathy summarized the proceedings of the two day conference, Prof. Nagaraj Paturi presented the way forward outlining the approach and activities of Indic Academy and inviting delegates to join and contribute to the work undertaken. Ptof. T. S. Rukmani delivered the valedictory address, systematically presenting the nuances of understanding from Patanjali’s Yogasutras – highlighting the broad contours and specific insights from the text. Dr. B. R. Ramakrishna emphasized the need to undertake rigorous research in the textual and philosophical aspects of Yoga.

Paper Presentations

The conference also hosted paper presentations from young and senior scholars from the field of Yoga. A total number of 33 paper presentations were made under the following 4 sections:

  1. Textual Studies
  2. Masters, Schools and Traditions
  3. Empirical and Applications
  4. Modern Discourses

Another highlight of the paper presentation section was that a large number of presenters had come from Sri Kuppuswami Shastri Research Institute, Mylapore, Chennai. The first International Conference on Philosophy and Praxis of Yoga was a huge success in terms of successfully initiating a dialogue around some pertinent issues of Yoga. Indic Academy and Indica Yoga are hopeful of continuing this conversation through various channels, events and platforms.


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