Have you heard of dharma?

Most people have heard the word before.

If you’ve been studying yoga philosophy for awhile, you likely have an idea of what dharma means. However, if you’re new to this tradition, you may have only a vague notion or idea.

Studying Dharma is one of the best ways to make regular life activities deeply spiritual and hugely meaningful.

The word ‘dharma’ has many meanings, but in the context of personal behavior and action, it is the set of responsibilities, obligations and rights related to a specific position in a person’s life (like father, husband, employee, etc.). It’s what we agree to do and not to do while in that role and includes the benefits received for doing so. Knowing how to get clear about one’s dharma is truly a key to unlocking a satisfying and meaningful life.

In the Indian tradition, two of the greatest teachings on dharma are contained within epic stories, The Bhagavad Gītā and The Rāmāyaṇa. These two texts are extremely rich material for reflecting on our actions and they give great guidance about how to find purpose and meaning in everyday life.

The Rāmāyaṇa (which literally translates to Rāma’s journey) is one of the world’s greatest stories. Filled with amazing plot twists and wondrous tales, it is beloved in India and across Southeast Asia. Though composed more than 2,000 years ago and set in India, the meaning of the situations described, and the responses and behaviors of the characters, have much to offer us in the modern era. It is a powerful expression of deep and ancient wisdom about how to truly live one’s life.

In order to effectively and accurately translate this text into English, originally written in Sanskrit, we recommend that you study The Rāmāyaṇa slowly, with an instructor whose who can translate and convey the significance of this profound text into your everyday life

How to Properly Study Ancient Texts

Why study slowly? To fully understand the depth of this ancient wisdom and how it applies in your life takes time. It requires reflection across different experiences to see how it applies in different ways. This takes time. But the rewards for allowing it to properly sink in and to be felt from different angles are immense. So we recommend that you study it slowly.

Why study with an instructor? Sanskrit is a complex and contextual language. Many translations are available, but all express the translator’s lens. And you can’t ask a book questions! At the Yoga Well Institute, we believe teachings are meant to be lived, and to be applied in your relationships and jobs. Having the opportunity to clarify how something applies to a particular situation is invaluable.

Further, we recommend you study with an instructor who is both well-versed in Sanskrit and who can explain how the stories relate to modern day life with concrete examples. Look for an instructor whose teaching style really resonates with you, who gives you new insights and clear ways to apply what you learn into your everyday life.

When you study with an instructor slowly over time, the study actually becomes a practice. Through this practice, you will learn to clearly identify the questions of dharma as they come up in your life. Each class will give you fresh insight into determining how to respond (and not respond) and help you to see what is really authentic for you. Continued practice will give you confidence in your decision making and will gradually transform your life. This is the power of knowing and following your dharma: the ability to create and maintain a truly meaningful and purposeful life.

Why study with Chase Bossart? Director of the Yoga Well Institute, Chase has been studying Sanskrit, philosophy and yoga for 20 years. As a personal student of Mr. TKV Desikachar (author of the Heart of Yoga), Chase has dedicated his life to supporting the yoga teachings of viniyoga. It is his firm belief that the study of ancient texts and yoga philosophy are essential in developing a truly transformational yoga practice.

The Rāmāyaṇa Course

Beginning March 14th, Chase will teach a weekly class, live online, on The Rāmāyaṇa. Together, the class will go through the stories of the epic and through lectures and discussion explore how its lessons can be applied in the modern world. It will be filled with practical examples and lots of opportunities to ask questions.

Because of how this book is written and how it will be studied throughout this class, you can join us at any time; you do not need to start at the beginning to follow and get value from this study.

As a live online class, students are able to share as they integrate the lessons of The Rāmāyaṇa into their daily lives, and their experiences control the pace of program. For this reason, we predict the course will last for 10-12 months.

As an enrolled student in the course, you also gain access to our private online community where you can ask questions and connect with other students who have, and are currently, studying The Rāmāyaṇa.

As soon as you join you will receive the invitation to join classes live, access to our private online community, any past classes, as well as supplemental resources.

Class will take place each Thursday at 6:15pm PT / 9:15pm ET and last for one hour.

Each Thursday, you will log in to our virtual classroom via Zoom, an online video conference platform, preferably with a webcam enabled device, but you can dial in as well. All classes will be recorded and made available for replay within 48 hours or less via your Student Portal.

There are two options for investing in this course

A one-time payment of $949 for which you will get access to the course for a full 2 years, this includes a 20% discount on the overall course.

Monthly payments of $99, billed to you automatically. After 12 months, your payments stop, and you keep your access to the sessions for another 12 months, giving you a full 2 years develop your practice.

In order to create change within, you must commit to regular practice. At the Yoga Well Institute, we are committed to our students and ensuring this life changing work is available to all. If finances are the only thing preventing you from enrolling, we invite you complete our financial aid request form and we’ll do our best to work with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I read the Rāmāyaṇa before taking this course?
Excellent question. It is definitely not required that you read it prior to taking the course. Like all great stories, the Rāmāyaṇa can be read and reread and many episodes within the story can stand by themselves in their own right. We think that once you read it, you’ll likely come back to it again and again over the course of your life.
Should I go buy a copy of the book?
It is not necessary to own or pre-purchase a copy. In the Recommended Readings section of your Student Portal (you will get access as soon as you enroll) there are links to a few versions we recommend.
Do I have to watch or complete a class within a certain timeframe?
So long as you remain enrolled you will have access to the content while the classes are being taught live, plus 12 months after, giving you plenty of time to watch and rewatch all of the classes.
Do I need any special equipment or knowledge of technology?
Not at all. While it is highly recommended that you join classes live via a device with a webcamera, you can also simply dial in via the phone. Most tablets, smartphones and computers these days come with a webcam in them. As for being tech savvy, we strive to make our technology as intuitive as possible and are here to support you with any issues.
When will I get access to the course?
You will get access to the course videos and handouts immediately and access to the Private Online Community within days.
Will I be able to talk to other students and ask questions of the teachers?
Absolutely! However, this platform doesn’t support the level of community we think is important, so we use another tool to communicate. It’s called Ryver (pronounced like River). Once you enroll you will get an invite to join us on along with a handy guide on how to use it.
How do I cancel?
Just contact our team via email and they will take care of you.
I changed my mind, may I have a refund?
If you signed up for the monthly option and contact our team within 7 days of your payment to cancel, you may also request a refund. We don’t offer refunds for past months. If you sign up for the one-time payment option, you can contact our team to request cancellation and a refund within the first 30 days of purchase.
Who do I contact if I experience technical difficulties?
We’ve got you! You can contact the team at the Yoga Well Institute via email at any time with questions or technical issues. We also have some helpful guides for you that will be shared via email as soon as you register.