Courses taught at the university level:

Vedanta Ethics and Epistemology.
Whereas Western ethics is dominated by the obsession with reconciling self-interest with altruism and passion with reason, the Vedanta ethics and epistemology of ancient India regard the distinctions among them as the product of egocentric delusion and ignorance of the true nature of the self. Whereas Western ethics treats altruism and its concomitant character dispositions - disinterest, impartiality, compassion, sympathy, selflessness - as a moral ideal to be achieved through rational deliberation, habituation, and self-scrutiny, Vedanta treats all of these as means to the attainment of a higher state of consciousness characterized by insight into the true nature of the self and union with ultimate metaphysical reality. Whereas Western ethics values altruism as an intrinsic good, Vedanta views it as a by-product and manifestation of this higher state of consciousness. And whereas Western ethical theories are reluctant to prescribe specific actions independently of particular circumstance, Vedanta confidently prescribes very specific actions and personal practices as time-tested means for achieving this highest good. So Vedanta implicitly critiques Western ethical and social values as deluded, superficial, and misguided. This course studies some of the basic texts in order to find an alternative, distanced perspective from which to evaluate ourselves, our practices, and our values as products of an increasingly ubiquitous Western culture.

Yoga and Samkhya Metaphysics.
Westerners conceive yoga as merely a system of physical exercise, a "New Age" hybrid of gymnastics and physical therapy. In fact, yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy. Grounded in ancient Vedic scriptures and first codified in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras around 150 B.C., yoga comprises an ethics and philosophy of action, a philosophy and practical discipline of the body, a philosophy of mind and spirit, a philosophy of intellectual discrimination, and a philosophy of love. Literally the word yoga means union – of body, mind and spirit; of individual ego with ultimate reality; of masculine with feminine; and of subject with object. So it addresses all aspects of the person, from the most concretely practical to the most abstract and theoretical and from the most personal and individual to the most general and social. This course studies some of the classical texts and commentaries and evaluate its applications and benefits to an increasingly global Western culture that fragments and compartmentalizes personal and social relationships, personal identity, bodies, minds, and spirit in zero-sum relations of competition, distrust, and mutual antagonism.

An ongoing workshop I’d like to run:

Yogic Ethics Workshop. According to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, we should have a firm grounding in yogic ethics – called the yamas and niyamas – before we even begin to practice any of the other, higher forms of yoga. The reason for this is clear. Hatha, raja and jnana yoga are tools that discipline and train the mind and body to a higher level of focus and functioning, empowering both clarity of mind and efficacy and grace in action. So it is crucially important that our thoughts and actions be governed by ethical values and habits. The values and habits appropriate to the higher practices of yoga are cultivated through consistent practice of two kinds of action. The yamas are restraints on action that govern our relationships with others: nonviolence, avoidance of falsehood, abstention from theft, sexual continence, and detachment. The niyamas are positive observances that govern our relation to our higher self: mental and physical purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and devotion to the sacred. Both are considered to be forms of tapas, i.e. disciplines or austerities we impose on our behavior that, at the beginning, generate heat and energy because they are resisted by the ego-self. Growing the higher self that is naturally and effortlessly expressed through the yamas and niyamas is the hard work of yogic ethics.

An asana class I'd like to lead:

Yoga for Eggheads. The original purpose of hatha yoga - i.e. asana and pranayama - is to enable the yogi/ni to sit comfortably in meditation for three hours, and to enter into deep meditational states without damaging the central nervous system. Deep concentration on research makes similar demands on the body: We forget to breath while focusing intently on an idea or text, leading to light-headedness, headaches or blood-sugar attacks; or tense up while absorbed in working out an insight, leading to neck, shoulder or upper back pain; or crouch over our computers for hours at a time while writing, leading to lower back pain, eye strain and joint stiffness. Basic training in certain key postures and breathing exercises can - as it does for the yogi/ni - facilitate and prolong concentration, while reducing the physical pains and obstacles that limit our ability to engage in it.