Reining in the Wild Mind – Yoga Traditions & Studies


The newest episode of our podcast, ‘Mindful U at Naropa University,’ is out on iTunesSpotifyStitcher and Fireside now! We are happy to announce this week’s episode features Nataraja Kallio and Ben Williams, PhD, faculty in Naropa’s BA Yoga Studies program.

 play-icon Nataraja Kallio & Ben Williams: Reining in the Wild Mind – Yoga Traditions and Studies

“Vasistha is a sacred text from the Upanishad that describes yoga as a state of mind after the wild horses of the senses have been reined in. There is a metaphor of the body as a chariot, and horse-driven chariots were an important part of Hindu culture, so the metaphor resonated strongly in medieval India. Harnessing all of the mental energies–not letting your mind become your master, but becoming the master of your mind–is an important inner technology that many yoga traditions emphasize. When the mind is not running the show, I find that my perception actually becomes more beautiful, deeper. I see things more crisply and find beauty in unexpected places, including painful or dark situations. I’m able to extract more joy, inspiration, and meaning out of life. Our inner discernment of experiences and awareness is foundational to yoga traditions. We need to encourage a more historical awareness–one that focuses one’s ability to discern between many different extremes in yoga traditions, and understanding their fundamental orientations, outlooks, and practices. That’s something that’s missing in the broader, popular world of yoga practice today.”


Nataraja Kallio is a professor of Yoga Studies at Naropa University and has been a student of Yoga since 1989. Seven years of study in India provided the initial foundation for his learning. There, he immersed himself in the contemplative traditions of Tantra, Vedanta, Sri Aurobindo, Buddhism, as well as the Hatha Yoga lineages of Krishnamacharya (namely Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga) and Swami Shivananda. He has completed advanced studies with a wide variety of teachers, earning degrees in Religious Studies and Psychology. His teaching integrates the breadth of Yoga, from its meditative foundations, to its rich history, mythology and philosophy. (via

Ben Williams received his PhD in the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University. In addition to a broad training in the history of Indian religions, and sustained study of Indian philosophy and literature in Sanskrit sources, Williams is a specialist in the tantric traditions of premodern India. His doctoral thesis is on the theory of revelation and the figure of the tantric guru in the writings of the great tenth- to eleventh-century polymath, Abhinavagupta.

Learn more about Mindful U at Naropa.

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