This week the yoga community is mourning the loss of one of its foremost scholars, Georg Feuerstein, who died at his home on August 25. He was 65. Born in Germany in 1947, Feuerstein completed his postgraduate studies in England before moving to the U.S. He later became a resident of Canada.
“I was a thoughtful and troubled kid,” he shared in an essay. His youthful inquiries about the meaning of life led him to the field of philosophy and, ultimately, to yoga. “Ever since my first encounter with the world of Yoga at the age of fourteen,” he said, “Yoga has claimed my attention again and again, both personally and professionally.”
Feuerstein’s work was informed by daily meditation and mindfulness practices, though later in life he also returned to asana and pranayama. Feuerstein wrote some 200 articles and more than 40 books, including translations of Patanjali’s yoga sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. His Encyclopedia of Yoga and Tantra, originally published in 1997 as The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, has been a valuable reference for countless yoga students and teachers.
In 1996, Feuerstein founded the Yoga Research and Education Center, and he later established Traditional Yoga Studies, an organization promoting authentic yoga teachings through workshops, distance learning programs, and an extensive online library of articles. He retired in 2004 but remained a leading voice in the yoga community, reminding us of yoga’s historic roots and its rich spectrum of practices. In his words, “the true power of Yoga lies in its capacity as a path to lasting happiness and inner freedom.”
His wife, Brenda Feuerstein, has requested prayers for Georg’s transition and that, in lieu of flowers or gifts, those who wish to remember him consider supporting a scholarship fund enabling inmates to participate in one of TYS’s distance-learning courses.