Meet Siddharthan John Weddepohl

John Weddepohl  |  Siddharthan

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 T e a c h e r

The sign of a true teacher is when he can share his knowledge in a way that inspires, helps us to understand concepts and ideas through our own deep knowing and experiences, as well as leave us with the desire to want to know more. John is this kind of teacher.
Jodi Boone, 
Seattle, Washington.

Describing himself as a vagabond, rogue and a rascal, John Weddepohl has always been blessed with teachers. A Master Educator, John received his formal education and training in India in the direct lineage of one of India’s favourite sages Adi Shankara and the Rishi Patanjali Siddha.

Mandated by his masters to go out and share the knowledge, John combines Atma Vidya (Self-knowledge) a teaching methodology revived by Adi Shankara 2500 years ago and Asta Yoga, the Yoga of Rishi Agustya and the 18 Tamil Siddhas

Travelling the globe, teaching in Europe, the USA, Japan, Australia and South Africa, John specialises in teaching Atma Vidya on teacher trainings and offering online learning programs.   

Be Careful What You Ask For   

Kali Nath Aghori Baba is a Himalayan Yogi. John and Kali Nath spent precious time together in the Himalayas. Giving the sage a camera Kali Nath later sent John this photo.

Deciding late in his life what little fame and fortune had to offer was not good enough, wanting happiness that never faltered or disappeared, John relinquished a successful career and went off in search of the solution.

Hoping to catch a rare glimpse of what prophets and sages call Truth, John discovered that there is only Truth. Meeting his Masters in India, he found out that Truth being common, is the most ordinary thing there is – (he just had not seen it yet!)
Finding out that permanent happiness too is not a pipe dream, but being our very nature is ever present and ever available – (not something you can work for!) – changed everything!

The Journey to Self

Persuaded by his first yoga teacher Alan Finger and his late father Yogiraj Mani Finger, John opened a yoga school for them in downtown Johannesburg South Africa in 1969. Under South Africa’s apartheid regime, it wasn’t long before the school was shut down by the authorities and he needed to find a job.
A talented musician from the age of seven, John soon found success singing and performing with South Africa’s popular bands. After leaving the stage, John found his niche composing music for film and television. Awarded internationally for his work, despite enjoying a lavish lifestyle, he found the flame of yoga could not be extinguished

Once Nelson Mandela was released from prison, the cultural boycott banning South African’s from visiting India was lifted and, in 2004, hungry for knowledge, John travelled across India living as a western sadhu साधु.


They say nothing is new under the sun. When it comes to the Self, as the seer of time, Self outlives and outshines everything. This is why the teachings of Self-knowledge, Atma Vidya आत्मा विद्या  have always been kept sacred. Revelling in and revealing the truth of our absolute nature – as timeless as time itself, Atma Vidya आत्मा विद्या by defeating death, cures us of our ignorance and destroys all human suffering.

 Chai stop on the way to one of the oldest pilgrimage towns in the world aboard Buddha the Enfield. Called ‘Buddha’ for its rich exhaust note ‘Buddha buddha buddha. . John rode Buddha through central Tamil Nadu to Palani the home of the Siddhas. Known as the Siddha Bhumi, Palani is the home of the Bhoganathar Siddha Parampei, Johns Siddha Family  

Living in the tribal villages and jungles of Odisha and sleeping on concrete floors in central Tamil Nadu, John travelled north, south, east and west making friends with sampradayas and paramparas, different sects and lineages of India’s ancient Sanatana Dharma until he met his Master.

Making India his home, over the next seven years John studied Atma Vidya आत्मा विद्या and practiced Asta Yoga the yoga of Agustya Rishi.  

 Maha Guru Bhoganathar Siddha is the Great Siddha Guru. Guru of Kriya Babaji the deathless Saint mentioned in Yogananda’s ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ and the Param Guru of Patanjali Siddha, Bhoga received initiation in Para Vidya (Supreme Self-knowledge) from his guru Kalinginatha. Kalniginatha and Bhoga went to China where Bhoga is known as Bo Yang Lao Tsu, the founder of the TOA (see article)

Ashram Life – Thiruvanamalai India

As part of India’s gurukula system, students get invited to join their Master at his ashram. Breaking with tradition, in 2007 John’s Master invited him to join the 2 year brahmacharya course at his ashram in Thiruvanamalai. Joining the small group of young Indian students, their master a PhD in English, broke with tradition again by taking all the classes in English.

In Thiruvanamalai under Arunachalam the Holy mountain of Shiva and on the banks of Holy Mother Ganga in Rishikesh, John received his formal education and initiation in the timeless teachings of yoga called Para Vidya (परा विद्या) – Supreme Self-knowledge.

It is through the grace and blessing of his Master H.H. Sri Pujya Suddhananda Swamiji and his Param Guru, Pujya Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati ji (1930-2015) acknowledged as one of the greatest Advaita Vedanta scholars of our time and ‘guru of gurus’, that John has been able to assimilate the knowledge and share the deep transformative wisdom of yoga hidden in the Upanishads.

H.H. Sri Suddhananda Pujiya Swamiji Johns Vedanta Master visiting Cape Town South Africa 

इष्टम् ISHTAM

Calling what he teaches इष्टम् ISHTAM John combines Atma Vidya (Self-knowledge jnana yoga) with the yoga of Agustya Rishi and the Tamil Siddhas, called ASTA Yoga (Raja Yoga). 

‘Arriving in India, thirsty for knowledge, I finally met my Master through whose grace I discovered how long before I had even started looking for the Truth, the Truth had already reached and found me. For this timeless wisdom I am eternally grateful to my Guru H.H. Suddhananda Swamiji to whom I offer my eternal pranams. Without Swamiji this vagabond would still be wandering aimlessly; a restless, homeless sadhu.’

‘Without Self-knowledge our whole life’s journey is incomplete. Every journey having a beginning has to end. Self-Knowledge completes our journey. Knowing ourselves as the beginning, the journey and end of all journeys is इष्टम् ISHTAM.’ 

John has the ability to speak about the burning questions to life with a childlike wonder and fascination. By breaking down complicated philosophical teachings through the use of real world examples and stories, the lessons became easier to grasp. The stories also provided as much entertainment as learning value…we will never see ice-cream the same again! Our only complaint was not having more time to sit and learn from such a generous soul.  Simon Pacey and Lynsay British Columbia

Visiting Kolliemalai with Sri Lasri Sivananda Pulippani Pathira Swamigal. Swamigal is the dynastic head of the Bhoganathar Siddha Parampai. Referring to John as Yogiraj, Swamigal gave John his Siddha name Siddharthan and appointed him to represent the Dynastic Bhoganathar Siddha tradition abroad.

Drawing water from many different ghats (springs or watering holes) from traditional healers (sangomas) in Africa to sadhus living on the ashrams in Orissa, Nepal, Rishikesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, John’s teaching reflects these many different streams of knowledge. 

Traditional without being traditionalist John’s students love his quick wit, sense of humour and down to earth practical approach.

Meeting and marrying his partner Rachel Zinman John and Rachel share इष्टम् ISHTAM at festivals, workshops and teacher trainings around the world.  

Sharing their love of music John and Rachel also sing devotional Kirtan whenever possible.

With the majority of their time spent travelling and teaching abroad, John and Rachel’s dream is developing a centre where the teachings of इष्टम् ISHTAM can be ongoing. John and Rachel currently live between सुन्दरम् Sundaram Yoga Lodge and ashram the centre they are developing in South Africa and Noosa Australia.

Hearing names we forget the nameless

Seeing forms we forget the formless

  Listening to divine melodies we forget silence

Chasing rainbows we forget the light of our own consciousness

Seeking ourselves we forget our effortless presence

S i d d h a r t h a n  –  J o h n  W e d d e p o h l 

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 J o h n s  T e a c h e r s  i n  I n d i a

His Holiness Kaviyogi Maharishi Doctor Suddhananda Bharati 

Yogiraj Dr Ramnath Aghori Baba

Srilasri Sivananda Pulippani Pathira Swamigal  

H.H. Swami Suddhananda Saraswati (Vedanta Master)

H.H. Swami Dayananda Saraswati (Vedanta Master)

see  इष्टम् ISHTAM

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 T e s t i m o n i a l s 

ishtam testimonials

John’s depth of understanding of Self-Knowledge and Advaita Vedanta and the Bhagavad-Gita are beyond compare. Even more beautiful is his ability to communicate or translate in an accessible way the meaning and nuances of these vast philosophies and texts. The sign of a true teacher is when he can share his knowledge in a way that inspires, helps us to understand concepts and ideas through our own deep knowing and experiences, as well as leave us with the desire to want to know more. John is this kind of teacher.

Jodi Boone Seattle Washington

testimonial for john weddepohl

John Weddepohl taught philosophy on my Yoga Teacher Training course in Goa. The students loved him and I’m impressed by his kindness and humility. He teaches in a way that dusts off the old manuscripts and brings the Gita to life off the page. As a lecturer, he brilliantly takes difficult concepts like Advaita Vedanta and renders them simple and comprehensible. He is a brilliant teacher of Self Knowledge and shares his knowledge in a way that inspires others. John’s Kirtan performances are filled with beauty and bhakti. He teaches with humour and compassion – a truly great soul.

Heather Elton Yoga Teacher, Writer, Photographer- London, England


Brunch at Brenners with Rachel & John was great. And most of all John’s lecture at AIRYOGA was very very inspiring – after class I tried to push every thought away and just be me – it was most relaxing (even in a terrible traffic jam I was smiling) and to be not caught up in a thought:) Thank you so much John. Can’t wait to have you back at AIRYOGA next year!

Dagmar Sturh – Director owner of  AIRYOGA München – AIRAYOGA Zurich.

testimonial from Lyns and Pace

We had the good fortune of experiencing John’s wonderful energy and colourful teaching style during a YTT 200 course. His shining baby blue eyes and radiant smile tell the tale of his joyous approach to teaching…and life. John has the ability to speak about the burning questions to life with a childlike wonder and fascination. By breaking down complicated philosophical teachings through the use of real world examples and stories, the lessons became easier to grasp. The stories also provided as much entertainment as learning value…we will never see ice-cream the same again! Our only complaint was not having more time to sit and learn from such a generous soul. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment with John and will take advantage of any opportunity to study with him in the future!

 Simon Pacey and Lynsay British Columbia February 2012

ishtam John’s suggested practice and thoughts about self-knowledge make for a full week of yoga. I’ve since incorporated his sequence into my daily practice, and I’m liking it. Bradley Zeve Carmel Valley, California

Simone Sipply

As a teacher of Self Knowledge (Jnana Yoga)- John is really open to questions and discussions and has a seemingly endless pool of examples to help you understand the knowledge of who you are.  John manages through his in depth teachings to create a unique experience that brings you to yoga in a broader context helping you to find yourself and get a different view on your life. 

Simon Sipply- Dusseldorf

testimonial for John Weddepohl

John has a way of giving meaning to your life in a fun and clear manner.  He thoroughly enjoys teaching and sharing his knowledge and makes me laugh at how simple and beautiful life can be.  Azura Lallot -New Zealand.  

– John, your teachings really blew my mind in the best possible way. I was literally hanging on every word thinking yes, yes yes that speaks exactly to me and my experience, thank GOD someone has finally explained this to me in a way that makes sense so I can get on with my life!! All the therapy to try and think myself out of my depressed state that is caused by my thinking – trying to cancel thoughts out with more thoughts – imagine how stupid this is! And then the mindfulness training, knowing that I need to detach from my thoughts but not understanding how to do that because I didn’t understand the whole happiness concept because nobody had ever explained who I am in a way that I understood.

I feel this incredible freedom that I don’t need any of the shit I thought I needed to be happy –  some destination where I will magically find happiness – ha! I look at it now and it seems so stupid. …  and the idea that it’s ok to have desires, that I don’t have to become some swami who lives in a cave and eats dal every meal.

 – Madeline Lipson. Byron Bay. NSW

Sabine Kuhnert

I gained a lot from learning about Self -Knowledge and now after the retreat being back in Germany, I realised that I took something very special home with me. Thanks for this wonderful present. Sabine Kuhnert- Cologne

** The term ISHTA-Mala इष्ट माला derives from Ishvarapranidana the core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. ISHTA-Mala इष्ट माला is a garland of practices to balance the doshas and help build ojas helping the practitioner prepare the mind and establish a personal relationship with the Divine. A prepared and clear mind – called adhikari –  is a mind ready to glimpse the Truth (darshan).  इष्ट माला ISHTA Mala is a daily offering of Tapas on the alter of consciousness at the feet of the Divine – your Ishtadevata.

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