John Weddepohl  |  Siddharthan

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 T e a c h e r

Describing himself as a vagabond, rogue and rascal, Self-Knowledge teacher John Weddepohl has always been blessed with teachers. Master Educator, John receives his formal education and training in Self-Knowledge from his Master’s in India in the direct lineage of India’s great revivalist and teacher Adi Shankara and the dynastic Siddha lineage of Patanjali Siddha.

Self-Knowledge – The Teachings Yoga Forgot

Whenever we question ourselves and our existence as human beings, Upanishadic wisdom crystallised in आत्मा ज्ञानम् ATMA GNANAM successfully answers all our questions. The direct path to Self-Realisation, Self-Knowledge has been resolving the problems of human suffering and u
plifting the human being for countless generations.

In the past you would have to find a saint or go to priests to learn Self-Knowledge. Only ever taught in Sanskrit, after being revived by Adi Shankara 2500 years ago, getting lost in orthodoxy, the teaching 
all but disappeared again. Still strictly forbidden by the orthodox priests to share Self-Knowledge with the common man, if the Modern Revivalists in India had not translated Self-Knowledge and its methodology into English, the teaching and most importantly the method of teaching आत्मा ज्ञानम् ATMA GNANAM would not be available today.  
Mandated by his Masters to go out and teach John has been traveling with the knowledge, sharing आत्मा ज्ञानम् ATMA GNANAM ever since. 
Rather than live a life of monastic bliss as a renunciate, John chooses to embrace living in ‘The World Ashram’. 

Be Careful What You Ask, The Universe Might Just Give It to You. 

Deciding late in his life that the little success had to offer was not good enough, wanting happiness that didn’t just disappear, relinquishing success, John went off in search of the solution. Hoping to catch a rare glimpse of the Truth prophets and sages talk about, John discovered that there is only Truth. Learning that Truth being common is the most ordinary thing there is – he just hadn’t seen it yet! – and happiness, being our true nature, is always available and not something you can work for – changed everything. 

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.

Yoga Journey

Persuaded by his first yoga teachers Alan and Mani Finger to open up a yoga school 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 a job. A talented musician from the age of seven, John soon found success as a singer and solo artist. Recording hits locally and abroad, John later found his niche composing music for film and television. Awarded internationally for his work, despite enjoying a lavish lifestyle, John found the flame of yoga would not be extinguished. 

Once Nelson Mandela was released from prison, when the cultural boycott barring South Africans from visiting India were lifted, in 2004, hungry for knowledge, John began travelling across India living as a western sadhu साधु.

 Chai stop on the way to Palani aboard Buddha the Enfield called ‘Buddha’ for its rich exhaust note ‘Buddha buddha buddha. . Central Tamil Nadu is the home of the Siddha Yogis. 


Because the Self, ‘I’ – Atma (आत्मन्) outshines and outlives everything, knowledge of Self – Atma Vidya (आत्मा विद्या) – has always been sacred.

India the Home of Knowledge
Living in the tribal jungles and villages of Odishasleeping on concrete floors in central Tamil Nadu, travelling north, south, east and west John made friends with sampradayas and paramparas, different sects and lineages of India’s ancient Sanatana Dharma until he met his Guru. 

Meeting his Vedanta Master and the Tamil Siddha family lineage of Bhoganathar Siddha, John made India his home. For the next seven years he studied Atma Vidya आत्मा विद्या with his Vedanta Master and practiced Asta Yoga of Rishi Agustya 

 John’s Maha Guru is Bhoganathar Siddha. Bhoga is the Guru of Kriya Babaji the deathless Saint mentioned in Yogananda’s ‘Autobiography a Yogi’ and Param Guru of Patanjali Siddha, Bhoga is also known in China as Bo Yang Lao Tsu the founder of the TOA (see article by John Weddepohl. 

Ashram Life – Thiruvanamalai India

As part of India’s gurukula system, students are invited to join their living Master on his ashram. Breaking with tradition, John’s Vedanta Master invited him to join the 2 year brahmacharya course at his ashram. Joining a small group of young Indian students, their Master, a PhD in English broke with another tradition by taking all their classes in English. In Tiruvanamalai, under Arunachalam, the Holy mountain of Shiva and on the banks of Holy Mother Ganga in Rishikesh, John received his formal education, initiation and training in Para Vidya (परा विद्या) – Supreme Self-knowledge.

Through the grace and blessing of his Master H.H. Sri Pujya Suddhananda Swamiji and his Advaita Guru, Vedanta’s supreme scholar and educator in the 20th century, Pujiya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, able to assimilate the knowledge John shares the deep transformative secret of yoga hidden in the Upanishads.

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

इष्टम् ISHTAM

Calling what he teaches इष्टम् ISHTAM John combines Self-Knowledge with the Yoga of Siddha Rishi Agustya called ASTA YOGA

Asta Yoga is the foundation of Siddha Kriya Yoga of Thirumular, the root of Ashtanga Yoga.

‘Arriving in India, thirsty for knowledge, I finally met my Master through whose grace I discovered long before I even looked for Truth, Truth had already reached and found me. For this timeless secret I am eternally grateful to my Guru H.H. Suddhananda Swamiji to whom I offer my eternal pranams in gratitude. Without Swamiji this vagabond would still be a restless sadhu wondering aimlessly without a home.’

‘Without Self-knowledge our life journey is incomplete. Every journey having a beginning has to end. Self-Knowledge completes our journey. Knowing yourself 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

With Sri Lasri Sivananda Pulipani Pathira Swamigal visiting Kolliemalai. Sivananda Swamigal is the dynastic head of the Bhoganathar Siddha Parampai, the lineage of Babaji’s Guru Bhoganathar Siddha and Patanjali Siddha.

Drawing water from many different ghats (springs or watering holes) from traditional healers (sangomas) in Africa, to sadhus living on the ashrams of Orissa, Nepal, Rishikesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, John’s teaching reflects these 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 in India, Japan, Australia, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the U.S.A. and South Africa. 

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

With the majority of time spent travelling and teaching abroad, John and Rachel dream of developing a centre where the teachings can be an ongoing. John and Rachel live between सुन्दरम् Sundaram Yoga Village and ashram the centre they hope to develop in Plettenberg Bay South Africa and Byron Bay 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 

Teachers in India

His Holiness Kaviyogi Maharishi Doctor Suddhananda Bharati 

Yogiraj Dr Ramnath Aghori Baba

Srilasri Sivananda Pulipani Pathira Swamigal (Boghanathar Siddha Kriya Yoga) 

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 at  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.

See you on You Tube.



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