About John

“It’s not possible to separate the Teacher from the Teachings in this instance, for John is simply the embodiment of these Teachings.” 

John Weddepohl  |  Siddharthan सिद्धार्थन 

Describing himself as a vagabond, rogue and rascal John Weddepohl has been blessed with teachers. A native South African born in Johannesburg, John began teaching yoga at nineteen and in 2004 went to India to pursue his thirst for knowledge.

Meeting his visionary master, John was initiated in Atma Vidya  the tradition teaching Self-knowledge of the veda/upanishads.

Mandated by his Guru to share the teachings, John has been travelling with the knowledge and sharing ever since.

Deciding late in his life what little fame and fortune had to offer was not good enough, hoping to catch a rare glimpse of what the sages and prophets call truth, John found out that there is only truth – we just haven’t seen it yet!

Truth being everywhere, he discovered, to his surprise, has never been closer than ourselves. Once our true eternal nature as a human being is pointed out, we find perfect peace and happiness, not a destination, is already the very nature of ourselves; ‘In Self-knowledge I discovered the timeless that is ever reached and ever present as oneself.’

In 1969 at nineteen, John took to yoga like a fish to water. Urged by ISHTA founders Alan Finger and his late father Mani Finger John became an ISHTA teacher, and opened the ISHTA yoga school for them in downtown Johannesburg. Located on the top floor of the city’s first flea market, the building soon became a hotbed of anti-establishment radicalism and, under South Africa’s apartheid system, was forced to shut down by the authorities. Finding himself out of a job, a talented musician from the age of seven, John found success as a singer-songwriter performing with some of South Africa’s popular bands. After recording a number of local and international hits, he later found his niche scoring music for film and television.

Awarded internationally for his work, despite enjoying his success, John found there was still something missing. To fill the hole he started exploring African wilderness areas. Visiting Namibia, Okavango Delta, finding the flame of yoga could not be extinguished, in 2004, with the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the cultural boycott banning South Africans from visiting India ended and John travelled to India where he lived as a western sadhu साधु.

Meeting his guru, John’s guru pointed out that the only thing missing in his life was himself! Explaining that what we already bring is the truth of our own completeness with us. It is only our thinking happiness needs to be found or, completeness is a destination that makes us feel incomplete. To solve the problem, John withdrew into the seclusion of ‘Self-Knowledge Village’, his guru’s ashram. Immersing himself in the teachings of Atma Gnanam, Self-knowledge, getting his education in the ancient teaching of the veda/upanishads, he learned that the eternal we seek is never absent. Ever gained, John found that peace was not the ‘Long walk to Freedom’ he imagined. The destination he was looking for was always himself. Pointing out that the eternal is always present as ourselves, (we just can’t recognise it) after John’s Guru removed the blind spot, no longer a mystery, destroying all doubt, like the sun rising in his life, Self-knowledge exploded.

Drawing water from many different ghats (springs and watering holes), from traditional healers (sangomas) in Africa, to living Guru’s on ashrams in Orissa, Nepal, Rishikesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, John’s teaching reflects these different streams of knowledge. Traditional without being traditionalist his students love his quick wit, sense of humour and down to earth practical approach.

Meeting and marrying Rachel Zinman, John and Rachel spend their time teaching इष्टम् ISHTAM at festivals teacher trainings and workshops around the world.  Sharing their love of music John and Rachel also sing devotional Kirtan whenever possible.

Spending the majority of their time abroad, John and Rachel’s dream is to develop ‘Sundaram’ Ashram into a centre for higher learning. John and Rachel currently live between Byron Bay, NSW. Australia and सुन्दरम् Sundaram Ashram their home in South Africa.

one word unlocks our secret

Carrying creations secret, and life’s biggest mystery and grand prize with us, to resolve our mystery, and collect the grand prize someone just needs to point it out. Long before we go search for the truth, Truth has already found and reached all of us. Already ourselves, the Sun of the Self never sets. Just covered by a cloud of ignorance, to remove the cloud, all we have to do is show up, and make ourselves available. Bringing nothing but the truth with us we cant hide or miss it. Ignorance of one word separates us from the eternal. ‘I’ holds our secret. ‘I’ is the Truth and reveals the Truth. Wielding the word ‘I’ like a laser the teacher who knows how, explodes our mystery. For truth to be revealed, just one thought needs to be resolved. Obliterating the darkness, recognising Self removes the vacuum of ignorance. Once pointed out like a black hole, ignorance the size of the universe instantly disappears. No longer bound, having always lived in its shadow, recognising the limitless Self removes all fear, uncertainty and doubt. Like the sun rising in the morning destroys the darkness, Self knowledge revealing the light of the Self gets rid of all the darkness instantaneously. Once recognised, like the light of the Sun, Self brighter than the brightest is the light of the universe. The Truth that was always there. Recognising all our lives we have always been complete. That there was never a time we were not. That no such a thing as incompleteness exists. Once the teacher points it out, having always the destination and outcome, the weight of needless pain and suffering the size of the universe lifts off our shoulders. 

I the eternal time traveller

I the eternal time traveller

The veda upanishads declare long before you look for the eternal, or search for everlasting happiness, it has already found all of us. Without you, not only Truth, has no meaning, nothing has meaning…

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From Our Students

“I don’t believe there is anything I could do on this planet more valuable than gaining this teaching. What an extraordinary blessing and privilege to have the deepest and most ancient revelatory wisdom not only available but given by a living teacher in a timeless lineage of living teachers. This knowledge can only be given by one who has already realised the truth of themselves. John’s realisation, his complete humility, his love and his deep, deep knowledge are a delight and a living access to Self-Knowledge. – Dale Rhodes

-Dale Rhodes

“Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity! If everyone listened & participated in these teachings the world would become a better place for all of us to live in. ‘They’ say the best way to heal the planet is to heal ourselves and these teachings provide that level of insight & opportunity for anyone willing to take the leap. “ Thank you John

Alka Franco

“I loved the simplicity of the teachings. The step by step approach over seven weeks gave me ample time to digest the content of each session. It deepened my understanding of the nature of happiness, the nature of my thoughts and ideas/beliefs, as well as the nature of consciousness. Practically speaking, it helped me get better at slowing myself down when I catch my mind racing away. I highly recommend this to anyone who’s even remotely curious about Self Knowledge.” 

– Aris Athanasopoulos

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

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 Stuhr

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 and Lyndsay Pacey