Loyola Marymount University offers Master’s degree in Yoga Studies in America

Top-ranked Roman Catholic “Loyola Marymount University” (LMU), rooted in the Jesuit and Marymount tradition and “institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism”, claims to offer “the first Master of Arts in Yoga Studies in America”.

Loyola Marymount University offers the first Master of Arts in Yoga Studies in America. Graduate students engage in deep study of Yoga philosophy and history, Sanskrit, elements of physical practice, comparative spirituality, study in India. View the Curriculum page for a detailed overview of subjects.

The program produces knowledgeable leaders in the field of Yoga. Post-graduation, our students have gone on to further study in related PhD programs, have begun teaching Yoga in undergraduate institutions, opened centers and studios, found leadership work in Yoga media companies, and work to train other teachers in Yoga.

LMU also offers various yoga related Certificate Programs, including Prime of Life Yoga; Yoga, Mindfulness and Social Change (claimed to be “only professional certificate program of its kind”); Yoga Philosophy;  Yoga Therapy Rx; Yoga and the Healing Sciences; etc. It also runs Vinyasa Krama Yoga Summer Institute and undertakes a Prison Yoga Project.

Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.

Yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

Yoga is regularly practiced by an estimated 20 million Americans, but often physical practices are emphasized. The MA in Yoga Studies program works to explore a full picture of the tradition from practice to text to theory.

Yoga’s origins date back at least two thousand years to the Indian subcontinent. It has been linked with practices of meditation in Buddhism, ethics in Jainism, and movement and breathing in medieval Hindu spiritual practices. The traditions and practices of Yoga have been embraced by Muslims (particularly in India) and Sikhs, and, for more than a century, by many Jews and Christians. The health benefits of Yoga have been well-documented.

Cambridge University scholar, Elizabeth de Michelis, has written that Yoga offers “some solace, physical, psychological, or spiritual, in a world where solace and reassurance are sometimes elusive.” This formal course of study in Yoga advances the mission of Loyola Marymount University, particularly the commitment to learning, and the education of the whole person.

According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image.  Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche.

LMU, founded in 1911 and headquartered in Los Angeles (California), claims to take “its fundamental inspiration from the combined heritage of the Jesuits, the Marymount Sisters, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange”. Paul S. Viviano, Timothy Law Snyder and Christopher Key Chapple are Trustees Chair, President and Yoga Studies Director respectively of LMU.

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