Vivekananda Yoga University (Vayu) In California Offers PhD Program In Yoga

Today, yoga, an ancient Indian science and philosophy, has been accepted as offering natural remedies for stress, health, the flexibility of organs, and general health maintenance. Newer forms of yoga such as Bollywood yoga and power yoga have come up. New courses to teach and learn yoga have been introduced by a number of educational institutions.

Vivekananda Yoga University (VaYU), the world’s 1st Yoga University outside India devoted to Yoga education and research, has now launched North America’s first PhD program in Yoga.  “This is a path-defining moment as VaYU students will fast-track the journey of taking yoga education and research to impact every corner of the world,” said Prof. Sree N. Sreenath, President, Vivekananda Yoga University. 

It was Vivekananda, the questioning and doubting philosopher, who brought Indian thought to the U.S. He saw the importance of self-control, of looking inward, and finding a root within. He saw knowledge of the philosophy and practices of yoga as important to achieve a balance between the mind and the body. According to the great Indian saint, Yoga is believed to have been the only way for people to deal with the modern world and achieve equanimity. He advocated a healthy body to house a healthy mind.

Picture : PR Newswire

Following his principles, the Vivekananda Yoga University (VaYU) established in Los Angeles, California offers yoga degree courses.

The first batch of 10 Doctoral (Ph.D) students from the USA, Canada, Qatar, France, and India have enrolled for Fall 2022. VaYU has introduced a separate MS-PhD for students committed to attaining the highest degree in the US. These mark fresh vistas of opportunity for VaYU specifically but to the spread of Yoga education in general.

The Ph.D. program at VaYU develops independent researchers to explore new vistas in the Theory and Philosophy of Yoga across all faiths and the therapeutical application of Yoga in particular management of cancers, neurological, digestive, and rheumatoid conditions. Prof. Murali Venkatrao, Vice Chairman of the VaYU Board of Trustees and VP of Academics at VaYU, explains, “Graduate programs at VaYU are founded on scientific methodology and are evidence-based. VaYU successfully graduated its first Online M.S. (Yoga) batch in June 2022. With our unique online curriculum and world-class faculty, we serve the seeker and the Yoga buff alike.”

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the Accrediting agency that accredits Stanford University, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, has already cleared VaYU to move on to the final phase of accreditation, and the process should complete by next year.

Babubhai Gandhi, Chairman of the VaYU Board of Trustees and Founder, said, “All these mark VaYU’s rapid progress in shaping the future of yoga education. The world needs Yoga more than ever today and VaYU is preparing its graduates for that.”

VaYU was founded with the mission to create a yogic life path for the welfare of humanity and the vision to build a healthy and harmonious world through wholistic Yoga, and is waiting for final accreditation from the Accrediting agency Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), after receiving its clearance. WASC also accredits reputable universities on the West Coast of America. The doctoral degree program of VaYU is a serious study of the Science of Yoga, the Philosophy of Yoga, and the Therapeutic Practice of Yoga. 

Admission to the doctoral program requires a Master of Science degree in Yoga or equivalent. Like other regular doctoral programs, VaYU Ph.D. program takes between 3 to 5 years to complete and is divided in preparatory coursework, qualifier for advancement to candidacy, and submission of an original dissertation, all under the university research faculty.

The new Ph.D. program offers an in-depth study of not only the theory and philosophy of yoga but also its therapeutic applications in the management of physical ailments including cancers and neurological, digestive, and rheumatoid conditions. 

Vivekananda Yoga University’s Certificate program in Yoga is specially designed for healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, therapists and more. Photo courtesy Vivekananda Yoga University, California.

Founding Trustee and Chairman Babulal Gandhi has believed that the world needs yoga more than ever before and VaYU is meeting this need by preparing yoga professionals. President Prof. Sree N. Sreenath holds that the doctoral program with research and detailed study of yoga will create yoga professionals to impact every corner of the world. Prof. Murali Venkatrao, the Vice President of Academics, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the university, along with the faculty and the board, makes sure all graduate programs at VaYU are founded on scientific methodology and are evidence-based.

VaYU’s other programs include the M.S. (Yoga) which is a 21-month, four-semester, 30 credit Master in Science program, concentrating on both the theory and philosophy of yoga including Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and modern day yoga practices and offers specializations in Philosophy, Yoga Therapy, and/or Research in their 4th semester.

The Diploma in Clinical Yoga Therapy is a 2-semester, 9-month-long diploma for working Healthcare Professionals including Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, and Physical and Occupational Therapists in Clinical Yoga Therapy.

VaYU also offers a separate MS-PhD for ambitious students who can fast-track to the highest degree in the US.

VaYU collaborates with other educational institutes including the 36-year old Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), India, a registered charitable institution working towards making yoga a socially relevant science; the Harvard medical school; the Asian Yoga Therapy Association; the Federation of Indian Physicians Association;  The International Association of Yoga Therapists; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford University UC Davis Medical Health; UCLA and more.

VaYU’s faculty includes well-known experts in the field of yoga and health. Faculty members also continue their research and publish regularly in academic journals. Noted faculty members include Research Director Prof. Manjunath Sharma, BNYS, PhD, DSc; UC Davis faculty Michelle L. Dossett, MD, PhD, MPH; Dist. Prof. in Clinical Cancer Prevention at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Lorenzo Cohen, PhD; MIT D-Lab & UMass Medical’s Richard Fletcher; Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD; UCLA’s Helen Lavretsky;  Director of Global Outreach Programs at Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, Anurag Mairal, PhD, MBA; Harvard Medical School’s Darshan Mehta, MD, MPH; Cardiologist, MIT LinQ and American Association of Yoga & Meditation’s Indranill Basu Ray, MD, DNB; UCLA’s Srinivasa Reddy; Retired Vasular Surgeon Dilip Sarkar and more.

Applications for the Spring 2023 semester are open, with the first day of classes being January 18, 2023. More information is available at https://VaYUusa.org. For further details, contact:  [email protected] or call +1 (747) 228-2987 to speak to an Admissions Counselor.

Hate Speech A Major Concern After $ 44 Billion Acquisition Of Twitter By Musk

Problematic and hate content and formerly barred accounts have increased sharply in the short time since Elon Musk took over, researchers said, leading to serious troubles for Elon Musk and the popular Twitter platform. 

According to media reports, before Elon Musk bought Twitter, slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media service an average of 1,282 times a day. After the billionaire became Twitter’s owner, they jumped to 3,876 times a day.

Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day. And antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the two weeks after Mr. Musk acquired the site.

Picture : Montcalir State University

These findings — from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups that study online platforms — provide the most comprehensive picture to date of how conversations on Twitter have changed since Musk acquired the company in late October. 

Twitter has always been a bit chaotic, but new owner and CEO Elon Musk is taking it to a whole new level. He’s been making dramatic changes since he bought the company for $44 billion on Oct. 27, including laying off half the staff while changing moderation policies and unbanning extremist accounts while trying to figure out who will be verified.

While many advertisers have expressed concerns about the new status of Twitter and it’s impact on the social media, even with threats to withhold advertisements on Twitter, the European Union commissioner Thierry Breton made the comments in a meeting with Musk last week has said that the social media site would have to address issues such as content moderation, disinformation and targeted adverts. 

The back-and-forth comes as the new law is set to go into effect. Approved by the European Union earlier this year, the Digital Services Act is seen as the biggest overhaul of rules governing online activity in decades, imposing new obligations on companies to prevent abuse of their platforms. 

Major companies are expected to be in compliance with the law some time next year. If firms are found to be violation, they face fines of up to 6% of global turnover – or a ban in the case of repeated serious breaches.

Ad sales account for about 90% of Twitter’s revenue. Apple was consistently one of the top advertisers on the social network with an annual ad spend well above $100 million. In recent weeks, half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers from General Mills Inc to luxury automaker Audi of America have announced they are suspending or have otherwise “seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter”.

Musk tweeted that he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and toured the iPhone maker’s headquarters. Musk has been criticizing Apple this week, alleging without offering evidence that the company censors voices, has a “secret 30% tax” on App Store purchases and threatened to withhold Twitter from the App store.

Elon Musk accused Apple Inc of threatening to block Twitter Inc from its app store without saying why in a series of tweets. He also said the iPhone maker had stopped advertising on the social media platform following a poll that asked users about whether the iPhone maker should “publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers”.

Musk complained about over a 30% fee Apple collects on transactions via its App Store — the sole gateway for applications to get onto its billion plus mobile devices. Musk called Apple’s fee on transactions through its App Store a “secret 30% tax”.

Musk alleged Apple was pressuring Twitter over content moderation demands. After taking over Twitter in October, Musk has cut around half of Twitter’s workforce, including many employees tasked with fighting disinformation. An unknown number of others have voluntarily quit. He has also reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump.

Musk complained that though Apple threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, it “won’t tell us why”. Both Apple and Google require social networking services on their app stores to have effective systems for moderating harmful or abusive content. 

Since his takeover of Twitter last month, Musk has fired thousands of staff, reinstated formerly banned users such as Donald Trump and stopped enforcing other policies, such as rules aimed at stopping misleading information on coronavirus.

The moves have alarmed some civil rights groups, who have accused the billionaire of taking steps that will increase hate speech, misinformation and abuse. Some companies advertising on the platform have halted spending amid the concerns – a major blow to the company, which relies on such spending for most of its revenue.

What To Expect As India Assumes G20 Presidency 

 (Reuters) – India began its year-long presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) this week, taking over from Indonesia at a time of geopolitical tumult and uncertainty over post-pandemic economic recovery.

Picture : Reuters

Formed in the wake of the financial crisis that swept through Southeast Asian economies in the late 1990s as a forum for finance ministers and central bank governors, the G20 was upgraded in 2007 to include heads of state and governments.

During and after the 2008 global financial crisis, the G20’s coordinated efforts helped tamp down panic and restore economic growth.

The grouping comprises 19 countries cutting across continents and the European Union, representing around 85% of the world’s GDP.

The G20 also invites non-member countries, including Bangladesh, Singapore, Spain and Nigeria, besides international organisations such as the United Nations, World Health Organization, the World Bank and the IMF.

What Does G20 Presidency Entail?

The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat, and one member takes over the presidency each year to steer the grouping’s agenda that is split into two tracks – one led by finance ministers and another by emissaries of leaders of member countries.

After India, Brazil will take over the presidency of the G20, followed by South Africa in 2025.

During its term, India will hold more than 200 meetings across some 50 cities involving ministers, officials and civil society, leading up to a marquee summit in the capital New Delhi in September 2023.

The summit will be attended by around 30 heads of state and government, from G20 members and invited countries.

What Is G20’s Upcoming Agenda?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for international cooperation to deal with global issues, outlining the country’s approach to the G20.

He said in a statement the challenges of “climate change, terrorism, and pandemics can be solved not by fighting each other, but only by acting together”.

Modi also underlined a need to “depoliticise the global supply of food, fertilizers and medical products, so that geo-political tensions do not lead to humanitarian crises”.

His statement reflects New Delhi’s stance that the conflict in Ukraine, triggered by a Russian invasion in February, must be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.

Asked about Russia’s involvement in G20 during India’s presidency, a spokesperson for the Indian foreign ministry said that as Russia was a G20 member, “we would expect them to be participating in this process … the grouping needs to speak with one voice, particularly on important issues that are affecting the world”.

What Does The G20 Mean For India And Modi?

The timing of the summit, ahead of India’s general elections due in 2024, could help bolster Modi’s already growing reputation at home as a leader of international stature.

The 72-year-old leader also appears to have a personal rapport with many of his G20 counterparts, including U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Still, the current complex geopolitical and economic situation will make it a challenge for India and Modi to shape the international response to multiple crises.

This is a moment for India to transition from being a “rule-taker to being a rule-maker”, said Rajiv Bhatia and Manjeet Kripalani of Indian think-tank Gateway House.

“The country has not invested much in multilateral rule-making institutions like the G20, but it is never too late to start.”

Lionel Messi Is Argentina’s Greatest Soccer Player

Argentina’s Lionel Messi has secured his place among the best and the greatest football players in history. Messi, by leading Argentina into World Cup quarter finals with his record goals in the World Cup 2022, has a carved a place in history for himself and for the South American nation. 

Lionel Messi’s passionate performances at the Qatar World Cup 2022 are earning him oodles of love from Argentines, but their old favoritism for Diego Maradona may resurface unless he brings home the trophy on his final attempt.

Lionel Messi scored his first goal in a World Cup knockout round in his 1,000th match to beat Diego Maradona’s tournament tally, as Argentina beat off a frenzied Australia fightback to win 2-1 on Saturday,  December 3rd and helped reach his country the quarter-finals.

Captaining his national team for the 100th time, Messi ignited this last-16 match midway through the first half, curling home cutely after some neat build-up play – his 789th career goal.

Messi led his side ahead after 35 minutes with a coolly taken low strike for his 94th international goal, passing the great Maradona’s eight World Cup goals, in a match where he was instrumental in almost every Argentine attack.

Messi’s quest to win that elusive World Cup title had a rocky start at Qatar 2022 – Argentina was stunned by Saudi Arabia in its opening group game – and La Albiceleste barely troubled Australia in the opening half hour. 

Many soccer pundits have passed comment on just how much Messi tends to walk in matches these days, but that wasn’t the case when the 35-year-old closed down Behich as he attempted to clear the ball. 

Picture : CNN

With over 750 senior goals for club and country, Lionel Messi’s credentials as one of the greatest goal scorers in football history are beyond any doubt.

However, the Argentinian master hasn’t quite lived up to these lofty standards on the FIFA World Cup stage.

Lionel Messi has scored nine goals in 23 matches at the FIFA World Cup, spanning five editions (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022). Messi is the second-highest goal-scorer for Argentina at the football World Cup.

Lionel Messi has netted 94 goals in 169 international matches in his career, making him the top goal scorer of all time for Argentina. Messi is also fourth on the list of highest goal scorers in international football and second amongst active players, only behind rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi has a come a long way ever since he had entered the world soccer arena. The world had heard about Messi at Barcelona, the first time he came to play for Argentina. He did not say much then, but the country gave him a massive warm welcome to the team and quickly realized just how good he was. He played in 2005 Under-20 World Cup in the Netherlands when he was 17, winning the tournament together, it was mostly down to him!

Messi has won everything there is to win in club football, but he was desperate to come back and help us win something too. So it was amazing to see him winning his first major trophy at international level, at the Copa America last year.

Messi is not just a best player, he is the true leader of the team – even manager Lionel Scaloni has said that himself many times – and he will be helping them through this difficult start in that way too, not just by scoring goals.

Man of the match Messi admitted the final moments were tense.

“Things got complicated in the end with their goal but it’s a World Cup and it’s never easy,” Messi said.

“Now we have a really tough clash with Holland, who play very well. They have great players and a great coach, it’s going to be hard-fought. If a World Cup has been tough from the start, it gets even tougher at this stage.”

It has been a long journey for him to this moment. Of course, everyone can change off the field and learn different things. Messi now, at 35, is more mature, he has more experience and he is a family man – but he is still an amazing footballer too.

If he does win this World Cup then he should just retire straight away because he will have achieved everything possible. There will be nothing left for him to win.

“India Does Not Need To Be Told What To Do On Democracy,” Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj 

India does not need to be told what to do on democracy, the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj has asserted. India has assumed Presidency of the 15-nation UN Security Council for the month of December, during which it will host signature events on countering terrorism and reformed multilateralism. The Presidency will bring the curtains down on India’s two-year tenure as elected non-permanent member of the powerful UN organ. 

Kamboj, India’s first woman Permanent Representative to the UN, will sit in the President’s seat at the horse-shoe table. On the first day of India’s presidency, she addressed reporters in the UN headquarters on the monthly program of work.

Picture : The Business Post

Responding to a question on democracy and freedom of press in India, she said “We don’t need to be told what to do on democracy.” And, she added that “India is perhaps the most ancient civilization in the world as all of you know. In India, democracy had roots going back to 2500 years, we were always a democracy. Coming down to very recent times, we have all the pillars of democracy that are intact – legislature, executive, judiciary and the fourth estate, the press. And a very vibrant social media. So the country is the world’s largest democracy.” 

“Every five years we conduct the world’s largest democratic exercise. Everyone is free to say as they wish and please and that is how our country functions. It’s rapidly reforming, transforming and changing. And the trajectory has been very impressive. And I don’t have to say this, you don’t have to listen to me. Others are saying this,” Kamboj said.

and contribute positively to the global agenda, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ruchira Kamboj has said.

India is ready to take its place at the global top table as a country that is willing to bring solutions India on Thursday assumed the monthly rotating Presidency of the Security Council, the second time after August 2021 that India is presiding over the 15-member Council during its two-year tenure as an elected UNSC member.

India’s 2021-2022 term on the Council ends December 31. In the past two years, as the world went through various crises, “India has always been there as a solution provider”, Kamboj told reporters. India is speaking to both sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Kamboj said, asserting that New Delhi’s position has not been “passive” on the war.

To a question on whether the UNSC reform is moving forward, Kamboj said, “I wish I could say yes, yes and yes, but I will definitely say that this is one of the most complex processes in the UN system. But there is a ray of hope.” She pointed out that during the high-level 77th session of the General Assembly, 76 countries favoured UNSC reforms and 73 spoke for UN reforms.

India, Brazil, Germany and Japan – members of the G4 grouping – have been at the forefront of efforts calling for urgent reform of the Security Council, which has remained deeply divisive in dealing with current challenges.

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