Each fall semester a new class will be welcomed as a cohort. The cohort will continue through the spring, summer, and fall concluding in the following spring.
The total time to complete the M.A. in Yoga Studies will be 21 months with 36 credit hours, plus pre/co-requisites. Admission to the program is available only for the fall semester.
Each student must demonstrate successful completion of one of the following LMU Yoga Studies Extension Certificates:
Vinyasa Krama Teacher Training
Yoga Therapy Rx
Yoga and the Healing Sciences
Yoga, Mindfulness, and Social Change
Another option will be allowed, upon review, to transfer six post-graduate credits from LMU and/or another institution in an area related to Yoga Studies.
*Please Note: registration for Extension Courses takes place through the Extension office, not the Graduate office. Follow the links above.
Six semester hours (plus introductory language study as needed)
YGST 610 Health Science and Yoga: An overview of anatomy and physiology from the Western perspective and Ayurvedic theories of the subtle body, health and wholeness.
YGST 615 Foundations of Yoga Studies: This course will investigate basic methodological approaches to the academic study of Yoga, with an emphasis on the place of Yoga within theological discourse. It will include a bibliographic survey of primary and secondary sources and engagement with key select resources. Sikh and Christian approaches to Yoga will be included.
Introduction to Sanskrit: This requirement may be completed before admission to the program or by enrollment via audit in YGPX 800-801: Beginning and Intermediate Sanskrit. This course provides the student with a foundational understanding of Sanskrit writing and grammar.
Nine semester hours
YGST 620 Yoga Philosophy: Text and Practice: A close study and discussion of the Yoga Sūtra of Patanjali, The Bhagavad Gītā, select Upanishads, the Sāṃkhya Kārikā, the Yogavāsiṣṭha, and other classical literature.
YGST 626 Sanskrit: The Bhagavad Gītā: The Bhagavad Gītā sets forth the primary practices of philosophical and meditation Yoga, including the ways of Knowledge, Action, and Devotion. We will read select passages, completing the study of various aspects of Sanskrit grammar.
YGST 630 Hatha Yoga Texts: This course in movement and breathing (Āsana and Prāṇāyāma) will draw from classical texts such as the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā, the Gherhaṇḍa Saṃhitā, and the Yoga Śāstra with particular attention to practice applications. Requires demonstration of student teaching skills.
Six semester hours
YGST 640 Buddhism and Yoga: Yoga’s relationship with Buddhism will be explored with an emphasis on Vipassana, Tibetan Buddhism and Zen.
YGST 641 Jaina Yoga: This course will study the Jain traditions of Yoga including Preksha meditation and its emphasis on nonviolence. This course will also immerse the students in Jainism through philosophy, ethics, cosmology, and art. This course takes place in India.
NOTE: This is generously subsidized by the International School for Jain Studies. Students may apply for travel support.
Nine semester hours
YGST 625 Sanskrit: The Yoga Sūtra: In this course students will translate the sutras and commentary from Patanjali’s seminal text, the Yoga Sūtra.
YGST 650 History of Modern Yoga: Yoga entered European and North American consciousness through the Romantic poets, the New England Transcendentalists, and the world lecture tour of Swami Vivekananda following the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893. In the 20th century, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Sivananda, Swami Krishnamacharya and many others introduced large groups of people to the principles and practices of Yoga. The course will explore this legacy. Students will be required to demonstrate teaching ability from select traditions.
YGST 682 Comparative Mysticism: In this class we will explore the inner or mystical life as articulated in the life and practice of various religious traditions. We will begin with a study of a modern classic: The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, the pre-eminent American philosopher and psychologist as well as the key ideas of Carl Jung. We will then examine the Jewish and Islamic mystical traditions, as well as key writers in the emerging field of contemplative Christian ecology. Yoga and mysticism will be examined through the writings of 20th century philosopher Sri Aurobindo.
Six semester hours
YGST 695 Comprehensive Exam Seminar: In this course students will be taught study tactics and will work together in preparation for two comprehensive exams. The first question will demand a demonstration of the breadth of knowledge they have learned while the second question will focus more specifically on an area of particular interest to the student within Yoga Studies.
YGST 696 Writing and Research Seminar: This course will guide the students as they write their final thesis. The course will aid them through the process by introducing research methods and writing techniques in order to complete a clear final thesis or research project. Students will be able to help one another as different phases of their given projects will be shared in class.
YGST 610: Health Science and Yoga
Dr. Lori Rubenstein-Fazzio
In this course we will focus on the relevant anatomy and physiology of the human system as it pertains to Yoga and Yoga Therapy (Chikitsa). Students will acquire a basic understanding of the main systems of the human body with a focus on the skeletal, neuromuscular, digestive, autonomic, endocrine, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. Practical application of this knowledge for Yoga Teachers and Yoga therapists will be discussed. Common Asana related injuries and adaptations will be covered. The subtle bodies in the context of various Yoga anatomy models will be discussed with the goal of the student obtaining a broad view understanding of the human system. As Yoga expands its presence in the Western world, Yoga teachers must be able to communicate with students in a language they can understand. This course will provide the student with a foundation in Western anatomy and physiology as it relates to the physical basis of Hatha Yoga as well as an understanding of its relationship with Yoga Anatomy/subtle bodies.
Upon successful completion of the course, students will have an understanding of how Asana, Pranayama and Meditation affect the systems of the human body. Students will become familiar with various Yoga anatomy models.
This course will include lecture and practical lab sessions. Students will complete assigned online learning activities prior to class to enable students to participate in integrative discussions and practical application of didactic knowledge. Students will complete an online quiz prior to classroom sessions to demonstrate working knowledge of didactic anatomy and physiology information. There will be midterm and final examinations.
- H. David Coulter, Anatomy of Hatha Yoga; A Manual for Students, Teachers and Practitioners.
- Stuart Girling, Anatomy and Physiology for Yoga Teacher Trainers (e-book)
- Ray Long: The Key Poses of Yoga
YGST 620: Yoga Philosophy: Text and Practice
Dr. Christopher Key Chapple
In this course we will explore the foundational teachings of two traditional philosophies of classical India. Vedānta, which includes the study of the Vedas, the Upaniṣads, and later commentarial literature, develops a theology of Brahman that sees an intimate relationship between the inner workings of the human person and the larger rhythms of the cosmos. Yoga, which tends to be less theologically specific, emphasizes practices of ethics, movement, and meditation that have been applied in several religious traditions. We will read and discuss several primary texts and interpretive materials.
Students will learn the major theological categories of the religious traditions of India, including the Vedic approach to multiple deities, Upaniṣadic approaches to embodied spirituality, Yoga’s emphasis on applied asceticism, and the attempt through the Bhagavad Gītā and the Yogavāsiṣṭha to mediate and reconcile these views. Students will acquire a working vocabulary of Sanskrit theological terms and enrich their writing skills through the preparation of two papers.
The first paper, of about 15 pages, will integrate the student’s understanding of key ideas from the Vedas or Upaniṣads. Topics to be explored may include specific gods and/or goddesses of the Vedas, including research on how these are integrated into the tradition of Hindu household worship; the four “languages” or concept areas of the Vedas; or a close explication of one hymn or a series of hymns. Other themes might include: the concept of Brahman; the role of Self; the “Great Sentences” of the Upaniṣads; the nature of faith; the role of the elements, senses, and body; the significance of food; theories of health and well being; the role of ritual. One could also do a close read of one section of one of the larger Upanisads or devote the paper to a close analysis of one of the shorter texts. The final paper will explore a topic pertaining to the practice of Yoga, the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gītā, or the story tradition of the Yogavāsiṣṭha. It may include a close exposition of portions of a specific text.
- Meditations through the Ṛg Veda, Antonio T. deNicolas
- The Thirteen Principal Upaniṣads, Robert Ernest Hume, tr.
- Avatāra: Humanization of Philosophy through the Bhagavad Gītā, Winthrop Sargeant
- Yoga and the Luminous, Christopher Key Chapple
- The Concise Yogavāsiṣṭha , Swami Venkatesananda, tr.
- Classical Sāṃkhya, Gerald Larson
- Karma and Creativity, Chapple
YGST 626: Sanskrit: The Bhagavad Gītā
In this course we will read the Bhagavad Gita in its entirety by attending to its historical and philosophical background. Special attention will be given to selected passages which will be analyzed in the original Sanskrit serving the dual purpose of advancing in the learning of the language as well as becoming aware of the layers of meaning that emerge in the process of translation. Additional readings of the Gītā will be discussed to get a sense of the variety of orientations and interpretations that can be found in its Indian commentators (both classical and modern) as well as its reception in the Western world.
Understand the historical and philosophical background of the Bhagavad Gītā. Become aware of the variety of interpretations that this text has been subjected to and analyze their purpose and function. Recite verses in their proper metric and advance in the knowledge of Sanskrit grammar. Become acquainted with some of the most important philosophical topics within the Gītā. Reflect upon the different ways in which the Gītā can give meaning to contemporary yoga practice.
Weekly Sanskrit Quizzes: 20%Midterm Exam: 35%Final Paper (12 pages maximum): 45%
- Narayan, R.K. The Mahabharata. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1987.
- Sharpe, Eric. The Universal Gita. La Salle: Open Court Publishing, 1985.
- Sharma, Arvind. The Hindu Gītā. La Salle: Open Court Publishing, 1986.
- Sargeant, Winthrop The Bhagavad Gita. New York: SUNY Press, 1994.
- Egenes, Thomas. Introduction to Sanskrit, part 2. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2000.
- Apte, Vasudeo. The Concise Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2011.
YGST 630: Hatha Yoga Texts
In this course we will study the history of the Hatha Yoga tradition and examine the development of its techniques as described in the most important of the available textual sources (11th to 18th century). We will trace some of the influences present in the Haṭhapradīpikā and understand its textual structure, social context and the philosophical implications of the system both within the Indian tradition and in modern times.
Understand the historical development of Hatha Yoga and its relation to other Indian traditions. Be able to critically assess the texts within their own context. Reflect upon the similarities and differences between the various traditions concurrent in traditional Hatha Yoga as well as between this one and modern yoga practices.
Presentation: 20%Midterm Paper: 30%Final Project: 50%
- Haṭhapradīpikā of Svātmārāma, ed. Swami Digambaraji, Raghunatha Kokaje, Kaivalyadhama, S.M.Y.M. Samiti, Lonavla. (available at http://kdham.com/media/publications/books-order/)
- The Shiva Samhita. A Critical Edition and an English Translation, James Mallinson, 2007, Yogavidya.com
- The Gheranda Samhita, The Original Sanskrit and an English Translation, James Mallinson, 2004, Yogavidya.com
- Other material will be made available online.
YGST 641: Jaina Yoga
Dr. Christopher Key Chapple
Jainism developed more than 2500 years ago on the Indian subcontinent. Jainism is best known for its emphasis on the practice of nonviolence and its related bio-cosmographical theories. In this course we will learn the basic principles and practices of the Jaina faith and how they intersect with Yoga traditions and Buddhism. This course will take place in India and include travel to significant religious sites.
Students will become familiar with core Jaina teachings on karma, the soul, devotional practices, and meditation techniques. They will know the key historical phases of Jainism and how Jainism adapted the ideas of Yoga throughout.
Students will read both primary and secondary materials on Jainism. Students will reside in India during this course and can expect to attend a three hour lecture each morning at the Vallabh Jain Mandir in Alipur, North Delhi. Midway in the course we will take up the same schedule at the Jain Study Center adjacent to Central Park in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Each day the student will complete a one to two page paper on the day’s reading and lecture as well as keep a daily journal.
- Jaina Sutras, Part One, Jacobi
- Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions, Chapple
- Reconciling Yogas, Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya, Chapple
- That Which Is: Tattvārtha Sūtra, Tatia
- Yogaśāstra, Quarnstrom
- Absent Lord: Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture, Babb
- Note: This course will take place in India from July 2 until July 21, 2015.
YGST 682: Comparative Mysticism
Dr. Christopher Key Chapple
In this class we will explore the inner or mystical life as articulated in the life and practice of various religious traditions. We will begin with a study of a modern classic: The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, the pre-eminent American philosopher and psychologist as well as the key ideas of Carl Jung. We will then examine the Jewish and Islamic mystical traditions, as well as key writers in the emerging field of contemplative Christian ecology. Yoga and mysticism will be examined through the writings of 20th century philosopher Sri Aurobindo.
Students will be familiar with the psychological approaches to religious experience as found in William James and Carl Jung. Students will learn the principles and practices of mystical theology from the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Yoga traditions. They will be versant with primary figures. They will also be able to write about and discuss this topic.
Students will be required to complete two projects. The first will be a response paper and presentation based on a portion of one of the books listed above. This will provide students with an opportunity to explore an area of their choosing, whether the psychological substrate or Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or Yogic approaches to the spiritual life . The second project will be a research project and presentation pertaining to mysticism and/or spirituality, particularly in its relationship to one or more specific theological traditions. Suggested topics might include the life and work of various individual mystics (Rumi, Kabir, Lalla, Hildegard of Bingen, George Fox, Al-Junayd, Patanjali, etc.) or a study of the general philosophical and theological issues that surround the study of mysticism, drawing from literature by contemporary writers such as Nasr, Katz, Stace, Underhill, and others.
- William James, Varieties of Religious Experience
- Joseph Campbell, ed., The Portable Jung
- David Cooper, God is a Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism
- Anne Marie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam
- Douglas Christie, The Blue Sapphire of the Mind
- Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts
- Debashish Banerji, Seven Quartets of Becoming: A Transformative Yoga Psychology Based on the Diaries of Sri Aurobindo
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