Yoga Studies sanskrit and beads

Yoga Studies

Welcome to Yoga Studies at LMU where students focus on the academic study and practice of yoga in our Master of Arts and  Continuing Education programs. 

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Program Overview

Yoga Studies class on the bluff

The Yoga Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University provides a deep study of the Yoga tradition from multiple perspectives through continuing education classes and certificates and a Master of Arts degree, offered both in residential and low-residency formats. These programs help students explore Yoga's rich history, its relationship to religion and spirituality, and Yogic philosophy. Students study primary classical texts, learn the Sanskrit language, explore the health benefits of physical practice, and look at the placement of modern Yoga in today's world.

Continuing Education certificates are offered year-round in Yoga Philosophy, YogaEd, and Yoga Teacher Training and are open to all. Please follow the links below. Graduate students seeking the M.A. in Yoga Studies must apply for admission. They may choose to pursue a Yoga Therapy concentration or a Post-Graduate Yoga Therapy Certification. A new cohort begins each fall semester.

M.A. in Yoga Studies

Students Doing Yoga

Loyola Marymount University offers the first Master of Arts in Yoga Studies in America. Yoga is regularly practiced by an estimated 36.7 million Americans, but often physical practices are emphasized. The M.A. in Yoga Studies works to explore a full picture of the tradition from practice to text to theory. Graduate students engage in deep study of Yoga philosophy and history, Sanskrit, elements of physical practice, comparative spirituality, and study in India.

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

M.A. - Residential    M.A. - Low-Residency

  

Learning Outcomes

YGST Graduate Colloqium

Upon successful completion of the M.A. Program in Yoga Studies, graduates will:

  1. Graduates will gain knowledge of the Sanskrit language and the history and philosophy of Yoga traditions. 
  2. Graduates will understand the human physiological experience from Western and Yogic perspectives. 
  3. Graduates will understand the effects of Yoga practices on the human body. 
  4. Graduates will gain and apply knowledge of the spiritual and ethical dimensions of Yoga. 
  5. Graduates will understand modern Yoga in the context of historical and sociological developments. 
  6. Graduates will demonstrate effective research, evaluation, and writing skills on focused topics in Yoga. 
  7. Graduates who pursue the Yoga Therapy option will demonstrate competency in designing and implementing safe evidence-based therapeutic Yoga practices for individuals and groups with a variety of health conditions. 

View Alumni Stories

Degree Requirements

  • Degree Requirements

    Each Summer semester a new class will be welcomed as a cohort. The cohort will continue together as a group for the first year including the Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters. In the second year, students are able to choose courses within Graduate Yoga Studies coursework to focus their study on solely Yoga Studies or add courses in Yoga Therapy. 

    The total time to complete the Residential M.A. in Yoga Studies will be 21 months (36 semester units) or 21 months for the Residential M.A. with Yoga Therapy concentration (39 semester units). Accommodations will be made to ensure students on a Residential pathway are able to complete required classes that are offered during alternating years.   

    Total time to complete the Low Residency M.A. in Yoga Studies is 33 months (36 semester units) or 33 months for the Low Residency M.A. with Yoga Therapy concentration (39 semester units). 

    Yoga Therapy for Musculo-Skeletal Ailments is required for all students seeking the Yoga Therapy Concentration and Post Graduate Yoga Therapy Certificate. This satisfies the certificate requirement for MA completion.

    Admission to the program is available only for the Summer Session II semester. 

    As a pre- or co-requisite for completion of the M.A. Yoga Studies degree (with Yoga Studies or Yoga Therapy focus area option), each student must successfully complete one of the following LMU Yoga Studies Certificates: Yoga Philosophy, Yoga Therapy for Musculo-Skeletal Ailments, YogaEd, or a 200 hour LMU partnership Yoga Teacher Training OR will be allowed, upon review, to transfer six post-graduate credits from another institution in an area related to Yoga Studies.

Graduate Yoga Therapy Studies

LMU Graduate Yoga Therapy coursework extends students in the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies knowledge and experience in therapeutic applications of Yoga, including mentored practicums within clinical and educational settings. There are two options that students can choose from: Yoga Therapy Concentration or Post Graduate Yoga Therapy (PGYT) Certificate.

 

Post-Graduate Certificate M.A Concentration

Yoga Studies Continuing Education

Yoga Philosophy

The Yoga Philosophy program provides online courses for a foundational introduction to spiritual traditions, enhancing personal practice, or advancing teaching careers.

More Info

Clinical Yoga Therapy Electives

Yoga unites body and mind through postures, breathing, meditation, and lifestyle practices. Yoga Therapy applies these practices to improve health and facilitate healing.

More Info

Yoga Journey: 250-Hr YTT

Our 250-hour training program is open to all, catering not only to aspiring yoga teachers but also to anyone seeking to enrich their yoga practice and knowledge.

More Info

Educational Journey to India

You're invited to travel with us to India in December 2025 to study Yoga Therapy! This tour provides a unique educational and cultural experience.

More Info

Prime of Life: 200-Hr Training

This 200-hour specialty program is designed for yoga teachers wanting the skills to work with older populations whose needs differ from younger yoga students.

More Info

Sanskrit Courses

Through a partnership with Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, you can take virtual Sanskrit courses with Professor Zoë Slatoff, which count as electives for our Yoga Philosophy certificate.

More Info

How to Apply

Applicants to the program must provide the following:

  • Official Transcript(s)
  • Letter of Intent
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • A Short Video Introduction
  • Essay Response 

See below for details.

    Submit all application materials using LMU's online application.

    If you have any questions, please contact:

    Iyanna Newborn, Program Administrator
    310-258-8725
    Iyanna.Newborn@lmu.edu
    University Hall 4446

    Please use the following link to set up a one-on-one appointment with Iyanna: one-on-one appointment scheduler 

    Priority deadline for the receipt of all materials

    • Summer Semester Entry: April 1st  
    • Applications are accepted after this deadline, but financial aid monies might no longer be available. Students admitted without financial aid at entry are eligible for financial aid the following year.
    • Application

      Begin your application online by clicking here. All materials will be uploaded through the SLATE portal.

      Transcripts

      Official transcript(s) must be sent directly from the undergraduate institution to the Graduate Admissions office.

      Letter of Intent

      The letter of intent should address the applicant's academic background, interest in Graduate Yoga Studies, and her or his background in the field of Yoga. The letter should also indicate what the applicant hopes to learn and achieve in the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies program. Letters of intent average three to five pages. Please note at the top of your letter of intent which MA program you are applying to: the Residency program in Los Angeles or the Low-Residency program online.

      Two Letters of Recommendation

      We recommend that applicants submit a letter from 1) a teacher or professor; and 2) a personal or work reference. The letter should indicate for how long and in what capacity the recommender has known the applicant.

      A Short Video Introduction

      So the admissions committee can get to know you, please create a short (five minute) video of introduction. This video is a companion piece to the Letter of Intent, a chance for us to know your personal history in the field of Yoga, your current intentions and goals for the future. Please address the following questions: Why LMU Graduate Yoga Studies and why now? What is your academic background? What is your Yoga background? What part of the academic study of Yoga most interests you, and/or which of the listed classes do you most look forward to?

      Upload your video to Youtube or Vimeo on a private setting (no password, please), and copy and past the link directly into the application where noted.

      If you have any questions, please email YogaStudies@lmu.edu.

      Essay Response

      Read the Premodern Yoga Systems chapter from Selling Yoga by Andrea Jain. In five pages respond to the following:

      1. Summarize key features of "Premodern Yoga" as conveyed by Professor Andrea Jain
      2. What aspect of the chapter resonates with your experience of Yoga? Why?

      The essay response should also be uploaded online via the application system.

      ***International Applicants Only***

      Please Submit to Graduate Admissions:

      • Language Test Scores (TOEFL or IELTS)
      • Transcript Translation and Evaluation

      For more information, please contact YogaStudies@lmu.edu or Graduate Admissions.

    • The Graduate Yoga Studies program offers a variety of financial aid:

      • Graduate Yoga Studies Scholarship
      • 25% Tuition Grant for those who complete FAFSA, with expressed need Graduate Yoga Studies scholarship and grant application
      • Grants from supporting foundations including the Lenz and Uberoi Foundations
      • A selection of work-study Graduate Assistantship opportunities
      All students wishing to obtain financial aid should:
      1. Apply for FAFSA: To learn more please visit LMU's Financial Aid website. The application for FAFSA opens on October 1st and the deadline is June 30th. We recommend completing this as soon as you apply.
      2. Complete the Graduate Yoga Studies scholarship and grant application. The deadline for consideration for departmental scholarships is April 1Graduate Yoga Studies scholarship and grant application
      3. Submit a one-page typed essay explaining why you are applying for financial aid, noting in particular any current financial hardships or professional accomplishments pertaining to merit.
      4. **Send your completed scholarship and grant application along with the essay to Graduate Yoga Studies Program Administrator Iyanna Newborn: Iyanna.newborn@lmu.edu.

      Financial Aid is determined on the basis of merit and need.

    • Each year the MA in Yoga Studies program takes on Graduate Assistants to work for the program. Graduate Assistants provide valuable support to the program from the inside-out. These students supplement other financial aid with funding from their 20-hour a week role. They also learn more deeply about the program through their engagement. A weekly Monday morning staff meeting is required, along with the flexible 20-hour work schedule.Descriptions of various roles are below.

      To Apply

      Please compose a one to two page letter of interest, specifying which assistantship you are interested in and how your background qualifies you for the role. Email your letter to Program Administrator Iyanna Newborn at iyanna.newborn@lmu.edu.

      It is preferable to submit this application (along with the general financial aid application, if interested) at the same time as your application to the program. Applications are due by June 30th.

      Assistant for Special Events, Media and Research Support, MA in Yoga Studies

      This assistant will help with the planning and promotion of special events, including monthly Wednesday night on-campus lectures and various cohort activities including retreats, field trips, the annual Doshi Bridgebuilder Award and the annual Yoga Day event which draws roughly 500 visitors to campus. This role also includes promotion: the making and distribution of print and digital flyers, maintaining and collaborating on social media accounts and assisting with ad placement and overall program promotion.

      This assistant may also occasionally be asked to provide research support to the two full-time and two part-time professors teaching in the program.

      This role calls for a high level of engagement with both the digital and physical worlds through material creation and sharing/promotion, a willingness and ability to work occasional nights and weekends when events occur, and strong organizational skills to assist in the planning and implementation of event steps. You will work closely with Program Administrator Amy Osborne and Administrative Coordinator David Rogoff.

      Research Assistant to Dr. Chris Chapple

      This position entails research support for Program Director Dr. Chapple including, but not limited to, obtaining and summarizing materials, editing works in progress, indexing for book projects, and other tasks as needed. Strong organizational skills and an attention to detail are required.

    • What is the mode of attendance for the M.A. in Yoga Studies program?

      LMU currently offers both an in-person (residency) and remote (low-residency, online) degree program. The Residency is completed in two years with the option of adding post graduate Yoga Therapy study, information on which can be found . The Hybrid Low Residency program includes several weeks of in-person study in LA and India, though most of the program is completed online part-time over a three-year period.

      What are the prerequisites for Admissions to the the M.A. in Yoga Studies program?

      A Bachelor's degree with a minimum of a 3.0 is required for consideration. No GRE is required.

      What are the co-requisites to the M.A. in Yoga Studies program?

      In addition to courses, students will be required to complete one of the LMU Yoga Studies Extension Certificates hosted by Continuing Education certificates during or before their time at LMU. Information on these courses can be found here.

      It should be noted that Sanskrit I and Sanskrit II are also hosted by Continuing Education certificates and are required courses for completion of the M.A. in Yoga Studies in addition to one other LMU Yoga Studies Extension Certificate.

      What other events will I attend?

      Throughout the academic school year, Graduate Yoga Studies Staff and Graduate Assistants work hard to organize Yoga related events that are free and open to the public. These events include LMU Yoga Day (Fall semester), Wednesday Evening Lecture Series (2-3 per semester), Benedict Canyon Group Retreats (2-3 per semester, cohort only), and the Himalayan Scholar Intensive course (Fall semester). All Graduate Yoga Studies students are strongly encouraged to attend these events to supplement and enrich the academic experience. More information on past and future events can be found here.

      Who are the M.A. in Yoga Studies faculty?

      Information on current Graduate Yoga Studies faculty can be found here.

      Who will be my classmates?

      The M.A. in Yoga Studies program is a cohort education system. This means that your classmates will be the same for each class and from semester to semester. Your fellow classmates will be from all around the world, from all walks of life, and have backgrounds and expertise in many different areas!

      The promotion of a true learning community is likelier in cohort education, where students get to learn cumulatively about each other’s aspirations and professional backgrounds, and to bring professional experiences to the study of the subject matter. In addition, cohort education establishes strong potential for networks that can endure beyond graduation. In cohort education, there is a keener sense of the education of the whole person, such that each of the students has a chance to flourish in ways that might be less measurable or even noticeable in a more commuter-driven, fragmented environment.

      Can I have a job while studying in the M.A. in Yoga Studies program?

      Though having a full-time job while studying in the Residential M.A. in Yoga Studies program is possible, it is not recommended as this is a full-time program. Students interested in studying part-time may wish to enroll in the Low Residency  Online M.A. Program which includes a lighter (part-time) course load with one additional semester for completion.

      We also understand the need for financial support while in school! Many of our Residential cohort members hold part time jobs on and off campus. In addition, we offer a few Graduate Assistantships each year, for which information can be found in the Graduate Assistantships Dropdown.

      When is school in session?

      The M.A. in Yoga Studies follow’s LMU’s academic calendar, and includes the summer semester in between the first and second year of the program. Full curriculum for Residential students can be found here, and low-residential curriculum here. Classes for Residential Students currently take place on Mondays and Wednesdays in the afternoon-evening.

      What financial aid is offered?

      Scholarship, grant, and loan information can be found Grad YGST Scholarship Dropdown.

      What information should International Students be aware of prior to applying?

      International applicants who have completed their postsecondary education from an institution outside the United States (U.S.) must hold a degree from a university recognized by the Ministry of Education as a degree granting institution. Transcripts from an international institution must be translated and evaluated by a U.S. transcript evaluation service (e.g. Educational Credential Evaluators, International Education Research Foundation or World Education Services) before the application is considered for admission. Feel free to visit LMU’s International Students Graduate Study webpage for more information, here.

      What are M.A. in Yoga Studies Alumni doing, and what are my career options after graduating? 

      Check out our Alumni Spotlight interviews to see what our Alumni are up to after graduating! Many of our graduates have gone on to get their PhDs, taught at the collegiate level, and used the knowledge gained in the M.A. in Yoga Studies to develop new and more well-rounded Yoga teacher training programs. Working in the field of Yoga Therapy is also an option for those who decided to complete the post-graduate certificate in Yoga Therapy. Much like there are many kinds of yoga practices, there are many directions the program has  taken our students and oftentimes our students curate their own path. 

      How do I apply?

      Fall registration details and upcoming deadlines are available on our website. You may also e-mail yogastudies@lmu.edu to be added to our M.A in Yoga Studies interest list and the Graduate Yoga Studies newsletter to ensure you receive new information as soon as it becomes available. (Feel free to unsubscribe if you no longer wish to receive.)

       

    • The University’s administration determines tuition rates, which are subject to change with incremental annual increases. The amounts provided per academic year are a breakdown of the specific tuition, fees, housing, and meal costs. Tuition and fees are generally based on enrollment status and determined by the student's classification (i.e., Undergraduate, Graduate, Post Baccalaureate, Doctoral).

      36-semester units, plus one LMU Yoga Studies Extension Certificate, fulfills the degree requirements for the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies.*

      39-semester units, plus one LMU Yoga Studies Extension Certificate, fulfills the degree requirements for the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies with the Yoga Therapy Concentration.*

      Click here to view related costs pertaining to study.

      *Cost for LMU Yoga Studies Extension Certificate may vary