The full-time residential Master of Arts in Yoga Studies track provides the study of the Yoga tradition from multiple perspectives. The full-time format offers students the opportunity to deeply engage with Yoga through various critical methodologies without having to relocate their lives. 90% of the program takes place on the LMU campus and 10% in India. The program meets the needs of Yoga students and teachers alike who are seeking to enhance their knowledge of the tradition in both theory and practice.
Each fall semester a new class will be welcomed as a cohort. The cohort will continue through the spring, summer, and fall conclude in the following spring.
Curriculum and Program Timeline
The total time to complete the residential M.A. in Yoga Studies track is 21 months and amounts to 36 graduate level credits. In addition to the following curriculum, all students must complete a certificate program as a pre/co-requisite to graduation.
Fall 1 | Six semester hours (plus introductory language study as needed)
Health Science and Yoga (YGST 6010): An overview of anatomy and physiology from the Western perspective and Ayurvedic theories of the subtle body, health and wholeness.
Foundations of Yoga Studies (YGST 6015): 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.
Sanskrit Language (YGPX 800 & 801): This course provides the student with a foundational understanding of Sanskrit writing and grammar.
Spring 1 | Nine semester hours
Yoga Philosophy: Text and Practice (YGST 6020): 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.
Sanskrit: The Bhagavad Gītā (YGST 6026): 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.
Hatha Yoga Texts (YGST 6030): 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.
Summer | Six semester hours
Buddhism and Yoga (YGST 6040): Yoga’s relationship with Buddhism will be explored with an emphasis on Vipassana, Tibetan Buddhism and Zen. *Offered summer session 1*
Jaina Yoga (YGST 6041): 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 and is offered summer session 2*
NOTE: This is generously subsidized by the International School for Jain Studies. Students may apply for travel support.
Fall 2 | Nine semester hours
Sanskrit: The Yoga Sūtra (YGST 6025): In this course students will translate the sutras and commentary from Patanjali’s seminal text, the Yoga Sūtra.
History of Modern Yoga (YGST 6050): 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.
Comparative Mysticism (YGST 6082): 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.
Spring 2 | Six semester hours
Comprehensive Exam Seminar (YGST 6095): In this course students will be taught study tactics and will work together in preparation for a comprehensive exam, which will be created by the students in tandem with Yoga Studies faculty.
Writing and Research Seminar (YGST 6096): 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.
The Master of Arts in Yoga Studies program works hand-in-hand with LMU Extension's Center for Religion and Spirituality, which offers certificates in various aspects of Yoga. Each student in the M.A. program must successfully complete one of the following LMU Yoga Studies Extension Certificates. 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.
Classes held one weekend per month in LA:
- Yoga and the Healing Sciences - 200-hr teacher training
- Yoga, Mindfulness, and Social Change
- Yoga Therapy Rx
Summer Intensive Residential:
Offered online through YogaGlo:
- Yoga Philosophy - Coming April 2018!
Outside Sanskrit Learning
Often beginning students wish to study Sanskrit in advance, or in addition, to LMU courses for additional preparation
- Erasmus Academy: Online (ongoing)
- Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages: Sanskrit or Tibetan: Berkeley, CA (summer sessions)