Hindus have welcomed the new yoga studies and teacher training program of Utah State University (USU) (respected public research university in Logan, Utah) being introduced in fall 2016, calling it a step in the positive direction.

“A new program at Utah State University moves yoga out of the gym and into the classroom”, an announcement claims. This new Yoga Studies and Teacher Training Program reportedly offers an integrated approach with a curriculum of yoga history, literature, philosophy and practice; and claims to be committed to offering students an in-depth understanding of yoga and rooted in the teachings of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Similar university-based programs are said to be rare. USU currently offers 14 yoga classes through campus recreation, which are said to fill up quickly.

Its Learning Objectives include: yoga as a physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and ethical discipline; and active discussion and study of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, The Upanishads, and The Bhagavad Gita. Camille Litalien and Emily Perry are co-directors USU yoga studies

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement today, commended USU for coming forward and providing an opportunity to students to study multi-faceted yoga. He urged other US and Canadian universities to offer yoga studies programs.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that 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.

Rajan Zed further said that 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.

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 a recently released “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, Zed added.

Founded in 1888, female majority USU’s Mission includes “cultivating diversity of thought and culture”. Stan L. Albrecht is the President.

Utah houses the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.