Top-ranked Roman Catholic “Loyola Marymount University” (LMU), rooted in the Jesuit and Marymount tradition and “institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism”, claims to offer “the first Master of Arts in Yoga Studies in America”.
Said to be one of its kind in the world, this Master’s program in Yoga Studies, includes studying ancient Hindu scriptures Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord) and Upanishads, besides Sāṃkhya Kārikā and Yogavāsiṣṭha; Sanskrit language, considered a sacred language in Hinduism; Haṭha-Yoga-Pradīpikā, Gherhaṇḍa-Saṃhitā and Yoga-Śāstra; and translating the sutras and commentary from Patanjali’s Yoga-Sūtra. It explores yoga’s relationship to religion and spirituality.
LMU also offers various yoga related Certificate Programs, including Prime of Life Yoga; Yoga, Mindfulness and Social Change (claimed to be “only professional certificate program of its kind”); Yoga Philosophy; Yoga Therapy Rx; Yoga and the Healing Sciences; etc. It also runs Vinyasa Krama Yoga Summer Institute and undertakes a Prison Yoga Project.
Hindus have welcomed Catholic LMU for promoting yoga. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged all the US universities and colleges to introduce multi-beneficial yoga in the lives of their student communities.
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, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
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 “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.
LMU, founded in 1911 and headquartered in Los Angeles (California), claims to take “its fundamental inspiration from the combined heritage of the Jesuits, the Marymount Sisters, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange”. Paul S. Viviano, Timothy Law Snyder and Christopher Key Chapple are Trustees Chair, President and Yoga Studies Director respectively of LMU.