Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana

»Best of the East, best of the West«

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A yoga university is a concept that is alien to many non-Indians. Yet here on this peaceful, beautifully-kept campus in Bangalore is an institute of learning that is a leader in yoga research, education, and treatment. From absolute beginners to doctorate-level students, there is a little learning to be had here for almost everyone.

  • What we love
  • High-quality yoga education
  • Scientific approach to yoga
  • Therapy center’s holistic treatments
  • What to know
  • Different fee structure for locals and foreigners
  • The shortest course is one month long, longest is upwards of five years
  • 100% job placement for graduates
  • High school diploma required to enrol
  • The campus is outside Bangalore, short excursions difficult
  • Why go
  • Unique tertiary qualification
  • One of India's best academics in yoga
  • Safe and pretty campus

This is the yoga center of a thousand names. Actually it's only a small handful of names but that's still enough for a newcomer to become a little confused. The official name is Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana or SVYASA. This is the university branch of the yoga research and advancement organization Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (VYASA). To confuse matters more, the informal name for the main campus of SVYASA is Prashanti Kutiram Bangalore, or just Prashanti Kutiram.

The precise name may be vague, but the education most certainly is not. There are over 50 PhD graduates, 100 Mscs, and almost 400 students enrolled across a number of campuses. Add into this the claim of having trained more than 50,000 yoga teachers since opening 25 years ago, and it becomes clear that SVYASA means business.

The entry course to almost all others here is the Yoga Instructors Course (YIC). This is the month-long residential course (or three-months when living off-campus) that is the education doorway to further study. Like any university, this can only be enrolled in after having completed 12 years of school. An equivalency diploma will also be accepted.

There are three short-term yoga courses in different disciplines, and these run from one to three months. Eight longer courses take between one and four years while the Masters and PhD programs can stretch upwards of five years. The on-site yoga therapy center, called Arogyadhama, is one of the main reasons to visit SVYASA. They treat every ailment here, from hypertension to Parkinson's disease, epilepsy to back pain, diabetes to cancer. Rather than wishing to replace mainstream medicine, the staff of SVYASA have put together a comprehensive, complementary system that works hand-in-glove with standard treatments. So much so that local doctors have been referring their patients here for years, to follow a personalized program that amplifies healing. The 250-bed therapy center, like the rest of the university, offer a gurukulam residential system. In essence, this means a student or patient is able to live on-site, sometimes with their entire family, especially when an illness is severe and prolonged.

The interest in yoga as therapy leads naturally to the third branch of this fascinating campus, scientific research. SVYASA claims more than 180 peer-reviewed, published papers on the use of yoga as treatment for illness, making this the leading research institute on yoga in the country. Quite an achievement in the land where yoga was born.

For those lucky enough to spend time on this gentle and tranquil campus, the knowledge gained is second-to-none. An enhancement of an existing career perhaps, by taking one of the specialized yoga courses for teachers, doctors or policemen who want to bring the restorative power of yoga to their field. Certainly, being here is a way to delve deeply into the quantifiable ways yoga can heal – as Dr Nagendra, the university's Vice-Chancellor, says “Combine the best of the East with the best of the West.” A winning combination indeed.

About the area: Bangalore

Bangalore is the sprawling financial hub of India. Fast-paced and one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, it is not considered a travel destination in itself, thanks to the primary focus on IT rather than tourism. That doesn't mean that there is nothing to recommend Bangalore though. There are a number of interesting historical attractions (most notably Bangalore Palace, with its lovingly tended and expansive gardens) dotted around the city. Unlike other cities in India, Bangalore does not suffer through extremes of heat or monsoon rains, so any time of year sees the city open for business as usual.

Image credit: Coni Hörler Photography

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