-By Lalit K Jha
Plans have been set in motion to open the East Coast campus of Vivekananda Yoga University, which had its first convocation at its Los Angeles campus over the weekend. In a historic first, as many as 23 students received the Master of Science (yoga) degrees at the maiden convocation of the university on June 12.
“We are also planning to have something (campus of the Vivekananda Yoga University) on the East Coast,” said Dr H R Nagendra, chairman of its board of trustees.
The top yoga guru, who is also Chancellor of SVYASA University, the world’s first Yoga university in Bengaluru which he founded in 2002, said that he is in talks with New York-based eminent Indian-American Prem Bhandari to set up a campus of the university in the East Coast.
A decision has been taken given the increasing popularity of yoga in the US and growing demand for yoga practitioners, teachers and researchers in the country. This is a result of the efforts being undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.
“Prem Bhandari has been one of our very close associates, one of the directors of the board,” Nagendra said, adding that this could probably be in New York.
Welcoming the move to open the East Coast campus of the Vivekananda Yoga University, Bhandari said this will help in fulfilling the needs of this part of America.
“Dr Nagendra is a visionary leader. By establishing Vivekananda Yoga University, he is bringing yoga education and research in a scientific way, which has never been done in the past,” Bhandari said.
There is a need to bring academic dimension to yoga, said Dr Nagendra, adding that Prime Minister Modi has played a key role in the global popularity of yoga in the last one decade.
“Swami Vivekananda said that we have to bring our traditional things with a scientific approach. This is what we are doing, combining the best of the East with the best of the West,” said the top Indian yoga guru.
The Vivekananda Yoga University, jointly launched by Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan and Chairperson of the Standing Committee on External Affairs P P Chaudhary during a virtual event at the Consulate General of India in New York in June 2020, is provisionally approved and licensed by the California Bureau of Private and Postsecondary Education.
According to the university, the said first batch of 23 students in the Master of Science (yoga) Programme are graduating. This 30-credit, four-semester online programme is designed for the working professional as well as those seeking to deepen their knowledge of yoga with specialisation available in Yoga Philosophy, Yoga Therapy or Yoga Research.
Dr Manjunath N K, pro vice chancellor and director research of S-VUASA also attended the convocation along with other dignitaries. Vivekananda Yoga University is the first yoga university outside India.