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Yoga Science Meets High Altitude Physiology in Nepal Study Abroad Program

Kathmandu University is offering a new bachelor’s degree program in Yogic science, health, and wellness. You read that right – the science of yoga.  We are proud to partner with them to bring western students to Nepal this Fall to experience some of the offerings firsthand (applications now open). 

Yoga science is far from an oxymoron.  It is the application of scientific inquiry and analysis to an ancient psychophysical practice that long pre-dates science – and it is something my wife and partner Jennifer Jayanti Atkins has been pioneering for several years. With a degree in kinesiology and as a 25-year yoga expert instructor having trained at the legendary Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health, Jayanti created a unique method of adaptive yoga to serve people with neurodegenerative conditions and diseases, such as Parkinson’s, MS or traumatic brain injury. 

Her innovative methods soon caught the attention of neuroscientists at Colorado State University, who have now conducted controlled studies with Jayanti leading the yoga intervention.  You can see some of the early findings published here with more on the way showing significant results.

To yoga practitioners, significant findings from scientific studies is hardly a surprise given that they’ve been experiencing the many benefits of yoga themselves for years.  And yet, yoga has typically been risky business for western scientists to investigate due to its “woo-woo” reputation and “long ago and far away” origins.  Along comes Kathmandu University with a program that not only builds on such research, but combines it with skill-based training, history, philosophy, and a concept of overall human wellness that transcends our usual view in the West of the “mechanical body” that underscores our medical interventions and limited definitions of health. 

Since we are in the business of designing transformative experiences, we partnered with Kathmandu University and Helping Hands Health Education (a Boulder Colorado-based non-profit) to create a unique experience for college-aged and gap-year students.  The experience design follows our methods for exploring new experiences, activating the narrative construction of knowledge and meaning, and embracing a deep consideration of identity growth. 

Students in this program will live with host families in Nepal for a semester, experience courses in KU’s new yoga science program, hike the Himalayas to investigate high altitude physiology using their own bodies as laboratories, and work closely with Jayanti to deeply explore yoga practices and the science that bridges it to a more holistic understanding of health and wellness.  No prior experience needed.


So if you know a young person who would love this program (or if you are one), applications are now open. Spread the word! 

And in case you were going to ask – yes we are in development of a similar program for “grown-ups.”  But in the meantime, you can get your fix of innovative yoga science and transformative psychology for adults at our upcoming retreat in Costa Rica… Presenceful Practice for Lives in Transition. 

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