USA: Vivekananda Yoga University starts with virtual classes
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NEW YORK: The Vivekananda Yoga University (VaYU) in Los Angeles – the world’s first yoga university outside of India – has started teaching virtually.

VaYU offers programs that combine scientific principles and modern research approaches for the ancient Indian yoga practice. In June, VaYU was jointly launched by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs V Muraleedharan and the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs PP Chaudhary as part of the 6th International Commemoration of Yoga Day.

The well-known Indian yoga guru H R Nagendra, Chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA), is the first chairman of VaYU and Sree Sreenath is its president.

A total of 30 students signed up for the online MS (Yoga) program and the virtual classes started in August.

The enrolled students are between 28 and 71 years old and include people from America and Canada from diverse backgrounds such as doctors, professors, engineers and entrepreneurs, the chairman of Jaipur Foot USA and founding director of VaYU, said Prem Bhandari.

The university’s next semester will begin in January and there are plans to open a campus in Japan as well to expand the university’s reach and bring its teachings on yoga and holistic living to a wider population, he added.

In his message during the startup of the university, Nagendra, known as the yoga advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that VaYU would bring wisdom-based holistic visions as well as academic dimensions of yoga to people in the United States.

He had noted that the university “combines the best of the East and the best of the West”. “The best of the East is yoga and its uses and the best of the West is modern scientific research. We want to bring this integrated dimension of health care into the world – allopathy and the AYUSH systems,” he said on the practice of Ayurveda , Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) related.

Bhandari said Secretary of State Harsh Vardhan Shringla was instrumental in realizing the vision of building the university in the US and advocating expanding its reach to extend the benefits of the ancient Indian practice to other parts of the world.

Bhandari added that VaYU helps spread Modi’s message of the importance of yoga for achieving harmony and a healthier planet, and that yoga is a force for unity that is not based on race, color, gender, belief and belief Nations discriminated.

Bhandari noted that in the years to come VaYU would “produce the best modern day yoga practitioners who would not only spread peace but make planet earth a better place to live”.

The university is a “prime example” of people-to-people connections between India and the US, he said.

VaYU is based on the principles of Swami Vivekananda’s Recipe for Universal Wellbeing and offers online graduate programs based on scientific principles and modern research approaches to yoga.

The VaYU faculty was recruited from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA), the first yoga university in India.

VaYU will enable collaborative research, referrals, and joint programs with several leading universities around the world.

Last November, the announcement of the start of the university was made in Washington DC on the occasion of the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi in the presence of Shringla, the Indian ambassador to the USA at the time.

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