Yoga Philosophy at LMU Extension
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Yoga Philosophy
‌‌‌Erika Burkhalter at LMU Extension

"Upanishads" with Erika Burkhalter

Wednesdays, Sep 30-Nov 4, 2015; 1-3 p.m.
Be The Change Yoga Studio
3943 Portola Parkway, Irvine, CA 92602

The Upanishads constitute the philosophical insights of the early sages of India and also document some of the earliest practices of Yoga. Study the key ideas of the Upanishads, including non-dualism, the identity between Self (Atman) and Supreme Consciousness (Brahman), and ineffability of the absolute. This course is open to the publc, and is required for those seeking to complete the Yoga Philosophy certificate program. Click here for more information.

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke, join, or apply. Yoga is usually translated as union, for its methods and practices lead to a profound integration of body, mind, and spirit. The yogic ideal is to achieve complete freedom and authenticity by transcending the limiting structures of the ego-personality (the person we behave as on a normal day) and discovering the true spiritual Self within.

Yoga is a set of spiritual practices but in itself is not an institutionalized religion, per se. Hinduism is related to yoga through a common recognition of the Vedas as an authoritative source, and both Buddhism and Jainism share many of the core values of the Yoga tradition. But Classical Yoga is best understood as a system of spiritual practice, rather than a particular religion. The Yoga Philosophy professional certificate program provides a foundational introduction to these spiritual and philosophic traditions. Individual courses are also open for enrollment outside of the certificate program.

Who Should Participate

This program is designed for Yoga teachers and students of Yoga who have an interest in learning about the rich traditions associated with Yoga practice. These include Classical Yoga, various schools of Hinduism (Shaiva, Vaishnava, and various forms of devotionalism), Buddhism, and Jainism. Individual courses are also open for enrollment outside of the certificate program.

Program Benefits

Students who study Yoga philosophy have the rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of Yoga. Students will be exposed to the language and root texts on Yoga which emerged from classical period of Indian history, which are foundational to the modern practice of Yoga in the United States. Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Appreciate and understand the historical and cultural context of Yoga
  • Understand and teach from the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, which continues to be revered by scholars and practitioners alike as the most coherent and authoritative outline of the fundamental principles of Classical Yoga
  • Value the root texts on Yoga in its original language

General Information

Course and program requirements, schedules and tuition are subject to change; and additional fees may be incurred for books and materials. Click here to review all policies prior to enrollment. For additional information, contact the Center for Religion and Spirituality at (310) 338-2799 or, or contact the program facilitators directly (listed below under 'Faculty').

This program is open. Courses are offered each term, and prospective students may enroll and begin this program at any time. Students register for each course individually. Please review the course requirements below for the certificate program.

Tuition: approx. $2,340 (estimate only, based on current 2015-2016 tuition rate)

Courses required for this program are offered during the Fall, Spring and Summer terms. Schedules vary for individual courses. Please consult the course catalog for individual course times, locations, and requirements. Not all courses are offered each term.

LMU Weschester Campus
1 LMU Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Be the Change Yoga Studio
3943 Portola Parkway
Irvine, CA 92602

Students must complete a total of 12.0 semester hours in coursework with a letter grade of 'B-' or higher in each course to receive a certificate of completion. This includes each of the required five courses totaling 7.0 semester hours (marked below with an asterick*), as well as 5.0 semester hours of elective course work in Yoga Philosophy. Some requirements may be waived if you can demonstrate completion of course equivalents elsewhere. Please refer to the course catalog for required text, class meeting location, and other general information.

Coursework: YHSX 800, 816, 817, 818, 819, and 5 semester hours of elective coursework (see course descriptions below for additional information)

YGPX 800*
Sanskrit I
2.0 Semester Hours

This introduction is intended to provide students with a foundational understanding of the legacy and unique qualities of the Sanskrit language and to serve as an effective springboard for those who wish to embark on Sanskrit translation efforts. Students will examine the sound system of Sanskrit and the traditional Indian writing system known as Devanagari. Basic principles of proper pronunciation will be demonstrated by directing attention to many Sanskrit technical terms used in yoga and meditation traditions, including the names of yogic asanas and the chanting of select mantras and seed syllables. Students will also be broadly introduced to the essential linguistic elements required for translation work, including the rules of sandhi or “euphonic combination” and the basic grammatical principles underlying the conjugation of verbs and the declension of nouns.

YGPX 801
Sanskrit II
2.0 Semester Hours

The course builds on students basic acquaintance with the linguistic elements of the Sanskrit language, including the special arrangement of phonetic sounds of the Sanskrit and the Devanagari system of writing. This is a translation course rather than a conversation course. Each meeting new grammatical elements of the language will be introduced, followed by the assignment of translation exercises from Sanskrit into English and English into Sanskrit. Prerequisite: Sanskrit I or other prior instruction.

YGPX 810
Sanskrit Reading Course
1.0 Semester Hours

In this special Sanskirt reading class, students will read and translate Sanskrit text. Prerequisites: Sanskrit I.

YGPX 816*
Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
2.0 Semester Hours

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is perhaps the seminal work on the meaning and purpose of Yoga, exploring movements, breathing, meditation and liberation. In this line-by-line study we will explore and chant the Sanskrit text in the original and in translation.

YGPX 817*
Samkya Karika
1.0 Semester Hours

The Samkhya Karika by Ishvarakrishna is the root text of the Samkhya system, which is regarded as one of the six darshanas or foundational perspectives of orthodox Hindu thought. Consisting of only seventy-five aphorisms, the Samkhya Karika outlines a basic metaphysical perspective that informs some of the core teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, and the traditions of hatha yoga, tantra, and Kashmir Shaivism. In this five-week course, we will thoroughly examine the concepts of purusha and prakriti, the three gunas, and the other twenty tattvas or metaphysical principles outlined by the system. Students will gain an enhanced understanding of the concept of moksha or spiritual liberation as understood in the Indic contemplative traditions.

YGPX 818*
1.0 Semester Hours

The Upanishads constitute the philosophical insights of the early sages of India and also document some of the earliest practices of Yoga. Study the key ideas of the Upanishads, including non-dualism, the identity between Self (Atman) and Supreme Consciousness (Brahman), and the ineffability of the absolute.

YGPX 819*
Bhagavad Gita
1.0 Semester Hours

The Bhagavad Gita encapsulates the primary features of Yoga practice. It narrates the story of a confused warrior seeking counsel from his charioteer (Lord Krishna) who illuminates the nature of various Yoga practices. Learn key Sanskrit verses, read through and discuss the entire text, and explore the meaning of such topics as the three gunas (core constituents of reality) and visionary consciousness.

YGPX 820-899, 901-905
Elective Studies
1-2 Semester Hours

* indicates that course is required for the certificate program