SOAS University of London

Centre of Yoga Studies

SOAS Yoga Studies Summer School (2019 entry)

SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


Programme Description

Credit: Yogasutra with Patanjali's bhasya, Sanskrit, Devanagari script, sample pages f1v f2r f3v (University of Pennsylvania)
Credit: Yogasutra with Patanjali's bhasya, Sanskrit, Devanagari script, sample pages f1v f2r f3v (University of Pennsylvania)

This summer school provides an introduction to yoga studies with classes on key aspects of yoga history, philosophy and contemporary practice. The course is structured into sections: textual history, philosophy, ethnography and bodily practice, Sanskrit language, and critical thought. The history section will constitute the primary focus of study and draw on the expertise of the SOAS Haṭha Yoga Project team to survey the history of hatha yoga through Sanskrit texts. The philosophy classes will introduce students to key concepts in classical yoga and to contextual readings of the Yogasūtra of Patañjali. In the ethnography class, students will reflect on ways to analyse experience and movement in postural yoga practice. The course also provides an introduction to key terms in the Sanskrit language for yoga studies and to scholarship on critical issues in contemporary yoga.

The summer school will be taught by the research team of the Haṭha Yoga Project (Drs James Mallinson, Mark Singleton, Daniela Bevilacqua, and Jason Birch) and other specialist scholars at SOAS. The teaching schedule will be announced soon.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Outline key texts and themes in the history of haṭha yoga and tantra
  • Discuss primary developments of modern yoga in the 20th century
  • Describe key schools and terms in classical yoga philosophy
  • Pronounce, spell, and translate a concise vocabulary of specialist yoga terms in Sanskrit
  • Reflect on ethnographic research methods in relation to postural yoga practices
  • Discuss current critical debates in contemporary globalised yoga 

Course Activities

Credit: Āsana at Hampi, India. Photo by Hatha Yoga Project
Credit: Āsana at Hampi, India. Photo by Hatha Yoga Project

Examples of outings will include:

  • Visits to London galleries, museums, libraries, and archives


Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and a Record of Study will be available on request.


For more information, please fill out our enquiries form

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: 17 June - 5 July 2019

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • You will have completed one year of undergraduate study at the time of joining the Academic Summer School. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

Featured events

3 weeks

Tuition Fees 2019

Tuition fee:



Teaching Schedule

WEEK 1: June 17 to June 21
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10-12am Induction and Welcome (KOB) History of Hatha Yoga 2 (JM) History of Modern Yoga 1 (MS) History of Modern Yoga 3 (MS) Introduction to Sanskrit (LW)
1-3pm History of Hatha Yoga 1 (JM) History of Hatha Yoga 3 (JM) History of Modern Yoga 2 (MS) Introduction to Sanskrit (LW) MUSEUM TRIP (KOB/RW)    
WEEK 2: June 24 to June 28
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10-12am History of Yoga Āsanas (JB) Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati screening & discussion (JH & JB) Tantra and Yoga: The Ascetic Background (MC) Bhagavad Gītā (SP) Śivayogapradīpikā (SP)    
1-3pm Āyurveda and Yoga (JB) Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati workshop (JH) Tantra and Yoga: Metaphysics (MC) Haṭhapradīpikā (SP) MUSEUM TRIP (KOB/RW)   
WEEK 3: July 01 to July 05
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10-12am Ethnography and Yoga Studies (DB) Yoga in the Upaniṣads (GB) Classical Yoga Philosophy (KOB) Self-study: Assignment Group presentations (RW & KOB)    
1-3pm Contemporary Indian asceticism (DB) Critical Issues in Yoga (RW & KOB) Pātañjalayogaśāstra and Buddhism (KOB)     Self-study: Assignment MUSEUM TRIP (KOB/RW)    

DB (Daniela Bevilacqua); GB (Graham Burns); JB (Jason Birch); JH (Jacqueline Hargreaves); JM (James Mallinson); KOB (Karen O’Brien); LW (Lidia Wotjczak); MC (Matthew Clark); MS (Mark Singleton); RW (Ruth Westoby); SP (Seth Powell)

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact hours:

46 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core hours:

Monday - Friday 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc).


Assessment is optional. For those who wish to take part in assessments, there will be a seminar presentation during week 3 and a 2500-word essay from set titles due on July 22.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees


Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


20% discount for our partner institutions


Accommodation is available to Summer School students at the SOAS halls of residence, Dinwiddy House. For more details of how to book a room please visit the Dinwiddy House accommodation page.


For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


How to Apply

Click to apply

Entry Requirements

In order to join our Summer School, you will need to meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age.
    Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • A minimum English language requirement if English is not your first language:
    • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
    • TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills. 
    • Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
    • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
    • If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university.
    • Applicants with an alternative qualification should contact us for advice.
    • Applicants whose English language level do not meet out requirements may be interested in our subject based courses with English language support.

Enrolment of Summer School applicants who don’t meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us in detail about your application

Application Procedure

Once you have submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 7 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

31 May 2019

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