SOAS University of London

Centre of Yoga Studies

SOAS Yoga Studies Summer School (2020 entry)

SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies

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  • Teaching and Learning
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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)
UPDATE We have decided to cancel the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies Summer School in 2020. The unprecedented uncertainty ensuing from the Coronavirus pandemic has unfortunately made the Summer School unviable. We hope to run this programme again in person in future years. 


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, 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 haṭha 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 and international institutions. 

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 themes and terms in classical yoga philosophy
  • 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.


The Centre of Yoga Studies is committed to SOAS's policy of promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity in the student body. In order to promote these objectives we are offering a full bursary for one student and a fee waiver for another. Please see our Bursaries page for more information and instructions on how to apply.


For more information, please fill out our enquiries form or email

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: 22nd June - 10th July 2020

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 2020




Teaching Schedule

WEEK 1: June 22 to June 26
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10-12am Induction, welcome and lunch (KOB) Critical Issues in Yoga Studies (RW&AW) History of Modern Yoga 1 (MS)  Museum visit TBC History of Modern Yoga 3 (MS)
1.30-3.30pm Overview Lecture (KOB) TBC History of Modern Yoga 2 (MS) Yoga in the Upaniṣads (GB) TBC
WEEK 2: June 29 to July 3
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10-12am History of Haṭha Yoga 1 (JM) History of Haṭha Yoga Seminar (JM) Pātañjalayogaśāstra
History of Yoga Āsanas (JB) Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati screening & discussion (JH & JB)
1.30-3.30pm History of Haṭha Yoga 2 (JM) TBC Self-study Āyurveda and Yoga (JB) Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati workshop (JH)
WEEK 3: July 06 to July 10
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10-12am Ethnography and Yoga Studies (DB) Pātañjalayogaśāstra
& Buddhism (KOB)
Yoginis in Art History (SS) Guest lecture (TBC) Museum visit TBC
1.30-3.30pm Contemporary Indian asceticism (DB) Seminar Group presentations Guest lecture (TBC) Closing Seminar (KOB)

AW (Amelia Wood); DB (Daniela Bevilacqua); GB (Graham Burns); JB (Jason Birch); JH (Jacqueline Hargreaves); JM (James Mallinson); Kengo Harimoto (KH); KOB (Karen O’Brien-Kop); MS (Mark Singleton); RW (Ruth Westoby); SS (Sandra Sattler)

Please note that this schedule is still in the process of being confirmed and is subject to change.

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:

Over 50 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core hours:

Monday - Friday 10am-3.30pm. In addition to regular lectures and seminars, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum 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 provided set titles or student suggested titles as agreed in consultatation with the convenor. These will be due on July 31st 2020.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Credit-assessed: £1,750

Non-assessed: £1,600


10% early-bird discount when you apply by 31 March

10% discount if you apply for two courses over 6 weeks

15% discount for SOAS Alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)

20% discount for our partner institutions

Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for more information.


For more information, please see our 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 2020

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