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