Abstract

The course “Yoga: Theory and Practice” (YTP) evolved from the realization that although graduate and undergraduate academic yoga course offerings were filled beyond capacity with waitlists, students were often not being exposed to the depth and breadth of yoga as a holistic, integrative health practice. In the authors' experience, students experientially understood the contribution that yoga practice made in their lives and sensed the health benefits it afforded, yet they were hungry for the scientific evidence for using yoga to address various clinical conditions and to understand why yoga felt like a grounding practice. Students wanted scientific evidence for what they experientially knew to be true: Yoga helped them feel more grounded in their bodies. In 2004, when YTP was designed, college yoga courses were typically in departments of physical education, and little to no attention was given to the theoretical/philosophical roots behind why yoga is practiced. This is no longer the case. YTP is an elective within an academic minor of study, Integrative Approaches to Health and Wellness, and the course offers college students an indepth, academic study of yoga that incorporates both scientific (reductionist) and holistic health perspectives. The clinical/educational objective of this course is to expose university students (including those studying to become healthcare professionals) to the evidence-based integrative health benefits that yoga and yoga therapy have been shown to provide. Using the university's educational setting provides a venue to augment the future use of yoga in healthcare.

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