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SOAS YogaStudies Online (YSO) is a centre of excellence that specialises in the academic study of Yoga. Our educational platform offers a wide range of topic-based courses, flexible study programmes, and professional development opportunities that allow students to experience the wealth of knowledge on offer at SOAS University of London in new and accessible ways. Carefully curated by the School’s team of world-renowned researchers, we aim to provide a distinct learning experience at the forefront of Yoga Studies. We provide a place for people to bring their passion for Yoga and study together, which encourages critical thinking and reflects our commitment to principles of equality, diversity, and inclusivity.

Find out more about the Team behind SOAS YogaStudies Online.

The History of SOAS YogaStudies Online

SOAS University of London is the leading Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. Founded in London, the School (of Oriental and African Studies) received its Royal Charter in June 1916 and was formally opened by the King Emperor George V on the 23rd February 1917. Over the last century, the School has built a strong academic reputation throughout the world and especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It has expanded its core educational offering over the years to specialize in all facets of global Yoga, which includes PhD and Master’s degree awards, seminar series, summer schools and, most recently, online learning. In 2018/19, the School launched the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies boasting its own summer school and a high-profile lecture and seminar series. The School’s MA Traditions of Yoga and Meditation is the first of its kind, launched in 2013. This MA attracts students from around the world and graduates have produced outstanding research published in peer-reviewed journals.

The SOAS Department of History, Religions and Philosophies is a vibrant, highly motivated and outward-looking department, which boasts unparalleled expertise on the histories, philosophies and religions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Its academics are world-leading specialists on areas of the globe, which comprise more than three-fifths of the world’s population. With its highly diversified expertise, comprehensive resources and interdisciplinary approach the department offers a unique learning and research environment for a truly inter-cultural approach to the histories and systems of belief and thought in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Several members of the department work on what may be called Yoga and Meditation Studies: Ulrich Pagel, Peter Flügel, Sian Hawthorne, and Graham Burns. James Mallinson and Jason Birch contribute to research excellence at the School, which hosted the ERC-funded Hatha Yoga Project (2015–2020) and most recently the AHRC-funded Light on Hatha Project (2021–2024).

Timeline of Key Dates


The School (of Oriental Studies) receives its Royal Charter.
The School is formally opened by the King Emperor George V and students are admitted.
The School’s MA Traditions of Yoga and Meditation is launched.
The School successfully hosted a five-year ERC grant for research, The Hatha Yoga Project.
The School launches a specialised Centre of Yoga Studies.
The School hosts the exhibition Embodied Liberation at the Brunei Gallery, London.
The School hosts a three-year AHRC grant for research, The Light on Hatha Project.
The School launches SOAS YogaStudies Online offering continuing and professional education in a digital format.

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