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Yoga Psychology Training


Nalanda Institute’s unprecedented 100-hour advanced training in Yoga Psychology explores the embodied science and meditative arts of Indian Yoga and Buddhist Psychology. Embracing ancient philosophical texts, contemporary neuroscience, and engaged personal practice, this program provides Yoga teachers and serious practitioners the rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the psychological, philosophical, and scientific depths of India's timeless contemplative arts. With attention to the growing impact of Hindu and Buddhist methodologies on current neuroscience, wellness, and daily life, expert scholar-practitioners fluent in these traditions will guide your journey.

Program Structure

The training spans six weekends, with expert guest lecturers on Friday evenings, and integrative, experiential modules on Saturdays and Sundays. The lectures and experiential modules explore a comprehensive curriculum, surveying each of the three great vehicles of Yoga Psychology: Mind/Body Integration (Patanjali’s Ashtanga), Social/Emotional Integration (Advaita Vedanta), and Energetic Integration (Tantra). Each vehicle is explored through the lenses of Philosophy and Ethics; Asana; Pranayama; Meditation; Neuroscience and the Yogic Nervous System; the Art of Teaching Yoga Spirituality; and Practical Applications in Health and Life.

In addition to weekend instruction, participants will plumb core texts guided by faculty and group discussion, receive support and structure for developing a personal meditation practice, and complete an individual capstone project incorporating new understandings and perspectives into their own teaching or practice.


Note: Friday sessions are from 7–9pm (lecture is open to the general public and trainees). Saturday and Sunday sessions are from 10am–5pm (for trainees in the full program only)

Weekends 1 & 2: October 7–9* & November 4–6, 2016
Mind/Body Integration: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Develop a supple spine for all subsequent Yoga inquiry through close examination of Patanjali’s aphoristic text outlining the objectives and essentials of Yoga Psychology and technique. Patanjali's comprehensive approach to the embodied art of Yoga will be compared with the systematic meditative science in the Buddhist Abhidharma literature. We will explore the convergence of the Yogic science of posture, breath, and mind, as mapped in the Yogic subtle body model, with the current neuroscience of mindful self-regulation and brain integration.

*October 7– 9 is on Columbus Day Weekend

Weekend 3: December 9–11, 2016
Social/Emotional Integration: The Upanishads and The Bhagavad Gita

Open to the expansive wisdom and universal compassion of Yoga as revealed through narratives of intimate dialogue between devoted students and their sage teachers. This intuitive approach to the unitive philosophy of Yoga will be compared with the central philosophy of Mahayana Buddhism, as elaborated in the dialogues of the Transcendent Wisdom Scriptures and their commentaries. We will compare these ancient philosophies of love and compassion with the current neuropsychology of embodied cognition and positive emotions.

Weekend 4: January 13 – 15, 2017 (MLK Day Weekend)
Social/Emotional Integration: Self-transcendence in Advaita Vedanta

Free the mind from reactive habits of stress and trauma through the insights of The Yoga Vasishta, the works of Bhartrihari, Shankara, Ashtavakra, and other masters of Yoga’s transcendental philosophy of non-dual awareness. This liberative philosophy will be compared with the profound Buddhist thinking of Madhyamika Centrism and Yogachara Idealism, which co-evolved with them. We will explore the neuropsychology of empathic openness and interconnectedness, based on the current research on brain effects of non-dual awareness practices.

Weekend 5: February 17 – 19, 2017 (Presidents' Day Weekend)
Energetic Integration: The Shiva Sutras and The Heart of Recognition

Taste the cream of Yogic spirituality, through tapping the network of blissful openness at the heart of the subtle body. The Yogic art of embodying blissful wisdom will be compared with the spiritual technology of the Buddhist Tantras, including the arts of mentor-bonding and role-modeling, and the use of chanting, recitation, and breath-control to tap the sushumna or central channel of the subtle bliss network. We will review the neuropsychology of imagery and recitation practice, based on current research on the brain effects of Tantric Yoga.

Weekend 6: March 10 – 12, 2017
Energetic Integration: Supreme Tantric Yoga of the Vijnana Bhairava

Delve into the radical philosophies, ecstatic practices, and consummate Yogic spirituality articulated in the Kashmir Shaivite Tantric tradition. This sublime Yogic art of embodying ecstatic altruism will be compared with the spiritual technology of the Buddhist Unexcelled Tantras refined at Nalanda University and preserved in Tibet. These sister traditions combine recitation, intensive breath control, and the sublimation of sexuality and near-death experience to cultivate ecstatic states that can be harnessed to quickly embody altruism. We will survey the neuropsychology of polyvagal theory, reviewing the effects of practices like Kundalini Yoga and Tibetan Tummo on mind/body self-regulation.


Core Faculty:

Joe Loizzo, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science
Mary Reilly Nichols, Director, Yoga Psychology Training Program
Marlie McGovern, Program Director, Yoga Psychology Training Program

Expert Scholar-practitioners:

Robert Thurman, Ph.D.
Marina Caplan, Ph.D.
Cyndi Lee
Sonia Sequeira, Ph.D.
Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D.
Rachel McDermott, Ph.D.




Tibet House US. 22 West 15th Street, NYC (between 5th and 6th Avenues)


Applications are now being accepted for the fall program. Click here to apply


Bryant, Edwin. The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali: A New Edition, Translation, and Commentary. North Point Press, 2009.

Easwaran, Eknath, translator. The Upanishads. Nilgiri Press,  2007.

Hopkins, Jeffrey. Nagarjuna's Precious Garland: Buddhist Advice for Living and Liberation. Snow Lion, 2007.

Isayeva, Natalia. Shankara and Indian Philosophy. State University of New York Press, 1992.

Isayeva, Natalia. From Early Vedanta to Kasmir Shaivism: Gaudapada, Bhaertrhari, and Abhinavagupta. State University of New York Press, 1995.

Lakshmanjoo, Swami, translator. Shiva Sutras: The Supreme Awakening. AuthorHouse, 2007.

Loizzo, Joseph. Sustainable Happiness: The Mind Science of Well-Being, Altruism, and Inspiration. Routledge Press, 2012.

Muktibodhananda, Swami, translator. Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Bihar School of Yoga, 2013.

Sargeant, Winthrop, translator. The Bhagavad Gita. State University of New York Press, 1984. ISBN-10: 0873958306; Pocket Version, 1993.

Shantananda, Swami, and Bendet, Peggy.The Splendor of Recognition: An Exploration of the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam. Siddha Yoga Publications, 2003. ISBN-10: 1930939000

Singh, Jaidev. The Yoga of Delight, Wonder, and Astonishment: A Translation of the Vijnana-Bhairava With an Introduction and Notes. State University of New York Press, 1991.

Thurman, Robert. Essential Tibetan Buddhism. Harper One, 1996.

Venkateshananda, Swami. Vasistha’s Yoga. State University of New York Press, 1993.



Applications are now being accepted.
Click here to apply