Yoga and Psychology

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Concentration Description

The Yoga and Psychology concentration is intended for master's and doctoral students in the Psychology Program who wish to have more expertise on the relationship between Yoga and Psychology in the context of their professional goals. The concentration emphasizes coursework aligned with professional practice in contexts such as yoga therapy, yoga teaching, psychotherapy practice, somatic education, and somatic research.

With the globalization of Yoga practice throughout the world, Yoga teacher training programs are far more accessible. More recently, the profession of Yoga Therapy has emerged, groundbreaking in successfully legitimizing Yoga as a methodology for working with physical illness and chronic health conditions.

Those who practice Yoga, whether longtime practitioners or those new to it, know of its powerful effects on the mind and well-being. Yoga’s earliest roots as spiritual teachings even prior to it becoming associated with physical “exercise” focused on ideas that could largely be viewed today as psychological in their examination of causes of human suffering and principles of well-being, and what it is that constitutes a meaningful life. As such, Yoga’s alignment with modern psychology is readily evident. Its place as an enhancing or even central methodology in psychotherapy represents an exciting development in the profession.

Practices, methods, ideas, and topics engaged within this concentration’s courses include historical foundations of the application of Yoga to psychology; yogic principles and practices in psychotherapeutic practice; issues related to spiritual practice and psychology; conducting qualitative research on Yoga and psychology; legal, ethical, and scope of practice issues entailed in yogic-centered psychotherapy; and the neuroscientific foundations of Yoga practice.

"When healing trauma, it is crucial to give attention to both body and mind; you can’t have one without the other...There are many ways to work with the body, integrating important aspects of muscular, behavioral, and sensory input, without intruding on bodily integrity."

—Babette Rothschild

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Selected Concentration Courses

Meridian courses aligned with this concentration include:

  • Introduction to Yoga and Psychology
  • Historical Foundations in the Use of Yoga for Psychological Healing
  • Integrating Yogic Principles and Practices into Psychotherapy Treatment, I: General Applications
  • Integrating Yogic Principles and Practices into Psychotherapy Treatment, II: Specific Applications
  • Law and Ethics in the Practice of Yogic-Centered Psychotherapy
  • Qualitative Research Applications for Yoga and Psychology
  • Yoga-Centric Approaches to Trauma
  • Yoga Practice and Models of Consciousness Development
  • Yoga-Based Approaches to Addiction
  • Developmental Pathways of Yoga and Psychotherapy
  • Cultivating the Senses
  • Movement Practices and Cognitive Development
  • The Poetic Body

"Through embodiment, we gain a unique way to touch into our darkest primitive instincts and to experience them as they play into the daylight dance of consciousness…in a way that imparts vitality, flow, color, hue, and creativity to our lives."

—Peter Levine

Academic Structure

Meridian’s academic structure gives students the flexibility to navigate the University’s curricular architecture in ways that match their passions, professional goals, and other life commitments.

The structure is designed to serve a diverse student body, who live around the globe, have varied cultural and clinical visions for their careers, and are at different stages in their professional journey.

Students enroll in a degree program, can elect a concentration, and register for one or multiple courses each quarter. In addition to core courses for the specific degree program and anchor courses that represent the Transformative Learning intent of Meridian’s curriculum, students select elective courses that align with their Meridian concentration, background, and career path.

Learning Formats

Hybrid Format

Meridian’s hybrid learning format combines online courses with onsite weeklong residential intensives. The hybrid learning format is designed to enable students to pursue their graduate education at a flexible pace, combining asynchronous coursework via the University’s custom social learning platform, Pivot, live course video calls with faculty, synchronous student community engagement, and one-week residential intensives. By combining innovative online education methodologies with rich video calls and deep residential connections, the hybrid format enables students to contribute locally and perceive globally.

Each quarter, students take one or multiple seven-week online courses. This schedule provides students with time between quarters to rest, engage, and prepare. Additionally, students attend at least two weeklong onsite residential intensives per academic year. Intensives run Monday through Friday throughout the year, with residential intensives taking place at Meridian’s Bay Area Center and other globally distributed locations.

Online Format

In Meridian's online learning format, students can complete 100% of their coursework degree requirements online. Virtual intensives are also available for students who choose not to travel to residential intensives. Students can select intensive dates, locations, and formats based on their personal circumstances and professional aspirations.

Accreditation and Financial Aid

Meridian University is a degree-granting higher education institution accredited by the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). As an accreditor, WASC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. WASC is also an accreditor of the University of California, Berkeley, UCLA, and Stanford University.

Meridian is approved by the U.S. Department of Education for participation in the Federal Student Aid programs as well as by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs for the training of veterans and other eligible persons.

The University is approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide form I-20 to eligible international students, enabling travel to and stay in the United States.

Meridian offers institutional financial aid to qualified international students.

"...for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses..."

—William Blake