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Best Colleges for Yoga and ‘Wellness’ Dorms

in YD News


It’s back to school time! Aw, hey, don’t get upset. The summer may be unofficially over, but it’s not all bad. Especially if you’re headed to yoga school or even to a uh, school school that’s particularly yoga friendly. Not sure if your college or university ranks as one of the best schools for yogis? Never fear. The folks at Yoga Download donned their statistics and research caps to put together this very unscientific, yet interesting top 10 list of best colleges for yogis.

Quick! Before we tell you who made number one, take a guess. No peeking!

Here’s some enchanting elevator music to help you think.

OK. Got your school? The number one best college for yogis is…University of California, Santa Cruz! Surprised? Nah, us either. UCSC sounds pretty yoga friendly with its own wellness center and faculty of wellness instructors, including five yoga instructors and one meditation teacher.  Plus, you wouldn’t be hard pressed to find a local yoga class off campus in a city with a reputation for being one of the healthiest and certainly one of the yogi-est in the country.

So what were the other schools to make the list? (No, they’re not all in California and Colorado!) Some may surprise you. For instance, Oberlin College (#3) in Ohio has a Yoga for Singing class, Wesleyan University (#6) in Connecticut offers DANC420.01 “Acrobatic Partner Yoga and Thai Massage,”  SUNY Purchase (#8) in upstate New York has a Kundalini lecturer on staff and at the University of New Mexico at Taos (#4) you can get a degree in Holistic & Healing Arts while doing your 200hr yoga teacher training on campus.

The rest of the list includes Ball State University (#10), Pratt (#9), Reed College (#8), Colorado State University (#5) and University of Vermont (#2).

Did your school or alma mater make the cut? Which others would you include? We could probably add a few more just by globally positioning our twitter feed.

Things are looking up for Yoga 101.

In other college yoga news, some dorms are cleaning up their reps as seedy dens of beer pong and procrastination. The Washington Post recently reported that new “wellness” themed dorms are becoming popular at schools in the DC area like Mount St. Mary’s University,  University of Maryland and American University where healthy cooking classes, fitness workshops and group yoga sessions are not uncommon amongst. And we imagine it’s not this kind of college yoga.

We all know the dreaded freshman 15 has been a staple of the college experience for decades, along with rolling into lecture in your pjs and eating late night “dinners” of ramen and leftover pizza at 3 am. And yet, as it turns out, more and more colleges and universities are getting hipper and healthier. Instead of the old school routine of lazy days and junk food (ah, newfound freedom!), the new trend is to actually be healthy and active, and we probably have the yoga and wellness wave to thank for it.

Who knew TOGA! TOGA! TOGA! might some day be ‘yoga! yoga! yoga!’?



13 comments… add one
  • I teach a PE course on Ashtanga First series at UMBC (Univ of MD Baltimore County) twice/year; 30 people per section, two sections. fills on day one, with wait lists. students also have yoga classes in the recreation center two nights/week (free).

  • Vision_Quest2

    Went to Colorado State and graduated from there in the ’70s. Back then it had been the jogging capital of the college world. As a reluctant neophyte runner – never to continue with it much, I’d been touched by the campus craze. Not one bit surprised about the yoga.

  • haverford college! they have me come teach every alumni weekend in addition to what they have for students on campus!

  • ardha chandra

    Yes to Ball State, where the innovative Dee Ann Birkel established a for-credit yoga program in 1975 or 1976! One of the oldest university programs in the nation.

  • lyndsey

    I go to the University of Vermont and the yoga classes are great and it’s so easy to be healthy here

  • danielle

    I would’ve expected Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles to be on this list. There is a yoga philosophy certificate, yoga therapy certificates, and vinyasa krama. How did this get left out?

  • E

    The George Washington University also has a yoga certification program, TONS of classes per semester (well over 15), a “yoga and the meaning of life class”, thai massage, sports massage, therapeutic massage, plenty of yoga classes at the wellness center on campus (3 each day) and a yoga therapy class for med school students. Not sure how this got left off the list either.

  • They forgot the new University of Virginia Center for Contemplative Sciences, run by beloved ashtangi and Phd John Campbell – the Jones’ of Jois Yoga fame donated $12Mil to get it up and running. Sounds amazing, and makes me wish I was starting college this year!

  • I totally guessed UC Santa Cruz. It’s such a cool university, and the city in general is super nice. Not at all surprised that it would be the most yoga-friendly. I wonder how well UW Madison would stack up.

  • Yantra

    I thought that Maharishi University of Management would fit in there somewhere? The entire staff is made up of meditators and meditation is part of the curriculum. And asanas, vegitarian organic food and ayurvedic principles, along with vastu are part of the campus life.


    • Yantra

      That was awesome! All we need now is a food fight to balance our doshas!

  • That is actually really cool. Everybody is so stressed that offering wellness centers and yoga as part of the fitness regime is a perfect fit. Our lives are fast paced and this allows for a peacefully moment, which everyone needs and deserves. Can’t wait for it to spread to every school 🙂

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