BA in Traditional Eastern Arts

The 36-credit Traditional Eastern Arts major is a unique opportunity to steep oneself in a traditional contemplative discipline both academically and experientially. Students pursue an in-depth study of one of three body-mind awareness disciplines: T'ai-chi Ch'uan, aikido, or yoga. The curriculm includes an in depth study of the history, philosophy, and praxis of the chosen discipline. In addition to the sequenced curriculum of practice, students take classes in meditation and anatomy, while choosing from a variety of complementary electives, such as Sanskrit, Ikebana, Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Tantra, Taoism, Raga Singing, Five Elements Theory, and Somatic Psychology. This major trains and encourages students to develop practice as a way of life, one that informs livelihood, health, creative expression, and service to community.

Declaration of Major

In accordance with university policy, students can declare their major at any time. Because of the nature of this program, it is important to meet with program faculty either before you declare or soon after. Please consult with your Academic Advisor to plan your schedule in the program. Students entering the university and the Traditional Eastern Arts major with 45 plus credits are required to declare a concentration at that time.

Areas of Concentration

T'ai-chi Ch'uan

"Swallow the Chi of Heaven, Tap the Strength of Earth, Cultivate Softness to Prolong Life."
  —Master Cheng Manching

T'ai-chi ch'uan (or taijiquan) is a traditional Chinese martial art and system for cultivating and harmonizing the body, mind, and spirit. The curriculum is rooted in the Yang-style teaching of Master Cheng Manching and includes solo form work, the two-person interactive exercises of tui shou, or push hands, and form and fencing using the Chinese double-edged sword known as jian. T'ai-chi Ch'uan embodies the philosophy of aligning with the Tao and teaches students how to be actively engaged and responsive to what is happening in the moment using deep relaxation, attentiveness and presence, and nourishment of the intrinsic energy, or qi, that supports all life.


"If your heart is large enough to envelop your adversaries, you can see right through them and avoid their attacks. And once you envelop them, you will be able to guide them along a path indicated to you by heaven and earth."
  —O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba, aikido founder

The roots of aikido stand in the soil of the great warrior tradition of Budo, where the fighting arts were practiced for defense of society and as a personal path for awakening. Aikido wisdom and skills are developed through lively partner practice of empty hand and weapons techniques. On the mat, students engage with varied attacks and defenses in order to learn to become calm, centered, receptive, and responsive during intense encounters. Whole-body training takes place while watching, listening, doing, and feeling the movements of the practice. Reading and writing assignments deepen the classroom practice. Students may be invited to test for rank by the instructor.

Yoga Teacher Training

"The technique of a world-changing yoga has to be as uniform, sinuous, patient, all-including as the world itself. If it does not deal with all the difficulties or possibilities and carefully deal with each necessary element, does it have any chance of success?"
  —Sri Aurobindo

Naropa University's Yoga Studies program is dedicated to the education, preservation, and application of the vast teachings of yoga. The program offers a comprehensive study of yoga's history, theory, and philosophy, as well as providing an in-depth immersion and training in its practice and methodologies. Balancing cognitive understanding with experiential learning, students study these ancient teachings for transformation while gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to safely and effectively teach yoga.

The curriculum systematically covers the rich and diverse history, literature, and philosophies of the yoga tradition, while immersing students in the methodologies of Hatha yoga, including asana, pranayama, and meditation. In addition, students study Sanskrit, Ayurveda, anatomy, yoga therapy, yoga psychology, Hinduism, Tantra, and Buddhism, all while engaging in an intensive Teacher Training curriculum.

Upon completion, students earn both a Bachelor's Degree and a 1000 hour certificate in Yoga Teacher Training which meets and exceeds the 500-hour requirement of Yoga Alliance. All graduates are eligible to become Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT500) with Yoga Alliance.