An online course backed by scientific research will instruct audiences to use an ancient practice to relieve stress and anxiety induced by a modern world.
UTA and Free Life People School of Yoga partnered to create an educational program that can reach a worldwide audience for free, said Catherine Spann, LINK Research Lab researcher. The yoga massive open online course is a six-week program centered on practicing yoga and staying healthy in the digital age. It is slated to open in October. Currently, registration is open to students and anyone interested in learning about the course material.
“We are really making a concerted effort to deliver this in sort of a formal setting that university students can learn from,” she said.
Video lectures, posture trainings and guest interviews with psychology and neuroscience experts will be available to students to provide background on the physical and scientific aspects of practicing yoga.
The course will present lessons on both yoga techniques and how to incorporate well-being in everyday life, Spann said. In the modern age, life is fast-paced with information and technology affecting mental and physical health.
Health benefits of yoga include improved posture and stress management. Participants involved in the program can connect interpersonally through yoga to maintain their health.
“When we, sort of, take care of ourselves, we can better pay attention to the relationships around us and nurture those relationships and have greater social connection,” Spann said.
Stacy and Dave Dockins, the co-owners of the Free Life People School of Yoga and The Yoga Project studios, will instruct the course.
In a society with many distractions, learning meditations and applying them is important, Dave Dockins said.
A major goal of the research lab is to understand the human experience in a technologically driven world, said George Siemens, LINK Research Lab executive director.
Siemens said the program is available through edX, an open online platform founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The UT System an edX program member, he said.
“From a research end, we will contribute to the scientific community,” Siemens said. “From a community end we will contribute to local organizations and people.”