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  • Dr. Anupama Kizhakkeveettil’s Keynote Presentation at the Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research 2023
Photo of SYTAR 2023 attendees watching presentation

Dr. Anupama Kizhakkeveettil’s Keynote Presentation at the Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research 2023

Photo of SYTAR 2023 attendees watching presentation


As the Program Director for Ayurvedic Medicine at SCU, Dr. Anupama Kizhakkeveettil, BAMS, MAOM, FAIHM, C-IAYT, PhD dedicates significant time to advocating for the widespread acceptance of Ayurveda through various speaking opportunities around the world. Recently, she was invited to present on yoga therapy as the keynote speaker at the 2023 Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research (SYTAR), one of the largest yoga conferences in the US.

Held on June 15-17, 2023, SYTAR is organized by the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), an organization dedicated to promoting yoga as a healing art and science. Since its establishment in 1989, IAYT has amassed over 5000 members from 50+ countries that contribute to its mission to establish yoga as a recognized and respected therapy. To this end, the association carries out certification of individual yoga therapists (C-IAYTs), accreditation of yoga therapy training programs, publications, and conferences such as SYTAR and the research-focused Symposium on Yoga Research Standards.

While yoga as an ancient system of wellness is recognized worldwide, with the UN designating June 21st as the International Day of Yoga in 2014, yoga therapy has not yet reached the same level of acceptance. According to IAYT, “Yoga therapy is of modern coinage and represents a first effort to integrate traditional yogic concepts and techniques with Western medical and psychological knowledge.” This integration of traditions such as yoga and Ayurvedic teachings with other forms of healthcare in order to treat the whole body is at the core of SCU’s values and mission.

Dr. Anu was honored by IAYT president Molly McManus, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT for her keynote presentation.

Dr. Anu, as she is affectionally called at SCU, is a yoga therapist in addition to being an Ayurvedic Doctor from India and a licensed acupuncturist. Her keynote, “Infinite Possibilities Through Yoga,” explored how yoga practice unfolds transformational methods to promote health and wellness through four core areas: physical well-being, mental well-being, social well-being, and spiritual well-being. This included a discussion of literature that indicates that several yoga practices can positively influence inflammation, gene activity, telomere length, and the gut microbiome.

As a researcher, Dr. Anu is keenly interested in the studies that support the benefits of yoga in improving quality of life. To this end, she complimented her keynote with a presentation titled “Yoga for Quality of Life: What Does the Science Say?” in which she discussed evidence for the effectiveness of yoga on the quality of life of patients with various diseases. The findings she highlighted included yoga’s influence on the nervous system, brain structure and function, endocrine system, mind-body connection, and its physical health benefits, such as improved flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health.

Reflecting on the conference, Dr. Anu noted that while yoga is featured in many Ayurveda conferences, there are few in the US that focus on yoga exclusively. “I was deeply honored to receive an invitation to be the opening keynote speaker,” she said. “It was a great experience for me. All of the presentations were of a really high standard.”

As a sister science to Ayurveda, yoga is an essential component of SCU’s Ayurveda Certificates. Between the Ayurvedic Wellness Educator Certificate and the Ayurvedic Practitioner Certificate, students will receive 90 yoga credit hours in the Ayurveda program. Yoga and Meditation is also offered as a single online short course that is available to all students, as well as any healthcare professional seeking to deepen their understanding of yoga and meditation. Acceptance to SCU as a student is not required to attend this course, and students do not earn university credits or a grade.

More information about studying yoga and Ayurveda at SCU is available at scuhs.edu/.

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