Since Andre Haralyi (M.A. ’16) graduated with his master’s degree in Yoga Studies in spring 2016, he has started teaching Yoga courses at USC and launched his own company. Here he shares why he moved from Brazil to Los Angeles to study at LMU, and where he’s going next.
Q: What first brought you to Yoga practice? What then brought you to sharing it with others?
In 2000 while living in my home, Brazil, I suffered a serious downhill skate accident that could have taken my life. I was 23 years old and the joy of my life was being able to practice extreme sports. The accident cost me a severe shoulder injury, several bruises and a herniated disc in my cervical spine.
Despite the evident physical trauma, I also found myself completely lost, psychologically unstable and very depressed. At that desperate moment I found the help I needed in an unexpected place, in an old book that I found in my father’s library. The title was “Foundation and Technique of Hatha Yoga” written by Antonio Blay and published in 1966. This moment was the start of my deep Yoga path, but I didn’t know it yet.
Yoga immediately caught my attention, not so much for the physical aspect of the practice because at the point I was not able to perform any Yogic posture, but for the healing and philosophical aspect of it. I discovered in Yoga a new way of approaching life, ancient techniques to restore mental and physical balance and increase overall health, which played a key role in my recovery journey. Some time later, I started my regular practice. Yoga helped me to endure four shoulder surgeries and overcome seven years of chronic pain.
After 10 years of solid practice and personal growth I decided to take a Yoga Teacher Training to explore Yoga more in depth.
My professor in Brazil, Marcos Rojo, one of the most extraordinary human beings that I know, encouraged me to explore Yoga and its applications on a different level, and share with others. He invited me to start pioneering work with him using Yoga to support cancer patients during the conventional treatment at a reputed Hospital in Brazil.
When I decided to professionally pursue a career in Yoga, I thought a Masters degree in Yoga Studies could push me to the next step. When I wanted to go deeper in my study, and ability to share Yoga well, I turned to LMU’s Yoga Studies program and moved to Los Angeles. There, I met and worked with more extraordinary professors, ideas, and so much more unfolded.
Q: What is something you learned about in the MA in Yoga Studies program that surprised you, or changed your Yoga direction?
I ended up being exposed to a variety of new ideas at LMU which helped to open my mind and expand my personal understanding of Yoga and its applications. This inspired me to pursue the Yoga Therapy Rx certification at the same time as the Masters. I became certified as a Yoga Therapist and earned my Masters in Yoga at once!
The university environment, the regular events outside of class, and the easy access of different sources of information helped to enhance my experience and contributed to my personal development. The teachers encouraged me to explore new traditions and dig deep and research the topics that I was most interested in.
Q: What piece of advice do you have for students who want to study in the MA program?
Prepare yourself for two years of full immersion, be very organized, manage your time wisely and know how to prioritize your assignments. But above all, never give up or postpone your personal Yoga practice! This will be crucial to help you endure these amazing, but super intense, two years of personal growth and self transformation. Also rely on the cohort for support and friendship. LMU Yoga Studies provides a great community.
Q: Tell us a little about you are up to now, post-graduation.
After graduation I accepted a part-time faculty position at USC (University of Southern California) where I teach Introduction to Yoga, a combination of philosophy and practice. I’m excited to apply and share the knowledge I received at LMU with students to help them on their paths.
I also opened my own company, Yoga Shastra, that aims to provide high quality education in Yoga through workshops, retreats and courses. Yoga Shastra also provides individual Yoga Therapy sessions for those suffering from lifestyle diseases (heart disease, cancers, respiratory diseases, diabetes, etc.) as well as stress-related conditions (anxiety, depression, etc).