Over 20 years of Quality, Integrity, and Reliability

A Modern Resource
For The Vedic Wisdom Traditions


Vedic Astrology

Yoga Philosophy

Mantra Sadhana


Eastern Psychology

The Sacred Soul of Yoga Today Goes Unseen

Ancient yogic teachings did not primarily focus on asana. The sages viewed yoga as a holistic system encompassing the interdependence of mind, body, and spirit. To fully embrace the yogic path, we must return to its ancient roots, striving for balance in all aspects of our being.

All 4 Pillars Of Yoga Were Once Taught In Complete Integration

Most practitioners learn one pillar of yoga, without understanding its essential connection to the other sister disciplines.In order to cultivate your highest spiritual potential, you must harmonize these components of the yogic path. The monks who devotedly and precisely follow this ancient map of yoga often accomplish the highest goals of spiritual attainment. Although traditionally the yogic masters kept the doorways to this journey hidden away, this map is not out of reach for you and I. The yogic path is accessible to anyone with a deep interest in radical self development.





The Spirit Of Our Gurus Shines
Through The Institute’s Teachings

sri krishan mantriji

b.k.s. iyengar

Yoga Is One Of

The Ancient Vidyas

Vedic Wisdom Traditions of Healing & Spiritual Transformation






Sri Krishan Mantri chose the name Vidya Institute to place this vision at the forefront.

The Vidyas guide us towards higher consciousness and the inner abiding Self – puruṣa. Each brings us towards peace of mind and heightened states of consciousness.

B.K.S. Iyengar’s dedication to the path of yoga helped him discover the important origins lying within The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali. He created the Iyengar Yoga Method in integration with the philosophies of the yoga sutras to even more efficiently heal body, mind, & spirit.

Vidya’s Leading Teachers
Guide Your Inner Journey

With Life-Long Experience Guiding Thousands They Lead
Practical Integration Of The Esoteric & Academic Teachings
image 21

Gitte Bechsgaard


  • Founder of Vidya Institute
  • Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher
  • Registered Psychotherapist
  • Jyotishi – Upaya Specialist
  • Featured Writer, Psychology Today
image 104

Gillian McCann


  • Co-Founder of Vidya Institute
  • Professor At Nippissing University
  • Scholar of World Religions
  • Cambridge & Palgrave Published
  • Featured Writer, Psychology Today

Gloria Goldberg


  • Founder, BKS Iyengar Yoga La Mesa
  • Student of BKS Iyengar
  • President & Co-Founder of IYNAUS
  • UC Riverside Yoga Curriculum
  • CIYT-Advanced Level 2
image 18

Sheila Haswell


  • Yoga Teacher For Over 40 Years
  • Student of B.K.S. Iyengar
  • Studied at Ramamani Iyengar Yoga
  • Founder of Iyengar Yoga Shala
  • CIYT-Advanced Level 2, C-IAYT
image 19

Kathryn Curtis


  • Yoga & Mindfulness Researcher
  • Registered Clinical Psychologist
  • Pain Researcher at Toronto General
  • Manages Vidya Institute Research
  • Certified Yoga Instructor
image 20

Bharathi Venkatachalapathy

  • Faculty, Southern California Uni.
  • Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medicine
  • Certified Vyasa Yoga Instructor
  • Teacher, Keck School of Medicine
  • Over 20 Years of Clinical Experience

The History Of Vidya Institute

September 2002

Vidya Institute Is Founded In
Toronto, Canada

The Vidya Institute Toronto Yoga & Healing Center was founded by Gitte Bechsgaard, co-founded by her colleague Gillian McCann, and named by her guru, Sri Krishan Mantri.

September 2003

Sri Krishan Mantri Begins Teaching
At Vidya Institute Toronto

3 times per week Mantriji invited the Toronto community to join him for his teachings, entirely on a donation basis. Mantriji’s public teachings at Vidya centered on the The Bhagavad Gita, Sanskrit, and The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali

October 2003

Vidya Institute Toronto Features
Local Alternative Medicine Practitioners

Over the years Vidya featured local healing work including therapeutic massage, zen shiatsu, tui na, Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, and other eastern healing traditions.

September 2006

Vidya Institute Redirects Focus To
Yoga Philosophy Teachings

As Gitte’s private mentorship under Sri Krishan Mantri deepened in 2006, he transitioned her focus to the teaching of philosophy. Gitte & Gillian began to focus on The Yoga Sutras & the history of the yogic tradition. Other seasoned asana & pranayama teachers at Vidya Institute took over the focus on general teachings, often taught in conjunction with Gitte’s philosophy classes to ensure the esoteric aspects of the lineage were integrated with all Vidya programming.

May 2010

Vidya Institute’s Yoga Research
Department Opened

The research focuses on a peer-reviewed empirical evaluation of Iyengar Yoga & Mindfulness Practices, constructed in accordance with the principles of The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali. Our clinical research department continues to collaborate with various Toronto hospitals to this day, evaluating the efficacy of the practices of yogic path in treating pain, traumatic injury, psychological symptoms, and more.

May 2012

Gitte Begins Jyotish Teachings at
Vidya Institute Toronto

After years of Mantriji’s Pressure to do so, Gitte began teaching the vedic sister science of Jyotish at Vidya - also known as Vedic Astrology. At the time, Gitte was skeptical but Mantriji felt its integral link to the other vedic sister disciplines could not be ignored. Jyotish remains an important area of curricula available at Vidya Institute to this day.


Gitte Completes The Gift of
Consciousness: Patañjali’s Yoga

A seminal work, with her PhD on The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali making up a large part of it, The Gift of Consciousness was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2013 as an important work of Academic-Esoteric Integration. You’ll find it used in university curricula worldwide.


Gitte Recieve’s B.K.S. Iyengar's
Blessings For The Teachings

After a lengthy approval process by his students, Gitte’s book The Gift of Consciousness was presented to B.K.S Iyengar, who provided his blessings & wrote the book’s foreword.He also guided his leading students Gloria Goldberg & Sheila Haswell to work together with Gitte Bechsgaard in teaching the integration of Iyengar Yoga Sadhana with Patañjali’s philosophy - this immediately propelled Vidya Institute’s international work.

June 2014

Vidya Institute International Given
Newfound Focus

With Mantri’s encouragement Gitte began to redirect the teachings towards the international community, teaching throughout Europe & The United States at various Iyengar Yoga Locations.
A transition to bring Vidya Institute’s teachings to those who needed it most.

September 2016

Vidya Institute Online Started

Vidya Institute’s first online course on the Vedic texts & their integration with The Iyengar Yoga Method was released - The Yoga Philosophy Applied Online Course. To this day, yoga studios in over 7 different countries around the world utilize this Vidya Institute Curriculum to serve their students with an integration of the philosophical side of Iyengar Yoga with the familiarities of their daily practice.

August 2017

Vidya Institute’s Toronto Yoga
Healing Center Is Closed Down

Vidya Institute Toronto officially closed down, in spite of its continued vital orientation within the community, in order to place absolute focus on the international teachings. This was at the guidance of Sri Krishan Mantri, who also departed Toronto those years.

September 2017

Invited To Write Psychology
Today’s First Spirituality-
Psychology Column

After The Sacred In Exile was published by Palgrave Macmillan, Psychology Today reached out to Gitte & Gillian to start their first ever column exploring topics integrating the psychological, philosophical, and spiritual. The Return To Stillness column authored by Gitte & Gillian continues to this day.

September 2018

Gitte’s Son Daniel Leads Creation
Of Vidya Online Learning Center

Sri Krishan Mantriji was like a grandfather to Daniel, who spent his entire childhood with him. Mantriji’s spirit is in his bones, helping him to preserve the soul of his wisdom during Vidya Institute’s transition to the online hemisphere.

May 2019

Vidya Institute Launches First
International Yoga Retreat

The beautiful retreat center on Denmark’s northern coastline featured Vidya Institute’s first international yoga retreat. Teachers and students from around the world gathered in the study of yoga philosophy, mantra sadhana, Iyengar yoga asana, pranayama, dreamwork, ayurveda, and more.

Experience The True Meaning Of Yoga

Become A Subscriber For Free To Gain Access To Exclusive Wisdom Teachings

    logo only light transparent
    Join The Vidya Institute Mailing List

    Subscribers are the first to hear about new programs, receive updates to our teaching schedule, get exclusive discounts, and more.

    By clicking the button, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms.

    Vidya Institute logo square-transparent