Gitte Bechsgaard, founder of Vidya Institute, has studied, taught and researched in the field of Yoga, Eastern psychology and Contemplative traditions for over 25 years. She is certified as a Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher (CIYT), and teaches throughout North America and Europe. In 2011 Gitte completed her PhD thesis on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras which is published as The Gift of Consciousness: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Gitte studied privately with her mentor Sri Krishan Mantriji in the areas of Yoga philosophy, Sanskrit, Jyotish and Contemplative practice,. Gitte is actively involved in Yoga research in various hospital settings in Toronto, in conjunction with York University.

Aside from Gitte’s work in the field of Yoga she is also a registered psychotherapist (RP), working in private practice. Her main area of interest is the dialogue between Eastern and Western approaches to the mind and consciousness. She is a graduate from the Centre for Training in psychotherapy (CTP), Toronto


Gillian McCann is an Associate Professor in the Religions and Cultures Department, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario. She holds a doctorate in Religious Studies specializing in the area of South Asian religious traditions. She has taught in a variety of academic settings on world religions, women in religion, health and spirituality, the intersection of East and West, and religion and the environment. Alongside her work in academia, Gillian has partnered with Gitte Bechsgaard at Vidya Institute on various scholarly and educational projects. Gillian’s book, Vanguard of the New Age: The Toronto Theosophical Society 1891-1945 was published in May, 2012.