Theos Casimir Bernard

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Theos Casimir Bernard Mean?

Theos Casimir Bernard was an American scholar, explorer and author who taught about yoga and Tibetan Buddhism.

Among his achievements was the pioneering of Indian and Tibetan studies at Columbia University. He played a pivotal role in the founding of the first research institute in the U.S. focused solely on Tibetan Buddhism.

He described himself as the “first white lama” and was the first writer from the U.S. to write his dissertation on the subject of Hatha yoga.


Yogapedia Explains Theos Casimir Bernard

Theos Casimir Bernard was the third American to enter Lhasa in Tibet in 1936. There he was initiated into the practice and philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism, apparently being accepted there as the reincarnation of Padma Sambhava. While there, he studied Tantric yoga in order to understand the principles behind it. He then wrote about his experiences in books, newspaper articles and a personal memoir.

Back in the United States in 1939, he opened the American Institute of Yoga and Pierre Health Studios. Bernard returned to India and Pakistan in 1947 and, while on expedition in the Himalayas, he disappeared. Later he would be declared dead, though his body was never found.

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