This article is for anyone, who like myself, loves yoga and has a desire to become a yoga instructor. I wanted to bring all the information to one place as a quick reference guide. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of choice and information and beginning your teacher training is a subject to think deeply about. So hopefully this article may help you get heading in the right direction. I’ve written it for myself as much as anyone else and I will keep updating it.
Below are some basic questions about teacher training and then I describe each major yoga organisation (a few more to add yet) with a bit of info about the founder followed by the practical stuff like prices, course length and the course curriculum taken each website. Use the menu below to navigate up and down the page as it is a long page!
Why yoga teacher training?
What are your reasons for becoming a yoga instructor?
Have you got what it takes to teach others?
How long will it take to become qualified?
What are the costs?
Find the right instructors
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The Yoga Alliance
ONLINE YOGA COURSES
There are thousands of yoga teacher training courses available so how do you make the right choice? There are three reasons for enrolling on a yoga teacher training:
- You want to be a teacher.
- You want to deepen your own practice.
- You are considering being a teacher in the future.
Personally I am two and three with the more I practise yoga and make a part of my lifestyle the more I want to live the yoga life. The idea of taking all the positives from yoga and passing it onto others is very appealing to me.
A lot will depend on where you live and how far you will travel, how much time you have and how much money you want to spend. For instance, do you need to fit training around your work schedule or can you take time off for a monthly intensive? Do you want an isolated ashram in the Himalayas? A city gym with all mod-cons? A yoga retreat by the beach? These are all available to you but I feel there is an advantage to going somewhere far removed from your normal routine. You are unlikely to fall into habitual thinking in new places as our brains get busy mapping the new environment and dealing with fresh, sensory information. This is why it feels so exciting on a holiday. Of course there is a counter argument to this being the new place is merely a pleasant ‘illusory’ distraction. Err, let’s just keep quiet about that for now…
If none of the above options fit there are also several online yoga courses available and there are more in the pipeline.
One of the most important questions to ask is what do you want to get out of the chosen program? Are you heading toward the whole yoga lifestyle thing or will it be just a job? Some schools are geared more to meditation and spirituality while others are health and fitness based and you could be working in a local gym quite quickly with the latter.
Do you want to study the deeper, philosophical aspects and the sutras of yoga? These are subjects that take considerably more time and reflection to make your own, indeed they are designed for it. You may not have anything other than a superficial grasp of the sutras after just “200 hours” if you haven’t come across them before so start soon.
Some other books to get your metaphysical nashers into are the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ numerous translations, ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Paramahansa Yogananda, ‘Light on Yoga’ by B.K.S Iyengar and ‘The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’ by T.K.V. Desikachar.
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Have you got what it takes to teach others?
Do you like people? Are you comfortable on front of groups? Can you connect with people from different backgrounds and temperaments one on one? Can you market yourself to a local community or use social media? Hopefully the answer is yes to some of these! And the good things about skills is they improve over time. Many of the best teacher trainings spend time on guiding you on how to lead a class, how to market yourself and build a following as a new yoga teacher. They will give you confidence then it’s up to you to know your stuff.
Here’s a great, funny, touching article written by ‘Sarah Brose’ at Elephant Journal – “I certainly don’t want to teach you yoga.”
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How long will it take to become qualified?
The initial 200 hour training can be taken in these common time periods/types:
- Weekends spread over several months to 2 years.
- Flexible course modules taken when it suits you.
- 4-5 week or ‘month’ long intensives.
200 hours is just the start of one’s education.
Prices range from a few hundred dollars for a starter weekend to nearer $12,000 for Bikram yoga 9 weeks training. I have given specific prices with each organisation in the schools list so check that out.
Beware of hidden costs which take you longer to find on a course homepage. These include course manuals, DVD’s, books you buy during the course, books you buy before the course, certification fees, yoga equipment, membership fees. Reputable schools are generally upfront about these essential ‘extras’.
Residential courses have accommodation and meals included. Others may provide breakfast and snacks, tea and coffee only. The Bikram course is in a hotel where you have to buy all your meals. So food could be a big expense you need to know about.
With accommodation, you will be given options of dorm rooms, private single-rooms, doubles, triples or even tents for the adventurous! These cost choices should be obvious upon registering. If you aren’t provided with rooms you should receive a list of local recommended places to stay.
Food and lodgings are two things but you also have to get there. Don’t forget to add on transportation across the country or if your heart is set on that romantic retreat, a flight to Northern India, Costa Rica or Bali! (Once I win the lottery).
You should be well established in your own personal yoga practice preferably for a minimum of two years, this is a good baseline. There are teacher courses open to beginners such as Sivananda hatha yoga or some of the online teaching lets you begin right away. One other thing – you should be in tip-top shape before you start. Yoga intensives are demanding on your body, mind and spirit so be physically prepared or put it off until later.
Generally, many traditional yoga courses require a commitment to a vegetarian diet. Most serious yoga enthusiasts are vegetarians or vegans already or nearly there. But if you are not the month long intensive is a great way to finally break any bad dietary habits. If you’re like me I have a pretty bad coffee addiction which I’d like to crack.
Meat, fish and eggs are generally out on the more traditional residential courses. Variants such as 9-week Bikram TTC is not so strict as you eat in the hotel or self-cater.
Obviously, alcohol and drugs are a bad idea and normally banned anyway and stimulants, coffee (boo) and tea equally maybe no where in sight.
There are delicious alternatives though and once you are in to it it is amazing how quickly you get used to the food changes. In fact if you are looking for a way to change bad habits, a TTC is an ideal motivator.
So how do you choose? The Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS) and Teachers (RYT) certifications are important but if everyone has a certificate how do you decide? When looking at the teachers who will be teaching you consider the following:
- Have they worked or studied with good teachers or leaders in the field?
- Are they the leaders in the field? (Clearly not everyone can be, but why not train with the best if you can?)
- Are they passionate about yoga?
- How many years of personal practice have they had?
- How much teaching have they done up to now?
- Do they live the yoga lifestyle and the philosophy?
- What size class will I be a part of?
These are basic questions, no essential questions. As a student, I don’t mind if my regular class teachers are relatively new to teaching as long as they love what they are doing and they have a solid foundation of personal practice and know a bit more than me. But teacher trainers I am a little more fussy about.
There are practical and obvious steps you can take before you spend any cash. If possible, take classes at the centre where the teacher training takes place and meet the instructors, see how they operate, how they interact with students, how the centre is run. Have a chat with them and ask questions. They should make time for you. Have a chat with other long term students. And of course, use the internet to scour for reviews.
One of the most established courses you can find, the Sivananda Teacher Training (TTC) has been running for over 40 years with 26,000 students completing it,that number changes all the time, of course. I have studied a lot with Sivananda Centre in London and I know that many students who attend the TTC do so mainly to deepen their own understanding and practice and not necessarily go on to teach. Classes typically begin with relaxation, sun-salutations and a sequence of 12 postures including the handstand, shoulderstand, plough, forward bend, spinal twist, crow, cobra, bow and others.
Swami Vishnudevananda bought Swami Sivananda’s Yoga Vedanta teachings (serve, love give, purify, meditate, realize) to the West in 1957. In case you were wondering ananda is an honorific and means ‘love’, you’ll see it a lot in yoga names. Swami Vishnudevananda simplified the Ancient yoga teaching into these essential ‘Five Points of Yoga’ (See below) which you incorporate into your life.
Aims and benefits
Gentle and slow paced, Sivananda promotes overall well-being and health.
Hatha yoga emphasising relaxation via savasana, practice of the full yogic breath and pranayama.
“Health is wealth, Peace of mind is happiness, Yoga shows the way.”
London, New York, Medellin (Colombia) Orleans (France), Tyrol (Austria), Haradwan (India). The Sivananda TTC is often taught in English but other languages are catered for depending on the location. For instance, on the upcoming Tyrol, Austria (August 3rd 2013) event will be conducted in German, English and Italian. The Medellin, Columbia event (July 8th) is taught in Spanish.
Commitment to a vegetarian diet, being silent is preferred to chatting.
4 weeks intensive.
€500 (Euros or equivalent) with the balance payable 4 weeks before the course start. A credit note will be given for any cancellations meaning you can start again at a later date, minus a 50€ admin fee if you cancel soon enough but no cash refund.
Variable depending on the country location. For example Orleans France is €2350 Tent, €2600 Dorm, €3300 Double – shared bath, €3600 Single with shared bath, €3900 Single with bath. New York TTC prices are: $2310 Tent, $2960 Dorm, $3220 Double, $3740 Single.
The Sivananda Certificate of Completion/Eligible for registration with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200)
Further study is available on the: Advanced Teacher’s Training Course (ATC).
The Five Points of Yoga
- Proper exercise
After the Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) the 12 Basic Asanas -
Sitting Forward bend (Paschimothanasana)
Spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Crow (Kakasana) or Peacock (Mayurasana)
Standing forward bend (Pada Hasthasana)
- Proper breathing
The Full Yogic Breath which advances through clavicular, thoracic and full-abdominal breathing to maximise the capacity of the lungs. Plus two Pranayama breathing techniques: Skull Cleansing/Shining (Kapalabhati) and Anuloma Viloma.
- Proper Relaxation
Sinking into the Corpse Pose (Savasana) promotes physical, mental and spiritual relaxation and eventual identification with the pure consciousness within.
- Proper Diet
Lacto-vegetarian for mind-body efficiency, concentration and harmony of the spirit.
- Positive Thinking and Meditation
- Sivananda Training Manual – by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre.
- The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga – by Swami Vishnudevananda
- Bhagavad Gita (with commentary by Swami Sivananda)
- Sivananda Companion to Yoga – by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
- Meditation and Mantras – by Swami Vishnudevananda
Sample Daily Schedule
(This may be subject to change)
- 0520 hrs Wake up
- 0600 hrs Satsang
- 0800 hrs Asana, pranayama class
- 1000 hrs Brunch
- 1100 hrs Karma yoga
- 1200 hrs Bhagavad Gita lecture or chanting class
- 1400 hrs Main lecture
- 1600 hrs Asana, pranayama class
- 1800 hrs Dinner (Simple Indian style vegetarian meals.)
- 2000 hrs Satsang
- 2200 hrs Lights out
Satsang consists of silent meditation, chanting and a talk or reading on the philosophy of yoga and Vedanta. It will help you develop a strong and steady meditation practice.
Talks covering the 4 paths of yoga, “The 5 Points of Yoga”, Vedanta philosophy and other topics in yoga.
- Asana Class
Two classes, one giving you the chance to develop your own practice.Sun salutations and the twelve basic postures will be taught along with advanced variations. The second class is devoted to ‘How to Teach” incorporating:
How to teach beginners the sun salutation and the twelve basic postures,
How to teach the basic open class
How to teach children, the elderly and prenatal yoga
The theory and practice of shat kriyas (the six cleansing techniques)
Basic practice of kapalabhati, anuloma viloma (alternate nostril breathing) with an introduction to advanced pranayama.
- Karma yoga
One hour a day of service is expected from every student. Karma yoga is the practice of selfless service which helps guests to feel part of the ashram.
- Krishna Bhagavad Gita
The Bible of Yoga, a very important spiritual text.
- Chanting (kirtan)
Opens the heart and purifies the mind. Correct pronunciation of Sanskrit and a devotional attitude is important.
- Main lectures with these topics: (The main lecture requires a daily homework summary.)
The four paths of Yoga: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion, Raja Yoga (mind control), and Jnana Yoga (the path of wisdom and realization).
Program psychology of the spiritual aspirant
Karma and reincarnation
The three bodies and their functions
- Anatomy and Physiology
The effects of asana on the major body systems. Yogic diet and fasting.
Guideline to meditation. Benefits of meditation. The use of mantras and mantra initiation.
Brunch/Dinner: Simple Indian style vegetarian meals.
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Bikram Yoga is a hatha yoga based style with a sequence of 26 postures (standing, forward bends, twists, back-bends) which exercise and invigorate the entire body over 90 minutes. Each posture is held for a short time before moving to the next. This is practiced in a studio that is ideally heated to 105 degrees F. with 40 % humidity in order to warm the body making it more flexible - ‘softening’ it.
Bikram Choudhury founder of Bikram Yoga with his wife Rajashree Choudhury, first began to learn Hatha Yoga at 3 years old. At 5, he began studying with Bishnu Charan Ghosh, brother of Paramahansa Yogananda – the author of ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. Whilst Choudhury trained at Ghosh’s College of Physical Education he won the National India Yoga Championships several times as an early teenager. Eventually teaching yoga full time, he developed his own 26 pose system for use in larger classes and moved to the US in 1973.
Aims and benefits
The Bikram posture series aims to restore bodily systems back to 100% efficiency and health by moving fresh oxygenated blood through organs and muscles that have been deeply and safely stretched – resulting in health, fitness and well-being.
“Welcome to the torture chamber”.
The Bikram Dialogue
The Bikram Dialogue, scourge of many at the boot-camps from a learning point of view, is the verbal accompaniment to the 26 postures and breathing techniques taught in the Bikram series. It is a tightly defined and unchanging script that you will hear at every official BY studio. It is the cornerstone of the teacher training.
When you are training in BY and have decided to become a teacher, it is worth trying to memorise the Dialogue before you commence teacher training. From all accounts there is little spare time to study it once you begin the 9 week immersion course so getting ahead of the game will benefit you. You will be expected to know well. Once you have paid your enrollment fee the Dialogue is mailed to you.
During the course, there is a daily class – the ‘posture clinic’ where each student will be tested on their knowledge of posture. They will be required to repeat the dialogue that accompanies each posture in front of the rest of the class and observed by instructors usually about 40 people. You will also have to do this once in front of Bikram Choudhury and the entire body of students.
A minimum of 6 months practice at an official Bikram studio along with a letter of recommendation from your Bikram certified instructor there. Physically, you should be able to cope with two classes per day. You should be over 21 years of age as well. Without these preconditions you can still write a letter to be considered for training depending on your personal circumstances. For instance if there is no training centre near you but you have extensive home practice.
Write to ‘Sharon@BikramYoga.com’.
Oh, you will need plenty of yoga shorts (forget long pants) and be doing a lot of washing.
The Radisson Hotel, Los Angeles Airport 6225 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90045, United States. The class can be up to 700 students capacity. You’ll make friends (if you have time).
9 weeks intensive immersion.
No option as full payment is required to secure a place.
$11,400 dollars (2 students per room). $15,500 with a single room. Gulp.
Certificate of completion. You are NOT eligible for Yoga Alliance RYT.
There is an advanced series of 84 postures although this is not taught publicly. Advanced classes are conducted at a quick pace and generally for experienced teachers.
- Four Steps of Life
Brahmacharya – Renunciation/Garahasthya – Family Life/Banaprasthya – Non-attachment/Sanyas – Asceticism
- Eight Kinds of Yoga
Karma Yoga – Work or Action/Hatha Yoga – Physical, Raja Yoga – Mental/Vedanta Yoga – Philosophical/Bhakti Yoga – Devotional/Mantra Yoga – Mantra Chanting/Laya Yoga – Esoteric/Jnana Yoga – Wisdom
- Human Concepts
The Body, Mind and Soul
- Eight Characteristics of Yoga
Yama – Don’ts/Niyama -Do’s/Asana – Postures/Pranayama – Breath Control – Life Force Control/Pratyahara – Internalization/Dhana – Meditation/Dharana – Realization/Samadhi – Absorption
- Five Steps of Hatha Yoga
Theory and Practice Bikram’s Hatha Yoga System
- Basic System
Through demonstration and individual practice, Bikram will personally guide you through the theory and practice of the Basic Yoga System which includes twenty-eight postures and two pranayamas.
- Complete System of Eighty-Four Asanas
Gaining an understanding of the complete system of 84 poses with Bikram demonstrating these asanas, pranayamas, mudras, kriyas and bandhas.
Allopathic Physical Systems-The human body as taught by visiting medical specialists.
- Yogic Physical Systems -
Subtle Anatomy: Energy Fields/Energy Flow/Energy Regeneration.
- Chakric System:
Seven Main Chakras – Anatomy/ Physiology.
Integration of Medical and Yogic Systems
- A. Biochemical balance
- B. Balance Between Body and Mind
- C. Enhancement of Major Body Functions
- D. Description of the benefits of each posture for the healthy person
- Application of asanas to chronic and acute diseases and disorders
- Correct Alignment of Asanas
Importance of correct form to achieve therapeutic results and produce anatomical benefits/Importance of partial correct form when client has physical limitations. Achieving maximum benefit for the functioning of all internal organs, important glands, veins, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and minute tissues.
- Class Yoga Therapy
Conducting the Basic System of 28 poses in a group arrangement/Modification of postures for individuals due to known problems/ Identification of unknown individual problems through observation.
- Correcting Postures
- Yoga for The Infirm.
Demonstration Methods/Lecture Methods
- Setting up a Yoga Studio
Facility and Requirements/How to Conduct Classes/How to Get New Students/How to Hold Students/Administration: a. Secrets of how to run a yoga studio, b. Tracking Students, c. Banking and Financing
- Getting started.
Bikram’s Yoga College of India Affiliation Plan.
Sample Weekly Schedule
(This may be subject to change)
- Monday to Friday
- 8:30am – 10:00am – Bikram’s Basic Yoga Class
- 10:00am -12:15pm – Lunch Break
- 12:15pm – 4:00pm – Posture Clinic/Lectures
- 5:00pm – 6:30pm – Bikram’s Basic Yoga Class
- 6:30pm – 9:00pm – Dinner break
- 9:00pm – Posture Clinic/Lecture
- Saturday 8:00am – 9:30am – Bikram’s Basic Yoga Class
- Sunday Rest day.
The Bikram 26 Posture Series.
- Standing Deep Breathing (Pranayama)
- Half Moon Pose (Ardha-Chandrasana)
- Awkward Pose (Utkatasana)
- Eagle Pose (Garurasana)
- Standing Head to Knee (Dandayamana-Janushirasana)
- Standing Bow Pose (Dandayamana-Dhanurasana)
- Balancing Stick (Tuladandasana)
- Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana)
- Triangle Pose (Trikanasana)
- Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana)
- Tree Pose (Tadasana)
- Toe Stand (Padangustasana)
- Dead Body Pose (Savasana)
- Wind-Removing Pose (Pavanamuktasana)
- Sit up (Pada-Hasthasana)
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
- Full Locust Pose (Poorna-Salabhasana)
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- Fixed Firm Pose (Supta-Vajrasana)
- Half Tortoise Pose Ardha-Kurmasana)
- Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)
- Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose (Janushirasana and Paschimotthanasana)
- Spine-Twisting Pose (Ardha-Matsyendrasana)
- Blowing in Firm Pose (Kapalbhati in Vajrasana)
Jivamukti yoga philosophy stresses compassion for all beings and the environment. As a consequence it promotes a vegan lifestyle and strives for harmonious relationships with others. Compare this, Jivamukti says, to the overarching idea in today’s modern world that we are entitled to exploit the Earth and it’s resources endlessly and subjugate other sentient creatures.
Jivamukti Yoga, a hatha yoga based style, was created in 1984 by Sharon Gannon and David Life. The pair studied with many recognised teachers, including Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, whom they credit with helping them shape their yoga teaching. The two founders are directly involved in the teacher training conducted by the organisation.
Aims and benefits
Practicing Asana as well as building strength and flexibility, ultimately leads to the secret of happiness which is a sense of oneness with everything and a loss of the sense of separation which keeps one from yoga’s true goal – enlightenment.
Ashtanga Vinyasa method with strong spiritual leanings.
“Enlightenment through compassion for all beings”.
The Five Tenets of Jivamukti
- Ahimsa. Being kind and non-violent affects the environment around you helping creating peace.
- Bhakti. Devotion to and acknowledging something greater than yourself.
- Dhyana. Meditation allows you to connect to deep contentment within.
- Nada. Music and other sonic techniques promote deep listening skills that harmonise body and mind.
- Shastra. The study and application of ancient yogic teachings into your daily life.
You should have an established Jivamukti asana practice for a minimum of 2 years. Then read these books: Jivamukti Yoga by Sharon Gannon and David Life; Yoga and Vegetarianism by Sharon Gannon; The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami by Radhanath Swami OR Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. Each book needs a written spiritual commentary/essay of 250 words based on your reflections of it. Plus a final essay based on a monthly theme available on the website. You should also read Yoga Assists also by Gannon and Life. You must also memorize the Jivamukti Yoga Classes “Balancing” and “Backbending” before the start.
The course locations this year include Chiemsee in Germany, the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York and at Blue Spirit in Costa Rica.
1 month/300 hours.
$1500 plus 50% of the all-inclusive accommodation and food. (The Blue Spirit Costa Rica teacher training course is the example i’m using here). This is refundable up to a certain date minus and admin fee of $100.
$6,150. There is an additional cost of accommodation and food which ranges from $2200 for a single tent to $6320 for a single room. All the housing is at the high end side of things.
There is a $1000 scholarship fund available.
Certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher. This course is not Yoga Alliance certified.
Sample Daily Schedule
(This may be subject to change)
- 7:00-7:45 am – Breakfast
- 8am-12:00 pm – Class time
- 12:00-12:45 pm – Mentor group meeting
- 12:45-1:45 pm – Lunch
- 2:00-6:00 pm – Class time
- 6:00-7:30 pm – Dinner
- 8:00-11:00 pm – Class time
- Techniques and Practice of Jivamukti Yoga
48 hours: Learn to teach 2 full Jivamukti Yoga® class sequences (practice and memorization), kriyas, teaching and practicing meditation and chanting, teaching basics, and teaching mixed level classes (the “open class”).
- Basic Sanskrit
6 hours: Learn the Sanskrit alphabet in Devanagari script. You will be able to read and pronounce Sanskrit words, as well as some grammar, and you will explore the role of Sanskrit in a yoga practice.
- Teaching Methodology
38 hours: The Jivamukti Yoga® teaching method; the 5 tenets of Jivamukti Yoga® and the 14 requirements of Jivamukti Yoga® open classes; adjustments and assists for standing poses, forward bends, twists, backbends, inversions, and balances; the art of sequencing, energetics of assists and vinyasa krama; ethics of teaching yoga, including the types of teachers and students; teaching Jivamukti Yoga® sequences.
- Anatomy and Physiology
12 hours: Anatomy and physiology: basics of skeletal, muscular, respiratory, nervous and cardiovascular systems; injury and recovery; esoteric anatomy, including chakras, nadis, prana, granthi, and bandha.
- Scripture, Philosophy, Ethics, & Lifestyle
23 hours:Includes basic philosophy, Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, Bhagavad Gita, Hatha yoga pradipika, Karma, 7 Bhumikas.
- Group Practicum
12 hours: Includes class observation and transcriptions focusing on adjustment, sequencing, theme, and music.
- Small Group Peer Review and Practicum
17 hours: These are classes that you teach in a small group setting to hone your skills. Includes student teaching as well as observing and assisting in classes taught by others, oral presentation skills.
59 hours: Satsang combines many of the subjects of the course, including chanting, meditation, japa and mantra, nada yoga and music, community responsibility, ahimsa, vegetarianism, philosophy and practical skills for conducting satsang. Course quizzes, including a midterm and final test, are conducted as part of the satsang.
- Pranayama principles and practice
5 hours: This includes the principles and theory of pranayama, practical training in samavritti and visamavritti pranayama, including teaching methods
- Daily Homework
20 hours: Each day includes a homework quiz to be completed and checked by the student’s mentor.
- Prerequisite Spiritual Commentaries
64 hours: The books and commentaries mentioned above in the pre-requisites.
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Kripalu yoga emphasises spiritual transformation through meditation and introspection and allowing these developments to influence your everyday life. Kripalu is an accessible style of yoga for all ages taught in a supportive and nurturing atmosphere. Your style of teaching will come from deep within you and this begins to emerge from the personal experiences obtained during the training.
As well as a yoga centre and retreat, ‘Kripalu’ is one of the largest holistic teaching and healing centres in North America, based in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Amrit Desai founded the original yoga centre in 1967 on the site of a Jesuit seminary. It soon became the Kripalu Ashram and was named after Desai’s guru – Swami Kripalvananda. Desai is no longer involved in the modern Kripalu centre which now operates as a non-profit organisation.
Aims and benefits
Kripalu believe that thorough immersion is the best teacher and its courses aim to provide you with a yogic lifestyle experience which gives you the knowledge to create inspirational and transformational classes for your future students.
Classic hatha yoga performed at different rates of intensity – gentle, moderate and vigorous and the 3 stages. Stage 1 – postural alignment, coordination of the breath with movement, stage 2 – holding the postures for longer, deepening awareness, stage 3 ‘meditation in motion – deep relaxation leads to spontaneous movement from one asana to another.
“Because Kripalu supports individual inquiry and expression, the places you find our teachers are as varied as the teachers themselves.”
The Kripalu.org main centre is in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. There are a couple of non-residential 8-weekend long teacher training programs offered at Washington D.C. and Rhode Island between now and April 2014.
A committed personal yoga practice is recommended and assumed. Personal practice of over 2 years is preferred. (4-7 times per week of 45 minutes or more).
Normally 4 weeks intensive. However, there is a 2 x 12 days program, for example: December 1–13, 2013 Part 1 and January 26–February 7, 2014 Part 2.
$2,675 plus your chosen accommodation, (contact an advisor on application, 866-200-5203). $25 application fee. $55 books: Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat, by Richard Faulds (Bantam Books) and Anatomy and Asana: Preventing Yoga Injuries, by Susi Hately Aldous (The Eastland Press).
Kripalu offer a scholarship program http://www.kripalu.org/pdfs/General_scholarship_app_09.pdf which can cover up to 40% of tuition costs. Applications must be received at least 30 days before the course start date.
Kripalu teaching certificate/Eligible for registration with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200). Here is a link to the certification criteria.
The 500-Hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training.
Sample Daily Schedule
(The schedule is subject to change).
Programs begin at 7:00pm on opening night and end by noon on the final day.
- 6:30–8:00am Sadhana
- 8:00–9:00am Breakfast
- 9:00–11:30am Program Session (Program sessions include posture techniques and pranayama; teaching methodology for leading a Kripalu Yoga class and assisting students in postures; exposure to yogic philosophy; anatomy and physiology; and practice to support your emerging skills as a teacher.)
- 11:30–1:30pm Lunch
- 1:30–4:00pm Program Session
- 4:15–6:00pm Yoga Practice. (Afternoon’s practice is designed to reinforce posture alignment details and teaching methodology while providing opportunities to assist yoga students and deepen your own practice).
- 6:00–7:00pm Dinner
- 7:00–9:00pm Evening Session (as scheduled) and homework time
There is 1 day off per week except in the 12 day two part sessions.
Kripalu Yoga Tools and Techniques
- The three stages of Kripalu Yoga: Posture focus, deepening awareness, and meditation in motion.
- Natural alignment principles.
- Pranayama: Breathing techniques.
- Pratapana: Movements that warm up and condition the body for sustaining poses.
- Creative sequencing.
- Nonjudgmental awareness.
- Breath coordinated with movement.
- Guided imagery.
- The koshas.
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Iyengar postures are held for several minutes at a time to deepen one’s awareness and make adjustments. It might be thought of as a gentler form of yoga but it is very challenging. Iyengar is concerned with precision and correct alignment in practice and once you begin teaching as an official Iyengar instructor there can be no mixing it up with other styles you may know. It is taught the same way by all teachers.
The alignment corrections are obtained using belts, bolsters and blocks for comfort, changing height and support. For instance, you can tie a belt in a loop around your elbows before attempting the downward dog variations and your arms will stay where they are supposed too – they won’t slip out of alignment or fan out sideways due to the belt. The other tools are used in similar ways to gradually and safely work towards better posture and form.
B.K.S Iyengar (Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar – Iyengar is his Hindu Caste) is a major influence in the popularisation of yoga outside of India. A student of Sri T. Krishnamacharya (who was his brother-in-law too), he began teaching at 18 years old in Pune, India in 1937. Iyengar is a form of Ashtanga yoga. “Confidence, clarity and compassion are essential qualities of a teacher.” B.K.S. Iyengar.
Aims and Benefits
Flexibility, strength and well being through correct body alignment. “Yoga builds strength and stamina, improves flexibility, muscle tone and posture and calms the mind. Regular practice develops awareness and concentration and promotes general well being. There are numerous documented health benefits of yoga.” – Iyengar UK website
How is Iyengar teacher training different?
Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training is different from other yoga instruction. There is no 200 hour intensive with Iyengar. The first level of teaching is the ‘Introductory level 1′ and is worked at over 2 years.
There is a designated time in between certification periods. For example if you obtain your ‘Introductory Level 1′ certificate (Teacher in Training as it was previously known), you are not eligible for the ‘Introductory 2′ for at least another year, followed by ‘Intermediate Junior 1′ two years after this. For this reason following through on every level of Iyengar teacher training will take many years of commitment and dedication.
You must have a minimum of 3 years Iyengar yoga practice with a recognised Iyengar studio. You should find a mentor or ‘recommending’ teacher, preferably at the studio where you study, to help with the certification process. This teacher must be at a higher certificate level than yourself. The relationship with your mentor is quite an important one at introductory levels and isn’t about getting someone to sign a form for you. After passing the intros you are eligible to pursue training under your own steam.
Membership of your national association is also required. These include the IYNAUS Iyengar National Association of the United States or Iyengar Yoga Association UK and others. You will also need to purchase the certification manual published on March 1st of each year which has specific details of that year’s regulations.
28 days over 2 years.
Certified Iyengar Yoga Practitioner.
Introductory 2. See below. There is a minimum of 5 years training before you can teach.
- Iyengar certification levels
- Introductory 1 (formerly teacher in training)
- Introductory 2 (formerly Introductory)
- Intermediate Junior Levels 1, 2, 3.
- Intermediate Senior Levels 1, 2, 3
- Advanced Junior I, II, III and Advanced Senior I, II, III
At the Intermediate Junior Level 1 you must train at least once at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute or ‘RIMYI’ which is the centre of operations in Pune, India. B.K.S. Iyengar still teaches although he has taken a back seat from most of the asana teaching and now conducts the medical classes. His daughter Geeta and son, Prashant also teach at the centre.
Prana flow takes its foundation from Krishnamacharya’s yoga teaching and adds creative elements such as chanting and music and connecting to the power of the group which enhances your own experience and practice.
Shiva Rae started practising yoga at 14 years old. She created Prana Flow combining her long time ashtanga vinyasa practice in the Krishnamacharya tradition with the precision of Iyengar and her wide experience in dance, martial arts, bodywork and massage. Shiva is also the creative brain behind Yoga Trance Dance.
Aims and benefits
Breath, movement, emotions, thoughts become connected producing restoration and wholeness, flexibility, poise and strength.
Creative and experiential Vinyasa flow.
“Prana Flow classes are breath inspired journeys that offer a complete spectrum (ha-tha) of rhythms from meditative and rejuvenating to the challenging and empowering.”
Immersion programs take place in Venice, CA and across the US. Residential teacher training programs are offered at the Venice centre and the Kripalu centre in Massachusetts, US of 1-3 weeks. There are different workshops and retreats all over the world including Munich, (Germany), Santorini, (Greece), London, (England), Kerala (India) and Costa Rica.
1 year of active asana based yogic study.
The Prana Flow course is modular. Once you intitiate the application process, you must complete at least 2 modules out of 4 in the first year. This lets you set your own pace and schedule which can be an advantage. The recommended first module is ‘Embodying the Flow’ details (see below).
There are 2 x 10 day immersion sessions, residential and retreat options to study different modules.
Between Shiva Rae and the senior teachers between 70-80 modules are offered each year giving ample choice for your flexible study. 30% of your contact hours can be with senior teachers.
The online application fee is $108. The costs vary depending on the location of the particular module/workshop/retreat and that venue’s price structure. Typically, you are looking at $345 for 4-day modules (10+ hours) to $1375 for a 10 day training (90 hours). Finally, there will be $108 certification fee.
Prana Flow® Teacher Certificate/Eligible for registration with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200)
300/500 hour RYT programs.
Embodying the Flow module/Fluid Power module/Marma Nadi Chakra module/Pathways of the Flow (Anatomy)/ Teaching Exploratorium/ Vinyasa Conference Intensives
Primary Module: Embodying the Flow – Teaching Skills
- Teaching the rhythm and flow of our breathing body as synched with the universal pulse.
- Embodying the Sun-Moon
For balancing active-meditative states within yoga and life
- Learn to teach Four Classical Namaskars and Two Rhythmic Vinyasa Namaskars
- Wave of a Class
Leading Class Openings and Movement Meditation
- Asanas as Mudras
Intro to the Energetics and Poetry of the Body
- Hands-on assist and teaching cues for 10 core asanas for Namaskars (sun salutations)
- Prana Flow Three
Part Vinyasa method for teaching alignment in the flow
- Daily Meditation and Pranayama and the basics for personal practice and teaching
- Embodiment Project
Photo Teaching Tools for developing a teacher’s eye, to support your personal embodiment of yoga asanas as well as your students
Roots-Evolution Background Learning
- The philosophical roots of Vinyasa Yoga and the embodiment of tantric hatha yoga.
- The Origins of Sun Salutations and Evolution of Prana Flow Namaskars.
- Embodying Prana
Understand five movements of Prana underlying all of the asanas and movements of nature.
- Living Vinyasa
The micro-macro cycles that guide living flow and the wave of a vinyasa flow class.
- Learning Krishnamacharya’s principles of Vinyasa Krama (moving by numbers)
- Embodying the Flow 100+ page workbook-manual.
- DVD and Online resources for continued practice.
Module 2: Essential Tools for Teaching Flow: Energetic Alignment, Hands-on Assists, + Vinyasa Krama Sequences for 108 Asanas
- Experience a unique holistic approach of Seven Mandalas of Asanas™ base of 108 asanas as the basis for creative and effective sequencing, teaching and embodiment
- Learn to teach Four Prana Flow Dancing Warrior Namaskars, as a foundation for further innovations.
- Learn Prana Flow Wave Sequencing for Three Solar Sequences for back-bends and arm balances and Two Lunar Sequences for deep flexibility and regeneration.
- Learn to teach and assist five primary alignment actions of the core “blueprint” asanas of the mandalas and sequence combinations with skill, effectiveness, fluency, and creativity.
- Work with Prana Flow Three-Part Vinyasa Method and Vinyasa Krama to teach to all levels.
- Experience hands-on assists as both adjustments and “enhancements” to the core movement of the asana.
- Develop Energetic Observation
Ability to assess imbalances, blockages and leaks of energy to a person’s body, mind and heartfire.
- Review and application of basic anatomy to understand structural embodiment within the asanas
- Special Mandala of Asanas Method -
Self and partner massage for regeneration and learning muscles, joints and boney landmarks of the body relevant to practice.
- Daily Tantric-based meditation and yoga nidra for regeneration.
In addition to contact hours in each module there are requirements that further your evolution as a teacher. These requirements are offered as Evolutionary Self -study programs and include:
- Completing an Embodiment project
- Living Yoga Sadhana Online TeleCourse (Participate in 2 for the 200 hour, 3 for the 300 hour, and 5 for the 500 hour program – additional cost)
- Sacred reading projects
- Demonstrate teaching methodology application in a 30 minute video accompanied with a written sequence
- Complete a final take-home written exam.
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An energetic workout, power yoga developed in American gyms in the early 1990′s as an accessible form of Ashtanga yoga. It was adapted to a western temperament. There is less emphasis on static postures and often no meditation. This is more of a workout and cardio replacement and often colloquially know as gym yoga.
One of the founding members of the ‘power yoga’ movement Beryl Berinder Birch began studying yoga in 1971 and teaching asana from 1974. After meeting Norman Alan, a student of Pattabhi Jois, in 1980, her interest in the more active style of Ashtanga increased. She studied with Jois himself in 1987. Birch came up with the name Power Yoga to distinguish her classes from the gentler forms of yoga that were prevalent at the time. “This ashtanga yoga practice – unlike most of the yoga taught in the 70’s – was a serious workout – designed to build significant strength and concentration as well as flexibility.”
Aims and benefits
Strength, concentration and flexibility.
“Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong”.
Read the ‘Power Yoga’ book prior to first session.
Mindful Turtle Yoga & Wellness – Stony Brook, New York (US)/Heartsong Yoga – East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, (US)
8-9 weekends over one year, non-residential program.
$250 at registration. Non-refundable.
$3000. $2750 with deposit.Variable depending on the affiliate studio where you train. There are multiple payment plans with some studios.
Eligible for registration with the Yoga Alliance (RYT 200)
Sample Daily Schedule
(This may be subject to change)
- Fridays from 6:00pm to 8:30pm
- Saturdays from 8:00am to 5:00pm
- Sundays from 9:00am to 3:00pm
- Practice and observation of yoga techniques and methodology
- Training in various asana styles including vinyasa flow, power, boomer, and ashtanga
- Safe, supportive, and appropriate hands on assistance
- Supervised asana self-practice in the Krishnamacharya ashtanga vinyasa style
- Anatomy and posture alignment
- Study of the 8 limbs and Yoga Sutras
- Working with groups that have special needs, particularly those who have experienced trauma
- Daily pranayama and meditation practice
- Ritual and ceremony
- Energy medicine
- Shamanic Practices
- General philosophy and lifestyle implementation
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Moksha yoga is a series of 40 poses performed in a heated room. The Moksha studios focus on creating a hygienic and clean ‘green’ environment for practice. There is also an emphasis on creating a non-judgmental and non-competitive learning environment which is accessible to all. The 7 Pillars of Moksha Yoga are a great set of guidelines and philosophy which sets the organisation apart for the better.
One of the more modern styles of hot yoga and originating in 2003 in Toronto with Ted Grand and Jessica Robertson. Moksha is growing in popularity with studios across Canada and the Northern U.S. and is a less severe alternate to Bikram yoga.
Aims and benefits
Classic principles of yoga in a modern setting. Calming the mind while the body strengthens stretches and tones muscle begins and ends with savasana.
“Each teacher trainee should have the ability to not take themselves too seriously.”
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Ready to commit. 1 years minimum yoga experience or 6 months with a tutor’s recommendation. Moksha asserts that getting the go ahead from your local Moksha studio owner is a good move and worth chatting too.
There is a reading list of books to consume before the course starts: ‘The Little Moksha Yoga Book’ Ted Grand & Jessica Robertson, ‘Living Your Yoga’ Judith Lasater, ‘Mindfulness Yoga’ Frank Jude Boccio, ‘Yoga For a World Out of Balance’ Michael Stone, ‘The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali’ Chip Hartranft, ‘Bhagavad Gita’ Stephen Mitchell.
1 month intensive followed by an 11 month correspondence course (200 hrs) involving monthly projects and teaching practice.
$1000 plus tax non-refundable deposit.
$4500 Canadian dollars/$50 non-refundable application fee. Both of these fees are subject to taxes but these don’t apply for international students. Meals and accommodation are not included. This is for the October 2013 training.
Moksha yoga teaching certificate/Eligible for registration with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200)
Level 2 + Moksha Flow
The 7 Pillars of Moksha
- Be Healthy.
- Be Accessible.
- Live Green.
- Sangha Support.
- Reach out.
- Live to Learn.
- Be Peace.
- Meditation practice
Every morning will begin with a 15 minute meditation, and/or pranayama practice led by one of the senior teachers. It is no problem if this is your first time practicing meditation – although the practice will be suitable to more experienced practitioners, no experience is necessary. Beginning the day with meditation is a great way to cultivate a mindful, productive and stress- free day.
- Asana Class
Classes will be led by training faculty members Ted Grand, Jessica Robertson, Dina Tsouluhas, Bryde MacLean, and several visiting teachers. We will focus on growth and exploration through the Moksha Yoga Series, and also touch on other sequences within the Moksha tradition such as Moksha Flow, Moksha Level 2, Moksha with music and Yin. Variety in teachers and teaching styles will provide tools for interpretation within the series, and further the process of making your teaching personal and authentic.
- Practice Teaching (28 hours/month intensive)
Emphasis will be placed on preparing the teacher trainer for the actual practice of teaching. Each student will have the opportunity to lead small groups of their fellow trainees through several consecutive postures and learn thematic approaches to teaching. The teaching will be followed by feedback sessions.
- Teaching Methodology (15 hours/month intensive)
Teaching Methodology is an interactive workshop that focuses primarily on all the teaching moments that happen before, during and after class. This is a chance to learn how to create comfort and confidence within the art of teaching. Jessica Robertson explores teaching techniques such as voice projection, utilizing key ‘trigger’ words, body language, and the use of visualization to convey information. Further discussion will revolve around the different ways in which people learn, how to create a supportive environment for new students, and how to prepare oneself mentally before teaching a class.
- Posture Workshop (15 hours/month intensive)
In this interactive lecture series with Ted Grand, each posture in the Moksha sequence will be broken down to explore alignment, modifications, “release valves”, and sequencing. This segment covers each pose in the Moksha series in deep detail, so that the teacher trainers can discover the bio-mechanics of each posture and hence the safest and most effective way to enter and exit each posture.
- Blocks, Straps and Adjustments (10 hours/month intensive)
These two sections revolve around one of the most important aspects of teaching: the safe and effective performance of yoga asanas. We will focus primarily on the entry, stasis and exit to and from poses, using both verbal and hands-on adjustments. There will also be discussion revolving around the issues of hands-on adjustments, recognizing limitations, and how to be most effective in directing students to self-adjust.
- Functional Anatomy of Asana (15 Hours/month intensive)
Dina Tsouluhas gives an exciting introduction to the larger structures and systems of the body. Her experience in the study of osteopathic medicine, her extensive study of yoga and her passion for anatomy and physiology make what can be a dry topic interesting and fun (body markers included)!
- Buddhist Mindfulness Yoga (14 Hours/month intensive)
Considering that the Buddha himself was an enlightened yogi, Frank Jude Boccio introduces the Buddha’s teachings within the context of the Yoga Tradition. These lectures illustrate that the common aspiration of all spiritual practitioners is to overcome suffering and imbalance, and awaken to our inherent wholeness and union with all things. The essential practice to accomplish this, Mindfulness (satipatthana), will be explained and undertaken. Frank Jude’s book Mindfulness Yoga further details these points.
- Functional Anatomy of Prana (13 Hours/month intensive)
Laurier Pierre Desjardins leads this segment, entitled Functional Anatomy of Prâna, is an extension of the regular teachings of anatomy. It explores how the living matter is developed as a human being from molecules to cells and tissues and organs and systems. Then we move into a more subtle understanding of the relationship between structure and function, yoga, energy and Prâna, covering all the main principles that will make you understand more deeply the underlying secrets of each âsana of the Moksha series. The knowledge of these principles enables also the student to integrate more deeply how we can utilize these postures when applicable, to help the healing process.
- History and Philosophy of Yoga and the Study of the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (11 Hours/month intensive)
We explore the history and philosophy of yoga with the intention of connecting to the ancient roots of our practice. You will be introduced to the main yogic texts and their central themes in a way that brings them to life and makes their wisdom relevant for modern yogis. The study of yoga philosophy will plug you into a rich tradition and add depth to your teaching.
- Business of Yoga (5 Hours/month intensive)
Learn how to build a sustainable teaching career and practice the art of abundance. We will explore in detail the nuts and bolts of setting yourself up as an effective yoga professional and introduce practical techniques for managing your time, building your class and workshop numbers, creating a strong and consistent following and ultimately flourishing as a teacher. We will also describe the process of opening a Moksha Yoga studio.
- Journaling (5 Hours/month intensive)
This is a chance to document the physical, spiritual and emotional journey that students experience throughout the training. Journaling is an opportunity to slow the mind and work through the challenges and excitement that arise in such an intensive training.
Each teacher trainer will be required to give a 10 minute presentation. Presentation topics will be provided, though trainers can choose to present a seminar on any topic that could benefit the group. This is an opportunity to put public speaking skills into practice in a setting that is more comfortable and varied than a standard yoga class.
- Distance Learning Program (200 Hours)
Following the initial one month intensive is an 11 month distance learning program which requires the submission of monthly projects associated with practice teaching and the 7 Pillars of Moksha Yoga. Completion of the entire year long, 500 hour teacher training is necessary in order to continue teaching Moksha Yoga beyond one year of training start date.
Developed by and named after the founder, Ana T. Forrest, Forrest yoga includes chanting, drumming, group circle work and meditation which in combination become an effective personal therapy and healing practice.Forest yoga aims to give you an experience of personal authenticity and integration of aspects of self into a more coherent whole.
Ana T. Forrest, who became an instructor at eighteen, has forty years experience in practicing yoga and other healing therapies as well as teaching them. She has drawn inspiration from Native American shamanic traditions particularly that of ‘Black Elk’ who became known through the writings of John G. Neihardt.
Aims and benefits
Personal harmony and physical well-being.
“…intensely physical, internally focused practice that emphasizes how to carry a transformative experience off the mat and into daily life.”
Locations for the courses take place across the world and in 2013 include San Francisco, Houston, New Haven, London, Peterborough, Hong Kong, Berlin.
From 3 months training and upwards.
27 days encompassing 22 days of intensive and teacher training classes, 3 day Functional Anatomy for Yoga Teachers and the 2-day Forest Yoga Business Course.
$4,000 with a $2000 deposit upon registration followed by $2000 due 30 days before the course begins. This price includes a Forest Guardian Business Course but not a Functional Anatomy course by Ellen Heed ($375).
A slightly different price for training in Cape Town, South Africa which is $4,380 which includes a ‘Functional Anatomy’ course offered by Ellen Heed. There is an $800 discount for students repeating this initial course.
Forest Yoga Teaching Certificate/Eligible for registration with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200)
Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training Tuition: $2,000 with a $1,000 deposit upon registration then the balance 30 days before the course starts. For the triyoga training in London: the remaining $1,000 is due within 6 weeks of the deposit. Discounts: Repeat students are entitled to $400 discount on the tuition.
- Meditation and Intensives
Each day starts off with a ceremony involving chanting, drumming and meditation to set the intent for the day and create the space for healing and connection to your Spirit, followed by a 2-hour intensive that will create a heightened sense of physical, emotional and spiritual awareness while challenging every muscle and cell in your body.
- Teacher Training
Class sequencing/ Seeing and understanding physical structure and energy/ Use of safe and effective hands-on adjustments/ Communication by verbal and non-verbal means/ Effective use of class dialogue and tone of voice/ Continued development of a more engaging presence and self-awareness in your class.
- “Introduction to Forrest Yoga” Workshop
Two weekend workshops are taught to the public by the students, under Ana’s supervision. Trainees teaching workshops in teams for mutual support. The workshops are videotaped for review and learning/ Hands-on experience/ Real, informative feedback.
- Functional Anatomy for Yoga Teachers – Taught by Somatic Educator and Healer, Ellen Heed
20 hour functional anatomy course designed for yoga teachers, experiential, anatomical instruction emphasis on sharpening perceptual skills/ Rule of Four: Bio-mechanics, Biochemistry, Scar Tissue, and Emotional Blockage. These four elements define the healing process for us and for our students. In this course, trainees will learn to perceive:
How our Emotional Blockage expresses itself as posture and postural deviation.
How our Scar Tissue affects flexibility, even at a distance from an injury.
How genetics influences our Bio-mechanics and how to tell when it doesn’t.
How our Biochemistry (for better of for worse) can determine the pleasure of our practice.
- Forrest Yoga Business Course
Trainees will be equipped with practical skills to integrate into their real lives the insights they have gained, the epiphanies they have had, the skills they have developed and the transformations they have gone through in the teacher training. Trainees will learn how to organize themselves to start teaching, how to deal with finances and how to create teaching opportunities for themselves.
- Yoga as a healing path
Ana is a pioneer in the practice of using yoga to transform physical and emotional pain into a journey toward freedom and healing. She will teach you the tools to take control of your life and rid your cells of unwanted pain and trauma, so you may bring the same healing to your students.
- Walking the path of your Spirit
The training’s aim is to offer a transformative experience for the participant through understanding one’s self and allowing that wisdom to inform how one teaches others. This is preferred to a set pattern of teaching or a standardised repetitive dialogue sequence.
- Teaching through discovery
Forrest yoga places emphasis on experiential knowledge, partner work, group circle-work and valuable feedback. You will learn principles of alignment, class sequencing, working with injuries and energy, modifying yoga postures to address an individual’s needs and teaching private, beginning and intermediate classes. There is opportunity to teach beginning level students, see and diagnose injuries and energy as well as proper use of touch and adjustment to maximize your teaching impact. The training format encourages trainees to discover their own wisdom while offering guidance so that you can effectively convey this wisdom when teaching.
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It’s Yoga brings you the ashtanga vinyasa primary series of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and the modified ‘Rocket Vinyasa Yoga’ system. Students progress at the pace that suits them within a democratic training environment of mixed abilities. Physical exploration and freedom within the routines is key.
Larry Schultz started training with Pattabi Jois in 1982 and became an Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher seven years later in 1989. Schultz created ‘Rocket Vinyasa’ which is a modification of the ashtanga primary and intermediate series. In Jois’ Mysore style students learnt a new pose only when the instructor felt they were ready. Schultz wanted to make all the asanas available to any student who wished to attempt them regardless of experience. Larry Schultz is credited as one of the founders of power yoga due to this system.
Aims and benefits
Joining the breath with movement to create greater awareness through the 72 postures. “The Rocket is designed to wake up the nervous system and feed it the precious prana it craves while promoting a spirit of change and freedom in the practice.”
“You should call it ‘Rocket’, as it gets you there quicker”.
Toledo, San Francisco (US), Florence (Italy), Helsinki, (Finland), Grab Canaria, (Spain), Koh Samui, Kho Pangan (Thailand).
Ideally, a year of yoga practice but, if less, it is when you feel ready.
4 weeks or 6 weekends
$650 USD (non-refundable but transferable).
It’s Yoga certificate of completion/Eligible for registration with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200)
Sample Daily Schedule: 28 Day Module
(This may be subject to change)
- Monday – Friday 8:30am –6pm
Saturdays are free.
Sunday 9:30am –4:30pm
Sample Schedule: Weekends Only
- Fridays 6-9 PM
- Saturdays 10-6 PM
- Sundays 10-6 PM
Pattabhi Jois, Philosophy, Larry Schultz, T.Krishnamachayra , B.K.S Iyengar, Yoga Sutras: The Eight Limbs of Patanjali, History of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
Theory and Practice, Ujjayi Breath, Theory and Practice, Working with the breath in Ashtanga sequences.
- Sun Salutations
Suryanamaskara A – Theory and Practice, Suryanamaskara B – Theory and Practice, Teaching Suryanamaskara A and B.
Name and locate muscles, bones and joints, Spinal Integrity, Functional Movement
- It’s Yoga System
Full Primary Series
Modified Primary Series
Mixed Levels (Rocket 1)
Modified Intermediate Series (Rocket 2)
Minimum Daily Requirement
Names – Sanskrit and English
Standing, seated and finishing asanas of the Primary Series
Detailed breakdown of the poses
Practice and benefits of the asanas
Guiding others – Verbal and hands-on adjustments
Names and function
Location and importance
Naulis – Theory and Practice
Bandhas – Theory and Practice
Yoga as an Energetic System
- Becoming A Teacher
Principles of Teaching
Etiquette/Responsibility in the classroom
Finding your own voice as a Teacher
Developing a Personal Teaching Philosophy
Marketing yourself as a Teacher
Breakdown of Program Hours
- 100hrs Techniques/Practice
- 25 hrs Teaching methodology
- 20hrs Anatomy and Physiology
- 30hrs Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics
- 25 hrs Observing, Practice Teaching and Assist.
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Combining a high regard for authentic and traditional yoga along with a welcoming attitude to new students, Yogaworks is one of the the most established yoga organisations in the US. It’s studio base is concentrated in California but there are several studios in New York. They offer different styles of yoga and a transformational teacher training experience.
Maty Ezraty, Chuck Miller and Alan Finger started the first Yogaworks studio in Montana Avenue, Santa Monica in 1987. Many famous teachers have graduated from the Yogaworks teacher training program including Ana Forrest, Shiva Rea and Baron Baptiste.
Aims and benefits
Fluid movement and alignment with the breath to develop students at their own pace.
“It is our mission to honor and embrace each student’s search for personal growth, well-being, and fulfillment by offering the highest quality yoga programs to people of all ages and from all walks of life.”
California. There are residential immersion retreats in Bali, Hawaii and Costa Rica.
One years practice – (are you comfortable practicing urdhva dhanurasana – the upward bow?) is the recommendation.
4 weeks training or 12 weekends over 6 months.
$3200 Early Bird (2 months before registration) $3350 (1 month before registration) or $3600 after registration closes. You are entitled to as many yoga sessions as you wish at the Yogaworks locations, once you have paid for the duration of the course.
Yogaworks Certificate/Eligible for registration with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200)
Sample Daily Schedule
(This may be subject to change)
- 8:00-10 – Asana practice: Shoulder Stand Focus
- 10-10:30 – Sequencing: Discussing the day’s activity.
- 10:30-12:30 – Yoga Sutras Philosophical discussion
- 12:30-1:15 – Lunch
- 1:15-2:00 – Anatomy: Shoulder Guide and Discussion.
- 2:00-3:00 – Lecture:Principles and Inversions.
- 3:00-4:00 – Posture Lab: Adjustments in the Shoulder Stand.
- 4:00-4:45 – Practice Teach: Shoulder Openers.
- 4:45-5:00 – Review and Closing Circle.
- The proper alignment, benefits & potential risks of the foundational yoga postures
- Principles of anatomy and how they apply to each posture
- The science and art of sequencing a yoga class
- Hands on adjustments
- How to observe and see bodies
- The art of the voice
- Confidence though practice teaching
- Yoga history and philosophy
- An introduction into subtle body, Ayurveda and meditation
- Sanskrit names of the postures
- 100 hrs of training Techniques
- 30 hrs Teaching Methodology
- 20 hrs Anatomy and Physiology
- 30 hrs Yoga Philosophy and Ethics
- 20 hrs Practicum
Within a gym environment, Yogafit combines the physical asanas with more familiar fitness exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups and squats in a flow-like session. Yogafit aims to bring the physical and mental health benefits of yoga to people from all backgrounds, ages and ability levels. If you are interested in just the fitness side of yoga then this could be the teacher training for you.
Yogafit was founded by Beth Shaw in 1994 to address the needs of modern western people who wanted the health benefits of yoga without the mysticism. Branded the largest yoga school in the world, Yogafit has streamlined yoga exercise and designed it for the health club audience.
Aims and benefits
Balance, flexibility, strength and endurance, accessible and without the ‘mystery’ of traditional yoga.
Hatha yoga foundation which builds heat in a flowing sequence.
“YogaFit is designed to improve the health, performance, and mental acuity of athletes or individuals interested in improving their level of fitness.”
Various US and international locations. As well as intensives in India and advanced workshops Alaska.
None for Level 1 in terms of experience although you have to purchase the book, ‘Yogafit’ by Beth Shaw. There are several books and DVD’s to buy as you work through the modules. The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga Book by Ray Long, Yogafit Seniors DVD etc.
The course is modular and consists of 1-2 day workshops which go from 8am -6pm though this may vary. Each module builds to the 200 hours and you can choose to build your education at your own pace.
There is an Early bird pricing scheme if you book at least 1 month before your module course start date. Late pricing kicks in with less than 7 days left to the course start. Prices are $299-$420 per module.
Certificate of completion for each module level. Eligible for RYT 200 Yoga Alliance upon completion.
100 Hour YogaFit Warriors Program, Fitness Instructor Training Yoga Alliance 500 RYT, Yoga Therapy.
Curriculum Mandatory program components:
- Level 1 (2 days)
Physical execution, transitions, and modifications to traditional yoga poses with an emphasis on effectiveness and safety. Dynamic vinyasa sequencing, flowing class formats, and transformative language for communicating the mind/body connection. Level 1 DVD and Active Volume 3 CD (first-time participants only), and a comprehensive training manual are included. To get your Level 1 completion certificate you will have to donate 8 hours to teaching yoga in a ‘community service setting.’
Credits: 1.5 ACE CEC’s/15 Yoga Alliance CEU’s.
- Level 2 (2 days)
Breakdown of 20+ poses providing variations and modifications/Principles of verbal adjustments/ Advanced breathing techniques /Health benefits of breathing and yoga/ Communication techniques/ Emotional Intelligence and Awareness /Learning styles/ Power-class formatting/ Introduction to yoga philosophy, the Eight Limbs & Yamas/Niyamas, Level 1/Integration (retraining option). Complimentary Yogafit Level 2 manual.
Credits: 1.5 ACE CEC’s/15 Yoga Alliance CEU’s
- Review YogaFit’s Level 1 DVD (supplied in Level 1 Training)
- Level 3 (2 day)
This level introduces yoga philosophic concepts and how this deepens the mind/body connection and how this can be translated to a class setting for students benefit. Breakdown of 20+ New Poses and Sequencing/ Moon Salutation/ Health Benefits of Meditation/ Hands-on physical adjustments/ Study of the Right and Left Brain Activity/ Benefits of Journaling & Mindful Living/ Brain and Nervous System/ Importance of a Personal Practice/ Discussion of the 7 Chakras (energy centers) in the body/ Four Paths of Yoga.
Credits: 1. 4 ACE CEC’s/14 Yoga Alliance CEU’s
- Seniors (1 day)
Create challenging programs for active seniors as well as seniors that are getting back into exercise. The poses and methods will allow your seniors to increase muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and increase stamina, lung capacity and overall wellness. Complimentary Materials: YogaFit Senior Manual.
Credits: 0.8 ACE CEC’s/8.0 Yoga Alliance CEU’s.
- Anatomy and Alignment (2 days)
Yogafit has its ’7 principles of alignment’ (SPA) when it comes to teaching the hatha yoga routines and participants will learn musculoskeletal and bio-mechanic ideas behind this on this 2 day workshop. This will aid you in becoming a safer and more effective
- Level 4 (4 days)
The lifestyle of a yogi and advanced training. Pose Breakdown of 30 Advanced Poses and Sequencing/ Advanced Master Classes/ Health Benefits of Sound Therapy/Chanting and Mantras/ Mudras/ Common Sanskrit translations and Sanskrit terms/ Yoga Philosophy and History including Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita Koshas.
Credits: 2.8 ACE CEC’s/28 Yoga Alliance CEU’s
Required reading: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,by Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Living Gita, by Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Language of Yoga, by Nicolai Bachman.
- Level 5 (2 days)
Unifying the body and mind. Creative Visualization/ Body Mapping/ The Power of Yoga Now and the Business of Yoga. Participants will have the opportunity to take themselves to the next level with extended flow classes, manifestation meditations, practical business tips and body /mind integration.
Credits:1.8 ACE CEC’s/18 Yoga Alliance CEU’s
Recommended Reading Material: The 10 Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart, by Daphne Rose Kingma, Creative Visualization, by Shakti Gowan, Natural Prozac, by Dr. Joel Robertson, Mandala of Being, by Richard Moss, Growing the Positive Mind, by Dr. William K. Larkin.
- One additional specialty training
Pre/Postnatal or Kids!
- Two new specialty trainings
YogaBack, YogaProps, YogaFit Sweat, YogaLean and YogaLean II.
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Based on CorePower’s basic Yoga 1 class which is a vinyasa based (breath links with movement) and conducted in a warm room at a reasonable pace, this teacher training will give you everything you need to know to run a yoga 1 class. The basic class is designed to build strength, flexibility, help concentration and detoxify the body.
Students on this course will learn the basic series of postures from the yoga 1 class, gain practical teaching skills, build confidence in their ability to communicate to a class as well develop personal abilities and yoga skill.
Aims and benefits
Become a successful yoga teacher/How to deliver a quality yoga class.
Dynamic vinyasa flow set to music.
Open ended. When I emailed CorePower they said it’s up to you, anything from 2 months to a year. Course materials: Comprehensive step-by-step Manual/3 DVDs containing the full CorePower Yoga Level 1 Class, as well as Training Tools for each series in the sequence/ A CD with MP3 tracks for each series and other topics discussed/ 3 month membership to our Yoga on Demand video library which contains over 30 hours of content/ Unlimited email support/ Certificate of Completion.
This is the only online course from Core Power. The next step would be the full teacher training.
Certificate of Completion. This is not Yoga Alliance RYT 200 certified.
- The History of Yoga
- The 7 Major Chakras
- Introduction to Anatomy
- The Yoga Sutras
- Teaching Tips
- The Business of Yoga
- Adjusting and Assisting
- Prenatal Tips and Contraindications
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This program – Yoga Fitness Instructor Certification Level I – from AFPA is designed for beginners and intermediates and concentrates on preparing the student to become a safe, motivating and confident Certified Yoga Fitness Instructor. Skill taught include, class planning, creating confidence in your students, effective communication as well as offering timely posture corrections. In addition the course focuses on developing a personal yogic lifestyle which has benefits for your own health and well being.
You will learn teaching skills, how to plan a class, how to create confidence in your students and how and when to provide posture corrections. This program offers instruction on how to live the yogic lifestyle enhancing personal health and centeredness through yoga.
Aims and benefits
Knowledge of yoga techniques. Developing your individual teaching style and using this in group settings.
18 years of age/ Functional knowledge of English and arithmetic /Basic understanding of yoga philosophy and asanas suggested, but not required. /CPR not required to take examination but will be required by employer and to obtain liability insurance.
You must complete the course within 6 months of starting. There are practice assignments and online quizzes. During the course you will need to participate in 10 “yoga style” classes and complete a class record and log sheet. Finally, you have to demonstrate your knowledge through a written exam of 125 questions plus make a video, DVD, photographs or YouTube recording of yourself performing your chosen yoga program. A 90% pass is required for your yoga certification level 1.
$395. This includes: Home study suggestions, student website forum access, APFA E-newsletter, 1 Instructional Certification Textbook, 2 Instructional DVD’s, 1 audio instructional CD; 1 all music CD for practice; flash cards; yoga belt for deep stretching; Certification exam. No travel is necessary for this certificate course.
Yoga Fitness Instructor Certification – Level I.
Yoga Fitness Instructor Certification – Level II.
- Yogic theory and philosophy.
- Anatomy and Physiology as they relate to yoga practice.
- Various Meditation methods; mindfulness, walking meditation, use of a mantra.
- Breathing Techniques.
- Body Alignment.
- Balancing Stress & Mental Awareness.
- Class format and how to incorporate and use these various modalities of yoga.
- How to teach a variety of basic beginning yoga classes.
- Warm Ups and Limber Ups.
- Yoga Posturing, Asanas and Variations.
- Yoga Based Movements for Yoga Strength, Flexibility & Enhanced Mental Focus.
- Yoga for Common Problems.
- Progressive Yoga Routines for: Morning Yoga, Energizing Yoga, Lunchtime yoga, Bedtime Yoga, Yoga for Women.
- Menopause, Yoga for Maternity, Yoga for Children, Yoga for Seniors, Detox Yoga, Yoga for Sports.
- Over 100 yoga positions, 300 step by step color photographs, illustrated with a flowing sequence of quick reference figures.
Interpret the philosophical roots and diverse practices of the classical Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga traditions/Employ the concepts underlying various yoga poses which allows the teacher to develop interesting sequences/Explain and apply the basic principles of anatomy and physiology and how they relate to developing sequences of non-injurious poses for the good health of the students/Practice skills to teach a beginning to intermediate yoga fitness class in the three areas of pranayama (classical breathing practices), meditation and asana (postures)/Develop a well-rounded personal yoga practice with insight that allows you to be good yoga teacher/Prepare for a full or part-time position as a yoga fitness instructor/Deploy appropriate communication strategies and professionalism incorporating the AFPA Code of Ethics/Examine appropriate yoga fitness resources, equipment and protocols.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are an essential text for the aspiring yogi. They can provide constant inspiration and motivation and are great subjects for meditation. The Sutras are almost always prime components of teacher training instruction and you will be expected to become familiar with them.
I have listed the Sutras on this page for you to read.
The Yoga Alliance is a non-profit organisation that sets minimum standards of quality which yoga schools, studios and teachers must meet in order to join. Once these standards have been met you are eligible to be listed on the Yoga Alliance Registry which can be accessed by anyone looking for a school or a teacher. There are other benefits of membership such as ongoing support via teacher conferences.
Becoming a ‘Registered Yoga School’ (RYS), a ‘Registered Yoga Teacher’ (RYT) or an ‘Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher’ (E-RYT) allows you to use those letters in your advertising and they represent a minimum level of quality and assurance for potential students/general public.
The Yoga Alliance is not a certifying organisation. They don’t say you pass and you don’t pass – try again later. Schools and teachers pay to register and the alliance will check they have met the minimum standards via the paperwork.
Here are the links to the standards of education that a Registered Yoga School must offer to students embarking on a teacher training:
For new yoga teachers there is an application fee of $25 and an annual registration fee of $55. You will pay an upgrade fee if you changing your desgination i.e. from RYT 200 to RYT 500.
Here is the breakdown for annual student registration and upgrade fees:
Whats wrong with the Yoga Alliance?
A little look around the internet will uncover an awful lot of dissatisfaction with the Yoga Alliance certification system. It has been called a ‘digital rubber stamp’ and a ‘toothless’ organisation that isn’t worth the money.
For instance, there are complaints about the ‘standards’ placing too much emphasis on asana. Is yoga is becoming too associated with just posture practice? Possibly. Other standards such as 20 hours of yoga philosophy should mean more than just flicking through the Sutras of Patanjali but this is seen as enough time to attain a 200 RYT certificate.
Schools often register with YA in order to smooth things out on the insurance side of things. As a new teacher, if you are not certified, you likely won’t be able to teach in many fitness studios or schools under their insurance policies.
On the flip side, many experienced yoga teachers refuse to join as they began teaching before the YA was formed, therefore remain un-certified but have incredible experience and knowledge to pass on. A teacher that has learnt directly from a renowned teacher in India and been given permission to teach may be a better bet than a certificated instructor.
It is important that there are standards and support for teacher training and the Yoga Alliance is fulfilling this role. But many would like to see an improvement in its operating procedures and its transparency and would like the YA to take a more proactive role in the governing of the yoga industry.
What factors make up a great yoga teacher? I would suggest that earning your 200 hour ‘stripes’ is definitely the start of your teaching journey and not the end of it – unless of course you are some reincarnated yogi master but then actually you’re probably not reading this. Now I’m waffling.
Do let me know of anything I’ve missed, got wrong or need to add and I can update the article appropriately. Leave a comment if you found the page useful, and if you have experience of these training courses it would be great to get a bit of feedback… Namaste.