Social justice values, infused into every aspect of the curriculum
We wish all yoga teacher trainings were like this. Unfortunately, ours is pretty unique, at least for now.
Social justice and anti-oppressive practices are the foundation of the faculty members’ personal yoga practices and as well as the YTT curriculum. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect or we think we’re better than others. Instead, it means we have a deep commitment to showing up, doing the work, receiving feedback, and continually learning and improving.
As Zen Buddhist Shunryu Suzuki said, “You’re perfect the way you are…And you could use a little improvement.” We work with this paradox often throughout the Training: remembering that we are all inherently worthy while also working toward positive growth!
The following provides you with a summary outline of topics covered in the Yoga Teacher Training. The Practice Immersion Semester focuses more on personal practice, philosophy, history and incorporating yoga into your life off the mat. The Teaching Immersion Semester builds upon this foundation while also going deeper into the study of anatomy and movement science. Plus, of course, learning teaching methodology for this rich material and how to lead with confidence, humility, and a welcoming presence.
You may notice: this list is long! That’s because this Training is VERY comprehensive. It’s also why we choose to offer it in a 10-month format. Don’t be overwhelmed—the curriculum is skillfully planned to offer time for integration, practicing new concepts, and discussing different perspectives.
Personal practice: asana, pranayama & Meditation
Learn updated versions of traditional asana that may be more beneficial for the body, based in modern movement science
Learn not just the basic shapes and actions of postures, but how to modify them for a wide range of students, including prop use and innovative approaches to physical practice
Out-of-the-box-asana: Explore movements that are useful for the body but not be included in traditional asana class, plus how to incorporate them into your practice and teaching
Study the connection between breathing and neurobiology; learn a variety of pranayama breathing techniques to help regulate the nervous system
Learn a variety of meditation techniques, how meditation fits into yoga philosophy and practice, and how to offer meditations to others regardless of experience and spiritual background
Understand the wide variety of philosophical beliefs present under the umbrella of “Yoga”
Learn the foundational 8 Limbs of Yoga and how to apply them to your life and practice
Study Buddhist and Tantric perspectives and learn how they fit into wider yoga philosophy
Explore spiritual dimensions of the practice and the different types of yoga through reading and discussing the Bhagavad Gita
Learn skills for conveying yoga philosophy to students in a way that honors the traditions and acknowledges cultural appropriation
yoga history & political context
Connect modern yoga with historical events and trends, seeing the ways that imperialism, colonialism, racism, and global capitalism have influenced the practice today
Explore the complexity of a practice that has always been heterogenous, changing, evolving and responding to political and social changes
Learn how to educate your future students about yoga’s often-forgotten history, even in the context of an asana based class
Understand the dynamics of power and privilege and how they show up in yoga settings, including how you can interrupt harm and work to dismantle your own internal biases
yoga off the mat
Be encouraged to incorporate lifestyle changes based on what you’re learning. Examples may include daily meditation and weaving the Yamas and Niyamas into daily life.
Learn Ayurvedic philosophy as well as practical lifestyle recommendations based on your dosha (constitution)
Work with yoga as a practice of social change and accountability to the inherent humanity of others
embodied anatomy & movement science
Learn anatomy through an embodied lens, making it more accessible and applicable
Explore modern studies of movement science, including ways to update and vary “traditional” yoga asana
More than the basics, you’ll also study the importance of fascia, controlled joint articulations, brain-based movement, and innovative biomechanical concepts
Learn how to convey the complexity and wonder of the human form to students in ways that are empowering and engaging
Learn different styles of cueing (active, invitational, breath-based, etc.) based on the context in which you are teaching and the types of learners in your class
Learn how to adapt the practice to include a wide range of bodies and experiences in a way that is welcoming and affirming
Study the effects of trauma on the brain and body and how to incorporate trauma-informed approaches into all of your classes
Learn how to prepare skillful class plans, including sequences and philosophical/topical themes, as well as prepare for the inevitable in-the-moments changes required when you are teaching to real live students rather than from a script
Understand the concept of active consent, how to help empower your students, and how to offer effective hands-on assists when appropriate
Practice being yourself—in front of a group of students!—with confidence and calm
the business of yoga
Discuss the financial realities of yoga teaching as well as how to market yourself ethically
Explore ways of offering yoga as service in the community, outside of the yoga studio setting
Finish the training with tools and resources to move forward given your particular interests and skills
You’ll be reading some books in their entirety; others you’ll read certain excerpts or chapters. Monthly homework will also include additional articles, particularly highlighting the perspectives of South Asian teachers, disabled teachers, teachers of color and trans and queer teachers.
Think of the required readings as building a foundational library of inspiring, wise, liberatory voices!
Yoga For Everyone by Dianne Bondy
Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson
Skill In Action by Michelle Cassandra Johnson
The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book by Kelly Solloway
The Bhagavad Gita translated by Stephen Mitchell
The curriculum is carefully planned so that topics flow together thematically and so that you don’t get overwhelmed! Homework between weekend intensives is one way we bring continuity to the 10-month learning model. You can expect 2-3 hours per week of reading and assignments, in addition to the weekly asana class attendance.
Ultimately, the aim of the Training is twofold:
To provide you with the highest quality yoga training that incorporates social justice values into every aspect of the curriculum, and
To not completely overwhelm you in the process!
That is to say: we’ve thoroughly thought this through and it’s quite do-able…Also, the yogic skills you learn in the training will help you navigate any challenges you encounter along the journey!