Yoga University Course Outline & Syllabus
“21 Days to Love”
This is a 20-22 Day Course, though ideally would be seen as not merely a 3-week training, but at least a 3-year process. Actually, traditionally in the East it is believed that 12 years is the amount of time needed to master any discipline. But wait! Yoga is often said to be a lifetime practice – if you’re still alive, there’s still work to be done! It’s a continual process of refinement, of peeling the proverbial onion, undoing the layers of inauthenticity. In other words, it’s important to be clear at the outset of the 3-week process that while in this 3 week immersion we will dive in deep, yet there’s a sense in which we will only just get our feet wet…
This Course & Curriculum is Registered with Yoga Alliance
9 Major Categories
Yoga History (15 Hours)
Yoga Philosophy (15 Hours)
Yoga Lifestyle & Ethics (15 Hours)
Sanskrit (20 Hours)
Asana (50 Hours)
Pranayama (20 Hours)
Teaching Methodology (20 Hours)
Anatomy & Physiology (15 Hours)
Business of Yoga (10 Hours)
= 180 Hours
+1 à Study/Self-Study/Practice (20 Hours)
= 200 Hours
Note: Although each of these categories will be covered individually on specific days, they will also all be interwoven throughout the entire training.
Course Requirements (cont’d)
Each Student who wishes to be certified at the 200 Hour Level is Required to:
1) Pay for program prior to coming (Paypal Financing is an option).
2) Attend all days and classes of program, with the exception of missing no more than 2 sessions, and make up the missed work.
3) Do all reading assignments and all exercises (& innercises) in the Great Yoga Quest manual.
4) Prepare a full 60-90 minute class and teach it to the group at the end of the training.
5) Take the Final Quest (final exam) at the end of the training and pass.
6) Stay in touch after the training and follow the guidelines for what to do after your yoga teacher training is over.
Day 1 ~ What is Yoga?
What is our intention in doing this practice?
What are intentions for this Yoga TT program?
We will have an opening sharing circle where we
are given the opportunity to express our intentions aloud to the group.
Focus: Core Strength (Coeur à Courage)
The Yoga of Food & Diet
Asana: Learn Meditation Postures
Pranayama: Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing & the 3-Part Breath
Evening Activity: Watch first part of Yoga Unveiled
Reading: First section of The Great Yoga Quest (GYQ), First few chapters of Yoga Beyond Belief,
and first chapter of Teaching Yoga.
Day 2 ~ History of Yoga
Linear Vs. Holographic History
Major Periods of Yoga History
Evolution Vs. Devolution
Can We Know What Really Happened?
How does our own personal history/herstory fit into all of this?
Focus: Rest Poses
Asana of the Day: Shavasana
Pranayama: Ujjaiyi Breath
Evening Activity: Watch Part 2 of Yoga Unveiled
Readings: Chapter 1-2 of Teaching Yoga, Mark Stephens
Section on Yoga History in the Great Yoga Quest
Watch Part 2 of “Yoga Unveiled”
Day 3 ~ Yoga Ethics
Yama & Niyama
YAMA = ahimsa (non-harming) * satya (being truthful) * asteya (nonstealing) * brahmacharya (continence/moderation) * aparigraha (noncoveting/hoarding)
NIYAMA = shaucha (purity) * santosha (contentment) * tapas (austerity/purifying practices) * svadhyaya (self-study) * ishvara pranidhana (surrender to source)
Ethics for Yoga Teachers
Potentially Awkward Situations
Focus: Seated Poses
Asana of the Day: Tadasana
Readings: Section of GYQ dealing with Yoga Ethics.
Day 4 ~ Introduction to Sanskrit Language, Kirtan, Mantras & Chanting
What is Kirtan?
What are the benefits of chanting?
What is OM/AUM?
Mantras ~ Gayatri, Lokah Samasta, Asatoma, Mrtyunjaya, Om Namah Shivaya, Ong Namo Gurudev Namo
Focus: Standing Poses
Asana of the Day: Surya Namaskara
Pranayama: Bhastrika – Bellows Breath
Readings: The Language of Yoga, by Nicolai Bachman
Sections in The Great Yoga Quest on Sanskrit & Kirtan
Day 5 ~ Wisdom of The Upanishads
Yoga Philosophy – The theoretical framework
of all of this – the WHY we do what we do.
Introduction to Advaita Vedanta – The highest philosophy of India & the heart of Yoga
6 Schools of Indian Philosophy, Yoga being one of them
Focus: Forward Bends
Asana of the Day: Downward Facing Dog
Adho Mukha Svanasana
& Upward Facing Dog
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Pranayama: Nadi Shodhana
Readings: Katha Upanishad
The Great Yoga Quest Sections on Upanishads
& Advaita Vedanta
Day 6 ~ Essential Teachings of the Bhagavad Gita &
The Paths of Yoga & Styles of Yoga
Paths of Yoga
Raja * Bhakti * Jnana * Karma
* Mantra/Japa * Tantra * Hatha * Kundalini
Major Styles: Iyengar * Ashtanga * Kundalini *Anusara * Viniyoga/Yoga Therapeutics * Bikram * Restorative * Yin * Partner * AcroYoga Etc.
Asana of the Day: Inversions ~ Shirshasana (Headstand) & Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
Pranayama: Bhramari (Bee Breathing)
Readings: Bhagavad Gita & GYQ Sections on BG & Paths of Yoga
Day 7 ~ The Yoga Sutras & the 8 Limbs of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga)
Learn the 8 Limbs and read them directly from the Yoga Sutras. This will lead into a deeper discussion of the path of Raja Yoga and how it relates to being a yoga practitioner and professional in the postmodern world.
Asana of the Day: Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Pranayama: Didgeridoo Breath
The Yoga Sutras
Section in the GYQ on The 8 Limbs
Day 8 ~ What is Tantra?
Tantra is such a vast and complex subject (as is all of this!) and we will really only get to the smallest but most important part of it: The Sex! Seriously,
we will discuss the origins and original intention behind the path of Tantra, and recognize how it really is the foundation and inspiration for the path of Hatha Yoga. We will also talk about sex from a yogic perspective, and how it pertains to living a yogic lifestyle and being a yoga teacher.
Focus: Hip Openers
Asana: Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
Pranayama: Seetali & Sheetkari (Cooling Breaths)
Reading: Chapter 2 of Teaching Yoga
Section in GYQ on Tantra
Day 9 ~ All About Asana & Hatha Yoga
Look at the 54 Major Asanas we are learning.
Talk about Modifications, Variations, Contraindications, Benefits, Alignment & Anatomy for Each Pose.
Explore the Deeper Dimensions of Hatha Yoga – What was its original intention, and how has Hatha Yoga been adapted now to fit our modern lifestyle.
How much of the tradition needs to be kept, and what can/should be tossed, if anything?
Read Selections of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
On * asana * pranayama * mudra * bandha * kriya
Asana of the Day: Virabhadrasana (Warrior Series)
Pranayama: Agni Sara
Reading: Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The Great Yoga Quest Sections on Asana & Hatha Yoga
Day 10 ~ What is Pranayama?
Today We Will Review the Major Pranayama Practices/Techniques, as well as the science and physiology of breathing.
3-Part Breath (Complete Yogic Breath) *
Ujjaiyi * Kapalabhati * Bhastrika * Nadi Shodhana (aka Anuloma Viloma) * Agni Sara * Bhramari * Shiva Pranayama * Seetali & Shitkari * Coherent Breathing * Didgeridoo Breath * Shamanic Breathwork
Introduction to Shamanic Breathwork
Focus: Supine Poses
Asana of the Day: Bakasana ~ Crow Pose
Pranayama: Shiva Pranayama
Readings: Sections on Pranayama in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Yoga Beyond Belief, and Teaching Yoga
GYQ Section on Pranayama
Day 11 ~ Teaching Methodology – Designing Your Yoga Class
Today brings to the fore one of the most important aspects of teaching yoga, which is to become proficient at designing your own yoga sessions.
While there is room for much creativity and innovation, there are also some guidelines that would be wise to follow as to how to most effectively design and structure your classes.
From this day on, each student will focus on the design of the yoga class that they will be teaching at the end of the program.
Asana of the Day: Half Vinyasa
Pranayama: Combining Ujjaiyi with Vinyasa Effectively.
Reading: Section on Designing Your Yoga Class in the GYQ. Also, select chapters in Teaching Yoga.
Day 12 ~ Anatomy & Physiology for Yoga
(Also, “Subtle Anatomy”)
Today’s concentration is on the specific muscles, bones, tissues, and organs affected by our yoga practice, as well as which poses work best for particular physical issues.
The anatomy and physiology curriculum of the teacher training is specifically designed for instructors to have a deeper knowledge and comprehension of the human body, organ systems, movement and the musculoskeletal system, and to be able to integrate this knowledge into their teaching.
Topics we will cover:
-Skeletal terminology and anatomy
-Major muscle groups ( points of insertion and origin)
-Basic biomechanics of movement (levers, effects of gravity, force)
-Functional anatomy and application of biomechanics during common postures and exercises.
-Which poses work best for particular physical issues
Taught by Meenakshi Angel Honig. Click HERE for Meenakshi’s website.
Subtle Anatomy: Chakras, Nadis, Koshas,
Granthis, Kundalini, Prana
Focus: Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
Pranayama: Breathing & Subtle Anatomy
Taught by Allowah Lani
Readings: Sections in GYQ on Anatomy & Physiology, as well as in Yoga Beyond Belief & Teaching Yoga.
Day 13 ~ Assisting & Adjusting in Yoga Poses
This day will primarily be focused on how to safely and most helpfully assist students in yoga poses, in a way that is professional and non-invasive. We will go over psychic assists, verbal assists, mirror assists, brief physical assists with light touch, and also more drawn out and full-fledged assists.
Focus: Assists & Adjustments in Standing Poses
Asana of the Day: Prasarita Padottanasana
Pranayama: Coherent Breathing
Reading: Sections in GYQ and Teaching Yoga, by Mark Stephens
Day 14 ~ Injury Prevention & Preventive Maintenance
Today is dedicated to the all-important topic of how we might use yoga as a tool for preventive maintenance, and this includes injury prevention.
Believe it or not, it is possible to live a life free from conventional medicine and doctors, yet it does take a serious commitment. Again, patience is the key — give it time, you will see…
Focus: Poses for Specific Injuries
Also, Assisting and Adjusting (Cont’d)
Asana: Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Half Twist)
Pranayama: Breathing Through Stressful Periods
Readings: Sections in Yoga Beyond Belief & the GYQ.
Day 15 ~ Hindu Mythology
Many new yoga students initially are somewhat overwhelmed by the seemingly countless gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, wondering for instance, how and Elephant god and a Monkey god came to be worshipped by millions, why the cow is considered sacred, why Krishna is blue, and why Kali wears a garland of human skulls around her neck… This day is meant to fill in the gaps a bit and give a clearer understanding of what can sometimes be a very confusing subject.
Focus: Poses Connected to Gods and Sages
Asana of the Day: Hanumanasana (also, Anjaneyasana & Banarasana)
Pranayama: Kumbhaka à Breath Retention/Holding the Breath & Benefits
Readings & Resources: See the Section in the GYQ on the Mythology of Yoga, plus the section on Stories and Storytelling. Also, one fun way to learn a little bit about the gods and goddesses (devas) is through the music of MC Yogi. We will do this : )
Day 16 ~ Basic Elements of Flying Yoga
Learning to Base, Fly, and Spot for
Basic Acro/Fly Moves
This will be one of the most fun and enlivening sections of the program, and though by this time we will already have played with this together, on this day the idea is to actually learn the basics of flying, basing, and spotting to practice and teach effectively and safely. We will also cover Flying Yoga Therapeutics.
Focus: Partner & Flying Yoga
Asana of the Day: Bird Pose (Flying Yoga)
Pranayama: Synchronizing Breath & Intention with Your Partner (and/or student)
Reading: Section of the GYQ dealing with Partner and Flying Yoga. Also, watch several Flying Yoga videos online.
Day 17 ~ Essentials of Thai Bodywork
We have already seen and experienced the power of touch in teaching yoga, and as with Flying Yoga, we have already experienced the benefits of Thai Bodywork during our time together. Today we will bring it all together and learn some very basic yet effective techniques that can be used for the students who attend your classes, as well as slightly more advanced techniques for private work with clients.
Focus: Assisted Stretching
Asana of the Day: Baddha Konasana & Supta Baddha Konasana (Butterly & Supine Butterfly)
Pranayama: Synchronized Breathing (Again)
Reading: Section in the GYQ dealing with Thai Bodywork.
Day 18 ~ The Business of Yoga & Student Teaching
It is so essential to come away from your Yoga Teacher Training with a solid plan of action to build a sustainable yoga teaching practice, one that is creative, fun, and not too stressful!
This will include:
~ Tapping into your passion, bliss, true calling.
~ Formulating your own personal business plan.
~ Basics of Facebook, WordPress, Website Building, Youtube, Pinterest, and other Social Media.
~ Tips on how to best earn right livelihood through your offerings.
Today we will also have the first student teaching sessions.
Focus: Teaching Methodology, Business of Yoga
Asana of the Day: Trikonasana, Triangle Pose
Pranayama: Yogananda Breath
Readings: Section on the GYQ on The Business of Yoga. Various selected videos.
Day 19 ~ Course Review & Student Teaching
Wow, there’s been a lot of material thrown at you over the past two-and-a-half weeks, lot to take in. So here’s our chance to begin to review what we’ve learned. What we will do essentially is just go through what will be on the final, just so there are no surprises, and through this process things will begin to make that much more sense for you — words that at first looked like gibberish feel like second nature, knowledge of poses and breathing will be that more experiential, and ideas will begin to be linked up in a more coherent way – we trust!
Students on these days are highly encouraged to also continue to read, study, and journal on their own, shoring up those places in their learning where there are holes.
Asana of the Day: Bhujangasana ~ Cobra
Pranayama: Just Breathe
Reading: Review of materials in various books and notes.
Day 20 ~ Course Review & Student Teaching
Continue the review from the previous day. Once the review is done, if there is any additional material to be covered, it will be happen on this day.
Asana of the Day: Studyasana ; )
Pranayama: Deep sighing exhale, let go of that stress, it’s all good!
Reading: A lot
Day 21 ~ Final Quest & Student Teaching
Commencement ~ To commence means to begin something. It’s good to see this all as just the beginning of your journey, and to stay as much as possible in the state of “Beginner’s Mind,” a state
of humility, of “I don’t know.”
In the morning we will have any final class sessions by the student/teachers, followed by breakfast and then the Final Quest. This will be closed book the first hour, and open book for the next 1-2 hours.
In the afternoon we’ll have a special outing.
In the evening, our graduation/closing ceremony.
Asana of the Day: Smileyasana ; P
Pranayama: Deep Sigh of Relief/Joy
Reading: None ‘tall.
You have at least temporarily been liber-ated : )
Course Reading List
Bhagavad Gita. Eknath Easwaran translation.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Online Translation.
The Language of Yoga. Nicolai Bachman.
Paths to God. Ram Dass.
Teaching Yoga. Mark Stephens
Thirty Shamanic Questions. Linda Star Wolf
Yoga Beyond Belief. Ganga White.
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Swami Satchidananda.
Full Reading & Video List
Here is a more complete version of our required and recommended book and video list for those of you who like to read, and/or for future reference. It’s a really good idea to prepare yourself by reading and viewing before you come, it will make your YTT experience that much more helpful & otherwise rewarding. There are really so many great yoga books and videos out there these days, this list is by no means exhaustive. But it is a good start! Hope you find it useful on your journey…
Note: ONLY THE STARRED BOOKS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE TRAINING (the others are Highly Recommended : )
David Coulter. Anatomy of Hatha Yoga.
* Ram Dass. Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita.
T.K.V. Desikachar. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a
* Eknath Easwaran. The Bhagavad Gita.
Georg Feuerstein. The Shambhala Guide to Yoga.
* Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Martin Kirk. Hatha Yoga Illustrated.
* Mark Stephens. Teaching Yoga. North Atlantic Books.
* Ganga White. Yoga Beyond Belief.
Paramahamsa Yogananda. Autobiography of a Yogi. Self- Realization Press.
& The Sunshine State Yoga “Playbook” : )
Books may be purchased through Yoga Lifestyle (www.yogalifestyle.com), or Amazon, and should be received at least 2 weeks prior to start of program.
Bihar School of Yoga. Asana, Pranayama, Mudra,
Steve Ross. Happy Yoga.
Georg Feuerstein, The Yoga Tradition. Hohm Press.
Georg Feuerstein, The Deeper Dimensions of Yoga.
Georg Feuerstein, The Encyclopedia of Yoga. Shambhala.
Eknath Easwaran. The Upanishads.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Bihar School of Yoga.
Sivananda Yoga Center and Vishnu Devananda. The
Sivananda Companion to Yoga.
Sri Swami Satchidananda. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Commentary by Swami Satchidananda.
David Swenson. Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual.
Hawley. The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners.
Osho. Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic.
Ram Dass. Be Here Now. Hanuman Foundation.
Ram Dass. Be Love Now.
Sandra Anderson and Rolf Sovik. Yoga: Mastering the Basics, 2000.
Nicolai Bachman. The Language of Yoga. Complete A to Y Guide to Asana Names, Sanskrit Terms, and Chants.
Steven Cope. The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living.
David Frawley. Hinduism: The Eternal Tradition.
Iyengar and Razazan. Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health.
BKS Iyengar. Light on Yoga. Schocken Books.
Richard Freeman. The Mirror of Yoga.
Stephanie Pappas. Yoga Posture Adjustments and Assisting: An Insightful Guide for Yoga Teachers and Students
Also, consider subscribing to Yoga Journal and/or Yoga & Joyful Living magazine.
The Soul of India.
Anatomy for Yoga with Paul Grilley
Shortcut to Nirvana.
Sita Sings the Blues
Titans of Yoga
The Fire Yogi. Mike Vasan.
The Razor’s Edge. The Bill Murray version
Sound Yoga/Nada Yoga. Shanti Shivani.
Yin Yoga. Paul Grilley.
Origins of Yoga: Quest for the Spiritual.
The Yogis of Tibet.
Note: At least some of these videos can be found online, some in parts, some in full.
(originally published by My Yoga Online)
Yoga documentaries are a really good way to take a better look at this colorful character we call yoga. As a yoga teacher trainer, I am especially grateful for the following resources, most of which I have shown at one time or another at my programs. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are some of the best videos to date. My personal favorites are the first three listed.
1. Y Yoga: Filmmaker Albert Klein takes up yoga the week of 9/11, falls in love with it, and goes on to make one of the greatest yoga documentaries to date. This is my personal favorite, and if you only have time for one, this one is it. It’s primarily about the California Yoga scene, but that’s where it all starts anyway.
2. Enlighten Up! A skeptic’s journey into the wide world of yoga. This film is very well put together, and with a lot of colorful characters, like international yoga superstar, Diamond Dallas Page. It is particularly good, I feel, because it raises more questions than it answers. You can watch some of this one on Youtube, and it’s full version is on Netflix.
3. Yoga Unveiled: This is a great introduction to the deeper dimensions of yoga, especially the history and philosophy of yoga that often gets neglected. It is perfect to watch at the outset of a yoga teacher training program. You have to pay for this one, though you can find some clips on Youtube.
4. Yoga Woman: Among other things, delves into why yoga is now still primarily practiced by women, even though for most of yoga’s history it was not. I saw this when it premiered on Maui in early 2012. It’s not my favorite, but definitely worth your time.
5. Shortcut to Nirvana: It’s now been almost 12 years since this film came out, which features the 2013 Kumbha Mela, the largest religious festival in the world, which happens every year in India. So if you want to get some sense of what it’s all about before it happens, this is a good place to start.
6. Sita Sings the Blues: This is a brilliant, funny and ironic modern re-telling of the ancient Hindu epic The Ramayana, which relates the possibly tragic story (depending on how you look at it) of Rama & Sita. You can watch this for free online.
7. Titans of Yoga: This documentary is a good introduction to some of the major figures on the contemporary yoga scene. It is helpful to hear what they have to share with us about the yoga journey.
8. Yoga Is: This is a very sweet introduction to the world of yoga. It is one woman’s journey while coming to terms with her mother’s death from cancer. It is especially good for those new to yoga and is very inspiring.
9. The Soul of India: This is not a yoga documentary per se, as yoga is only touched upon only briefly, yet it gives some very good insight into Mother India, the birthplace of yoga. My students have loved this video Rick Ray also has another great documentary for yoga people called “10 Questions for the Dalai Lama.”
10. Ayurveda: The Art of Being: Explore Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, as it has been traditionally practiced in India for centuries. Students have found this to be one of the most fascinating films we’ve shown.
11. Fierce Grace: This is a touching, insightful film about the life and work of Ram Dass, author of the famous book” Be Here Now” and recently featured by Oprah on her online network.
Also Highly Recommended: Kumaré