Course Syllabus

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Yoga University Course Outline & Syllabus



“22 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

(search for “Yoga University” and you will find us) 


Course Website:

Course Requirements

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 –> 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?

Intention (Sankalpa)

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)

Yoga Lifestyle

4 Agreements

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

Golden Rule

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

4 Agreements

Potentially Awkward Situations


Focus: Seated Poses

Asana of the Day: Tadasana

Pranayama: Kapalabhati


Readings: Section of GYQ dealing with Yoga Ethics.


Day 4 ~ Introduction to Sanskrit Language, Kirtan, Mantras & Chanting

Sanskrit Alphabet

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


PranayamaNadi 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.


Focus: Twists

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. 


Focus: Backbends

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


Focus: Inversions

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.


Pranayama Exercises:

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.


Focus: Vinyasa

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. 


Subtle Anatomy: Chakras, Nadis, Koshas,

Granthis, Kundalini, Prana


Focus: Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Pranayama: Breathing & Subtle Anatomy


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

(Standing Split)


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.

Focus: Review

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.



Focus: Review


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.


Focus: Celebration

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 : )

Required Reading

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
Personal Practice.

* 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 (, or Amazon, and should be received at least 2 weeks prior to start of program.

Recommended Reading

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.

Yoga Videos


Yoga Unveiled.

The Soul of India.

Anatomy for Yoga with Paul Grilley

Shortcut to Nirvana.

Fierce Grace.

Enlighten Up!

Yoga, Inc.

Yoga Is.

Yoga Woman.

Y Yoga

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.









Yoga Documentaries

(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 UnveiledThis 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 NirvanaIt’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 IsThis 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

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