Yoga Foundations Teacher Training Program
Next program starts in January 17, 2020 and runs through June 14, 2020
Whether you want to fulfill a lifetime longing to teach or simply grow more relational with the roots of yoga and with your own practice, The Bhakti Yoga Movement School is designed to enrich your practice and practical understanding of yoga. Though we had been registered with the Yoga Alliance since we opened in 2007 as a 200-Hour program, we have always exceeded those standards and taught our entry-level students more than 300+ direct, in-person contact hours at the Foundational level. We are no longer affiliated with Yoga Alliance due to their problematic business practices. See statement below if you are interested in more about this. Our Training Program is a purposefully inclusive, deeply devotional, immersion-based curriculum taught by an experienced community of teachers and practitioners with thriving healing arts professions in other fields and living relationships to their teachers and the source traditions from which they emerge. It is the perfect place to begin your illuminating journey into teaching, to bring needed yoga as an agent of social change and healing into new communities, and to profoundly shift and grow your own personal practice, relationship to your self, and invitation into a vast, inner life.
Regarding our divestment from the Yoga Alliance:
We have divested from the Yoga Alliance entirely. This decision has cost us money and students both, but it is the right thing for us and for our community. Yoga Alliance does not value tradition, the lineage-based teachings, or the deeper roots of the practices, and is basically set up to create yoga teachers a commodity product that they can sell in the "marketplace" of yoga and to that, we deeply object. We participated for years in that capitalistic, commodified system and no longer wish to contribute to the deeper, painful colonization and co-opting of yoga. This is one way that we are walking that talk. Please see the statement below if you would like to read more.
Equity and Inclusion Commitment
In an effort to broaden the equity in the field of yoga, each year we will offer at least one Full Scholarship and two partial Work-trade awards for Persons of Color or members of any other marginalized community to attend the program. We recognize that it is difficult to do the work of diversifying when some populations do not see themselves represented in the yoga practices, studios, and publications/media around them.
We believe that there is a deep need for diverse voices to teach yoga in all communities, and to bring the healing that yoga offers forward in their own ways. We are also committed to supporting and cultivating the relationships, language and approaches that most effectively communicate yoga teachings and informed community-building work. Please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or someone you know are interested in these scholarships. Those who hold marginalized identities (BIPOC, disabled, low-income, LGBTQIA+, etc.) are always prioritized.
The community, business and teachers of The Bhakti Yoga Movement Center are deeply invested in staff training, meaningful self-education, and building the knowledge, skill and human resource necessary to invest in a more equitable business model. We're creating capacity over time through a strategic plan, as well as conversations about race, inclusion, fat-phobia, ableism, trauma-informed practices, and equity on a daily basis here, and aim to make use of these skills in a broader capacity in the yoga community. Our center and classes/events are mobility-device accessible, and while not all of our teachers are trained yet in deep accessibility for folks with disabilities, we are working toward this potential.
We have not always worked in these arenas, and even still, are making mistakes as we learn and try. We consent to learning in public and are open to your comments and suggestions by emailing email@example.com. We are all willing to be held accountable for the ways that we have failed or caused harm and are listening. We are actively mentoring and training new teachers with various cultural and ethnic and other diverse backgrounds, while working to hire teachers of color and teachers from groups on the margins that have less representation in the yoga space. Relationships matter deeply to us here, and so we work to build those relationships first, which often takes time. Trust is important to earn, and to make changes in this realm takes time. We also acknowledge that all of the work that we have been doing on this may not be visible yet. If you have questions about what we are doing or how, please do reach out. We want to hear from you.
Statement on Divestment from the Yoga Alliance
We deeply object to the Yoga Alliance. The Bhakti Yoga Movement Center has dissolved our relationship with the Yoga Alliance and their registration service as of 2019. I had personally been a member of YA since 1999, and found absolutely no utility to the entity of the Yoga Alliance and its "governing body" over these 13+ years as a registered school, other than in name only. I am deeply concerned that they lack ethical oversight, compliance enforcement or accountability protocol for their schools or teachers, as well as their business-based way of furthering the appropriation of the teachings of yoga from their source by cheapening "standards" for yoga teachers so they can make money. Thus we do not feel they represent a significant source of credibility in the teaching of yoga. I am concerned about their effect on the seperation of yoga from its roots and origins as an indigenous Indian tradition by way of watering down any requirements and qualifications that they deem necessary for teaching these practices.
According to the Yoga Alliance, no specific curriculum is required, nor is there any required assessment of a registered teacher’s skill. Ever. And there are no known plans to change that. It is this massive omission that in part has gotten us where we are with modern yoga yoga right now-- trainings with arbitrary curriculum being taught to prospective teachers who don’t know any better by underqualified teachers that cannot answer basic questions about yoga history, philosophy or lineage; this situation was borne of and is propelled forward by Yoga Alliance.
There is always the question: How do you regulate yoga? It has always been a wild practice, and it appears in many different forms through many different traditions and lineages. Yoga Alliance simply requires that a certain number of hours be spent covering each of five areas of study that they designate as important, with no specificity given on how to fill those hours, nor any follow-up on whether or not a school, once registered, ever actually sticks to that curriculum. As listed on their website, a registered 200-hour training (the level that 85% of their 100K+ registered yoga teachers hold) must include 100 hours of yoga practice (whatever that means; we assume it means asana), 25 hours of teaching methodology, 20 hours of anatomy, 30 hours of philosophy and ethics, and 10 hours of practice teaching. Any poortion of any of these hours can be taken online or through books, with no accountability. And, the content of each area of study is left up to the school and once submitted (in the loosest possible terms, believe me, these applications have no oversight) that is the last you hear of them except to tell you that your dues are up and you have to pay them fees again for another year. As a school with some source tradition connections, extremely high integrity, a high bar and a threshold of 300+ hours of entry-level Foundational training (which still is not enough!) we have always insisted on more than 200 hours in our basic training, a focus on safety, equity/inclusion, and a strong basis in the lineage and philosophy of yoga. We also require ongoing continuing education and advanced study for our teachers rather than simply the easily-bought ERYT500 stamp from the YA.
We realize that this may be controversial, and will cost us some potential trainees/students, but as they are basically the wikipedia of yoga, simply an online registration body/directory and have offered little else since their inception, they continue to offer nothing other than a logo after one's name or school with no real follow-through or follow up on curriculum, compliance enforcement of standards, ethics and beyond. But someone, somewhere, has to break the iron fist that this organization has around the throats of yoga, and not simply go along with them simply because "they are the only thing available." There are many schools that are also divesting across the U.S. and beyond.
All of that is to say that when you finish your study here, you will receive a certificate from us stating your foundational study happened here and was over 300 hours of live, in-person study and contact time with teachers. You may do whatever you wish with it.
Here is another excellent piece on "metaregulators" like Yoga Alliance, from across the pond: "Practitioners who (in lieu of having an identifiable commercial product to sell) may join a metaregulator and become part of the metaregulator's income-generating inventory, touting the metaregulator's membership insignia they become a product of the metaregulator, no matter what the training style, individual experience or knowledge gains they may offer as human beings." Read more here.
We work hard to make this program an embodiment of integrity, ethics and high teaching standards, as well as respect for the tradition. If you have any questions about or wish to comment on how this might affect you or your decision to study here, please do be in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded on decades of experience and practice.
Founder and Director Lisa Mae Osborn and co-director Monicka Koneski are both lineage-connected bhakti sadhakas and bring to life decades of experience in the practice and teachings of yoga and movement. Together we share a common belief in the transformative powers of discipline, study, and devotion, as well as the curative powers of love, community and laughter. After years of collaborating, we have developed a comprehensive learning and training program with a relevant, bhakti-based philosophy that reflects our own deep study and commitment to service and is rooted in the source tradition of Gaudiya Vedanta, and is also rooted in current, intelligent asana practice, masterful teaching methodology, racial equity, LGBTIQ and size-inclusion practices, and more.
Our amazing staff of experienced, high-integrity teachers and mentors—Danielle Hanna, Zeyah Roge, Britt Rhoden, Theresia Munywoki, Jeannie Songer and Molly Boeder-Harris—are all experienced in fields of study outside of yoga, including mental health therapy, Acupuncture, trauma stewardship and Somatic Experiencing, and Ayurveda, all of which aid in our work within the deeply interactive fields of human connection. These integrative experiences helps us provide an intensive, loving, inclusive and safe environment in which to explore the difficult questions about yoga, to question the broader western yoga culture, and to bring the highest integrity possible to the process of learning about yoga. We will help you grow a deeper self-awareness, a reliable and personal self-practice, and pave the way for sharing yoga anywhere you choose with practical, useful tools and skills that can transform your life and the lives of others.
High-integrity teachers, deep skill, and a unique, varied curriculum
For six months and with over 300 hours of direct-contact, in-person Foundational study, you will explore different aspects of yoga, including Āyurvēda, prānāyāma, meditation, Sanskrit and asana for your own personal sādhana (practice), as well as the devotional and mystical roots of these practices through the study of the sacred texts in philosophy that are rooted in source traditions. We will inform and share our findings with each other, reflect on our relationships to other bodies and spirits, as well as take in the classical and modern teachings in practical terms. We will discuss honest communication, equity/racial justice and inclusion, deconstruction of power-over modes of behavior in teaching and society, yoga as a radical practice in social justice movements, look into trauma sensitivity and ideas of cultural appropriation, and much, much more. Midway through the program, we sink deep into a retreat to the woods for three days of immersive study, as a treat and a revival of our spirits.
Once you complete our Yoga School Foundational-Level program, we offer a mentorship program to help bring to life your unique voice and divine manifestation of wisdom on this path. Or, you can continue your lifetime journey into yoga with our Advanced Study Program. Whatever you choose at the end, the committed and capable hands of this incredible staff of teachers all guide you through a beautiful, rich program in which we can all grow together.
Lisa Mae Osborn (she/her), Director and Creator
I've been teaching something like yoga for nearly 25 years, and created what I aspire to be a deeply powerful yoga school and training program as an answer to the longing for clarity, community and connection to source that many of us feel, as well as a means of maintaining integrity and inclusiveness in the rapidly shifting culture of yoga, wherein some of the traditional teachings are being swallowed up by fad, fashion and appropriation. I am deeply committed to substance over theater, to practice over performance, and to bringing to light the ways that classical paths of practice are still relevant, if not essential, to modern lives in a lively, practical way every day. I question the capitalism and sale of yoga as well as cultural appropriation in this realm almost daily, and though I have no answers to how to extricate from it, I do hope to offer a perspective that challenges the commodification and commercialization of modern yoga culture, all the while existing inside the model of running a yoga center and training program on deeply ethical yogic principles.
I share the practices of asana through modern and informed mechanical wisdom and skillful, time-tested Teaching Methodology gleaned from decades of experience and my own amazing asana and methodology teachers (shout out to Christina Sell, Doug Keller, Carrie Owerko, Todd Jackson, Dana Flynn, Jasmine Tarkeshi and more) as well as deeply grounded philosophical teachings from a place of practical and reverential experience borne from ongoing direct study with my own teacher in the source traditions of bhakti yoga and Gaudiya Vaishnavism (with deep reverence to my guru Swami B.V. Tripurari.) I have a commitment to ongoing, systematic training in Equity and Racial Inclusion and am deeply committed to the study of un-learning patriarchal and supremacist models of communication. This informs every fold of my teaching, this program, and this yoga center. This training program is the real thing; a refuge, a sangha, and a place to learn and grow and interrogate the self, together. Contact me at email@example.com with your questions. You may also see my other life as an Acupuncturist at www.sassyneedles.com
Monicka Koneski (she/her), Co-director
Monicka is a movement theory specialist, a Licensed Massage Therapist and a deeply integral part of the programming and curriculum planning for the Foundational and Advanced Study teacher training programs, and offers her skills and wisdom in multiple capacities. She is fluid, well-practiced and exquisite in her detailed teaching of Anatomy and Kinesthetic movement, and adds enormous depth to the program with her contributions to embodied Asana, Teaching Methodology, Philosophy, one-on-one Mentorship, and more.
She has been teaching yoga for over 12 years and studying the body and human heart for a lifetime (or beyond.) Her commitment to excellence, inclusion, exploration and quiet grace bring real depth and sincerity to these teachings. Please see more about her work here: unfurlmassagetherapy.com
At The Bhakti Yoga Movement School (formerly The Bhaktishop), we welcome all teachers, students, and seekers on the path to join us as we embark on this exploration together, scratching the surface of the vast ocean that is yoga.
This program logs more than 300 direct-contact hours of study in the Foundations of yoga. These hours are the perfect place to learn how to teach beginners, as well as to grow and stabilize your own personal practice. Yoga is a lifelong practice; six months will only begin to open the doors for us. But you have to start somewhere, and you're best served to start at the beginning.
Learn, practice and teach some of the most relevant and classical hatha asana, as well as understand how to incorporate modern bio-mechanical anatomy principles as they are applied to asana. Explore japa meditation with a teacher with a direct link to the bhakti lineage, learn basic pranayama techniques from a teacher blessed to share them by her own direct Ayurvedic lineage, and learn to work with mantra recitation, chanting, and kirtan. Learn to skillfully see each other anatomically, the daily self-care practices of Ayurveda and their effect on your body and health, understand trauma-informed awareness and best practices for teachers, and learn to read and understand basics of yogic philosophy from these mystical traditions both ancient and modern from a teacher with a direct link to the bhakti lineage. Practical, experiential, and devotional, our program invites you to step into the mystery without losing the magic, and understand how to integrate and align with your own empowered way of sharing the full face of the practice of yoga.
Requirements for the program:
*First and foremost, a great love of yoga, and a deep desire to share that love with others, in addition to a deep desire to dive into your own practice fully.
*A willingness to be inclusive, to have the courage to confront blind spots related to racism and culturally dominant communication paradigms, and to deeply investigate your own possible collusion with and contribution to the lack of equity in all parts of your life, including conversations about why we don't see the representation we might be capable of in traditional white-oriented yoga centers (including this one!)
*At least a year of relatively recent practice in asana techniques is recommended, and that you have spent at least 3 of those recent months practicing with us at The Bhaktishop. The teachers you study yoga with really matter, and there must be a relationship in place that resonates deeply for you to get the most out of the program. Your teachers transmit their integrity directly to the student; please be sure that we are the people you want to study with.
*Yoga is largely about community, and therefore as participants in Yoga School you will show up often; take classes weekly, perform the tasks of the program in a timely way, and attend all classes. As students and teachers, it is vital that we commit to what we are choosing.
January 17- June 19, 2020: Exact Schedule To Be Announced
We are together for six deep and study-packed months, so you can immerse in yoga like never before. We meet often 4 or 5 days a week, and the core studies are loosely as follows:
- Tuesdays/Thursdays from 6:00-8am for asana, anatomy, pranayama and meditation
- Friday nights from 5:30-8pm, Topics and discussion in philosophy
- Saturday afternoons from 3-7pm (about 15 Saturdays) and Sundays from 3-7pm (about 15 Sundays) Anatomy, Equity and Racial Justice, Ethics, Size-inclusive teaching, Yoga and Psychology, Ayurvedic Lifestyle, un-doing Power-over Dominance modes of commuication, Teaching Methodology, Assisting and Adjusting, Trauma-Informed Teaching and Best Practices, Sequencing and Class Themes, Incorporating Philosophy into Asana classes, Practice Teaching, Sanskrit, Subtle Body Dynamics, Restorative yoga, and much more.
- Retreat to the woods: Dates TBA
Classical and Modern Hatha Asana and Pranayama
Start from the beginning with Classical Hatha Yoga Asana and Pranayama, because only when you understand the roots of these practices can you start to break into more creative and expressive practices. Our asana classes focus on your own personal practice and understanding, as you experience alignment and openness in your own body. We expect each student to be participating in their own personal practice for at least 30 minutes each day based on what we are practicing in asana classes. This is the foundation for teaching yoga; your mat, with you on it.
Beginning with preliminary poses, solid standing poses and slowly building to more complex actions like twisting, seated asana, and preparatory arm balancing. When all these tools are in place, you begin to understand the sequencing of a class.
Explore Classical Ayurvedic Pranayama techniques from the very beginning as they are described in texts, like the Hathapradipika and the Gheranda Samhita, with Danielle Hanna, a Certified and lineage-connected Ayurvedic Practitioner. Explore both their subtle body implications as well as their physical effects on the body, and learn to fly with the subtleties of bringing your attention to the present moment, which is part of what Pranayama is all about. The how and why of breathwork, as well as how to introduce and teach it to students is a critical part of understanding how to share yoga.
We aim to give a foundational, conceptual orientation to the philosophy, starting with India’s Vedic wisdom via The Upanishads. From there, learn to read and study The Bhagavad Gita and explore deeply the questions that arise with the study of one of India’s most sacred texts. Go on a journey through lineage and explore some of the writings of T. Krishnamacharya, the founder of the hatha yoga lineage that we come through loosely here, and finally, move on to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and take a deeper look at how this text shapes the way you not only practice daily, but share yoga with others.
Led by Lisa Mae and often assisted by Monicka, our philosophy classes are held discussion-style, so that you can ask, share, and participate in these books and lessons, and have them come to life before your eyes as practical, devotional and immediately useful. These are living, dynamic books with so much to offer, and we try to facilitate each student’s growth process and resonance with this wisdom. We teach you about context; how to know what you are reading, to understand what you are saying, and how to identify the ways that different translators interpret things. These courses are illuminating, challenging and rich, and really help to unpack the complex field of Yogic Philosophy and apply it to your life and your teaching.
The cornerstone of the yoga practice, this dive into meditation helps you establish the habit and create the container for what we hope is a life-long relationship rather than a passing fling. Spend these months exploring japa mantra meditation with a japa-mala as a tool for focusing the mind and as a foundational bhakti yoga practice. Meditation doesn’t work if you don’t do it, so we practice together to encourage you to sit down, turn your mind off, and discover meditation for yourself. Kirtan will also feature as a means of meditation on a regular basis during Yoga School.
Alongside Living Sanskrit teacher Shivani Hawkins, you'll learn the beautiful wealth of the sounds of the language of yoga as a critical doorway inward for any student of dharmic tradition. Understanding the relationship to being accountable to the roots of these practices is Shivani's great gift, and she brings the practice of Sanskrit alive as a living, breathing tradition that you'll want to pursue as an art for a lifetime. Beyond learning the alphabet and pronunciation of the Sanskrit sounds and their mouth positions, we'll explore deeper mantra recitation, some of the cultural history and wealth of this beautiful language and its vibrational character and depth.
Study the human body as an incredible organism to better understand the ways that asana, subtle body practices, and meditation have effects on it. Learn about the ways the body can and cannot move in space, the anatomy of asana, subtle body and nadis, mechanics and kinematics, the potential for injury as well as soaring in the asanas, proper use and application of the mysterious bandhas, seeing different bodies in a class, using props and modifications to serve all levels of students, and a deeply personal exploration of your own anatomical graces and limitations. This vast and often intimidating subject is illuminated with ease, embodiment and simplicity (and more than a little bit of humor!) with Monicka and Zeyah.
Ethics, Racial Equity and Inclusion, Trauma-informed Teaching, LGBTIQ Inclusion, Size-inclusive spaces and Psychology in Yoga
Missing from most yoga school curriculums, we value these subjects enromously. In Ethics, you explore the implications of teaching and sharing yoga with students, because in practices where people are opening to learning more about their true selves, anything can happen; this class is where we begin to look at how to handle those situations. The basic nuts-and-bolts of the do’s-and-dont’s list, this class generates serious discussion as well as peals of raucous laughter! To continue that study, you explore the basis for psychology in yoga, such as boundaries and scope of the teacher, your own emotional literacy, transference and projection, spiritual bypassing, personal growth and some other vital ways to keep yourself and your students grounded and safe in the classroom. Jeannie, our resident Mental Health Therapist, shares these subjects with ease and accessibility. Trauma-informed best practices are a keystone in making yoga classes safe, inclusive and accessible. Molly Boeder-Harris brings her lifetime of experiences, current research, and professional work with The Breathe Network into this invaluable resource for teachers in sharing the language and practices of the healing powers of yoga. We also begin to unpack the work of undoing our own racial bias and supremacy thinking in the realm of yoga, as well as dive into looking at cultural appropriation and de-colonizing yoga in our Equity and Inclusion training with local educator Kenya Budd. Zeyah Roge shares her longtime work in the realm of teaching about LGBTIQ issues, and we feature a unit on size-inclusiveness with Dana Sturtevant and Hilary Kinavey of Be Nourished, to help us dismantle our internalized fat-phobia.
So, how do you ACTUALLY teach a yoga asana class? How do you include conversation and teachings about the ethics of yoga, and more aspects of the full spectrum of the yoga without just reducing it to asana or exercise? Explore how to sequence intelligent, safe, creative asana classes for beginners and beyond that you can expand in numberous ways for varied levels. We utilize partner or small group work from the start, stretching into teaching, using language, tone, precise cues, and intention. These classes also cover many other parts of teaching yoga, like incorporating Pranayama techniques, meditation, meaningful chanting and mantra recitation into your classes, skillful incorporation of anatomy and alignment, use of props, and more. We also share the why and how of verbally assisting/adjusting students in asana. We will also discuss equity and racial inclusion, why some groups are missing from representation in traditional white-dominant spaces, and what our responsibility is in relation to this for the liberation of all beings.
Ayurveda: Yoga, Wellness and a Balanced Lifestyle
Focus on the beauty of Yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda, and how it serves our growing awareness of ourselves as lifelong students of yoga with amazing Danielle, with her Master's degree in Ayurveda as a Certified Ayurvedic Practitoner. Explore Ayurvedic food, pranayama, sat-karmas, seasonal lifestyle changes, appropriate asana, self-care and much more in these sessions. Instrumental to understanding yourself and understanding how to better serve your students, this is a one-of-a-kind program.
+ Rounding It Out
You are required to observe your Yoga School teachers as we teach 2 classes during the program.
You will also teach one of your own classes to the community, as a by-donation class. These will be attended by us and your peers, for feedback and cheerleading.
+ Reading List
All these texts are readily available and are also cheap if you buy them used from Powell’s or other online sources. We will also furnish a supplemental reading list if you are interested, once you join the program. The following books are required for the program:
- The Deeper Dimensions of Yoga- Georg Feuerstein
- Light on Yoga- BKS Iyengar
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Edwin Bryant
- The Upanishads- Ecknath Easwaran’s translation
- The Bhagavad Gita- Graham M. Schweig
- Trail Guide to the Body, 4th Edition (Main text only)
- Mastering Muscles and Movement, David Campbell (available through us at the Shop)
- Yoganjalisaram by Krishnamacharya, (available through us at the Shop)
- The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Dr. Vasant Lad
- Ashtanga Yoga Primer by Baba Hari Dass (available through us at The Shop)
- Skill In Action by Michelle Johnson (available from us at The Shop)
+ Fees for the Program
The cost for the entirety of Yoga School is $3300. This includes all core required curriculum, 3-night retreat to the woods, and all materials for the course.
This price does not include your books (we have a full lending library for those that have budgetary restrictions on book purchases), the cost of CPR certification, which is mandatory, or a $25 application fee, which is payable at the time your application comes in, either in person, by check, or by clicking here.
Payment plans are available, and there is a small cash/check discount. Please contact management at firstname.lastname@example.org for info on payments and plans.