Information for Prospective Applicants

January – April 2023

What is Ananda Yoga?

Ananda Yoga provides all the physical and mental benefits for which Hatha yoga is generally known:

  • Tones and stretches the muscles, building strength and flexibility
  • Promotes cardiovascular health and emotional well-being by providing stress relief
  • Stimulates and invigorates internal organs, thus encouraging the body to heal itself
  • Improves concentration and focus by increasing mental clarity

But Ananda Yoga offers much more than physical benefits. By working sensitively with body and breath, we discover that the practice of the yoga postures (asanas) stimulates awareness of, and the ability to control, our vital Life Force (prana). The result is a greater sense of ease, well-being, connectedness, vitality, and inner joy that work their way into our daily lives. Thus, yoga transcends the classroom and becomes a way of living.

This awakening of the subtle Life Force is the higher purpose of Ananda Yoga and of Hatha yoga, classically. Rather than focusing only on the physical energy, Ananda Yoga uses physical energy as a pathway inward to awareness and control of prana. Control of prana is the source and the essence of health and well-being, and is also the outward manifestation of our higher, spiritual nature. A yoga posture stimulates prana to move outward along certain pathways from its source in the spine.  By deep focus on this movement of prana within the body, it is possible to then withdraw it back into and up the spine to the pre-frontal area of the brain (the point between the eyebrows) which is recognized both scientifically and in the yoga teachings since ancient times as the seat of higher, human functioning. Adding this inward and upward flow of energy to the practice of the postures enables one to experience the higher state of awareness that is the true purpose of each asana.

Ananda Yoga uses several techniques to aid in the inward and upward flow of energy:

  • Focus on the release of stored energies in the body commonly known as “tension”
  • Continuous awareness of the connection between movement and breath, between breath and energy, and consciously powering each movement with the breath
  • Specific sequencing of asanas to first open the energy channels, then awaken the energy flow, draw the energy inward and finally move it upward
  • Inward relaxation in the midst of outward effort
  • Awareness of the subtle spinal centers (chakras) which serve as doorways for drawing prana in and up the spine.
  • Use of affirmations with asanas, which attune you deeply to the specific quality of consciousness behind the energy flows awakened by the asana
  • Neutral poses after each asana to assimilate effects of the asana
  • Energization Exercises, a unique system of tension exercises based on conscious use of will to energize and rejuvenate every part of the body

Practiced this way, every Hatha yoga technique – asanas, pranayama (control of prana), mudras (bodily symbols or attitudes) and bandhas (locks) – becomes a meditation in movement. Practicing an asana with this level of intention and mindfulness requires both an inward poise and outward strength. Mere physical strength is but brute force. Real strength is the ability to calmly and efficiently concentrate energy and will power upon the asana, without unnecessarily engaging muscles or strength not needed for the task at hand. This concept of “relaxation in the midst of effort” vastly enhances the benefits of Hatha yoga practice.

Who Should Attend?

Ananda Yoga Teacher Training (AYTT) is meant for anyone who wants to teach yoga or deepen his or her existing practice, or both. AYTT is a transformative experience. For those willing to concentrate deeply on their personal practices and to commit to the intensive study, the fruits are boundless. If you have yet to experience Ananda Yoga and would like to take a class, or, if you have any questions about your personal practice or how this program can serve you please call us at 425.806.3700 or by email at friends@anandawashington.org

Curriculum

The AYTT curriculum covers a wide range of topics. The following is a brief description of each of the major areas:

Asana Techniques

We will deeply explore all the major asanas including: standing poses, forward bends, balance poses, backward bends, side bends, twists, core strengthening poses, inversions, seated and meditative poses. We will also experience Surya Namasakar (Sun Salutations). For each pose, we will discuss alignment, safety, use of breath, beginner and advanced variations, benefits and contraindications.

Teaching Techniques

An effective yoga teacher needs both awareness and knowledge. Awareness comes from intent, focus, and experience. AYTT provides the relevant knowledge needed for teaching including:

  • Modifications: each human being is unique, so it is only natural that an asana has different expressions depending on who is doing it. We will explore the different ways of modifying an asana to suit different body conditions and health conditions.
  • Use of props such as blocks, blankets, belts, etc., to enable a deeper practice for students. 
  • Sequencing is an important topic. Do I do forward bends first or backward bends? When do I do inversions? We will discuss the basic principles behind sequencing different types of asanas.
  • Warm-ups: many yoga injuries are a result of not warming up prior to practice. When used properly, warm-ups not only prevent injuries, but also deepen the sadhana (spiritual practice). For example, backbends are more effective if hip-flexors are warmed up while forward bends are more effective if spinal erectors are warmed up. We will cover these topics in detail.
  • Use of affirmations: a unique aspect of Ananda Yoga is the use of affirmations. We will explore the art, science, and practice of affirmations. A complete list of the asanas taught along with their affirmations is at the end of this document.
  • Teaching to an Online Audience: new opportunities to serve students have opened up to teach online.  We will explore using online meeting tools (Zoom etc) to teach asana to remote students. 

Inner Experience of Asanas

“Mind over body” is well known; however “body over mind” is equally true. Specifically, a bodily position engenders a corresponding state of consciousness. Thus we feel uplifted simply by making the spine straight; by the same token, the mind cannot help but feel heavy when the shoulders and back are slumped. This simple observation is the basis for all asanas – the postures uplift our level of consciousness. This upward movement of prana is the primary reason for the great healing power of yoga. When practiced properly, the body naturally assumes the pose using its innate intelligence. Ultimately, the job of a yoga instructor is to teach the art and science of how to achieve this inner experience.

We will discuss the principles of energy movement in the body, and the state of consciousness — joy, peace, strength, etc. — fostered by an asana. We will introduce many techniques, including affirmations, breathing, neutral poses, etc., whereby students can have this experience.

Assisting and Adjusting

Yoga is a subtle practice. Thus there is frequent need to “fine-tune” an expression of an asana by adjusting. We will teach the general concepts behind adjustments and also discuss adjustments specific to each asana.

As a teacher, you may find situations where a little help in the form of a physical cue or support can greatly help a student have a more meaningful experience of a pose. Depending on the asana and the physical condition of the student, there are different approaches to assisting. This is an important tool in any yoga teacher’s repertoire.

Pranayama, Bandhas and Mudras

In addition to asanas (physical postures), Hatha yoga has three other equally important aspects which we will explore in some detail:

  • Pranayama, whichliterally means “life force control”, is a set of breathing techniques that are very effective for maintaining good health. They are also the gateway to deeper experience of asana, specifically its energetic effects, leading us to the higher stages of yoga.
  • Mudras: once you have some ability to control the subtle life force, mudras (meaning bodily attitudes) can be used to direct the life force in a specific direction. Mudras are like a catalyst, enhancing and deepening the effects of an asana.
  • Bandhas are used to lock (the word bandha means “to lock”) the prana in a specific location, typically at one of the chakras (energy centers). AYTT teaches the three main bandhas: moola bandha (root lock), uddiyana bandha (meaning to rise or fly up) and jalandhara bandha (a lock of the energy channels of the throat).

Anatomy and Physiology

Knowledge of the physical body is essential for a deep understanding of yoga and is important for teaching it safely and effectively. We will study the anatomy of the musculoskeletal system and the science of movement. We will also discuss circulatory, respiratory, digestive, elimination, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems.

During AYTT, we approach anatomy not merely as a corpus of knowledge to be accessed intellectually, but as practical, experiential, living science with immediate applicability to the practice of yoga. For example, the spine is the central post around which the limbs move; using the fundamentals of anatomy we will discuss spinal alignment and proper articulation at the joints to ensure safe expressions of complex poses such as Trikonasana (Triangle pose). The classes are profound for both the newcomer to anatomy and those already possessing a working knowledge.

Energization Exercises

This set of 39 exercises is a scientific, systematic method for increasing the flow of prana and strengthening and energizing every part of the body. Unique to Ananda Yoga, they were developed by Paramhansa Yogananda whose teachings are practiced at Ananda.  They are used to heal the body, clarify and focus the mind and prepare you for meditation.

Teaching Practicum

Practice makes perfect. In the context of AYTT, “practice” means teaching, assisting, and adjusting. We augment the comprehensive curriculum described above with teaching sessions where you will have the opportunity to practice the techniques that you have learned. Practice sessions begin early on and occur periodically throughout the duration of the course.

Specialty Yoga

Three specialty yoga classes will be offered: Restorative, Prenatal, and Chair. The specialty populations that could benefit from an Ananda Yoga practice are limitless, however. You will leave the program with the tools to customize yoga for various other populations and areas of healing and wholeness.

Raja Yoga, Yoga Philosophy and Astral Anatomy

Classically, Raja Yoga (Royal Yoga) is considered the supreme path with meditation as its central “yoga”; all other branches and practices of yoga are simply preparations or support for this central practice. We will explore the history and paths of yoga, Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga (8-limbed yoga of the sage Patanjali), basics of Yama (literally means “control”, refers to moral restraints) and Niyama (literally means “rules”, refers to practices or observances), the importance of a Guru (teacher), and the Yogic scheme of life.

We will also discuss basics of energy (prana), magnetism, and the use of affirmations, chanting, mantra (special chants imbued with deep vibrational power) and japa (repetition of the name of the Divine).

Just as there is physical anatomy – muscles, nerves, organs, circulation, etc. – there is also an energetic or astral anatomy. Astral anatomy is concerned with the movement of prana within our energetic body. We will discuss nadis (energy pathways), chakras and their relationship to asana, pranayama, mudras and bandhas. Underlying our discussion is the theme of viewing spiritual development itself as a gradual movement of prana from the lower to the upper chakras.

We will conclude our discussion of Raja Yoga/Yoga Philosophy with a brief introduction to two classics in the field of yoga: the Bhagavad Gita, which is a transcendental scripture on Raja Yoga among other things and Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda’s autobiography, considered one of the greatest pieces of esoteric literature.

OUR LINEAGE

Ananda Yoga was developed by Swami Kriyananda to recapture the essential purpose of Yoga postures: to harmonize the body and refine the mind. He learned Yoga postures from his guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, who was the first great yoga master to make his home permanently in the West, and is the author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi.

CORE FACULTY

Dr. Murali Venkatrao PhD, E-RYT 500, YACEP, Director of Yoga Teacher Training

Born in India, Murali began his yoga training at the age of eight.  Murali has studied variations of Hatha yoga for many years, both in India and the US.  He has been teaching yoga for the past 16 years and also teaches many other courses on yoga philosophy, the science of yoga and meditation, the history of yoga, and Vedantic teachings.  Formerly a Software Architect at Microsoft, Murali received  his PhD in yoga in at Prashanti Kuteeram (S-Vyasa University) in Bengaluru, India.  Murali is also the Vice President of Infrastructure and Curriculum Development at Vivekananda Yoga University.

Lynne Steele, RYT 500, E-RYT 200

Lynne has been practicing yoga for more than 20 years. She leads classes at the Ananda Institute of Living Yoga and at other locations in the Seattle area. Lynne is also a certified Ananda Meditation Teacher.

Nancy Callan, RYT 200

Nancy has been studying yoga for almost 20 years. She has been teaching at the Ananda Institute of Living Yoga since 2014. Nancy is also a certified Ananda Meditation Teacher.

Debra Clark, RYT500, E-RYT 200

Debra has years of experience teaching classes both at the Ananda Institute of Living Yoga and at other Seattle area locations. She is also a certified Ananda Meditation Teacher.

Christina Riegel, RYT 500

Christina discovered yoga after moving to Seattle in 1998. She teaches at the Ananda Institute of Living Yoga and also serves as a staff member at the Bothell temple office. Christina is also a certified Ananda Meditation Teacher.

Hriman McGilloway, Co-Spiritual Director of Ananda Washington

Hriman is the co-spiritual director of Ananda Washington with his wife, Padma. Hriman is also the Program Director of Meditation Teaching Training and co-teaches many Level 2 Yoga Teacher Training Courses with Murali on the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras.  He led the popular Raja and Hatha Yoga Intensive for over twenty years.

Location and Schedule

Classes are held IN PERSON in Bothell, WA. 

The schedule has two components:

  • 11 Thursday evenings, from 6 – 9:15 PM between January 19 – April 13, 2023.
  •  6 weekends, Sat 9-6 PM and Sun 1-6 PM
Weekends: Saturdays 9 – 6p and Sundays 1 – 6p   Saturdays 9a-6p / Sundays 1-6p pacific time   –January 28 – 29, 2023
February 11 – 12, 2023
February 23 –February 26, 2023 – 4 day/ 3 night retreat at the Ananda Community in Lynnwood, WA.  In Person attendance is required.  Lodging and meals are included.
March 18 – 19, 2023
April 1 – 2, 2023
April 22 – 23, 2023

Arrive 15 minutes early to class to arrange your station and to center yourself.

There will be a mid-program interview that will be individually scheduled with each student.

Sadhana Practicum

Sadhana Practicum will support your personal and spiritual growth and development both as student and as a teacher. The Practicum officially begins with the start of the program. However, as soon as you are accepted into the program you may begin working with a Yoga Teacher Trainer on this part of the program.

The Sadhana Practicum offers you the opportunity to work one-on-one with a Yoga Teacher Trainer to implement an action plan for your at-home asana and meditation practices, and ongoing asana study. The goal is for you to both enter and graduate from the program with confidence in your practices. While the AYTT offers you the philosophy and techniques by which you will lead others in the practice of yoga, your direct experience through a strong personal practice will be the foundation of your teaching.

As part of the practicum each student is required to attend a minimum of 12 Ananda Yoga Classes during the course of the program to qualify for graduation. We encourage you to sample the classes of at least three Ananda Yoga teachers and to share your experience and observations. There is no additional fee for these classes. You may also attend other drop-in Ananda classes during this course without charge.

Admission Requirements

AYTT is open to the public and may be taken by anyone interested in teaching Ananda Yoga or deepening their personal yoga practice. However, because of the nature of AYTT, some additional criteria are considered to determine the feasibility of the student’s participation:

  • Overall health: AYTT requires consistent physical effort over a period of several months. We will accommodate special physical conditions whenever circumstances permit and so long as the overall safety of the student is not in jeopardy.
  • Background and intention: A consistent personal asana practice is a pre-requisite and personal meditation practice is a plus. Above all, the desire to learn and an open mind are most important.
  • Personal Practices: To receive the maximum benefit from the program, attendees are asked to have a consistent personal asana practice for at least 6 months. A “consistent practice” means a practice spanning at least 4 days/week (more is even better).  Your practice should focus on the set of asanas listed at the end of this document. These asanas form the basis of the training. The deeper your understanding of these asanas prior to the program (alignment, energetics, inner awareness, etc.), the more you will take away from the program.

It is recommended that you attend at least one Ananda Yoga class per week prior to the commencement of the training as well as during the program to assist you in your exploration of these asanas. Working with a teacher will support you in a way that working (practicing) alone simply cannot. Early enrollees into the Ananda Yoga Teacher Training (AYTT) have the added benefit of starting the Sadhana Practicum immediately.

Meditation is an integral part of Ananda Yoga. While it is not required that you have a regular meditation practice before taking AYTT, such a practice will vastly deepen your experience of the program. Regular meditation is included in the course, so chances are that you will have a consistent meditation practice at the end of the program anyway!

  • Time commitment: AYTT is sensitive to the timing constraints of people with full-time jobs. At the same time, it also requires consistent effort over a period of 4 months. Prospective students are encouraged to study the dates and program hours to understand the time commitment required by the course.
  • Completed application form: A written application form should be submitted as early as possible and prior to the commencement of classes. Upon receipt of application you will be contacted to schedule a meeting with the registrar of Yoga Teacher Training. Class size is limited. Early registration is encouraged.

Application Due Date

Applications must be received by January 12, 2023. This is also the due date for the payment of tuition.

Fees and Program Costs

  • Tuition is $3,450.  You can discount your tuition to $3,000 if paid in full by December 18, 2022.
  • One-time, lifetime non-refundable application fee $50 (some students will have already paid this)
  • Cost of textbooks. Students are responsible for the purchase of their texts. See required texts under the heading “Books and Materials”.

Tuition Includes:

  • Free Ananda Yoga drop-in classes during this course online on Zoom[1].
    • AYTT Training Kit*
      • Ananda Yoga Teacher Training Manual (printed)
  • Supplemental handouts (offered online)
    • Yoga Strap with buckle                                            
    • (2) Large foam blocks (24”x12”x2”)
    • (1) Small foam block
    • Ananda Yoga Asana Flash Cards
    • Private guidance with a Yoga Teacher Trainer

An initial meeting will be arranged prior to the start of the program to discuss your personal practices (sadhana) and to provide you with any guidance you might need in order that you may begin the program with confidence in your own practices. Follow-up meetings can be arranged to provide further support.

A mid-program meeting will be scheduled with each student.

Payment and Installment Options

  • Payment of $50.  Due at the time of application submission (if not previously paid).
  • Unless you opt to pay your tuition in two installments (see below), all tuition is due in full by January 12, 2023.  To receive the Early Bird Discount tuition must be paid in full by December 18, 2023.
  • You may choose to pay half of your tuition on or before, January 12, 2023, and the second half on or before February 23, 2023. There is a 2.5% service on the deferred portion of tuition.
  • Once accepted into the program a deposit of $500 will secure your place in the Yoga Teacher Training program.

Refund Policy

Prepaid tuition is refundable in full prior to the start date of the program, excluding a $100.00 Administrative fee and the value of any yoga classes taken.

Books, Yoga Supplies & Materials

Books

We will provide you with a comprehensive manual and handouts which will cover all asanas and pranayama techniques that are studied in the course.

In addition, you are required to purchase the following books:

  • Art and Science of Raja Yoga, by Swami Kriyananda
  • Energization Exercises (poster and booklet)
  • The Science of Yoga by Ann Swanson
  • Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda

The following books are optional:

  • Anatomy and Asana: Preventing Yoga Injuries by Susi Hately Aldous
  • The Anatomy Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit/Lawrence M. Elson (you will also need a set of colored pencils for coloring)
  • Spiritual Yoga, by Gyandev McChord.
  • Meditation for Starters, by Swami Kriyananda (great resource for teachers who lead meditations)
  • The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, by Swami Kriyananda
  • Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga, by Ray Long

Yoga Supplies & Materials for you to bring or have

  • Training Kit (we provide this; it’s included in your program fee)
  • Yoga Mat
  • Blanket (yoga blanket – wool or cotton)
  • Notebook or paper for taking notes as well as a pen or pencil.

Certification

A successful completion of AYTT entitles the student to be certified as Ananda Yoga Teacher Level

1. This automatically entitles you to register with the Yoga Alliance as a “Registered Yoga Teacher” at the 200-hour level (or simply, RYT 200). See “Frequently Asked Questions” below for an explanation of what this means. Simply put, you will become a “card carrying” yoga teacher and can start teaching yoga (Yes, there is an actual card stating this when you register with the Yoga Alliance!).  To receive certification, you must:

  • Participate fully in all classes. Due to the nature of the program we encourage 100% attendance from the students.  Due to illness or other life emergency a student may miss up to 8 hours of class. Student is responsible for all material missed. Missed classes exceeding 8 hours can be made up in a future YTT program.
  • Satisfactorily complete all reading and writing assignments.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the asanas as reflected through your own practice.  This includes but is not limited to proper alignment and energetics as well as safety precautions as appropriate for each individual. Evaluation Method:
    • Mid-program evaluations are offered each student with suggested refinements to their asana practice. Students needing additional assistance in the practice of the asanas will be asked to attend additional classes to receive focused guidance.
  • Receive 80% or higher as a passing grade on all quizzes and exams.
  • Demonstrate skills and attitudes of an Ananda Yoga Teacher. This includes satisfactory performance in the student teaching sessions.
  • Agree to follow the Ananda Yoga Teacher Code of Ethics (These are simple, common-sense guidelines, a copy of which will be given to you as part of the course material.)

A mid-program oral interview is conducted with each student to assess the student’s current standing and address any issues of concern.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Yoga Alliance and how does Ananda Yoga Teacher Training relate to it?

A: Yoga Alliance is a diverse group of yoga schools and teachers that has established voluntary national standards for yoga teacher training. Ananda helped found Yoga Alliance, and has been involved in developing these standards. Gyandev McCord, Director of Ananda Yoga Worldwide, was a co-founder and a former director of Yoga Alliance.

Yoga Alliance defines two levels of yoga teachers: Level 1, who should complete 200 hours of training at a registered yoga school; and Level 2, who should complete 500 hours of training. The Ananda Yoga Teacher Training Program is a Registered Yoga School at both levels. Our program not only meets but also surpasses the Yoga Alliance requirements.

Q: Can I teach as soon as I graduate from the program?

A: Yes. In AYTT, you will learn all of the common asanas and pranayama techniques, as well as how to combine these techniques into a safe, effective, and enjoyable yoga class for beginning students. All graduates of AYTT will be able to register as a RYT 200 (Registered Yoga Teacher at 200 level) with the Yoga Alliance.

Q: I don’t want to be a teacher, but I want to learn more about yoga philosophy, asanas and related topics to deepen my practice. Is AYTT for me?

A: Yes! A yoga teacher is first and foremost a student with a deep yoga practice. You will learn various topics in yoga philosophy; you will also learn the subtleties of all the common asanas, pranayama and even some mudras and bandhas. With the knowledge of energy flow, sequencing of asanas, safety and alignment, you will be able to experience yoga at a deeper and more meaningful level.

Q: I follow a different spiritual path than that of Ananda [or no path at all]. Does that make a difference in whether or not I should attend AYTT?

A: No, it makes no difference. We sincerely respect all spiritual paths, and we welcome anyone who gives that same respect to our tradition, whatever his or her path may be. Of course, you should realize that AYTT takes place in the context of Ananda’s spiritual tradition, which emphasizes the time-honored approach of yoga as a tool for the Divine Quest. Participation involves practicing a variety of yoga techniques associated with Ananda’s tradition, such as meditation and chanting as well as asana and pranayama.

Q: Does Ananda offer Advanced Yoga Teacher Training?

A: Yes. We are a certified RYS 300 Yoga institute. Our Level 2 Yoga Teacher Training course leads to RYT 500 level certification. For more details, see www.anandawa.org/teacher-training/ytt. Advanced teacher training is also available at The Expanding Light, Ananda’s retreat center in Nevada City, CA. For more details, see http://www.expandinglight.org/yoga/teacher-training/level2-certification.php

Q: Will I receive support after I graduate?

A:  Ananda is an established institution of yoga and meditation in the Seattle Area. Ananda also has nationwide and worldwide presence with several branches in the United States, India, Italy, and Switzerland. This means you will continue to receive valuable support after you graduate:

  • Our teachers are available to you when questions come up.
  • Advanced training is offered by the Ananda Institute of Living Yoga and at The Expanding Light in Nevada City, CA.
  • Membership in an email Q&A forum where our teachers and fellow graduates come together to share information, ask and answer questions, etc.

Q: What is Ananda Institute of Living Yoga and how is AYTT related to it?

A: The Ananda Institute of Living Yoga has been established to help expand the awareness of yoga as a way of life for anyone, regardless of outward affiliation. Here at the Institute you will discover that yoga is not just a pose; it is a state of natural, intuitive poise that radiates outward from within. As the mighty oak grows from a tiny seed to give shelter to life around it, living yoga begins with meditation and inner awareness.

The AYTT is one of the courses/trainings offered at the Institute. The Institute also offers a plethora of trainings, practice opportunities, and satsangs at its Bothell, Lynnwood, and Seattle locations.

Q: What options do I have for continuing education?

A: There are several opportunities for continuing education. Ananda Institute of Living Yoga offers several courses, including: Advanced Pranayama, Yoga Sutras and Advanced Asanas, Teaching Assistantship, Bhagavad Gita and Advanced Asana, Meditation Teacher Training, and Spiritual Counseling. These courses count toward your 500 level certification. For more details, please visit www.anandawa.org/teacher-training/ytt

The Expanding Light Retreat in Nevada City, CA, also offers Therapeutic Yoga Certification, 500-level certification, and courses on several topics, including: advanced asanas, special-needs yoga, yoga philosophy, advanced pranayama, meditation teacher training, and Assistantship. For more information, please visit their web site at www.expandinglight.org.


[1] As stated elsewhere, students are required to take at least 12 of these classes.