Teacher Training &
Yoga Education Program

September 2015 to Jan 2016


Effective Teaching: 300 hours

Effective teaching is a function of personal practice and study over time and occurs when we teach from the experience of our bodies and our lives. Once the basic foundations of personal practice have been mastered, the transformative effects of yoga can be shared with others.

Over the course of five months, enhance and explore your capacity as a teacher. Drawing from the foundation of your personal practice, this program is designed to foster your knowledge and voice as an effective teacher. The four weekends of the program will take place in Toronto at our downtown studio location. There will also be a one week intensive which will be held at the beautiful Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre outside of the city. Our schedule is ideal for those looking to structure their program around fother aspects of their lives. To enroll in the program, participants must have completed a recognized 200-hour teacher training program.

Have any questions about the program? Curious to learn more? (Yoga Education Manager) directly for an immediate response.

Why choose Octopus Garden for your 300-Hour Training?

  • We offer the most extensive and rigorous teacher training of its kind in Canada, exceeding the highest standards of the Yoga Alliance.
  • The Teacher Training Intensive is designed to allow students to continue to work, study or care for family while still maximizing learning and taking away skills and knowledge to be used for a lifetime. This program is ideal for yogis based both inside and outside of Toronto, offering the opportunity to train at a leading studio in the city, with renowned instructors.
  • Renowned guest faculty – students will be studying with the best of the best.
  • With an integrated, well-informed, and open perspective, we tie together the insights and wisdom of many different traditions to create a cohesive and innovative approach.
  • We provide the guidance and encouragement to help find your own voice and to uncover what is alive in you when you practice.
  • Community building is one of our primary objectives. To that end, we try wherever possible to build and sustain a long-term commitment to our students and assist them in meeting their personal goals. Alumni of our Yoga Education Programs are offered a monthly membership package at a reduced rate so students can continue their practice and sustain their relationships with teachers, mentors, and the greater community.
  • The Octopus Garden Yoga Education Program is accredited by the federal government. Official tuition income tax receipts will be issued upon completion of any of our registered teacher training programs.

YA-RYS-300 The Octopus Garden 300-Hour Effective Teaching Program is accredited by Yoga Alliance. Successful graduates of this program can apply for RYT-500 status.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are books and materials included in the price of the training?
Required texts are the only additional cost, outside of tuition. We source through distributors offering the lowest cost possible and sell these books at a discounted rate. Our studio is equipped with props and mats for your use.

When will I find out if I have been accepted into the program?
After your initial application has been received and you have submitted your $50 application fee, you find out within a week if you have been accepted (via email).

What are the requirements for entry into the program?
We ask that all students have at least 200 hours of training from a recognized yoga education program.

How does this program compare to other 300-hour trainings?
We believe that the process of learning for yoga practitioners and teachers is ever growing. The 300-Hour Effective Teacher Training is designed for serious students seeking to begin a teaching practice and for experienced teachers looking to enhance their knowledge. Because of the large number of 200-hour programs that currently focus on preparing students to teach so quickly, there is a rising bar of knowledge and expertise that is needed to keep up amongst the growing field of gifted yoga teachers internationally. The approach we’ve decided to take at Octopus Garden is to provide an extension and enhancement of your foundational knowledge established in a 200-hour program, through our 300-hour program. With the 200-Hour Fundamentals portion as the base, we move on to a thorough exploration of the art of teaching in the 300-Hour Effective Teaching program. We are proud to say that we care about the quality of teachers studying at Octopus Garden and the future of this evolving form we call yoga, so valuable in these changing and uncertain times.

How many students are enrolled in each Yoga Education training? What is the typical age range of the participants?
Sizes of our Yoga Education trainings range from 20-40 students. We maintain personal relationships with our students by creating opportunities for one-to-one contact between directors and students. Students range in age from early twenties to late sixties – everyone is welcome!

What if I miss a class?
Students can miss up to 5% of the core curriculum hours and still receive a certificate. We encourage all students to let us know in advance wherever possible if they will be missing time.

Do you offer work-exchange programs?
We offer energy exchange opportunities to offset tuition costs where space and opportunities are available.

How much time should I expect to spend on homework?
We advise setting aside 1-2 hours a week to complete assigned readings, homework, presentation preparation, and review exams. This is in addition to regular hours of personal practice through classes offered at the studio.

Will I be qualified to teach yoga once I complete the 300-Hour Program?
The focus of our 300-hour training is to foster your ability to be an effective teacher. We believe that the mark of an excellent teacher is a solid foundation of experience, and that only once this is established, can one find their true voice as a teacher. There is no rule about when one is ready to teach and many graduates of our 300-hour program have gone on to teach right away. We offer the 300-hour program with a focus on teaching skills to follow directly from our 200-hour Fundamentals Program.

What if I want to teach at Octopus Garden?
All of our teachers are graduates of at least one of our yoga education trainings and all of our teachers have at least 500-hours of teacher training. If you are interested in teaching at Octopus Garden, the first step is building a relationship with us through practice and shared study.

Who will benefit from this training?

  • Current yoga teachers looking to deepen their level of understanding and their ability to communicate that understanding to their students.
  • Aspiring teachers who have completed a 200-hour program and want to get more knowledge and more practice teaching to build their confidence and skill-set.

Program Objectives

  • To ignite a passion for learning and a genuine curiosity about life and our place in it.
  • to increase self-awareness, body and mind; the concept of “clear seeing,” to help begin seeing one’s students.
  • To place the physical practice of yoga within the context of a bigger picture; Patanjali’s 8 limbs as a guide for ethical living.
  • To build critical thinking and awareness around the process of learning skills in order to modify responses to different situations and contexts.
  • To enhance one’s ability to hold a bigger context and see the interconnection between different systems and styles of yoga.

What skills will I take away from this program?

  • How to safely and effectively teach more than 50 asana.
  • How to integrate systematic cueing, respect for breath, and harmonious flow.
  • How to sequence for a particular effect and with particular themes.
  • How to clearly demonstrate poses.
  • Understanding of functional anatomy and how it relates to the practice of poses and sequencing of classes.
  • How to teach basic restorative poses, meditation, pranayama, kriyas, mantras, and chanting.
  • Knowledge of the fundamental texts of hatha yoga and of the historical and philosophical context of our practice.
  • How to effectively observe and read bodies; alignment, energy, doshas, etc.
  • How to pronounce Sanskrit and knowledge of Sanskrit names for poses.
  • How to confidently make hands-on and verbal adjustments.
  • Introduction to how to teach specialty classes, such as pre/post natal and kids yoga.
  • Tools to begin to address physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health issues as a yoga teacher.
  • Knowledge of how your classes are received by students and help with your personal challenges as a teacher through clear and compassionate peer feedback during practicum.

What you will learn

Personal Practice

  • Deepening one's personal asana, pranayama and meditation practice over time.
  • Body awareness; accessing sensation; proprioception.
  • Adapting poses to address individual differences.


  • Applications of yama and niyamas to asana.
  • Sequencing, elements and effects of Beginner, Level 1 and Intermediate classes.
  • Sequencing, cautions and modifications of Surya Namaskar variations.
  • Sequencing, cautions and modifications of Tensegrity Repair series.
  • Sequencing, cautions and modifications of Five Tibetans series.
  • Understanding sequencing through deep exploration of actions, effects, key muscles, cautions, alignment cues of neutral spine and hip poses.
  • Understanding sequencing through deep exploration of actions, effects, key muscles, cautions, alignment cues and sequencing of hip flexion poses.
  • Understanding sequencing through deep exploration of effects, key muscles, cautions, alignment cues and sequencing of hip and spine flexion poses.
  • Understanding sequencing through deep exploration of effects, key muscles, cautions, alignment cues and sequencing of hip extension and rotation poses.
  • Developing techniques to determine at what level particular asanas are effective.
  • Understanding how to build classes to help students work toward healthy and sustainable practice.
  • Personal assessment through asana and breath and the ability to see each individual as a whole.
  • Diagnostic tools that can be used to effect positive change for chronic conditions, skeletal imbalances, emotional traumas, etc.
  • Reading bodies, adjustments, and manual assists.


  • Therapeutic effects, application and cautions of jala neti.
  • Therapeutic effects, application and cautions of uddiyana kriya.
  • Therapeutic effects, application and cautions of agni sara.
  • Therapeutic effects, application and cautions of nauli.
  • Therapeutic effects, application and cautions of kapalabhati.
  • Therapeutic effects, application and cautions of bhastrika.


  • Pronunciation and rhythm of Lokah samastah.
  • Pronunciation and rhythm of Sahanavavatu (from Taittiriya Upanishad).
  • Pronunciation and rhythm of Gayatri (from Rig-Veda).
  • Pronunciation and rhythm of Ashtanga Invocation.
  • Pronunciation and rhythm of Bij mantras.


  • Sanskrit, translation and origins of Lokah samastah.
  • Sanskrit, translation and origins of Sahanavavatu (from Taittiriya Upanishad).
  • Sanskrit, translation and origins of Gayatri (from Rig-Veda).
  • Sanskrit, translation and origins of Ashtanga Invocation.
  • Symbol, translation and origins of Bij mantras.


  • Applications of yama and niyamas to meditation.
  • Structure and principles of practicing and teaching meditation.
  • Six month long daily meditation practice.
  • Sequencing and themes.
  • Interconnection to organ systems, seasonal changes.
  • Participate in periods of silent meditation.


  • Sequencing and themes.
  • Interconnection to organ systems, seasonal changes.
  • Elements and theory of restorative postures.
  • Teaching and postural checklist for restorative postures.
  • Effects, indications, sequences, modifications.

Teaching Methodology

  • How to teach a comprehensive syllabus of yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, and chanting.
  • How to address physical, emotional, mental, spiritual health issues as a yoga teacher.
  • Becoming an effective teacher.
  • Teaching from a conscious model of values, principles.
  • To be able to create a spiritual field; to hold the space.
  • Communication skills.
  • Systematic cueing.
  • Using themes and sequences for energetic effects.
  • Constitutional assessment of individual doshas.
  • Techniques of doing accurate postural assessment through a range of poses.
  • Teaching as a means of creative expression.
  • Elements of pedagogy including:
    • Definition, principles, skills of observation.
    • Definition, principles, skills of communication.
    • Definition, principles, skills of demonstration.
    • Definition, principles, skills of adjustments.
    • Definition, principles, skills of creating a class/sequencing.
    • Definition, principles, skills of connection and establishing relationship.

Anatomy and Physiology

  • Kosha model of human anatomy.
  • Types and instances of muscular contraction.
  • Exploration of planes of movement through all major joints.
  • Explication of functional muscle grouping for planes of movement through all major joints.
  • Detailed study of key muscles in the human body.
  • Skeletal, muscular, organ systems.
  • Kinesiology.
  • Physiology.
  • Accessing the emotional body for energetic effects.

Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics

  • Exploration of yama and niyamas as call to action for how to live in the world.
  • Sanskrit, pronunciation, translation, explication of the first and second padas of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
  • Explication and examination of codes of conduct for teachers (Octopus Garden, Yoga Alliance and others).
  • Ignite passion for learning, a genuine curiosity about life and our place in it.
  • Increased tolerance for ambiguity: ethics.
  • Study classical texts: Bhagavad Gita (bhakti, karma, jnana yoga), Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradikipa.
  • Understanding the interface between yoga and Buddhism. Tantra.


  • Observing, assisting and teaching in regular drop-in classes held at the studio.
  • Preparing sequences and class themes.
  • Reading bodies, including hands-on adjustments.
  • Participating in classes led by your peers.
  • Participating in group feedback dialogues following classes.
  • Effective listening and communication tools.

Schedule 2015/2016

September 25-27 (Friday 5:00-9:00pm; Saturday and Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm)
October 23-26 (9:00am-5:30pm, Friday to Monday)
November 16-20 (week intensive)
December 11-14 (9:00am-5:30pm, Friday to Monday)
January 8-10 (Friday 5:00-9:00pm; Saturday and Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm)

Every Wednesday from September 23 to January 6, 7:30-9:00pm
One practicum class per week: day/time TBD

Typical Daily Format

  • mornings – group dialogue, effective listening, energetic centering, intention-setting
  • midday- active practice, partner and group work, seeing bodies, building postures
  • afternoon- pranayama, yoga theory, presentations, small group processes


Principle Faculty

Guest Faculty:

  • Jesse Enright
  • Hali Schwartz
  • Kathrin Brunner
  • Lovedeep Dhunna
  • Yumee Chung


$4600 + tax + materials. Tuition includes unlimited drop-in classes for the duration of the program.

Tuition includes:

  • Unlimited drop-in classes for the duration of the program
  • Private consult with program director to set goals
  • Octopus Garden 300-Hour Training Manual
  • 10% discount off props, therapist treatments and most workshops for duration of the program

Payment Options:

A $500 (+HST) non-refundable deposit will be required upon acceptance of your application. The remaining balance may be paid:

  • In full — one payment of $4100 (+HST) due September 1st, 2015
  • In installments — five payments of $902 (+HST) each, due on Sept 1st, Oct 1st, Nov 1st, Dec 1st and Jan 1st, 2015

Full tuition payments must be received one month before the start date. A full refund minus deposit will be issued if notice to cancel is received at least one month before the start date. A 50% refund minus deposit will be issued if notice to cancel is received within 14 days and there will be no refunds or transfers after 7 days prior to the start date. Please note: These refund policies apply to both payment options, either tuition in full or by instalments.

Please note that all 300-hour candidates must have valid Standard First Aid & CRP (Level C) to receive their certificate.

Alumni Share Their Experience

The advanced teacher training is all that an education should be — it teaches you how to learn. It takes everything you think you know and everything you think you want to know and reduces it to the size of a pinhead, and then says: “Now, learn the landscape of the pincushion.” It turns you upside down, shakes out all the shiny desires you’ve been hoarding in your pockets, and says: “Dream bigger.”   –  (excerpt from Handstands blog article)

I particularly loved the retreat week and found it to be a turning point. Thanks to Pat and Scott’s skilled guidance, I felt like I found my own unique voice as a yoga teacher. Their strong, calm presence reassured me that I could listen to my inner self and speak from the heart.   – JA

The 300-hour Effective teacher Training Program was a rich, challenging and intense experience. After having taught yoga for a few years, I was hungry for more material and the opportunity to dialogue with other teachers. The 300-hour program is well rounded and I appreciated the skill and commitment of the core teachers. The learning community that was established was diverse in age and experience. My fellow students were supportive as I was encouraged to take risks with my teaching. The experience allowed me to deepen my understanding of yoga and to look closely at the way that I teach. My teaching practice has definitely changed, as have I as an individual, as a result of the program. I found the course texts to be extremely valuable and continue to refer to them frequently. I remain connected to and grateful for the Octopus Garden yoga community and their faith in me.   – LM

I walked into the teacher training program at Octopus Garden hoping to learn more about asana, meditation, and how to teach yoga. I walked out with these lessons, but also learned how I want to exist in the world, what I want to share with people, and with tools on how to move in my day to day life with grace and strength. Scott and Pat (plus the million other beautiful souls that are interwoven into this program) create safe, sacred space for students to learn and fall and get back up again allowing your own individuality to sparkle on top of intensely strong foundational training. I am so grateful for this community and the training programs that they have built and highly recommend anyone who wants to further their practice to study with them.   – MMG

After completing the 200-hour program I knew I wanted to teach but I lacked confidence. The 300-hour seemed like the next step. I took the leap and have never looked back. Octopus Garden’s 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training gave me the tools to teach with a strong knowledge of alignment, anatomy, yoga philosophy, and the ability to read the students in front if me. I am proud to say I have become a full time yoga teacher. Thanks OG!   – DG

Insightful, inspirational,highly organized, hands on, fun learning. A great time with yogis and yoginis.   – TC

The 300-hour program changed the way I approach my practice and my ideas of what teaching was. Pat and Scott have built a program rich in teachings; the depth of their knowledge, and the care in which they share it, is a unique and life changing experience. I learned how to teach, from my heart.   – BW

Apply to the Effective Teaching Program