Teacher Training &
Yoga Education Program

January to June 2020


Advanced Teacher Training: 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. Six weekends of the program will take place in Toronto at our downtown studio location. Our schedule is ideal for those looking to structure their program around other 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? to our Yoga Education Manager 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 their families 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 Advanced 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 training programs?
We believe that the process of learning for yoga practitioners and teachers is ever growing. The 300-Hour Advanced 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 Advanced 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?
The size of our Yoga Education training classes 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 training programs 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 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.

What skills will I take away from this program?

  • How to safely and effectively teach more than 50 asanas.
  • 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 sessions.

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 relationships.

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 a 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 for 2020

Weekend Intensives:

Feb 14-17th (4 days: Fri – Mon 9am-5:30pm)
Mar 6-8th (3 days: Fri 5-9pm; Sat + Sun 9am-6pm)
Apr 17-20th (4 days: Fri – Mon 9am-5:30pm)
May 15-17th (3 days: Fri 5-9pm; Sat + Sun 9am-6pm)
June 5-8th (4 days: Fri – Mon 9am-5:30pm)
June 26-28th (3 days: Fri 5-9pm; Sat + Sun 9am-6pm)
July weekend – TBD

Weekly Meetings:

  • Every Wednesday from 7-9pm.
  • One 2.5hr weekly practicum class (exact times TBA but two options will be provided: one weekend, and one weekday)

NOTE: The weekly meetings (Wednesday evenings and practicum) will run every week of the program, beginning on January 22nd and ending at the final weekend.

Drop-in class Requirement:

You will be required to attend 40 classes over the course of the program, ideally with program faculty. This corresponds to just 1-2 classes per week over the duration of the program.


95% attendance required. This means you may miss up to 13 hours without penalty. If more than 13 hours are missed but fewer than 26, it will be required that you make up the missing hours in privates with a teacher at their private rate. Please inquire for more details regarding our attendance policy if you are unsure of your ability to participate in the program.

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


Principal Faculty


YuMee Chung (Program Co-Director, E-RYT 500) is a former securities lawyer who left a busy practice to engage more deeply with life. Almost two decades later, she is a yoga instructor who leads international retreats and teaches those who feel similarly called to follow the yogic path, both as practitioners and as teachers. She has a warm, face-forward teaching style that brings her subject matter to life while honouring its immense profundity and poetic depth. YuMee is a self-proclaimed yoga nerd who loves nothing more than exploring the dynamic weave between tradition, cutting-edge insights into human movement, and what it means to live an examined life in the here and now.


Nicky Poole (Program Co-Director, E-RYT 500) has been enmeshed in the study of yoga since 1999. She founded the first yoga studio in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2004 and cultivated a unique community on the banks of the Saigon River until moving to Canada in 2009. Calling Toronto home, Nicky has established herself as a highly sought-after teacher trainer and pre and post natal specialist in the city. Nicky has been creating and leading innovative teacher training programs since 2011, and is thrilled to be co-director at her new home studio – Octopus Garden.


John Veiga believes that learning is an exchange, and he endeavours to treat all those who practice with him with respect and equanimity. Drawing on more than 15 years of practice and teaching, John derives inspiration from the many layers of yoga. He is most energized and excited when philosophy, psychology, and anatomy swim together in an engaging practice. Diligent but playful, his unique classes reflect his insatiable curiosity about the “whys” of practice, and he encourages lively dialogue around all aspects of yoga.

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Jennifer Helland discovered yoga as a dancer in her young twenties. At her very first yoga class, the experience resonated so deeply within that she knew then how meaningful and important yoga was going to become in her life.


David Good believes yoga is a way to discover your hidden potential and find the truth of who you are, on and off the mat. His classes range in intensity and focus, from vigorous sequencing to supportive restorative work. Offering rich alignment cues and heartfelt humour, David aims to create an inclusive environment that nurtures the soul and leaves students feeling like they’ve learned something about their bodies in the process.

The principal faculty will be your teachers for the majority of the program, covering pedagogy, hands-on assists, sequencing, philosophy, pranayama, meditation, anatomy, and more.


$4450 (+HST)

Tuition includes:

  • Unlimited drop-in classes for the duration of the program (details below)
  • Octopus Garden 300-Hour Training Manual
  • 10% discount off props, therapist’s treatments, and most workshops for the 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 $4450 (+HST) due December 23rd, 2019.
  • In installments — six payments of $817 (+HST) each, due on December 23rd 2019, January 23rd, February 23rd, March 23rd, April 23rd, and May 23rd 2020.
  • If you are viewing this page after December 23rd, please know we do continue to accept applications after this date so long as space remains in the program, so feel free to apply!

Membership Details:

Your tuition includes a membership to the studio. That membership will activate on the day you pay your deposit, or December 1st 2019, whichever is later That means that signing up earlier for the program is to your benefit as you’ll be able to practice at the studio for up to an extra 2 months for free! All memberships will expire on June 31st 2020, regardless of the date on which the membership began.

Special offer: Pay your full tuition up front and receive a membership from the date of your full tuition payment!


  • A full refund minus deposit will be issued if notice to cancel is received at least one month before the start date. There will be no refunds or transfers after 30 days prior to the start date. Please note: These refund policies apply to both payment options, either tuition in full or by installments.
  • In addition to the tuition, there will be several texts that are required reading for the program. The total cost for books is usually under $100.

Alumni Share Their Experience

Having only intended to deepen my own personal practice (mission accomplished!), I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find myself developing and teaching a high school credit course “Yoga for Teens: Exploring Paths to Wellness” in a public high school. As an experienced teacher, I found the 300 has brought many new dimensions to my teaching – on and off the mat. I continue to explore the eight arms of Hatha practice, both personally, and with the young yogis with whom I love to teach and learn.   – MA

The 300 hours led me to find my passion – teaching at-risk youth from a trauma-sensitive perspective. One of the most important lessons I learned was to cultivate a beginner’s mind and the fact that teachers must never stop learning. My students remind me of this each class as we collectively and courageously learn about using movement and breath to heal ourselves.   – KH

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)

The 300-hour Advanced 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

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

Please email James@octopusgardenyoga.com for an application