Fundamentals: 200 hours
The program will explore the essential skills necessary for a deep understanding of the practice of yoga; integrating personal practice, asana, philosophy, anatomy, meditation, pranayama and communication skills as the basic foundation of a holistic and well-rounded practice. In addition to these primary areas of study, secondary topics will include reading bodies, subtle anatomy, voice, chanting, and Sanskrit study. The program is designed for serious students who have a minimum of two years personal practice experience and who are looking to either deepen their understanding of the practice of yoga or to initiate the process of becoming a great teacher.
A Taste of Teacher Training Pass
We’ll be offering one week of unlimited classes FREE to anyone interested in learning more about our training program. Because all of our teaching staff have completed at least three hundred hours of training here, we think our drop-in classes are a wonderful representation of our yoga education program and the types of classes and teachers we believe in. Pick a week, set up your pass, and see if our studio is the right fit for you.
Have any questions about the program? Curious to learn more? to our Yoga Education Manager for an immediate response.
Please click on any of the topics below to see more details.
Why choose Octopus Garden for your 200-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 schedule is designed so students can continue to work full or part-time while enrolled in the program.
- 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.
- 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.
The Octopus Garden 200-Hour Fundamentals Program is accredited by Yoga Alliance. Successful graduates of this program can apply for RYT-200 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 costs. We source through distributors offering the lowest cost possible and sell these books at a discounted rate.
When will I find out if I have been accepted into the program?
After your initial application has been received, you find out within a week if you have been accepted (via email).
How proficient in yoga do you have to be to do the program?
We ask that all students have a minimum of two years of practice. Students should have a general level of knowledge regarding asana (physical practice) including sun salutations and basic postures. A regular meditation practice is an asset but not required.
How is the learning structured (why 4 months; why monthly intensives; why Wednesdays)?
We structure the program over four months, with a weekend intensive each month (either full days Friday to Monday, or Friday evenings and full days Saturday and Sunday.) In addition to the weekend intensives, we hold sangha (group discussions and lessons) each Wednesday evening. The schedule is spaced this way to assist you with balancing your life, job, and other commitments with the program requirements. We provide space between each weekend intensive to allow for integration of the content and for you to explore aspects of your education on and off the mat. Lastly, we believe the process of learning and moving through the program is best accessed over time, where genuine connections can be established within the group.
How does this program compare to other 200 hour trainings?
We believe that a clear and thorough foundation of knowledge and a bigger context for which to apply the vastly rich tradition of yoga is the key to continuing the evolution of yoga. 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 decide to take at Octopus Garden is to provide a deep foundation of all aspects of practice in the 200-hour program. By studying all the limbs of classical yoga in depth, conscious alignment, philosophy, biomechanics, and anatomy, the practice comes alive.
For those who wish to pursue teaching, the complete program of study is 500 hours. 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 and also by assigning a peer mentor. Students range in age from early twenties to late sixties – everyone is welcome!
Can I continue to work while I complete this program? Is this program friendly to parents and other full-time caregivers?
The program is designed to be compatible with full- or part-time work or childcare. Weekend intensives are spread out so there is at most one per month, giving time and space to integrate the work and to keep balanced with other priorities. While the program is demanding and requires a substantial commitment, we in turn are committed to helping our students honour their practice both on and off the mat.
What if I miss a class?
Students can miss up to 5% of the scheduled in-class time (which includes both weekends and Wednesday nights) 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 scholarships or work-exchange programs?
We offer a partial scholarship to a deserving candidate to offset tuition for the 200-Hour program.
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 200-Hour Program?
The focus of our 200-hour training is deepening personal practice. 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 200-hour program have gone on to teach right away. We offer a 300-hour program with a focus on teaching skills to follow directly from the 200-hour program. We believe that a minimum of 500 hours of training gives students the confidence and skills they need to be effective teachers.
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.
What You Will Learn
a) deepening one’s personal practice over time while respecting the cycles of change: daily, seasonal, age/gender specific
b) placing physical practice in context of a bigger picture
c) understanding primary movements to develop a base of attention (where tension is held, body type, respiratory patterns, etc.)
d) adapting poses to address individual differences; props, purpose and use
e) awareness of the emotional body
a) understanding of the effects of regular practice through experience
b) ability to access internal bodily sensation
d) kinesthetic awareness
e) ability to align the body to bear weight without collapse
f) recognition of balanced muscular effort in contrast to habitual patterns (of overuse and underuse and misuse) and body blind spots
exploration, analysis, practice, and integration
a) 6 action principles
b) movement of energy
c) variations, modifications
d) contraindications, benefits, effects
e) different styles of practice
f) understanding the 3 elements of tension: skeletal, muscular, and emotional
h) understanding vinyasa and effective sequencing
Functional and Structural Anatomy
a) develop of sense of internal geography
b) self-awareness of the body in motion
c) understanding the importance and usefulness of anatomical education
a) skeletal, muscular, organ systems, nervous system
b) Biomechanics, Physiology. Kinesiology
c) understanding concepts such as isometric, eccentric movements, traction, leverage, etc.
developing a sense of the energetic body
nadis, vayus, chakras, bandhas, doshas, koshas
Philosophy, Sutra Study and Ethics
a) ignite a passion for learning; a genuine curiosity about life and our place in it
b) increased tolerance for ambiguity
c) historical context including Raja/Ashtanga
d) professional obligations and boundaries
a) integration of yamas/niyamas and primary sutras into personal practice
b) professional obligations and boundaries
deepening understanding of context and historical tradition in Yoga
a) names of 35 poses
b) chanting of sutras
exploration, analysis, practice, and integration
understanding different types including contraindications, benefits, effects
exploration, analysis, practice, and integration.
a) personal daily practice
c) understanding of the different styles and models
c) interconnection to organ systems (respiratory, digestive, circulatory), seasonal changes
a) process of learning skills in order to modify responses to different situations and contexts
b) planting seeds to becoming an effective teacher (300-hrs).
a) teaching from a conscious model of values, principles
b) seating an authentic teaching voice; communication skills (verbal, energetic, intuitive, body language, demonstration)
c) definition, principles, and skills of observation of effects of poses in students, in communication, in demonstrating, in adjusting asana, in listening, in creating (sequences, environment, practice space), in connecting and establishing rapport
Schedule for Fall 2016/Winter 2017
Four weekends in October, November, December 2016 and January 2017
October 7th – 9th (Friday 5:00-9:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm)
November 4th – 7th (Friday to Monday 9:00am-5:30pm)
December 9th – 11th (Friday 5:00-9:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm)
January 13th – 16th (Friday to Monday 9:00am-5:30pm)
Wednesday October 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th; November 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th; December 7th, 14th; January 4th and 11th (7:30pm-9:00pm)
Typical Weekend-Intensive Format
- 9:00am to 9:30am – Group check-in, centering and building intention for the day
- 9:30am to 1:00pm – Asana (physical practice and techniques of postures) and relevant anatomy/physiology presentation
- 1:00pm to 2:00pm – Lunch
- 2:00pm to 3:00pm – Philosophy/Sanskrit/Pranayama/Restorative
- 3:00pm to 6:00pm – Meditation/Ethics/Teaching Methodology/Yoga theory and therapeutics/Guest lecturer
Primary faculty may include:
YuMee Chung (Padmani) is a former securities lawyer who left a busy practice to engage more deeply with life. More than a decade later, she is an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher who also offers classes in the Yoga Tune Up method. Lauded in Yoga Journal as one of the teachers to watch in the Jivamukti Yoga lineage, YuMee is on the faculty of a number of yoga teacher training programs and she leads international workshops and retreats.
Morgan Cowie first became fascinated with the yogic tradition in her philosophy undergrad more than a decade ago. Since then, she’s been studying the art and science of this powerful tradition. She began her serious asana, pranayama and meditation study with Pat Harada Linfoot, JP Tamblyn-Sabo and Scott Davis and continues to dive deep in her teaching and training, including speciality areas like restorative, pre- and post-natal and rope wall.
Scott Davis is a renowned yoga teacher and doctor of oriental medicine who approaches yoga as an evolving form and health maintenance system. In addition to his ongoing classes as co-owner of Octopus Garden Yoga Centre and co-director of this program, Scott holds dozens of specialized workshops, international retreats, and operates a full time clinical practice of oriental medicine.
Jesse Enright has studied and practiced under senior instructors in India, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. He was a full-time instructor at the Downward Dog Yoga Centre for five years and completed their teacher training and apprenticeship program in 2000. Jesse has completed additional teacher training programs in Vijnana Yoga with Gioia Irwin and Yoga Therapeutics with Doug Keller, trained in Craniosacral Therapy and is certified in the Muscle, Balance, and Function system of biomechanical re-education. He has developed extensive curriculum and taught alignment and anatomy for teacher training programs since 2003.
Pat Harada Linfoot is the co-owner of Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre and the co-director of this program. She has been teachings classes, workshops, and retreats, and mentoring and training teachers for more than eighteen years. Pat is inspired by the rich, collaborative process of mentoring – of working together to develop a teacher’s unique voice and fullest expression of potential. Her most recent certification was the Nalanda Certificate Program in Contemplative Psychotherapy with Miles Neale.
Lisa Messina has been actively pursuing the art of movement since the day she could walk. Her passion for movement started at the age of 2 in her very first ballet class. She continued on to a professional career in the performing arts for seven years. She has been studying since 2003 under the guidance of Miriane Taylor, Ron Reid, Diane Bruni, David Robson, JP Tamblyn-Sabo, Scott Davis, and Pat Harada Linfoot. She has also studied in depth with well known teachers in the U.S. and in India.
Guest faculty may include:
Diane Bruni has been practicing yoga for almost 40 years and training teachers for nearly two decades. She was the first Ashtanga yoga teacher in Canada, co-founded the Downward Dog Yoga Centre. Her experience has taught her that sustainability comes from diversity. Moving in non-linear pathways has had a profound healing effect and she’s excited to share the evolution of her practice.
Kathrin Brunner is both a skilled yoga teacher and a talented holistic nutrionist. In addition to her training at Octopus Garden (300 hour Advanced Teacher Training and 40 hour Restorative Training), Kathrin completed her studies in Applied Holistic Nutrition and currently works as a practitioner in Octopus Garden’s wellness clinic.
Norman Farb, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where he directs the Regulatory and Affective Dynamics laboratory (www.radlab.zone). Dr. Farb is a fellow at the Mind and Life Institute, and has been the recipient of numerous research awards. He studies the social neuroscience of the self and human emotion, with a focus on how biases in self-representation shape emotional reactions that determine well-being. He is particularly interested in how training practices such as meditation and yoga foster resilience against stress, reducing vulnerability to disorders such as depression. His work has been featured in numerous magazines, including Oprah, Psychology Today, Scientific American, Science Daily, and Shambhala Sun.
Hali Schwartz has been deeply immersed in the world of yoga since she was a small child. It was then that her mother met an Indian guru from the Himalayas who was teaching in Canada and thus began what would be a life long journey into the heart of the yoga practice. In 1988, Hali visited India for the first time and has been studying at the International Meditation Institute (I.M.I) – returning every year since. It was there where she was introduced to both hatha and restorative yoga, Sanskrit, the various Indian scriptures, yoga history, religion and philosophy. Hali also leads International yoga retreats to various destinations in Europe and India.
As an extension of our commitment to your program experience, we have hand-selected assistants, all practicing teachers and alumni of the Octopus Garden Yoga Education Programs.
Heather Cracower creates sequencing for her classes that is intelligent and mindful of safe alignment while always emphasizing the dance of breath with movement. She strives to empower her students within an environment that is grounded, accessible, and of course, fun.
David Good offers rich alignment cues and heartfelt humour and 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.
Jennifer Helland encourages her students to listen in, practice from a place of abundance, open their hearts, and understand that there is no finish line.
Erin Plenert has a deeply personal understanding that yoga can extend far beyond the physical and aims to incorporate yoga into future work as a therapist.
$2900 + tax + materials. Tuition includes unlimited drop-in classes for the duration of the program. Alumni of past 200-Hour programs at Octopus Garden are eligible for a 50% discount.
- Unlimited drop-in classes for the duration of the program
- Private consult with program director to set goals
- Octopus Garden 200-Hour Training Manual
- 10% discount off props, therapist treatments and most workshops for duration of the program
A $500 (+HST) non-refundable deposit will be required upon acceptance of your application. If you pay your deposit before June 30th, you will receive a 3-month pass to Octopus Garden so you can enjoy your practice prior to starting the program.
The remaining balance may be paid:
- In full — one payment of $2400 (+HST) due October 1, 2016.
- In installments — four payments: $334 (HST) on November 1, December 1. 2016 and January 1, 2017
Full tuition payment or the first instalment must be received by October 1, 2016. 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 instalments.
Alumni Share Their Experience
Listen to what alumni have to say about the 200-Hour Teacher Training program:
The teaching training program and practicing intensively with the community at Octopus Garden throughout the year prior was instrumental in bringing my practice to the next level. As I began delving deeper into my own practice, I learned to trust the honesty of my body’s wisdom and intuition. I found deeper awareness of my body’s special intelligence, and felt more grounded in my self than ever. I have also now deeply accepted that our wounds can blossom into our gifts, and learned to respect this process. – EH
The Octopus Garden Teacher training program not only transformed my practice, but it gave me amazing (continuing) insight into the anatomical and energetic workings of the body and a deeply joyful renewal of spirit. This is a life-changing program, probably the most valuable and inspirational 200 hours I ever spent! – EH
The 200-hour program gave me the tools I needed to begin the journey towards becoming a teacher. Covering an inspiring range of subjects, from anatomy to philosophy, this training challenged me to explore unfamiliar perspectives and re-think my own. It also helped me uncover new depths in my personal practice, enhancing my capacity for self-expression and helping me to find my place within a unique and supportive community. – AB
The 200-hour teacher training opened up my life in remarkable and permanent ways. It was an essential step to deepening and enriching my relationships with myself, others, and the world around me. – MC
The 200-hour teacher training helped me tremendously in deepening my own practice and understanding yoga at a much more personal and deeper level – this includes the philosophy of yoga as well as my asana practice. Although it was intense I loved every minute and was sad to see the program finish. I was exposed to so many new ideas and I was able to understand how to take yoga off my mat and into my life. – RM
There is a yoga quote that was given to me a long time ago by B.K.S Iyengar: “Body is the bow, asana is the arrow, and the soul is the target" I understand this completely now and will cherish it that much more because of the program. Much Gratitude. – AM
The Fundamentals program is wonderful. If you are not certain you want to teach, but really want to deepen your practice and immerse yourself in learning, it is the perfect option. Octopus Garden is a warm and welcoming community of people who will support you on your journey- whatever path you choose to take! – JK
The course acted as a mirror reflecting the four immeasurables (Equanimity, Loving-kindness, Appreciative Joy, and Compassion) within each of us. The teachers and students brought passion and breathed light into our shared environment which become a blissful space to interact and open up. – UG
The training was what I hoped it would be and more. Scott and Pat are amazing teachers and inspiring leaders. Jesse is so knowledgeable and enthusiastic! The whole package was smart and intuitive. The guest speakers were wonderful. The journey was worthwhile and highly recommended. I feel more in touch with myself and my community. The path(s) that have opened up to me are optimistic and plentiful. I will continue to grow from the seeds this training planted in my heart for years to come. – LZ
The 200-hour program changed my practice on and off the mat. I am so grateful to have been a part of Octopus Garden’s teacher training. There was a beautiful balance of asana to meditation to pranayama to philosophy. My original intention for the program was to deepen my practice. During the course of the five months, I found that so-called easy poses became more challenging (in a good way!), and that poses that I had thought to be challenging before were now possible. An incredible feeling. I also learned that every pose looks different on each body. Meditation became a daily practice, and yoga is infusing its way into my every day life. Thank you Pat and Scott! – RK
And please read this blog article, written by Kate Vincent, a recent graduate from the program.