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.
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 training programs?
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 decided 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?
The sizes 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 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 honor 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 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.
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 the 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 Spring 2018
- Four weekends in February, March, April, and May 2018
- February 23rd to 25th (Friday 5:00-9:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm)
- March 23rd to 26th (Friday to Monday 9:00am-5:30pm)
- April 27th to 30th (Friday to Monday 9:00am-5:30pm)
- May 25th to 27th (Friday 5:00-9:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm)
- Wednesdays, February 21st to May 23rd (7:30pm-9:00pm)
- Students are expected to take 3 drop-in classes per week for a total of 39 during the program
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
Pat Harada Linfoot is the co-owner and director of Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre. She views the practice of yoga as an opportunity for physical, psychological, and spiritual inquiry and with compassion, generosity, and humour, she encourages students to maximize their potential. Themes from eastern philosophy, psychology, and everyday experience have been informing Pat’s teaching for the past 20 years. She is devoted to exploring the intersection of asana, restorative, meditation, and therapeutic movement practices as a conduit to healing and optimal health. Pat continues to teach classes and workshops, lead retreats, and is inspired by the rich, collaborative process of mentoring—of working together to develop a teacher’s unique voice and fullest expression of potential.
YuMee Chung 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 Poolehas 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.
Lisa Messina creates a safe place for people to deeply listen and courageously dive into the true nature of being. A dancer from the age of three, Lisa’s life work has been exploring and sharing her passion for movement through a broad range of modalities, including dance, Pilates, and yoga. A persistent seeker, she unites a deep understanding for the ancient traditions of the yoga lineage with her research in progressive movement modalities. Lisa is currently engaged in her work as a certified yoga teacher and teacher-trainer recognized by the Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500, YACEP), and is an international presenter and retreat host.
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 lifelong 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.
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.
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.
Jennifer Helland is delighted to assist in Octopus Garden’s 200-hour teacher training program. She has been teaching yoga for more than a decade and is excited to share what she’s learned along the way. Jennifer is forever curious about what unfolds when one dives into their body and breath. She hopes her role in this teacher training is one of support with smiling eyes and a soft heart.
Kathrin Brunner is a Toronto-based nutritionist and yoga teacher. In addition to her nutrition counselling practice at Octopus Garden, she is a faculty member at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition and a recipe developer for Clean Eating Magazine. Kathrin began teaching yoga in 2009 after training at Sivananda Vedanta. She continued her training at Octopus Garden (300-hour Advanced Teaching, Restorative Yoga and Functional Movement) and at Body Harmonics (Pilates). Kathrin has a passion for holistic living and loves to share that in the clinic, the classroom and the studio.
Taryn Diamond is a mama, yoga teacher, and lifelong student of the practice. She is an energetic and inclusive instructor, drawing from her studies in asana, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, meditation, and yoga philosophy. Taryn’s home base is Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre, where she completed over 500 hours of Yoga Education. Here, she met her mentors for whom she is ever-grateful: Pat Harada Linfoot, Scott Davis, Jeff Warren and Hali Schwartz. As faculty in yoga education programs, her workshops include pranayama, mantra and mudra, and yoga nidra. Taryn aims to guide students in a practice that’s both safe and challenging, peppered with the insights of yoga philosophy and a dash of humour.
Heather Cracower is a registered physiotherapist whose holistic approach to care encompasses injury prevention, recovery and rehabilitation, as well as overall wellness. She is also a certified Yoga teacher, Pilates teacher, Medical Acupuncture Provider, and Thai massage practitioner. Within a light hearted and accessible environment, she weaves elements of these practices into both her teaching and her treatments. Over the years it has become abundantly clear to her that it is the combination of mindfulness and integrated, functional strength that creates the magical glue that facilitates enduring change. The kind that not only sticks, but makes sense.
$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 consultation with the program director to set goals
- Octopus Garden 200-Hour Training Manual
- 10% discount off props, therapist’s treatments, and most workshops for the duration of the program
A $500 (+HST) non-refundable deposit will be required upon acceptance of your application. Beginning November 15th, when you pay your deposit 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 January 23, 2018.
- In installments — four payments: $334 (+HST) ($834-$500 deposit) on January 23rd, and then $834 (+HST) on February 23rd, March 23rd, and April 23rd, 2018.
Full tuition payment or the first installment must be received by January 23, 2018. 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.
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 a deeper awareness of my body’s special intelligence and felt more grounded in myself 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 became a blissful space to interact and open up. – UG
And please read this blog article, written by Kate Vincent, a recent graduate from the program.