Frequently asked questions
What sets the Living Yoga Teacher Training Program apart from other programs?
• Affordability: Many students say our program is one of the most reasonably priced programs available. It is important to us to provide excellent quality at a price people can afford.
• Personal Attention: During the 9-day residential intensive, we typically have a 7-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, so students have plenty of opportunity to have their questions answered.
• Advising: From the day the student enrolls in the program one of our faculty (Charles, or Ellen) is assigned as an advisor to work individually with the student during the entire program. This relationship continues after the student graduates, helping to ensure that her/his transition to teaching yoga goes smoothly.
• Eclectic Style: The Living Yoga Program does not endorse any one style of yoga over another. We teach what we call “non-denominational” hatha yoga. We work with aspiring teachers to find their own style, to help them reach their full potential within a single style, or to blend multiple styles into their own synthesis of yoga. We encourage self expression so that teachers learn to give of themselves rather than just reciting what someone else told them.
• Accommodating: The Living Yoga Program is designed to accommodate the needs of our students who do not live near Austin. Many of our students are from as far away as Canada, England and even New Zealand. Our program requires participants to travel to Austin, Texas for only one 9-day residential intensive. The remaining requirements can be satisfied in the student's own community and by remote instruction, working with their advisors.
• Ongoing Peer Support: Some of the toughest challenges faced by an aspiring yoga teacher may occur after graduation from teacher training. This is why we encourage our students to form friendships in the program and to learn to listen to each other, share ideas, and support each other throughout the teacher training program and long after the intensive is over.
• Setting: The 9-day residential intensive at the Radha Madhav Dham ashram, near Austin, Texas, provides participants with a small taste of India. Students experience immersion in a slower pace of life. The daily rhythms of the ashram help us to achieve a calm, focused mind and an open heart. A large part of the success of our program can be directly attributed to the beauty and peace of the surroundings.
• Diversity: The Living Yoga Program welcomes people of every faith tradition, race, body type, ethnicity, gender, physical ability or disability, yogic style, and more. Everyone is welcome!
• Practice Teaching: Teachers learn to teach yoga by teaching yoga! We create a very safe and respectful environment where students get to teach to their peers in carefully crafted, daily “practicums.” Students tell us that this one of the most beneficial parts of the program. Here, you can test out things you want to teach in the real world, have fun, be experiential, and receive loving, gentle, insightful feedback.
• Flexibility: Students and teachers attend the Living Yoga Program for a variety of reasons: to obtain certification as a yoga teacher, to deepen their personal practice, to get a refresher on skills and knowledge, to immerse themselves in a yogic environment, to have nine days of personal practice and personal reflection time.
Do I have to complete the Living Yoga Program Modules in order, starting with Module 1?
No, the modules can be done in any order. In order to receive credit, you need to have already applied to the Living Yoga Program and been accepted into the program. Then, you can begin completing the modules in whatever order works best for you and your schedule. For more information about the modules, go to Program Overview: http://livingyogaprogram.com/program.htm
Is room and board included in the over-all costs?
The Living Yoga Program course fee includes the following:
All of your meals/food/snacks.
A workbook with materials and handouts from each class, including in depth pages about the asanas taught during the course.
Mentorship by one of the founders/directors of the program for the entire time you are in the program, and continuing after you’ve graduated.
Access to our Living Yoga Program proprietary website for solely for LYP student which has lots of great information.
Access to our Living Yoga Program proprietary Social Media site to stay in touch with class mates and meet other LYP students and grads from all across the globe.
The course fee does not include your room, which is additional. The ashram offers a basic, comfortable 4-person room with shared bath (think college dorm) for $65/night. Two-person and private rooms are also available, either with a private bath or a shared bath. Please consult our registration form to see our rates in detail: http://livingyogaprogram.com/application.htm
How much yoga experience do I need before signing up for the program?
We do not require any previous yoga teaching experience prior to enrolling in the LYP program. However, prior to attending the LYP 9-day residential intensive we do require that you have the equivalent of six month's yoga experience (2 classes a week for 6 months = 50 hours), preferably in a classroom setting with a yoga teacher. These hours can include attending yoga conferences, workshops, retreats, and private lessons. The reasoning behind this request is that having some familiarity with the yoga postures enhances deeper-level learning during the intensive. It will also be easier because you are adding to your depth of understanding, rather than just being introduced to information. We understand that there are circumstances, such as living in a remote area, where you might not be able to find a yoga class. In that situation, we will review extenuating circumstances on an individual basis. We will work with you to find alternative solutions such as practicing with yoga videos, or possibly accepting prior experience with teachers from disciplines similar to yoga. In order to get a broad base of experience, we recommend that wherever possible, students consider exploring different styles of yoga, studios, and teachers prior to the intensive.
I'm not very flexible and I'm overweight. Can I still attend the teacher training?
Yoga is not about being flexible, young or thin. If you look at the photos on our web site, you can see that students all are ages and sizes with varying degrees of flexibility. You do not have to be flexible, nor do you have to be a life long 'yogi' to teach! What is important is having the desire to help others learn to love yoga, heal themselves, and take their lives to new places through the practice of yoga. It is also important that you have the passion to want to continue studying, learning, and growing both personally and as a yoga teacher.
What type of yoga is taught in the LYP curricula?
Each of our instructors come from different backgrounds and bring all of their previous experience to their teachings. The Living Yoga Program draws heavily from the Iyengar tradition for alignment, however, our program is eclectic, and we do draw freely from other traditions when teaching asana. We also do not try to make every graduate teach asana in the same way with the exact same alignment. As long as they are teaching safely, we give our students freedom to find their own style. Our focus is to help our teachers to decide who and what and where they want to teach, and then to take the next step towards that vision. Once we know where they want to take their teaching, then we can help them develop their own 'voice'.
What type of yoga can we teach after the certification is completed?
LYP teaches a basic foundation of Hatha yoga. Most of our staff and many of our students do not choose to affiliate with any one particular style, and instead choose the more generic term of either Hatha or Eclectic yoga to reflect their independent approach to teaching. This is the most popular category of yoga teacher in the US. Those students who wish to teach in a more specific style need to be sure that they follow the accepted guidelines of that tradition which may mean further certifications. Teachers who wish to teach in a particular style, but do not want to get certified, or be affiliated with that tradition often say "Hatha Yoga inspired by...." Many teachers choose a description rather than name a particular style... 'hot yoga' or 'yoga flow', are examples. This way they do not need to affiliate with, or get certified by an organization. Some of our graduates who wish to be affiliated with the LYP style of training have started to call their style Sangha yoga. Sanga is the word for community, and in our style we embrace all styles of yoga, seeing value in the diversity.
I want to teach a vigorous athletic yoga class; will your program teach me how to do that?
The Living Yoga Program will give you the skills 'from the ground up' so you can teach a safe, conscientious, well organized/instructed yoga class where the students feel cared about and safe and will want to return for future classes! The skills you learn in our program can be transferred to any style of yoga--rigorous, very gentle, or somewhere in between - as well as other learning environments (personal training, business, home life, etc.)
What if I cannot pay off the entire tuition all at once? Do you have a payment plan or a work study program?
The only money you need to pay to enroll in the program is the $150 application fee. This reserves a place for you in the training, allows you to begin the self-study packets, and starts your relationship with your advisor. All tuition and accommodation fees must be paid in full 31 days prior to the start of the intensive. We accept checks and money orders. We allow you to set your own payment plan, and we do not charge finance charges/interest when you pay it off over time! Some people like to send us $100 or $200/month up until the due date, others like to pay it off all at once. It is your choice, whatever works best with your budget. At this time, we do not have a work study program.
I live in Austin, can I stay at home instead of staying in the ashram? Does that mean I have to stay at the ashram the whole time?
The 9-day residential intensive is a residential program; every other part of the Living Yoga Program can be completed in your home city. Even if you live in Austin, you are asked to reside at the ashram for the 9-day residential intensive along with the other program participants. Past participants have told us, and we can confirm: staying at Radha Madhav Dham for the nine days of training is what makes the experience deeply meaningful and transformational. It is what distinguishes our program from most of the rest. We feel that the time at Radha Madhav Dham is priceless: being in community with the other students, staff, and devotees; taking time away from your busy life just for /you/ to grow in yourself; diving into the beautiful heart-opening environment (Bhakti Yoga) of Radha Madhav Dham. It is for these reasons that we have created this residential retreat/intensive, and it is our policy that all students overnight at Radha Madhav Dham for the duration. Having said that, we do offer one 'free' night off, Tuesday night, when you could either remain at Radha Madhav Dham or go into Austin for dinner or to meet family or friends. We encourage you to look at this as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity to invest in yourself, in your personal development, in your needs. Having done that, we feel you will go back into your family with even more love, energy, and clarity.
Does this program focus primarily on the physical and "fitness" aspects of yoga?
We will spend many hours discussing the physical elements of Hatha Yoga. We will go over the core asanas in depth: breaking them down step by step, discussing contraindications and benefits, suggesting warm ups to do before the asanas and counter poses to do after them. In addition, you will have time to practice hatha yoga in our morning practice sessions, and to teach and participate as a student in the mini yoga classes that comprise our daily teaching practicums. However, the Living Yoga Program provides much more depth and breadth than this, so you can expect to learn about pranayama (breathing), Hinduism, classroom management, the business of yoga, subtle energy, meditation, and many other topics. So please come prepared to open and broaden your mind and heart!
Will my stay at Radha Madhav Dham ashram conflict with my religious beliefs?
How one chooses to worship God is an individual and personal matter. Anyone of any faith tradition is welcome, and all faith traditions are honored and respected. Participants of any in-residence program at Radha Madhav Dham are always welcome to participate in the devotional programs; however, this is an invitation, not a requirement. The atmosphere at Radha Madhav Dham is peaceful and uniquely conducive for those wishing to practice their own personal prayer or meditation. If you have any concerns that your visit to Radha Madhav Dham might conflict with your religion, please consult your family pastor, priest or rabbi.
I've only had Bikram yoga classes, will that prepare me for the training?
Although many people love doing Bikram yoga, and get a lot of benefit from it, it may not be the best preparation for students entering our teacher training. This is because Bikram focuses on the same 26 postures, done in the same way, each time. Fellow LYP graduates who were Bikram-only trained prior to attending the 9-day intensive, said they did not feel as prepared as they would have liked. They recommended that all LYP students have exposure to other styles of yoga prior to attending the intensive. There are thousands of yoga postures, and hundreds of other styles of yoga, such as Iyengar, Viniyoga, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Kripalu, etc. All of these are forms of hatha yoga. Our hope is that students will have at least 60 hours of hatha yoga prior to attending the LYP intensive, representing a variety of styles, teachers and studios. Students can then determine what they do and do not like, and what they might want to incorporate into their own individualized teaching style.
I like an athletic style of yoga. Will this training be challenging enough for me?
We feel confident that you will find the LYP intensive to be challenging to you mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. In terms of physical challenge, our focus is to help our students become better teachers, so although we do work with students to improve their form, we really emphasize helping students to learn how to teach more effectively. While some of our students find the early morning asana classes to be very challenging physically. If you have a strong, athletic yoga practice you will find the morning classes to be more refreshing than challenging. This is a good thing, as you will need all of your energy for the rest of the day.
Can you accommodate special dietary needs?
From our wonderful chef Jo who has helped us with retreats for years and has received only positive reviews: "All the food is vegetarian. I never use MSG as a seasoner and do not use products that contain it. I hardly ever use any sugar, most of the time using honey if I need a sweetener. As for the no wheat, no gluten and no dairy...there are always options at ALL the meals that fit these requirements. However, the more restrictive someone's diet is, the more I recommend that they try to bring some snack items to help. Thanks. jo"
I work out regularly, so I am in good shape, but I have only practiced yoga occasionally. I really enjoy it, but have never joined a weekly or daily class or learned many of the poses, nor mastered any of them. I guess you would call me a beginner. Do I qualify to attend your program, or if I should familiarize myself more with yoga in general before beginning your course?
You are welcome to join the Living Yoga Program now, but it would be helpful for you to have some basic knowledge of some asanas (poses) prior to attending your first Module. We teach things like the 12-step sun salutation (and all of the individual asanas included in it), Warrior 1 & 2, side angle, Triangle, Tree, cow face, seated forward bend, etc….
Do you have access to yoga classes in your town? If so, it would be ideal for you to attend them. Even if the teacher is not the best, you can still learn a lot. Plus, if you are doing the Yoga Register Track, you can count the hours you spend in class toward your certification!
If you do not have classes you can attend, you could start a home practice using the book Yoga The Iyengar Way (by B.K.S. Iyengar) as a reference or utilizing tools from www.yogajournal.com (they have videos you can watch – Jason Crandell is a good instructor). You may count your reading time and studies toward your self study.
Once you submit your application to LYP, and you have been accepted into our program, one of the Founders/Directors of the program will be assigned to you as a personal advisor for the duration of the program and can visit more in depth with you about your individual situation to help you navigate.
I am in the military and we have education benefits. Does your school work with the VA or any of the military tuition assistance programs?
Thank you for your service in the military! We receive so few requests to do this, and the paperwork is so extensive, that we have not pursued working with the VA or other military tuition assistance programs.