Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of yoga is taught?
This is an eclectic program that draws upon and integrates the best elements several different yoga styles and lineages. Rather than training you to duplicate a specific system or style, we offer you an environment and resources to develop a solid foundation in the art and science of teaching yoga in a way that is designed for the student(s) in front of you in a class. We focus on learning to understand what is happening with the real students in front of you so that you can give them appropriate guidance. In doing so, we draw from multiple styles, including Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, Anusara, Yoga Therapy, Tantra and various innovative flow styles as well as yoga philosophy, traditional concepts of yoga energetics, and functional anatomy, bio-mechanics, and kinesiology.
As you explore this and other yoga teacher training programs, bear in mind that ALL forms of physical yoga, regardless of style, brand or lineage – are Hatha Yoga; Hatha is the umbrella over all the physical yogas, from Ashtanga and Bikram to Power and Svaroopa.
This program encourages you to explore yoga in all its richness with the most open mind possible. Our approach is non–dogmatic, non-sectarian, and is not in any way part of a religion. We encourage you to think, to feel, to be creative, and to contribute to the ongoing creative evolution of yoga.
If you are looking for a purist approach that treats yoga as a religion or tells you exactly how to do everything, this program is not for you!
What kind of yoga will this program prepare me to teach?
This program prepares you to teach yoga, not a style or system, but yoga. Our graduates are now teaching everything from Ashtanga to Gentle Yoga, Anusara to Pre-Natal, Power Vinyasa to Acro, Yoga Therapy to Relax Deeply. Approximately half of our graduates describe their classes as “vinyasa flow.”
How and when do I apply to the program?
Complete and submit the application as soon as you are inspired to enter our program. We will immediately begin giving you support in the form of guidance, mentoring, and sharing program resources with you.
How do I get started?
As soon as your application is accepted you will receive a formal welcome letter that includes the reading list for the program. You are strongly encouraged to complete some of the readings prior to starting the course. You are also strongly encouraged to stay in your yoga practice, stay as healthy as can be, and invite your friends and family to be supportive of your commitment to doing this program.
I read Mark’s books. Is this what you teach?
Mark’s books are among several resources we tap into throughout the trainings, and the trainings go far beyond what is contained in the books. The books convey the open-minded and exploratory attitude that Mark brings to the trainings and that he encourages among all participants, and they set a standard for comprehensive professional development as a highly competent yoga teacher.
What prior experience or level of practice is required for admission?
This program recognizes and respects that people come to yoga and to the teaching path from a vast array of backgrounds and with widely varying intentions and conditions. Yoga is neither a competitive not a comparative practice, but rather a practice of personal self-transformation. As such, this program welcomes all levels of students. While our focus is on making you the best teacher you can be, our process starts from where you are and supports you in taking your practice, skills, and knowledge to a deeper level. We strongly encourage you to have at least one year of regular yoga practice prior to entering the program. If you have any concerns about this, please discuss it with Mark.
How can you have different levels of students participating in the same program?
Just like in all public yoga classes where we appreciate and work with the diverse students who are there, in the yoga teacher training we take diversity as a strength as it gives us the opportunity to learn how to work with a variety of student abilities and conditions.
What is the difference between the 200–, 300–, and 500–hour programs?
What is the difference between the 200–, 300–, and 500–hour programs?
Completion of the 200–Hour program confers the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Certificate. This is the basic teaching certificate that is recognized by Yoga Alliance and signifies that you are prepared to teach yoga. This qualifies you to register with Yoga Alliance as a RYT-200.
Completion of the 500–Hour program confers the Advanced Yoga Teacher Certificate. This is the advanced teaching certificate that is recognized by Yoga Alliance and signifies that you are prepared to teach yoga with the deeper knowledge and skills developed through more extensive studies. This qualifies you to register with Yoga Alliance as a RYT–500.
The +300–Hour program is for participants who already have a 200–Hour certificate and wish to have a 500–Hour certification.
How much time will I need to study outside the scheduled program hours?
This varies depending upon your level of commitment to your studies and your reading skills. Every week (and in preparation for the first sessions) you will receive a reading assignment. The amount of time this reading takes will depend on the assignment and you. Most of the readings are done in advance of the course and within the first three weeks.
How long will it take me to complete my certification?
This depends primarily on you.
For the 200-Hour Certification, you can take the Certification Exam immediately following completion of either the 21-Day Intensive or the 9-Month training.
For the +300/500-Hour Certification, you can take the Certification Exam as soon as you completed the 300 hours.
What is the certification process?
First, complete all the required hours. Second, take and pass the take–home certification exam. That's it!
Will I be able to register with Yoga Alliance?
Yes, we are a Registered Yoga School (RYS) with three authorizations from Yoga Alliance: RYS 200, RYS 300, RYS 500). Once you successfully complete the certification exam, you will receive your certificate (Certified Yoga Teacher, CYT), which you can submit to Yoga Alliance to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200, RYT 300, RYT 500).
Is there credit for yoga teacher training hours completed in another program?
Yes. We honor other credible 200-hour certifications in satisfaction of the prequiresite for the +300/500-Hour training.
Can I apply my 200–hour training from another school to your +300-Hour program?
Yes. It must be from a credible teacher training program.
What is the maximum time I can take to complete the certification program?
You can take up to 1 year to complete the 200–hour program and up to 2 years to complete the +300/500–hour program.
What support is available during this entire process?
You can always contact Mark directly to discuss whatever questions or concerns you may have. Once the course is underway, we do a lot to foster connections among participants, giving you built–in mutual support system. We also connect you with scores of past participants who have completed this program. In addition, Mark will be meeting with you individually to mentor you at different times throughout the program, including after you have completed your certification and you are entering the world of teaching yoga.
Will you assist me in my career development as a yoga teacher?
Yes. First and foremost, we will ensure that you receive every opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to become an excellent yoga teacher. Second, you will receive two hours of dedicated guidance from Mark in assessing the best options for your immediate career development, starting with an assessment of your current preparation, interests, connections, and most promising options. Third, you will receive thorough guidance in how to navigate the business and profession of yoga, covering everything from crafting yoga yoga resume, getting early teaching experience, developing relationships with studios and other yoga venues, getting insurance, negotiating compensation, and ways of sustaining yourself in the world as a yoga teacher.
Where can I stay if I come to Santa Cruz for the 3–week course?
Santa Cruz is a major tourist destination on California’s central coast and the home to a major university (University of California at Santa Cruz) as well as Cabrillo College, Five Branches University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Twin Lakes College of Massage, and a number of other institutes and centers of learning and alternative health. We have a large rental housing market, youth hostels, many rooms to rent, vacation rentals, as well as hotels and motels.
"When someone mentions the gracefulness of the night sky, climb up on the roof and dance and say, like this?"
200-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification Program
The 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training can be completed in either:
- A weekend format (one weekend per month for nine months), or
- An intensive format (21 consecutive days).
The content of each format is the same.
The tuition fee is $2,750.
+300/500-Hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Certification
Fulfilled by completing the 300 hours of advanced yoga studies (if you have a prior 200-hour certification). You are welcome to apply based on prior completion of another Yoga Alliance 200-Hour program. The tuition fee is $2,750.