In recent years, the yoga teacher training industry in the United States has exploded. Each year, thousands of new teachers are qualified through Yoga Alliance, helping keep this booming industry afloat. There are dozens, if not thousands, of yoga studios in each of the fifty states that offer yoga teacher training programs.
However, ten programs rise above the rest, in relation to their unique qualities, expertise, history, acclaimed teachers, and more.
Commune Yoga is the Seattle-based yoga studio founded by international yoga teachers and partners, Patrick Beach and Carling Harps. Patrick is most known for his intensely physical style of yoga that emphasizes handstands and inversions. Conversely, Carling brings a more restorative and yin style of yoga to the team. Together they have created a home base in Seattle that draws yogis from across the world.
Program: The 200-hour Awakening Yoga teacher training yoga is held at the Commune Yoga studio in Seattle, and focuses on “stoking a fire” that burns in all of us. The training involves the more traditional aspects – such as sutra study and yoga history – as well as encourages students to explore creative styles of sequencing. The program is non-residential, meaning students must source their own accommodation. Lessons run from 11am-5:30pm daily for two weeks.
What we like: Students will learn to teach Patrick and Carling’s trademark Solar Sequence, and how to adapt this for their own classes. This sequence draws on the traditional sun salutations but adds a modern twist, inspired by the couple’s simultaneously dynamic and therapeutic styles of practice.
Address: Commune Yoga, 313 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA 98105
Located in a gorgeous and secluded property in Massachusetts, the Kripalu Center is a beacon for yoga and wellness education in America. Kripalu is highly regarded as the first and only North American yoga retreat that has transitioned from the guru-disciple structure (from its origins in the 1960s) to its current structure as an educational wellness retreat center. Today, students from all around the world flock to Kripalu for its world class lectures, retreats, and yoga teacher trainings.
Program: At Kripalu, students can enroll in a variety of yoga teacher training programs ranging from the typical 200-hour teacher training up to 1000-hours, to Ayurvedic and therapeutic yoga trainings. The 200-hour training program usually runs for a month. Students will live in the luxurious Kripalu estate and eat meals together during the course of training.
What we like: A certification from Kripalu is comparable to a degree from the Ivy League of yoga. Join an alumni base of over 2,200 fellow Kripalu graduates who teach traditional yoga grounded in Eastern philosophy and Western health sciences.
Cost: $2,700 plus accommodation
Address: Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, 57 Interlaken Road, Stockbridge, MA 01262
Moksha Yoga, the largest yoga studio in the Midwest, is a traditional yoga studio that offers both 200-hour and 500-hour yoga teacher training programs in Chicago. This studio takes the history of lineage of yoga very seriously, and each training is infused with an equal amount of theory and practice. Students will learn not only how to teach yoga, but how it has been taught for thousands of years.
Program: The yoga teacher training program at Moksha Yoga is a one day per week, year-long program, best suited for those who already live in the area. It is divided into three main parts: learning yoga and teaching skills (5 months), practice teaching (4 months), and reflection and thesis project (3 months). Students will learn about yoga history, philosophy, theory, asanas, meditation, and more. Modules are taught by Moksha Yoga’s founder and master yoga teacher, Daren Friesen.
What we like: At Moksha Yoga, an experiential learning approach is taken, in which students have the opportunity to apprentice and observe master teachers. The curriculum more than meets the Yoga Alliance requirements.
Cost: Contact [email protected] for pricing
Address: Moksha Yoga, 2528 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
In the heart of downtown Miami Beach you’ll find a small yoga studio with a big heart. This is the Miami Life Center, an award winning yoga studio founded by husband and wife duo (and internationally famous yoga teachers) Tim Feldman and Kino MacGregor. Together, the two have created a unique haven that draws Ashtangis and Ashtanga yoga teacher wanna be’s from across the United States.
Program: This one month Ashtanga Practitioner’s Intensive is just that – intense. At the end of the rigorous training, students will come out with a deeper knowledge of themselves, a respect for this ancient practice, and a Yoga Alliance approved certification. The students’ days run from 7am until 5:30pm, including pranayama, mysore practice, chanting, philosophy, and vinyasa style practice.
What we like: Both Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldman were trained in Ashtanga under Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois, in Mysore, India. Students who train at Miami Life Center are receiving the most genuine, authentic, and traditional teacher training in Ashtanga Yoga that is available in the United States.
Address: Miami Life Center, 736 Sixth Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139
For those in the Midwest, one of the best traditional and alignment-based training programs on offer is Hilltop Yoga. This special yoga studio and teacher training program has been operating for over a decade, with locations in both Lansing, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois.
Program: The 200-hour teacher training programs at Hilltop Yoga run for nine weeks, and include training Friday-Sunday, with individually chosen classes throughout the week. Students are instructed in a facilitative manner, to promote deep relationships and open communication. Students will learn anatomy, physiology, meditation, pranayama, chanting, as well as participate in Sutra study groups, daily asana classes, and teaching practicums. Observations, practice teaching, and private lessons are also included.
What we like: What sets this teacher training program apart is its founder and primary teacher – Hilaire Lockwood. Hilaire, who trained at Yoga Works in Los Angeles under acclaimed yoga teacher Maty Ezraty, has been teaching yoga for 29 years. Her own practice is founded in tradition, lineage, and her deeply personal experiences of loss and life that she infuses into each class she teaches.
Cost: $2,870 (Lansing), $3,000 (Chicago) – neither include accommodation, which is arranged by students
Address: 107 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave, Lansing, MI 48906
1222 W. Grace St. Chicago, IL 60613
7 Centers Yoga is a premier yoga teacher training institute located in stunning, spiritual, and mystical Sedona, Arizona. Here, students can learn in a holistic training setting that has been in operation for over twenty years.
Program: 7 Centers Yoga runs a wide variety of teacher trainings, including 200-hour Hatha Yoga, 300-hour Yoga Wellness, 300-hour Advanced Immersion, 300-hour Advanced Weekend Training with Therapeutic Emphasis, 200-hour Kundalini Yoga, and 100-hour Children’s Yoga. The programs are modeled in the style of traditional ashrams are each curriculum is approved by Yoga Alliance.
What we like: In addition to receiving world class yoga instruction, students at 7 Centers Yoga are also treated to a full Ayurvedic kitchen and menu for the length of training.
Cost: Starts from $3,295
Address: 7 Centers Yoga, 2115 Mountain Road, Sedona, AZ 86336
The Love Your Brain foundation takes a unique and therapeutic approach to yoga practice and yoga teacher training. This foundation focuses on improving quality of life and functioning for people living with traumatic brain injuries. Love Your Brain qualified yoga teachers will learn how to implement the evidence-based six week yoga program specifically designed for brain injury recovery.
Program: The Love Your Brain training is a three day 18-hour training appropriate for people who are already qualified as yoga teachers, health professionals, caregivers, or just interested in this topic. However, only already certified yoga teachers will receive the credential to go forth and teach a Love Your Brain yoga program. Students will learn about traumatic brain injury, neuro recovery, how to sequence yoga classes appropriately, and more.
What we like: This training will guide yoga teachers to connect with their local brain injury community, and bring the healing powers of yoga to a population who can greatly benefit from it.
Address: Multiple locations across the United States. Often hosted at local studios.
Strala Yoga is the famed studio in New York City, founded by internationally acclaimed yoga teacher Tara Stiles. The phrase strala itself refers to revealing the optimal expression of the self. Strala trainings are offered online and across the United States.
Program: The Strala teacher training program is usually offered in an intensive, residential, retreat style, held in luxury resorts across the United States. It typically lasts just over a week and involves full days of lectures and practice sessions taught directly by Tara Stiles.
What we like: Strala is not your typical yoga practice. This style of modern yoga draws on traditions including tai chi and qi gong, to create a flowing movement pattern. Trainings also focus on leadership skills, to set teachers up to be more than just movement instructors, but also life coaches.
Cost: Starts from $1,550
Address: Various locations across the United States
One of the most respected yoga teacher training programs in the United States, Yoga Works has trained over 15,000 yoga teachers in the 30 years they have been operating. Their curriculum is rated five stars by Yoga Alliance, and students will be led along a journey to deeper personal awareness, as well as a new profession.
Program: The 200-hour yoga teacher training at Yoga Works has been flexibly designed to work for a variety of personalities and schedules. Students have the option to enroll in a four week long course (offered on weekdays), a 3-6 month long course (offered on weekends), or a 4-5 week long destination retreat training. Yoga Works’ original and flagship location is in Los Angeles, but they offer yoga teacher trainings in other locales across California, the United States, and the world.
What we like: Yoga Works’ yoga teacher training courses are unparalleled in the United States when it comes to expertise. Their yoga teachers are regularly featured in world class publications and win awards.
Cost: Starts from $3,100
Address: Various locations across California and the United States
Yoga Fit offers training programs that are specialized in delivering trauma sensitive yoga to people living with PTSD. These training programs are appropriate for already qualified yoga teachers who would like to advance their education, as well as health professionals. Students will learn to create a welcoming, inclusive, and trauma sensitive atmosphere in all of their classes.
Program: The Yoga Fit training course is built on foundations of sports science and body mechanics, combined with the deep history of yoga. Various teacher training programs are offered, including 100-hours or 140-hours, one day sessions, and more. Each includes instruction in PTSD and traumatic brain injury, the physiology of the vagus nerve, therapeutic breathing techniques, heart rate variability and its impact from trauma, and much more. The length of the program depends on the route signed up for, and ranges from one day workshops to 5+ year training programs.
What we like: This yoga teacher training program is a much-needed qualification for any yoga teacher who would like to work in the mental health fields, emergency response, or the healthcare system. It offers a deeply scientific background on PTSD and specific ways yoga can help the mind and body heal.
Address: Various locations across the United States