200hr yoga teacher training? What is going on?

Written by Dr Michael de Manincor

If you are interested in doingor offering a 200hr yoga teacher training course, here are some things you might like to consider. I’ll share some of my thoughts and experience from being involved in teacher training for the past 25 years and at the end of this article I have recommended a relevant and very interesting podcast with J Brown.

How the 200hr Training Model Evolved

200hr yoga teacher training courses have become very popular. It is interesting to know that this training model evolved from what was happening in the fitness industry in America about 30 years ago. 200hr training courses were primarily intended for people who were already qualified fitness instructors and wanted to include yoga in their classes or gyms. Upon completion they would be known as Yoga “Instructors” – fitness instructors teaching some yoga postures. At the same time, to become a Yoga “Teacher”, it was recognised that 200hrs training was simply not enough, and a minimum of 500hrs of training was required.

The difference between a yoga instructor and a yoga teacher, and the original intention of doing 200 or 500hr courses was soon lost or forgotten, and more and more yoga schools started offering 200hr training courses for people to become yoga teachers quickly. All this happened with Yoga Alliance in America several decades ago and has since become the accepted norm in many countries.

More recently, Yoga Alliance introduced registration of 300hr courses, to bridge the gap between 200 and 500hr courses. Currently, in America, schools can offer registered courses that are 200hr, 300hr, 200 + 300hr, or straight up 500hr.

The Evolution of Yoga Teaching Training Standards in Australia

In Australia, soon after all this was happening in America, senior yoga teachers and teacher trainers came together to form the Yoga Teachers Association of Australia (YTAA), now known as Yoga Australia, and agreed that 200hrs was not enough training to become a yoga teacher. An initial standard of 320 hrs, over a minimum of 1 year was established. This soon became 350 hrs (half way between 200 & 500). I was President of Yoga Australia when this was established.        

Confusion Over Yoga Alliance ‘Certification’

Not surprisingly, people soon became very confused or simply were not aware of all this. Many people from Australia were going to America (or other more exotic places) to complete a 200hr course, and returning to Australia to set up their own 200hr training courses, registered with Yoga Alliance in America (or, to add to the confusion, a clone organisation calling themselves Yoga Alliance International, with branches such as Yoga Alliance Australia – nothing to do with Yoga Alliance). These courses were often promoted as “Internationally” accredited or certified. Unknowingly, this is mis-information. Firstly, courses are not certified or accredited, only registered – there is a difference! Secondly, there is no such thing as international registration (accreditation or certification). It simply meant that these courses were registered in America, not Australia.

Eligibility for Yoga Teacher Registration in Australia – 350hr Minimum

Many people who love yoga and the amazing benefits it brings to their lives, want to deepen their experience and learn more. One way of doing this is to sign up for a short 200hr teacher training course (often in an exotic location), even if they do not want to become a yoga teacher. These courses can offer a wonderful and enriching experience, sometimes truly transformative or life changing. However, many people finish these training courses and realise that they do not have the depth of knowledge, skills or confidence to become a yoga teacher, whether they originally intended to or not.

This is a very common experience. They also find themselves in the situation where they cannot become registered as a Yoga Teacher in Australia, because they do not meet the minimum 350hr (1 year) training standard. So, they need to do more training (which they often feel they need anyway to be able to teach with confidence), with an additional 150 hrs training required for registration with Yoga Australia. After doing another teacher training course (often called a “level 2”), people often tell me that they wish they had completed a more thorough training to begin with.

Questioning Standards in Yoga Teacher Training

Questions and concerns around 200hr teacher training courses have been present for many years, since they were first established by Yoga Alliance. More and more people are starting to share these concerns, even though many schools have felt the need to offer these courses in order to survive financially as a business. Teachers and schools often find themselves entrenched in a mindset, business model and system that depends on these courses for survival, and struggle to find a different (better) approach. The latest development is that Yoga Alliance themselves are apparently reviewing their own training standards, and there is a very real possibility that the 200hr standard as a minimum training requirement for yoga teachers will be scrapped, in favour of more hours – not an easy move, with considerable pressure against the change, from yoga schools and the fitness industry.

Part of the ongoing concern is also related to the whole notion of “number of hours” as a training standard, regardless of how many – 200, 300, 350, 500 or more. It is unusual for any professional training standards to be based on number of hours. It is simply what happened in the yoga-fitness world in America back then, was adopted in countries where there was a vacuum with no standards or yoga teacher associations, and now seems to be entrenched. Training standards in most professions (if we can call yoga teaching a profession) are generally based on competencies – demonstration of the required knowledge and skills. Numbers of hours are nominal, not the defining feature of the standards required. In yoga teacher training, they have become the dominant feature of the standards. Regardless of the number of hours, more and more people are starting to realise that 200 hrs is just not enough.

Yoga Australia has worked hard to maintain a minimum of 350 training hrs (over 1 year), knowing that the hours were only nominal anyway, with a genuine sense of what would be best for the yoga teaching profession in Australia, rather than just naively adopt the unusual model and standards that emerged from America. This remains a financial challenge for Yoga Australia, when many teachers and training providers in Australia chose to pay money and register with Yoga Alliance in America, because their training and courses only meet the lower 200hr standard.

Why our Yoga Teacher Training is 500hrs

The Yoga Institute has been offering yoga teacher training and yoga therapy training for many years, and is recognised as one of the leading yoga training and education centres in Australia. We currently offer a Diploma level teacher training course (nominally 500hrs, which includes the foundations of yoga therapy), even though the Yoga Australia standard remains 350hrs, and 200hr courses are the most popular. We believe that a shorter course would not adequately equip our graduates with the knowledge and skills required to step out into the world and become highly competent and confident yoga teachers.

We also offer post-graduate training in yoga therapy, as well as shorter courses and retreats for people who do not necessarily want to become yoga teachers, or have not yet decided, and want to deepen their own personal experience of yoga. 

Podcast: J Brown and Karin Carlson Discuss Where to Next for Yoga Teacher Training

J. Brown of the popular ‘Yoga Talks’ podcast, and many others, have been giving voice to concerns about the issue of 200hr training standards, as well as Yoga Alliance general. I recommend listening to a recent podcast conversation with J. Brown and Karin Carlson (link below).

Whilst their concerns are largely related to the situation in America, many of the issues are relevant to what has been happening in countries like Australia, that seem to follow the American way (no disrespect to our friends across the Pacific). In their conversation, they ask the question of: Where to next? And include comments about the possibility of the whole ‘shit-show’ imploding, going more local, with no standards or registration.

You can listen to the podcast here on the Yoga Talks website, or searching for “Yoga Talks” on your smartphone podcast app, and find the most recent conversation with Karin Carlson.

W.H.O. International Working Group to Review Standards

On a more global scale, I have been invited to join an international working group of the World Health Organisation, to look at standards for yoga teacher training, yoga therapy training, and yoga research. We start in the new year, and will keep you posted.      

P.S. I will be on the Yoga Talks podcast in conversation with J. Brown in coming weeks (recorded last week). Not sure when it will be released.


Want to find out more? Join our next Teacher Training Information session to find out more: https://yogainstitute.com.au/teacher-training-information-sessions/

Yoga for Mental Health

May 16, 2019: Yoga for Mental Health Melbourne

Mental Health Training for Yoga Teachers

Yoga for Mental HealthThis training has been designed to assist qualified Yoga Teachers to develop their understanding, skills and confidence in the area of mental health

Deepen your understanding of the Psychological heart of Yoga

The principles and practices of Yoga (or Yoga Psychology) were developed in ancient times, offering a wholistic, integrative system of mental health that is just as relevant today.

Yoga (or Yoga Psychology) offers practices to enhance mental health and alleviate the symptoms of psychological ill-ease or mental illness, using mind-body-lifestyle interventions to cultivate a healthy, productive, flourishing life.

What Will I Learn?

The nature of the mind – from a yogic and western psychological perspective:

  • Patanjali’s psychology
  • the yogic model of mind
  • the mind from a western psychological perspective
  • the mind and emotion

What yoga offers:

  • more than asana
  • yoga and positive psychology
  • mentally healthy yoga
  • interoception and mental health

Mental Heath Awareness when teaching:

  • pranayama
  • asana
  • meditation
  • other practices

Healing relationships:

  • professional boundaries
  • ethics and code of conduct
  • scope of practice of the yoga teacher

An introduction to common mental health conditions including:

  • Depression and Mood Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders, including PTSD
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Brief introduction to Personality and Schizoaffective Disorders

Yogic approaches to common mental health concerns:

  • considering common mental health conditions through a yogic lens
  • teaching considerations for common mental health concerns
  • mental health precautions and contraindications

Mental health aware yoga teaching:

  • how to teach in a mental health aware manner
  • responding to mental health crisis in the Yoga setting – including panic and traumatic reaction
  • truly integrated yoga practice
  • what to do if…

Workshop Details & Bookings

Dates: Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th May, 2019

Thursday to Saturday : 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Location: Central Melbourne, venue TBC

Course Fees & Inclusions

$880 (GST incl)

  • 28 hours of training with two of Australia’s most well regarded and experienced Yoga Psychologists
  • Comprehensive course notes and handouts
  • Recommendations for further study and ongoing self-development

About Your Trainers

Janet Lowndes

Janet Lowndes is a Psychologist, Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist who has been working therapeutically with individual clients for over 20 years.

Trained originally in Psychology, Janet became interested in an embodied approach to health and wellbeing and first studied Yoga Teaching at Swami Vivekananda’s ashram in India, and further teacher training with the Australian Institute of Yoga at the Centre for Adult Education in Melbourne.

Janet is Director and Senior Therapist at Mind Body Well, a group practice in Melbourne specialising in assisting people with Eating Disorders and other mental health concerns. Janet also manages and teaches on the faculty of the Graduate Certificate in Yoga Therapy with the Australian Institute of Yoga Therapy. Yogic wisdom and practices are an integral part of her therapeutic approach.

Janet has been influenced by various teachers including Leigh Blashki, Richard Miller, AG and Indra Mohan, Judith Lasater, and Donna Farhi. She is an iRest Teacher-in-Training (Level 2), and a member of the Australian Teachers of Meditation Association.

Janet has recently been invited to join the Council of Advisors for Yoga Australia, the peak body for Yoga Teachers in Australia. She speaks regularly at professional Yoga and Psychology events,and provides professional supervision for therapists from both disciplines.

Michael de Manincor

Counselling Psychologist, Senior Yoga Teacher Trainer and Yoga Therapist, Michael de Manincor, bridges eastern and western modalities of mind-body health.

Michael is one of the most highly respected yoga teachers in Australia, with over 30 years teaching experience. He established the Yoga Institute in 2000, now recognised as a leading provider of yoga teacher training in Australia. He has undertaken extensive studies with renowned teacher TKV Desikachar, in the authentic tradition of T Krishnamacharya.

Former President and Honorary Life Member of Yoga Australia, the peak body of the yoga teaching profession in Australia, Michael is passionate about educating the community on the benefits of quality yoga, and supporting the highest professional standards for yoga teachers. He has conducted research and written many articles on various facets of yoga for respected publications.

Michael holds degrees in Education and Psychology, and is a registered Counselling Psychologist. Michael is also currently doing PhD research in the area of Yoga and mental health.

Michael is the senior lecturer at The Yoga Institute and responsible for much of the course development, and offers individual consultations for guidance of personal yoga practice, yoga therapy, yoga teacher mentoring, and personal counselling.


Pre-requisites & Course Recognition


  • Recommended – Qualified Yoga Teacher (Yoga Australia level 1 or equivalent). If you have undertaken a 200hr Yoga Teacher training program and are unsure about your eligibility, please email us to enquire
  • A general familiarity with the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali is highly recommended prior to undertaking this program

Continuing Professional Development

Yoga Teachers attending this event can claim 28 CPD hours with Yoga Australia.

More Information

Email: teachertraining@yogainstitute.com.au

Phone: (02) 9929 2774

Terms & Conditions

  • Full payment for this workshop is required to secure your registration.
  • Cancellations received more than 28 days prior to the event will receive a 50% refund.
  • Cancellations received after that time will not be eligible for any refund.
  • You may transfer your registration to another person at no cost, but please notify the program host in writing prior to the workshop date if transfer is required.








Student Reflections: How the Yoga Sutras has helped my daily life

Written by Stefana Brunetto (teacher trainee 2018)

Meet Stef:

Stef is a current yoga teacher trainee, who is in the final term of her 500 hours of training. 

She is a young, vibrant personal trainer who embarked on her yoga teacher training with the intention to support her clients, by teaching them how to stretch and sharing some of the other benefits she had personally experienced during her own yoga practice!

Stef describes her experience after term 1 as ‘mind blowing,’ the rich yoga history and philosophies offer so much more than just the physical aspect of yoga practice. She is hungry to learn more.

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali forms the foundation of all yoga teachings and has been described as the “Heart of Yoga” and a “guidebook to life”.

Here we share Stef’s latest Yoga Sutras assignment on the klesas (the obstacles of the mind) and how it has impacted her daily life. Hearing how the teachings of yoga have impacted the daily lives of our students truly makes our hearts sing! ❤

1. Klesa-s and their effects in our minds and lives – a short summary of my understanding.

YSII.3 – avidya asmita raga dvesha abhinivesha pancha klesha
In chapter II.3 we are formally introduced to the klesa’s. These are the obstacles of the mind that prevent us from reaching Samadhi, fullness of now. These are listed as followed; avidya, ignorance; asmita, ego; raga, attachment; dvesha, aversion; abhinivesha, clinging to life or fear. In the sutras following II.3 Patanjali further explains each of these klesa’s and how they are interrelated. In The Heart of Yoga T.K.V Desikachar presents these klesa’s as a tree.

Avidya is the root of all other klesa’s. In the English language ignorance is defined as a lack of knowledge. However in the Sutra’s, Patanjali describes avidya to be a mental state where we believe our knowledge as truth rather than what is the real truth. It is our perception of what we believe to be true and is influenced by past experiences, our social and physical environments and a limited sense of self. We can look at racism as an example of this where you might grow up believing that another race or culture is evil. In your mind, with the information that has been provided to you, that is the truth, however there is good and evil found in all races and cultures.
Asmita, our ego. This is a direct bi-product of ignorance and where we identify more specifically who we are. The ego believes that we are our thought’s, our bodies, our possessions etc, however these are just instruments and do not represent our true selves. Ego is a misidentification of the non-self with the true self and is fed by our ignorance. Not only can ego give our own self a definition but it can also defines others around us. Ego defines who we are by our abundance, what we have done in the past, our jobs, and the list goes on.
Ragah, attachment towards experiences of happiness or pleasure. It is a desire, a yearning, a hunger for past experiences that the mind can have us believe is a pleasurable or happy one. We chase down these experiences or even possessions so that we can replicate this felt sense. It makes us believe that we will constantly experience the same results over and over, when really this is not the case.

Dvesah, aversion towards painful or harmful experiences. It’s the opposite to ragah and like so is influenced by past experiences. We feel anger, hate, frustration and resistance towards these experiences.

Abhinivesah is the fear or death or clinging to life. It is believed that this fear is either irrational or comes from past experiences of death that is hidden deep within the subconscious mind. Ultimately we fear anything could harm us, because in our minds we believe that worst case scenario is death, therefore we begin to have irrational fears about almost anything. When we let our minds wander freely we can travel down dark roads that lead to the end of our lives, giving us another reason why it is so important to control the thoughts of the mind.

2. Discuss how the study of Yoga Sutras has been relevant and/or helpful to you in your own experiences and understanding of Yoga practice and daily life.

Two words, EYE OPENING. When I first started this journey my knowledge about Yoga was limited to asana’s and an understanding that the breath was important. There may have been mentioning’s of the Yoga Sutras during my time in classes, but it didn’t stick or maybe I wasn’t ready to hear it at the time. After the first term I was mind blown by the rich history and philosophy that was gifted to us and amazed that this isn’t what is shared among all yoga classes. Why are we just presented with asana’s? Why are we constantly sold a full body stretch class with meditation at the end? I was frustrated to say the least after finishing my first term.

Now I have been given a snippet of the Yoga Sutra’s and I have one word in response; HUNGRY. I want to know more, I want to learn more. Just from increasing my own studies into the klesa’s has given me the ability to have a better understanding of not only my own mind, but that of other peoples, particularly those that are closest to me. It’s also provided me with a sense of freedom where I didn’t know I had felt trapped before, a freedom from own thoughts. I used to believe that I was defined by my thoughts however after a little more insight provided by the Yoga Sutra’s, I’ve come to realise this isn’t true. This is not who I am as my asmita would have me believe.

Moving into term two I began to realise something (and may have experienced an “aha”moment whilst writhing this), that this blueprint into the mind and how to overcome suffering we are provided through the Yoga Sutra’s, is only for people that want and are ready to hear it. We are sold Yoga through the body because that is what Western Culture is obsessed with so we start with asana’s. Then we begin to drop nuggets of information during our practice. Those that are ready to hear it will soak it in and perhaps go in search for more, and those that aren’t will let drop in and then fall straight back out. I believe that has been my own experience. Yoga in the beginning gave my body a sense of peace that I hadn’t felt before and the more I practiced, the more peace I felt and a sense of openness, until eventually I was ready to know more and signed up to do my teacher training. And now we are here. “Athayoganusasanam” – Now, the teachings of yoga.  

Thanks fort sharing Stef ❤

How can we support you? Join our next 8 week Yoga Sutra Studies Course with Michael de Manincor: MORE INFORMATION AND BOOK MY PLACE 

Nov 16th, 2018: Heart of Yoga Retreat

Heart of Yoga  Retreat

We can think extraordinary things with our minds, yet we feel our deepest emotions with our hearts.

Join us for this special Heart of Yoga retreat, hosted by Michael de Manincor and Danny Freemantle at the tranquil Quest for Life Centre, set within 9 acres of landscaped gardens in Bundanoon, Southern Highlands, New South Wales.

Date:  Friday 16th – Sunday 18th November 2018 

Location:  Quest for Life Centre,  Bundanoon (Southern Highlands) NSW

Are you ready to bring your heart to life?

This will be a heart-centred journey, forming the start or the deepening of a truly sustainable, transformational exploration into your heart. We will create a safe and supportive environment to ensure you can immerse yourself for two full days of understanding the full system of yoga, learning how to self nurture on a whole new level. As well as make new friends, all in a beautiful setting surrounded by mother nature.

Each day will be filled with a variety of practices, including asana, pranayama, meditation and workshops of self-discovery. You will also have the time and opportunity to enjoy private sessions and treatments, read or simply sit, be and soak up the stunning surrounds.

Unique Venue

Set within 9 acres of manicures gardens of the beautiful Southern Highlands, the Quest for Life Centre is a short 1.5 hour drive from Sydney CBD. The space provides an oasis for time out and an ideal environment for reflection, healing and the learning of new and valuable life skills.

Founded by Petrea King in 1989, the Quest for Life Foundation provides intensive educational programs and workshops that encourage and empower people with the tools to create emotional resilience, healing and peace of mind.

CLICK HERE for more venue information.

Retreat Details

Cost:  $750

Price includes twin share room with en-suite accommodation, linen, all meals, drinks & snacks and specialised Heart of Yoga retreat program

Arrival: from 2pm Friday 16th November – welcome talk 3:00pm

Departure: 3pm Sunday 18th November

Getting There

The Quest for Life Centre nestles on the edge of Morton National Park:   13 – 33 Ellsmore Rd, Bundanoon (Southern Highlands).

You can access the Quest for Life Centre by car, bus or train.

For transport options and details please visit the Quest for Life website.

Please see google maps for direction to the Quest for Life Centre.

“From the moment you enter the gravel drive, you begin to feel renewed, refreshed and inspired.”

Bookings & More Information

For further information and to register your interest please contact kirstie@yogainstitute.com.au | 02 9929 2774

Join us at the Quest for Life Centre in the Southern Highlands to find peace of mind, contentment and discover inner wellness. Come and rediscover the magic of life and find meaning, connection and purpose.

We look forward to experiencing this special retreat with you.



What Previous Retreat Guests Say…

“A big thank you to the team at the Yoga Institute for a beautiful couple of days connecting with the heart through yoga and meditation sessions. Whilst only a 3 day retreat, I returned back home completely recharged and rested. I would totally recommend joining in one of their retreats regardless of level of yoga and cannot wait to join the next one” Alex


“What a special retreat this was! Surrounded by nature with delicious food and lovely accommodation, we were led by highly experienced teachers who shared their wisdom on all things connected to the heart.  I learnt so much in such a short period of time ranging from different yoga poses, breathing and meditation techniques and theories about the mind and the body. I would highly recommend this team of teachers and the retreats they organise to anyone!”  Penny


“Thank you for such a wonderful retreat.  Nourishing food, uplifting and motivating group sessions and plenty of quiet time to connect and reflect. Such a perfect couple of days, a sincere thank-you to you all. See you at the next one!” Sam

About Us

The Yoga Institute and Divine Wellbeing provide extraordinary education and training, and guide sustainable personal transformative experiences, through the lens of Yoga, connection and community.

We offer inspiration, education and support in applying the ancient wisdom of yoga to modern, everyday lives. Passionate about yoga and the benefits it brings to peoples’ lives, our team is committed to providing you with a highly engaging, practical learning experience.

Aug 26th, 2018: Reunion Retreat

The Yoga Institute Reunion Retreat

Opportunity to reconnect with your yoga community. 

Gather with fellow graduates and students, past and present, to share and reinvigorate your yoga journey.

Together we will celebrate the gift of these teachings.

Date: Overnight, Sunday 26th – Monday 27th August 2018
Sunday 5pm – Monday 4pm
Govinda Valley Retreat, Otford NSW
Michael de Manincor


Are you ready to reconnect?

Join us for our FIRST EVER Reunion Retreat.

This retreat is for our special ‘Yoga Institute Family,’ including, current students, past students, teachers and friends of the centre.

What to expect?

Yoga classes, including asana, pranayama, meditation, and sound; exploration of the yoga sutras; unstructured space and time to reconnect with yourself, your community and the natural environment; delicious food; wonderful company; and a celebration of yoga and how it supports change in our lives. And simply catching up and reconnecting with fellow students and graduates, and find what everyone is doing with their yoga.

We will also be hosting an evening bonfire ceremony.

Unique Venue

Govinada Valley Retreat is a special venue to so many of us, so it seemed the obvious choice for our first Reunion Retreat. It is an easy 70 minute car or train ride from Sydney CBD. Escape from the city, unplug, relax and restore in the luscious bushland south of Sydney.

Accommodation Options

Camping (BYO gear): $205
Doom room (4 per room): 
Shared room (2 per room) with ensuite: $305
Private room with ensuite: 

All options include accommodation, linen (except camping), all meals, drinks & snacks.

Retreat Details

Arrival: from 4pm Sunday 26th August – welcome talk 5:00pm

Departure: 4pm Monday 27th August

Getting There

Govinda Valley Retreat is a comfortable 70 minute train ride or drive south of Sydney CBD.

Click here for details on getting there

The Kitchen 

Retreat includes Sunday night dinner and Monday breakfast, lunch and snacks. If you have ever stayed at Govinda Valley, you know that they take food seriously! Their kitchen prepares food that supports optimum health and vitality according to the principles of ayurveda, the yogi’s ancient science of health. All meals are vegetarian with vegan options. Please let us know if you have special dietary needs. CLICK HERE for more details. 

Booking and More Information

For further information please contact kirstie@yogainstitute.com.au | 02 9929 2774

Come and rediscover the magic of life and find meaning and purpose in your yoga, and re-connect with your yoga community.

We look forward to experiencing this special retreat with you.

Sanga “community of like-minded people” is an important part of yoga practice, providing support for your journey.

What does our community say…

“The friends I made during my time at The Yoga Institute will be life long. My yoga community is a special and vital part of my life.” Anne K


“Every time I connect with my fellow yogis I always come away feeling lighter, full of inspiration, uplifted with a sense of joy and grinning from ear to ear.”
Kirstie C

Aug 4, 2018: Teacher Training & Heart of Yoga Course – Wagga Wagga

We’re so excited you’re contemplating joining us for your yoga studies

Our partnership with the amazing Danny Freemantle from Divine Wellbeing, brings the highest quality yoga education right to your doorstep in Wagga Wagga.




Since 2001 The Yoga Institute has taught and mentored hundreds of students who have gone on to become amazing yoga teachers. We’ve grown a beautiful community of people who have changed their own lives and the lives of others through exceptional yoga teaching.

We are humbled to have been part of so much
positive change, and we hope you’ll join us for the next step on your yoga journey.

Course Options

6 Month Heart of Yoga Studies

The Heart of Yoga Studies Course is an incredible journey of self discovery. You will have a unique opportunity to learn about the deeper aspects and possibilities of yoga and apply what you learn for your personal growth.

This 200hr course is also the first part of the 500hr Yoga Teacher Training course, for those who wish to complete the full Teacher Training course.

Is this course right for me?

  • Do you have some experience of yoga and wish to deepen your knowledge and understanding?
  • Are you keen to join a community of passionate yoga lovers?
  • Are you committed to your personal growth and development through yoga?
  • Do you want to develop a personalised home practice?

This course will teach you more about the practice, principles and philosophy of yoga, including yoga sutra studies, asana, pranayama and meditation, and give you a framework for applying your new knowledge in your daily life.

What will I gain?

camyoga-2302This is a truly transformational experience where you will make new friends in a beautiful community of like-minded people. Not only will you gain a greater understanding of yoga, you will learn to understand and nurture yourself in a whole new way.

Students who complete this course will also have the foundations for further yoga studies and will gain recognition of prior learning for The Yoga Institute’s diploma level teacher training program.


12 Month Yoga Teacher Training Course

In this part-time diploma level teacher training course you will learn so much more than just how to teach asana postures. By the end of the course you will have the skills, knowledge and confidence to develop and teach fully integrated practices for groups and individuals that include asana, pranayama, meditation, mudras, mantra & sound, yoga philosophy and more.

The 200hr Heart of Yoga course makes up the first half of this 500hr teacher training program.

Is this course right for me?

  • Are you ready for a big change, passionate about yoga and inspired to share it with others through teaching groups and individuals?
  • Do you want to understand the deeper layers of yoga, and not just the asana (postures)?
  • Are you feeling a call to move forward in your personal development to explore your full potential?

The Yoga Teacher Training diploma course is an inspiring and transformational journey for our future yoga teachers. We really value you as a student and make sure to nurture and support you throughout your journey to becoming an incredible yoga teacher.

What will I gain?

This registered yoga teacher training course gives you:

  • Eligibility for full (Level 1) membership with Yoga Australia – become a registered yoga teacher
  • The skills, knowledge and confidence to go out and teach integrated yoga practices to groups and individuals
  • A wonderful community of like-minded fellow students and yoga teachers
  • The foundations for further studies in Yoga Therapy
  • World class online Yoga Anatomy Fundamentals training taught by bestselling author Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews
  • Ongoing personal practice development, teaching guidance and study support from an experienced mentor-teacher

What is covered in the 200hr Heart of Yoga course?

All students undertaking the Heart of Yoga or Teacher Training Course complete Terms 1 & 2

Module / Term 1

  • History of Yoga
  • Foundation Principles of yoga practice
  • Asana I – basic theory and techniques
  • Yoga Energetics (subtle energy systems)

Module / Term 2

  • Introduction to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (yoga philosophy and psychology)
  • Pranayama – theory and techniques
  • Meditation

Mentoring:  6 mentoring sessions (one-on-one), for the development of a personalised yoga practice and training support (3 sessions each term)

Plus (optional components – additional fees may apply):

  • Yoga Anatomy – online course via yogaanatomy.net (optional for the 200hr Heart of Yoga course, and included in the 500hr Teacher Training course)
  • 2.5-day Retreat Experience (optional)

What is covered in the 500hr Teacher Training course?

Students undertaking the full teacher training program complete all of the above, plus:

Module / Term 3

  • Asana II – applied theory and techniques
  • Communications Skills for Yoga teaching
  • Teaching Skills – teaching group classes I
  • Teaching Skills – teaching private classes and personalised practices I
  • Practice Planning (designing a yoga class or practice)

Module / Term 4

  • Bandhas
  • Teaching Skills – teaching group classes II
  • Teaching Skills – teaching private classes and personalised practices II

Mentoring:  6 mentoring sessions (one-on-one) for teacher training support and development of a personalised yoga practice (3 sessions each term)

2018 Course Attendance Dates:

Term 1 (Heart of Yoga & Teacher Training):

  • Saturday, 4 Aug 2018 to Monday, 6 Aug 2018
  • Sunday, 12 Aug 2018
  • Sunday, 9 Sep 2018
  • Sunday, 16 Sep 2018
  • Sunday, 30 Sep 2018
  • Sunday, 14 Oct 2018

Term 2 (Heart of Yoga & Teacher Training):

  • Saturday, 20 Oct 2018 to Monday, 22 Oct 2018
  • Sunday, 28th Oct 2018
  • Sunday, 4th Nov 2018
  • Sunday, 11th Nov 2018
  • Retreat (attendance is optional): 23rd – 25th November
  • Saturday, 1st Dec & Sunday, 2nd Dec 2018

Term 3 & 4 (Teacher Training):

  • 2019 dates to be confirmed

Ready to Enrol in 200hr Heart of Yoga?

Course Fee Options:

a. Early Bird (save 10%) – pay in full by 30th June, 2018: $3892 (+1.7% for credit card payments)

b. Standard – Pay in full by by 31st July, 2018:  $4325 (+1.7% for credit card payments)

c. Monthly Direct Debit:  $910 per month x 5 monthly installments:  $4550 (via credit card only)

* Course fee to upgrade from 200hr Heart of Yoga Course to 500hr Teacher Training course in 2019 will be approx. $4325 (depending on method of payment)


Apply and register now to secure your place in the 2018 200hr Heart of Yoga course in Wagga Wagga:


Ready to Enrol in 500hr Teacher Training?

Includes the 200hr Heart of Yoga Course and online Yoga Anatomy

Course Fee Options:

a. Early Bird (save 10%) – pay in full by 30th June, 2018: $7335 (+1.7% for credit card payments)

b. Standard – Pay in full by before 31st July, 2018:  $8150 (+1.7% for credit card payments)

c. Monthly Direct Debit:  $865 per month x 10 monthly installments:  $8650 (via credit card only)


Apply and register now to secure your place in the 2018/19 500hr Teacher Training course in Wagga Wagga:


What ‘style’ of yoga?

TKV DesikacharOur approach to Yoga is based on the world-renowned teachings from the tradition and lineage of T Krishnamacharya (widely known as the ‘father of modern yoga’) and his son TKV Desikachar (pictured).

We focus on integrating all aspects of yogic practice including asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, mudras, philosophy and psychology, and adapting practices to the individual.

We emphasise applying the ancient wisdom and practices of yoga to the challenges of modern lives.

As Krishnamacharya said: “Yoga must be made to suit the individual, not the individual to suit the yoga.”

About Divine Wellbeing

The Heart of Yoga program is offered in partnership with Divine Wellbeing, Wagga.

Diving Wellbeing Yoga and Natural Health, established in 2005, was the first dedicated yoga studio created in the Wagga Wagga regional area. It was established to provide yoga, meditation, massage and natural health services for the local community.

Since then thousands of people have attended over 10 thousand yoga, meditation and health related classes as well as personal health appointments for health and wellbeing.

Divine Wellbeing has earned a reputation for quality yoga and meditation classes and health related programs. The centre is known for its welcoming atmosphere and community spirit with focus on acknowledging and addressing the personal needs and individual differences of each of us.

Directed by owner Danny Freemantle, with over 17 years experience teaching yoga, Divine Wellbeing keeps a focus on teaching that inspires connection to breath, heart and the inner spirit that is the ultimate guru and greatest guide within us all.

More Information & Questions

If you have any questions about these courses, please email or call:

Kirstie Christensen, The Yoga Institute:   teachertraining@yogainstitute.com.au   or call on (02) 9929 2774.

Danny Freemantle, Divine Wellbeing:   hello@divinewellbeing.com.au   or call on (02) 6971.7813

What do our students say?

“Apart from the experience of the yoga course, it is great to experience the yoga community including other students and the teachers. I hope those special connections will be maintained long into the future.”  Paul


“This is just the beginning, thank you for helping to open this new door…new chapter on how I can live my life”  Brooke


“Thank you so much for your sharing of the teachings of yoga in this lineage. I have found my path and have found a great, sincere tour guide along the path, in you.”  Scott


Learn more about:

The Yoga Institute

Mentoring Component

Online Yoga Anatomy Component

What Graduates Say

Further Learning Pathways

What is Yoga therapy? Reflections from SYTAR

By Michael de Manincor 

I attended the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) Symposium on Yoga Therapy
and Research (SYTAR), in Reston, Virginia, not far from Washington DC. SYTAR is probably the largest and most significant conference gathering on yoga therapy in the world, and brings together many dedicated people working in this emerging field. Most delegates are from the United States, and (despite the name being “International”), a few extras from other countries, like myself from Australia.

Throughout the whole event, I noted some FAQs on common themes that emerged. Surprisingly, the most prominent question and discussion was around “What is yoga therapy? and how is it different from yoga teaching?” The surprising bit is that although interest in yoga therapy is rapidly growing, seems like the profession is unclear about what it actually is.

Before getting into some definitions and practical applications, let’s have a quick look at the modern history of how yoga therapy has emerged, and the role of the IAYT.

Although the system of yoga is essentially about embracing the human condition and personal transformation, the healing and therapeutic applications of yoga, known as yoga cikitsa, has been around for a very long time. Throughout history, yoga teachers (acharyas) would teach suitable yoga practices to assist people with health concerns, along with dietary, medicinal and other treatments from Ayurveda. Such healing applications were part of the process of restoring a sense of health and wholeness on the yoga path. This healing process may even be part of the personal transformation experience.

Yoga has become known in the West, and growing in popularity for more than 100 years. However, the actual concept and term “Yoga Therapy” has only been in common usage for about 30 years, probably originating in the US. Now, yoga therapy is becoming an emerging field in its own right, and in the attempt to become more recognised and accepted as a “therapy” in the modern world, is being distinguished from yoga teaching. However, attempts to adequately define or describe this distinction remain unclear.

In the late 1980s, several yoga teachers in the US, including Richard Miller and Larry Payne (both of whom have PhDs, and had studied yoga in India with TKV Desikachar), observed what was happening in the development of modern yoga in America. They realised that the way modern yoga was being taught with a primary focus on the physical postures, often in large group classes with standardised approaches or styles, was generally not suitable or appropriate for people with injuries or health concerns. It was also apparent that yoga teachers or yoga instructors often only had minimal or basic training, without the necessary knowledge and skills required to teach people with injuries or illnesses. Perhaps it was too difficult to convince people of the necessity for more training and education as yoga teachers, so they decided to initiate a new and distinct professional field, and started using the term “yoga therapy”.

I am sure there were several reasons for this, but it seems that the central reason was the desire to be taken seriously by the medical and allied health professions as a recognised and accepted form of “therapy”, and to be distinguished from what had become established as an industry of yoga instructors with minimal training requirements and lack of professional standards. They then incorporated a professional association for yoga teachers with suitable training, referring to themselves as “yoga therapists”, and named the organisation the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). Whilst it seemed like a good idea at the time, there are many who look back and see that it may have been a mistake to distinguish yoga teaching from yoga therapy in this way. It is not well-known that Richard Miller wanted to name the Association as the International Association of Yoga Education (IAYE), and he confirmed this with me personally only a few days ago. However, that’s history!

Having completed my own initial yoga therapy training in America in the mid-1990’s, I attended the first SYTAR event in Los Angeles in 2007. I remember having conversations between sessions (as one does at conferences) with other delegates from Australia, and wondering how all this talk about yoga therapy was any different from good yoga teaching. One person’s response was, and I quote “yoga therapy is a tsunami. Learn to surf or get out of the way.” Whilst it may be a powerful movement, we are yet to see the aftermath that a tsunami may cause.

Back to the definition of yoga therapy. The IAYT has worked hard to provide a definition of yoga therapy, that distinguishes it from yoga teaching. This is the definition they have come up with so far:

“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga.”

Whilst there is wide acceptance of this definition, it is worth asking whether or not it provides any useful distinction from yoga teaching. I believe that we could define yoga teaching in the same way:

“Yoga teaching is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga.”

We could also add “personal transformation” to either or both definitions.

Many yoga therapists have their own definition, and numerous articles have been written about the differences between yoga teaching and yoga therapy, and between a yoga class and a yoga therapy session.

Whilst it is obvious that there are some practical differences, the distinction between the role of a well trained yoga teacher and a yoga therapist, may not be significant or meaningful.

Some describe yoga teaching as something that is done in group classes, whereas yoga therapy is done in one-on-one sessions. This is not a useful distinction. Yoga teaching can be done in either group classes, or one-on-one sessions, AND, yoga therapy can also be done in group classes or individual one-on-one sessions.

At The Yoga Institute, we not only aim to train yoga teachers and yoga therapists with the knowledge and skills required to be confident and competent when they graduate, our teacher training courses actually provide the necessary foundation for further studies in yoga therapy.

Two key components to consider in this discussion are 1) whether or not some kind of assessment is made of the student’s needs, abilities, health concerns, and desired outcomes, and 2) whether or not the yoga practice or class is tailored, adapted, or designed based on that assessment, rather than standardised prescriptions or templates for whoever turns up.

I believe that both these components are essential to good yoga teaching, not just yoga therapy. Of course, this is not always the case in the way yoga is often offered in either classes or yoga therapy sessions.

Other distinctions or definitions suggest that yoga therapy is the modern melding of traditional yoga with modern medicine or other therapeutic or allied health approaches. This raises questions about whether it is really yoga. As one conference presenter put it: keeping the yoga in yoga therapy, rather than borrowing bits of yoga and adding them into other therapies.

Perhaps the distinction is not between yoga teaching and yoga therapy at all. Rather, the distinction seems to be more about the difference between what yoga teaching has become (with minimal training) and what it could (or ought to) be, with more training in its healing applications (now called yoga therapy).

Many of the issues being discussed at the conference were specific to the situation in America, but also had some relevance to other countries around the world, including Australia. It is all still very new and changing everywhere, including India.

As the profession continues to emerge and define itself, these questions and discussions will continue. Central and essential to all of this is the need for continued education and training of professionals in the field. Until then, many people will continue to gain great benefit from what is being offered (we hope!), regardless of what we call it.


Interested in Yoga Therapy Training? CLICK HERE to check out our 8 Day foundations module (2019 dates TBC)

Note: this is the first module of our 650 hour Yoga Therapy Training Course but can be attended as a standalone module.

Sleep Help: Use meditation for Better Sleep

Written by The Sleep Help Institute

Why Does Meditation Help You Sleep?

Many adults don’t sleep the recommended seven hours every night. Adequate sleep is needed for health and well being, and sleep deprivation can lead to an increased risk of conditions including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and mental distress.

One reason you may be losing out on sleep is the inability to slow down and relax. The stress you experience each day can make it difficult to let go and fall asleep at night. But meditation can help.

How Meditation Supports Sleep

Meditation offers the ability to calm your mind before bed. In a recent study, mindfulness meditation was more effective than sleep education for improvement of sleep habits.

Mindfulness meditation can trigger the relaxation response, which is effective for relieving stress. In meditation, you can stop racing thoughts and avoid thinking deeply about anxiety in the past or future.

In a study of yoga practitioners, meditative yoga showed promise for improved sleep. Although middle age participants who did not practice yoga showed a decline in slow wave sleep, meditative yoga practitioners did not show a decline and experienced higher quality sleep similar to younger participants. The study suggests the practice of meditative yoga can help retain quality sleep in middle age.

When you practice meditation before bed, you set the stage for sleep. It gives your brain a chance to slow down and enjoy the quiet while shutting out distractions.

Using Meditation for Better Sleep

If you suffer from sleep difficulties, meditation can help improve your sleep quality. Follow these tips to support healthy sleep by meditating.

  • Try meditating for just 20 minutes a day. A recent study found participants with sleep disturbances were able to improve sleep quality with 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation each day.
  • Meditate before bed. Meditation can be used for stress relief throughout the day, but it can be especially helpful for sleep when practised just before bed. Meditating can help you fall asleep by relieving the anxiety that may keep you up at night.
  • Stay on task. Although you may be concerned about maintaining focus while meditating, it’s ok for your mind to wander as long as you get yourself back to the task at hand. Let go of thoughts of tomorrow, today, or yesterday.
  • Don’t stress about sleep. It can be difficult to relax when you know you don’t have much time to get the sleep you need. Banish looking at the clock and avoid counting down the hours you have left to sleep. Instead, focus on relaxation and letting go so you can make the most of the time you have to recharge.
  • Practice healthy sleep habits. Meditation can support better sleep, but it’s not a replacement for healthy sleep habits. You can’t expect good sleep to come from meditation if your sleep practices aren’t otherwise supportive of healthy sleep. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends, and go through the same bedtime routine each night. Make your bedroom a healthy sleep environment with by finding a mattress that’s right for your needs and the darkness, quiet, and cool air your body needs to sleep well at night.

And remember:   “Breath is a wonder drug.” T.K.S Desikachar

How we can support you?

Join our upcoming Heart of Yoga 3 month Programme in September. Find peace and transform your life by applying Yoga’s ancient wisdom for modern living.

 CLICK HERE for more information. 


Related article: Relax Like a Boss: Stress Management Guide

“Celebrating Desikachar: A Life in Yoga, A Legacy of Learning.” 

Written by Michael de Manincor

My journey to the teacher & teachings, that changed my life:

In the mid-1990s, I had already been practicing and teaching yoga for many years, when I went to the US for further studies in the emerging field of yoga therapy. One of the books included as recommended reading in our training was the Heart of Yoga, written by TKV Desikachar. Although I knew little of the man and his teachings, this book inspired me, and also made me realise how little I knew about yoga! Reading this book awakened something inside me that opened a door and paved the path for the rest my life.

A few years later, back home in Sydney, I attended a workshop with visiting teachers from the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in India (known as the KYM), founded by Mr Desikachar, in honour of his father’s teachings and a service to humanity. The teachers invited and inspired me to go to the KYM to learn more, about yoga, and about myself. Although I had already travelled to India previously, I know this would be something different.

On that visit in January 2001, I first met Mr Desikachar, who kindly invited a group of us into his home-based rooftop classroom, and taught us about meditation in yoga. Whilst the teachings, practice and whole experience were profound, what inspired me most were the warmth, kindness and connection in Desikachar’s smile.

Later that year, Mr Desikachar and his wife were visiting Australia, hosted by Barbara Brian in Melbourne, and they graciously accepted our invitation to visit Sydney and teach a workshop with us. Almost 20 years later, people who attended that workshop still speak of how profound the experience of that workshop was for them. As the host of the event, I said a few closing words and casually asked Mr Desikachar “How can we thank you?”. His response was simple: “Keep the river flowing!”

This event at Kripalu, in commemoration of his 80th birthday, is all about honouring this simple request, to keep the river flowing, as we continue to share the teachings that have been generously shared with each one of us.

In the days after the 2001 workshop, Mr Desikachar and I were walking in the Royal Botanical Gardens of Sydney, and I asked him if he would accept me as a student and continue to teach and guide me on my journey in yoga. His first response was that “it would be better if I had someone from my own culture”. I was not sure if that was just a polite “no”. After further discussion, he graciously agreed. Knowing I had a young family, he invited me to India whenever I could go, and to otherwise stay in contact by phone (long before the days of Skype, Zoom or FaceTime).

In the following 10 years, I had the good fortune (and much support from my wife and family) to go to India many times, to learn, deepen my own practice, and be challenged with my own samskaras (habits of being), under the care of his mentoring and teaching, as well as numerous other teachers at the KYM. As well as learning about the depths and intricacies of yoga, I continued to learn about myself. I learnt tools and insights that continue to serve me today, which have been like a keel to keep me going through the storms of life.
I was also inspired to open our own yoga centre, develop a teacher training course (and later yoga therapy training), and start our own non-profit organisation providing yoga for the underserved. And, we have had the good fortune of hosting teachers from other countries, who have had a connection with Mr Desikachar, including Leslie Kaminoff, Richard Miller, Mark Whitwell, and Saraswathi Vasudevan. All this was inspired from my connection with Mr Desikachar, and his guidance both personal and professional.
Through the sharing of teachings that come from Mr Desikachar, we do our best to bring health, healing and transformation to the people and communities we serve, and keep the river flowing.
It is an honour and privilege to be part of this event at Kripalu, bringing together a community to commemorate Mr Desikachar’s 80th birthday.

Story of Transformation: Dani Laucht

The Beginning

My first contact with Yoga was over ten years ago, when studying at a small university in Germany. I felt incredibly overwhelmed, confused, unable to breathe properly and sore after my first yoga class. I quickly decided that this seemingly new, hippie trend, called Yoga, was not meant for me.

A few years later, a friend suggested I attend a yoga class with her and this time the experience was completely different. The teacher touched on the pillars of this ancient philosophy and sparked my interest immediately.

When moving to Australia with my husband in 2011, I left my dear family, long- lasting friendships, great colleagues and an enjoyable job behind. I was struggling to find my place in this new life and was constantly ‘searching’ for something, but not knowing what it was. During this unsettling time, I completed several fitness degrees, ran group fitness classes and worked as a personal trainer as well as my existing school teaching job. The regular yoga classes provided an anchor in a mentally and emotionally challenging, exhausting and turbulent time.

The moment everything changed

At seemingly the peak of my fitness and wellbeing, only aged 30, I suddenly felt immense pain in my right foot. I was soon diagnosed with early onset arthritis. Being told that I simply had to “live with it”, I went into total denial and instead, researched complimentary healing modalities. I then decided to complete a yoga teacher training to educate myself about this ancient philosophy and the healing power it could provide.

Becoming a yoga teacher

During this first yoga teacher training, in the middle of a session, I was overcome by a warm, comforting feeling of ‘coming home’. Right then and there, I knew I had arrived and that this was exactly what I had been looking for. From that day on, my passion for yoga grew and further education followed.

I completed my second Yoga Teacher Training at The Yoga Institute. This saw me develop a daily, personalised yoga practice that changed from purely asana (postures) to a more reflective and mindful practice. Under the guidance of my experienced mentor as well as the studies of the Yoga Sutras, I started to slowly unfold the layers of my own existence and to work through painful issues and experiences, buried deep within me.

A rollercoaster of emotions, thoughts, enlightening and disheartening moments followed. Six months later, after my diagnosis, I was completely symptom free.

I don’t believe that yoga transforms. Instead, I feel that yoga helps and supports you to bring back your true, inner self.

Working as a full-time yoga teacher

In December last year, driven by my passion and a deep sense of purpose, I resigned from my school teaching job. I am now working full-time as a yoga teacher!

I now teach:

  • Yoga and mindfulness programs to primary school children
  • Classes at a private boys High School
  • General yoga classes at studios
  • Yoga for scoliosis classes
  • Chair yoga in an aged care centre
  • One-on-one yoga with people from different backgrounds and with various health challenges

I now understand the importance of a wholistic approach. I truly listen to each individual’s story, enabling me to guide and empower my clients on their unique paths.

Thanks to both the 150h Upgrade Course and Yoga Therapy Training provided by The Yoga Institute, I feel well equipped with a wide range of yogic tools to not only teach general yoga classes and personalised practices but to be comfortable and confident to work with individuals with specific health challenges.

I had no idea how this training would open so many possibilities. I feel incredibly lucky to have stepped onto this path, supported by such a caring community and guided by an incredibly knowledgeable, kind and experienced faculty, taking my understanding to a whole new level.

I am now in a great position to take advantage of the opportunities to work therapeutically, as they arise.


Learn about our 8 day Yoga Therapy Foundations module:
More information


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