Am I ready for Yoga Teacher Training?

It’s one of the most common questions asked.

When considering yoga teacher training, it is natural to believe we need to be able to hold a perfect headstand with ease or sit comfortably meditating in lotus pose for hours.

It is natural to ask yourself “will I be good enough?” The truth is, if you love yoga and feel a burning desire to learn more, then yoga teacher training is for you.

One of my favourite parts of my job is when our students and graduates share their stories. Our inspiring yoga teacher Annie Kirkman shares her biggest fear and her experience of studying at The Yoga Institute.

“Will I be good enough?”

If you find yourself asking this question, let us reassure you that you’re not alone! Most students considering teaching will ask themselves this question.

Video Interview: Annie Kirkman
Yoga is not about the perfect warrior”

“The moment I walked in on my first day of training I realised very quickly this course was going to be about much more than learning how to do the perfect warrior. What blew my mind was the depth of the yoga teachings that we got to understand. It took me about five minutes to realise I was in the right place.”

This brought tears to our eyes, music to our ears and warmth to our hearts…..we love you Annie!”

Watch NOW


How can we support you?

Our Teacher Training Course isn’t just for aspiring teachers, but for anyone who wants to deepen their personal practice and gain a better understanding of yoga.

Need more information?
Get course prospectus
Information Session and Webinar details
Email or call me: (02) 9929 2774

Join us, together we will grow, learn and inspire.

Kirstie Christensen ❤|
Course Coordinator 

Yoga for Mental Health

Sep 5, 2019: Yoga for Mental Health Sydney

Mental Health Training for Yoga Teachers

Yoga for Mental HealthThis 4-day continuing education 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 5th to Sunday 8th September, 2019

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

Location: Central Sydney, venue TBC

Course Fees & Inclusions

$895 (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


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.








2018 Highlights in Review

by Michael de Manincor


What a year!!! So much has happened….


2018 has been another big year for everyone at The Yoga Institute, and our Director, Michael de Manincor. As the river of yoga continues to flow, nourishing the lives of many people, we see familiar river-scapes and new pathways, finding its way into unchartered waters. Here are a few of the many highlights for us throughout 2018, many of them as first offerings throughout this year. In fact, most of them are new, apart from our well-established Teacher Training course.    

Course Graduations

  • Yoga Teacher Training: recent celebrations for almost 50 graduates from our Diploma level (500 hr) Teacher Training course. We have now been offering teacher training for almost 20 years, and our focus always remains on the quality, depth, and transformative experience, to keep the river flowing.
  • Wagga Wagga: in partnership with Divine Wellbeing, we also completed our first teacher training course in Regional NSW.
  • Yoga Therapy Training: our first group of students have now completed our newly registered Graduate Yoga Therapy Training course.
  • Heart of Yoga Courses: extraordinary in-depth experiences of personal growth and transformation. Another newly developed course in 2018.

Retreats and Holidays

  • Graduate Reunion Retreat: our first ever reunion retreat for graduates of The Yoga Institute, returning to Govinda Valley. More to come next year…
  • Heart of Yoga Retreat: held at the Quest for Life property in the beautiful Southern Highlands.
  • Savour Italy: a mindful experience “savouring” the charms and experiences that only Italy can offer.
  • Heart of Africa: another mindful travel experience, in the wildlife parks of Africa.


Professional achievements and university connections of our Director, Michael de Manincor

  • New Academic Appointment: Following the success of his PhD, Michael has recently been appointed as the first ever Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Mind-Body Integrative Medicine at the new Westmead premises of NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University.
  • Michael is also the lead in development of yoga and other mind-body therapies at the newly established Western Sydney Integrative Health (WSIH) centre – the first of its kind University research-based Integrative Medicine centre in Australia. This opens the door for the emerging field of yoga in integrative medicine.
  • Michael has also been invited to join an international work-group with the World Health Organisation (WHO), for establishing benchmark standards for yoga teacher and yoga therapy training.


Conference presentations

  • Psychiatry Conference – New Zealand: Michael’s presentation of research in yoga and mental health at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry (RANZCP) annual congress in New Zealand – 2nd year in a row!
  • Yoga Australia Conference – Keynote presentation by Michael
  • SYTAR – Yoga Therapy conference: Virginia, USA



  • Celebrating Desikachar – Michael was an invited guest at a commemoration of the 80th birthday of TKV Desikachar, with many of the world’s leading yoga teachers, at Kripalu, USA. An unforgettable experience!

Looking forward to a another year of connecting the dots of our work and our hearts 



It’s Graduation Time: 2018 Student Reflections

‘Class of 2018’

As we approach the end of the year, with ‘Class of 2018’ graduating tomorrow, we start to get a little sad to say farewell to our special group. As teachers and facilitators, we have mixed feelings, from sentimental, proud to extremely excited for our new flock of yoga teachers to spread their wings into the yoga world.

It’s at this point in the training course, the group seems to be the most vocal. The constant chatter coming from the lunch room and class room is filled with gratitude, appreciation and stories of reflection.

I asked some of the students to share their reflections and here are just a few that make our hearts sing!

“Gonna miss this crew so much!! When I signed up for yoga teacher training over a year ago, I didn’t realise I’d be signing up for lifelong friends as well.
This year has been transformational for each of us in so many ways. This may be our last week together as yoga teacher trainees but our journey has only just begun.” Natalie H


“Yoga has help me navigate through the complexities and challenges of everyday life. I’d like to thank The Yoga Institute for my amazing journey this year. I am truly thankful and grateful and am looking forward to an amazing 2019 being a yoga teacher. Thank you for a wonderful year of growth and learning.” Jess C


“At the beginning of the year I started with a fear of public speaking. I was really nervous about the idea of teaching yoga to a big group of people. The course at the Yoga Institute is intelligently structured in a way that gradually and slowly introduced us to teaching and speaking in front of groups over the year. I felt fully supported in my teaching journey, to the point where I am now teaching yoga classes with a sense of confidence and joy. The Yoga Institute helped me find my voice.” Tanya C


“Yoga has given me the tools to process stress, build resilience and be able to self regulate my mind and body that is a constant witness to trauma and in a constant state of hyper vigilance due to my line of work.” Anonymous


“I embarked on my journey to become a Yoga Teacher with The Yoga Institute as new mother of a 3 month old, with the hope it would provide me with some “me-time” to study Yoga as well as a qualification at the end of the year. I didn’t intend to teach Yoga, but as the year unfolded and we transitioned from ‘students of yoga’ into also becoming ‘teachers of yoga’, I felt competent and confident to teach.
This course has helped me learn so much more about yoga, has facilitated strong friendships, supported me during my transition into motherhood and provided me with qualifications to move into a new career as a yoga teacher.
I cannot thank Michael, my mentor Ute, the whole faculty and team at TYI enough for their contribution to bringing Yoga into my life and the world.” Anna P


This is why we do what we do! Thank you for sharing your kind words….we look forward to watching you spread your wings!

Thinking of studying yoga? Join our next information session or webinar to find out more.

PODCAST: J. Brown Yoga Talks with Michael de Manincor: “Kaleidoscope of Wisdom and Science”

Michael de Manincor – “Kaleidoscope of Wisdom and Science”

“J. Brown’s “Yoga Talks” podcast is probably the most popular and informative podcast program in the yoga world. 

As well as interesting conversations with many of the world’s leading yoga teachers, J. has created a platform to open up discussions on many important issues in modern yoga. These issues range from deep philosophy to scientific research, training standards to ethical and professional behaviour, yoga-extremism to yoga-therapy, instagram and social media to the modern business of yoga.
Whilst many of us have been engaged in similar conversations amongst our own networks of peers, colleagues and students for many years, J. has opened up these issues for conversation with the broader yoga community, perhaps the world.  It is my pleasure to be part of these conversations with J. in this week’s podcast episode.” Michael de Manincor


Why Is Yoga Therapy Gaining Attention?

By Lisa Grauaug

As a Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist I’ve been really interested and inspired to watch the growing interest in yoga therapy. This interest isn’t just coming from within the ‘yoga world’. As the health sector is becoming more open and accepting of the therapeutic benefits of mind-body therapies, yoga continues to gain traction.

There are a number of contributing factors at play here. One of the most influential is a societal shift and increasing interest in natural approaches to health and healing to complement western medical treatments, including the growth of Integrative Medicine.

There is also continued growth of published clinical research providing evidence on the benefits of yoga for a range of health conditions – to include back pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia and its ability to reduce symptoms for respiratory conditions such as asthma and reduce some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

At the same time, Yoga Therapy as a professional practice distinct from Yoga Teaching is growing. The number of graduate Yoga Therapy training programs is on the rise, as is the number of International Yoga Therapy Conferences.

It is without a doubt that Yoga Therapy is finding its place as a practice to consider as a health care intervention.

So What Exactly is a Yoga Therapist?
Yoga Therapy is a mind-body intervention; a Yoga Therapist requires diverse knowledge and skills, a level of expertise and acknowledgement that Yoga is a practice available for everyone, including students with a variety of health conditions and life challenges.

As part of a Yoga Therapy training you will learn and develop skills that enable you to intelligently offer mind-body practices to enable and support individuals with a wide range of presenting health conditions and life challenges.

A Yoga Therapist’s knowledge, approach and skills are based on source Yoga teachings and Yogic principles, integrated with biomedical and current evidence-based western medicine. Yoga Therapy is a comprehensive, holistic approach that considers all aspects of a person – to include body, breath, mind and lifestyle.

How Does the Yoga Therapy Process Work?
The Yoga Therapist approaches health and healing by educating and empowering individuals with a range of skills so the person can take better care of self. The client is the ‘doer’ and with this enabling process they experience a sense of control, rather than helplessness, in their ability to make a difference for themselves.

A fundamental aspect of a Yoga Therapist’s work is in the assessment phase where all aspects of the person are considered and “no stone is left unturned” – this includes observational, examination and functional assessment. This assessment process ensures the development of an appropriate practice and this aspect of the Yoga Therapists work is threaded throughout the therapeutic process. Ongoing review and refining is an essential part of Yoga and Yoga Therapy.

Yoga Works Best When it is Person-oriented
Yoga Therapy training provides a comprehensive and systematic framework to work with clients one-on-one. Yoga Teachers embark on this path to develop skills and knowledge to more fully support their clients and students.

Essentially Yoga works best when it is “person-oriented”. Given the multi-dimensional nature of the person and that clients often present for Yoga Therapy with multi-faceted histories, it may be a challenge to know where to begin. It is indeed an advanced skill of knowing where to start and deciding what is an appropriate practice to ensure an optimal outcome. This skill set is developed in one’s Yoga Therapy training and particular attention is given to this in the professional mentoring component.

A Yoga Therapy trainee who recently completed our Foundations of Yoga Therapy Course is amazed at the benefits her case study client reported. We love hearing these stories to remind us what positive benefits Yoga can bring to people’s lives and the impact our graduates are having on the people they work with:

“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your Personal Practice case study. It has helped me commit to some yoga practice at home and I really feel a whole lot better for it. I love that it has been personally designed for me concentrating on my weaknesses, i.e. lower back pain, my core strength and my breathing. I have definitely noticed that the core exercise with the reverse breathing have helped with my lower back pain and also assist me moving into some poses which were difficult before. My abdominals also feel tighter as a result so this is a huge bonus. I will continue to enjoy my personal practice at home.”

Interested in Yoga Therapy Training? Learn more about The Yoga Institute’s upcoming Foundations of Yoga Therapy Course and Yoga Therapy Training Course

Student Reflections: Women in Yoga

Written by Jessica Charlton (teacher trainee 2018)

Meet Jess:

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

She is a mother of two teenage children who embarked on her yoga teacher training with the a particular interest in yoga for carers and using the tools of yoga to support all aspects of life. Having danced, Jess naturally loves all the asana poses but she has found particular interest in discovering the mental benefits. Now she REALLY just wants share her skills and knowledge to help people.

“Yoga has help me navigate through the complexities and challenges of everyday life.” Jess C

Here we share Jess’s History of Yoga assignment ‘Women in Yoga.’

Women in yoga. Krishnamacharya paves the way

Krishnamacharya gave his support and offered opportunities to women interested in the study and practice of yoga. “I’m happy to fight” said Krishnamacharya over women undertaking studies of yoga. “In difficult times rules have to be modified because in difficult times every rule has an exception” Sri T. Krishnamacharya.

When Krishnamacharya first was introduced to Indra Devi in 1937, he declined when she asked to be a student due to her being a westerner and a woman. Yoga was a practice for males and women were not taught or involved in yoga or vedic chants. Devi being persistent and a personal friend of the Prince of Mysore, became Krishnamacharya’s student in 1937 after the prince strongly encouraged Krishnamacharya to take Devi on as a student.

Krishnamacharya made life very difficult for Devi and expected her to keep up with the male routine, hoping she wouldn’t cope and leave. He implemented a very strict routine for Devi involving strong discipline, long hours of practice and dietary restrictions with only certain foods being allowed. Devi met every challenge and Krishnamacharya realised that she was there to stay; she was his student for a year.  After completing a year of study under Krishnamacharya, Devi was encouraged to teach yoga and spread the ancient discipline. This is exactly what Devi achieved spreading yoga to the western world. I find Krishnamacharya’s openness and adaptability to teaching women and changing his firm beliefs on this progressive.

Krishnamachary’s son T.K.V. Desikachar describes how Krishnamacharya’s  rules about women changed and was quoted as saying at the age of ninety eight “I think if we do not – encourage women, the great Indian tradition will die because most of the Brahman’s are not following the vedic rules and regulations and are all becoming  business people.”Krishnamacharya was also the first to teach women vedic chanting and Mala Srivatsan was one of his first female students performing vedic chants. What a legacy Krishnamacharya has left and even though he never travelled to the west he achieved the gift of sharing the yoga discipline with the world through his students and his teachings.

Devi initially went to China where she earnt the name “Mataji” meaning mother. Then moving to America, she taught some very famous people developing a following in yoga. Devi reached many people even, eventually legalising yoga in Russia, traveling there in 1960 to convince the Russian Government that yoga is not a religion. Devi was the first westerner to teach yoga in India and has written many books.  Devi travelled to many countries and lived in Mexico for many years giving training courses in yoga; she finally settled in Argentina and spent the rest of her life there. Passing away at age 102 on April the 24th2002. Devi managed to break all the cultural boundaries and spread the message of yoga. The training she received from Krishnamacharya of the ancient discipline of yoga was a gift that was so beneficial to the western world.

T.K.V. Desikachar when asked about his father and how he actually did much to encourage yoga for woman agrees. He advised that his mother Namagiriamma practiced regularly but was not actually taught and Krishnamacharya was never seen teaching his mother. His mother however, was able to correct her children’s postures and had learned the texts even though she didn’t have a high level of education, Namagiriamma’s sister also practiced yoga and accompanied Krishnamacharya on his tours and lectures. The whole family did yoga including his sisters who also assisted in class. T.K.V. Desikachar explains that one of his sisters is a yoga teacher as is T.K.V. Desikachar’s wife.

Devi became a female pioneer in yoga but also was instrumental in educating the western civilization in the ancient discipline. Devi, a natural communicator, spread the yoga discipline to the western world. Krishnamacharya believed that yoga can transform society as a whole; although quite orthodox in the beginning surrounding the teaching of yoga to women and westerners, his opinions changed.

There are many benefits that yoga can bring to one’s life, and it has certainly benefited me. I have been encouraged enough to want to be a yoga teacher, to really understand the discipline of yoga and be able to assist others on their journey. I’m grateful for the steps that others have taken before me to inspire me to follow this path. I believe it is important to highlight the decisions that Krishnamacharya made to expand the learning of the art of yoga to women and westerners. He was absolutely progressive and although people at first may make judgments at his initial refusal to take on Indra Devi as a student, he remained true to the vedic texts. Krishnamacharya changed his opinion to adapt to an evolving world. In 1937 yoga was new to the western culture and he supported and wanted the western culture to benefit from these practices. Krishnamacharya paved the way for the practice of yoga to not be lost and to expand the discipline beyond India. T.K.V. Desikachar mentions that his father’s greatest transformation was the transition to the support of women in yoga and had a belief that women and children are the future. As a result of this transformation my aunt became a personal pupil of T.K.V. Desikachar in 1974 and I am able to undertake my studies as a yoga student.

Thanks fort sharing Jess ❤

What does Michael de Manincor have to say? 

“Yoga has always evolved in ways that resinate with different who have different needs throughout history. This evolution has always maintained the connection with it’s roots in the authentic teachings. The challenge is for us to do the best we can to allow the authenticity of these profound teachings to remain in the modern evolution of yoga, and the role of women is very important to ensure this. ” Michael de Manincor

How can we support you? Join our next yoga teacher training information session or webinar with Michael de Manincor: MORE INFORMATION AND BOOK MY PLACE 

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:

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 

June 14th, 2019: 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 at the tranquil Quest for Life Centre, set within 9 acres of landscaped gardens in Bundanoon, Southern Highlands, New South Wales.

Date:  Friday 14th – Sunday 16th June 2019

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:  $695

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 14th June – welcome talk 3:00pm

Departure: 3pm Sunday 16th June

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

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.

For further information and to register your interest please contact | 02 9929 2774

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

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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.

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