University Model for Yoga School


Good teacher training programs prepare yoga teachers to lead class and keep students safe, teach the philosophy of yoga, all the while guiding them into a deeper exploration of themselves. In many ways, teacher training and the years following are similar to the formative years a college student spends at a university learning what they want to do as a career and a lot about themselves in the process. This is the premise behind Naada Yoga’s teacher training program. Naada, which is based in Montreal, offers its teacher trainees a program that is structured like a university. It gives students options to learn the basics from a lot of different perspectives, then build on them by choosing a specialty.

The school offers a 200-hour "foundational" program, a 300-hour, a 500-hour (the minimum Naada requires of its teachers), and a 1,000-hour yoga therapeutics program. Students, who attend classes at night and on weekends, must take midterms and exams. And by bringing in teachers who offer expertise in different areas, trainees get to discover what area interests them most. Those in the advanced programs then choose a specialty, in the way a graduate student does, in areas including yoga for scoliosis or for at-risk youth. The school is recognized by the American and Canadian yoga-training accrediting bodies.

“Our initial and continual goal with our programs has been to raise the standards of yoga education,” says Naada owner Elizabeth Emberly. “We felt that by modeling it after a university that students would be able to undergo deeper study in the major subjects found within hatha yoga, thus giving them a broader perspective of yoga both from a historical and modern viewpoint.”

The school draws well known international teachers and scholars, including Richard Rosen, Mark Singleton, Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee, Matthew Remski, Timothy McCall, and Baxter Bell. These teacher travel to Montreal do offer training modules for the various programs.

To complete the two-year 1,000-hour therapeutics program, students work with a mentor and complete a practicum and a thesis, which involves designing a yoga therapeutic program aligned with their interests as a therapist. Some therapy graduates get grants from the Yoga Mala Foundation, also founded by Emberly and Naada co-owner Jason Sharp, to continue their work with special populations.