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Yoga Teacher Training California

This training program is the first module of Ananda’s Yoga therapy training. By attending to this program, you will gain understanding of the foundations of yoga therapy, which come from the ancient sciences of yoga and Ayurveda. Learn assessment skills from the perspective of structure and function, posture alignment, breath, subtle energy, chakras, and Ayurvedic assessment of prakruti, vikruti, and gunas.

Retreat highlights

  • Daily yoga classes
  • Explore energy healing and its benefits
  • Discover how yoga and Ayurveda work together
  • Deepen your anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology knowledge
  • Learn to design individualized yoga therapy regimes
  • Daily buffet-style vegetarian meals
  • 7 nights accommodation

Yoga styles

7 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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For this teacher training, you may choose from two types of accommodation; indoor or outdoor. For indoor accommodations The Expanding Light offer both standard and deluxe rooms housed in three different buildings and four one-room cabins. For outdoor accommodations, recreation vehicles (RV) camping is available all year-round, however, RV facilities and hookups will not be available at this time.

Tent camping is available from April through October. Each guest room includes two twin beds, carpeting, heat, air conditioning (except for the cabins), towels, and, bedding. A limited number of queen-sized beds are available. Fresh linens and towels are available weekly and also non-daily maid service is provided. Wi-Fi is available for all guests except those in cabins or tents. Centrally located guest computers are also available.

Deluxe rooms

Private and shared deluxe rooms located at “Harmony House” have a private entrance, a private bathroom, air conditioning, a ceiling fan, and a hairdryer. Simply and elegantly appointed, each room is decorated in the theme of one of the great world religions.

Standard rooms

Private and shared standard rooms are located at Serenity House. Serenity House is an inn-style house with twelve air-conditioned rooms and four hall bathrooms. It has a comfortable lounge, classroom equipped with a video player and a library of inspirational videos. The lounge-classroom also has a small refrigerator for personal items.


Each cabin has one room, which is larger and more private than other standard rooms; cabin occupants share separate men's and women's shower houses about a minute’s walk away.

Tents and RV’s

If you would like to stay in a tent or an RV, please bring your own. The Expanding Light do not provide tents or RVs.

The shower houses

All outdoor accommodations have access to separate men's and women's shower houses an easy two or three-minute walk across the meadow. Facilities have flush toilets, plenty hot water, and shower and toilet partitions for comfort and privacy.

The Expanding Light Retreat Yoga Teacher Training USA Program

This in-depth seven-day program is the first module of Ananda’s yoga Therapy Training. This is a seven-day residential course which includes a combination of lecture, discussion, case studies, and practicum. Intuition and energy healing are presented as essential skills for yoga therapists to cultivate. Therapeutic relationships are discussed as well as practiced by working with volunteer clients in class and at home with faculty supervision.

You must be an Ananda Yoga Teacher Training graduate, or a Yoga Alliance RYT who has taken the Bridge to Ananda Yoga course to attend this training.

Ananda Yoga Therapy Training. Many teachers of other styles want to transfer into Ananda’s Level 2 certification track, once they experience the power of Ananda Yoga. If you are a Yoga Alliance RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher), you may do that.

Documentation skills are learned and practiced as well as the basics of business aspects of becoming a yoga therapist. This program is the foundation for all of the other yoga therapy programs that The Expanding Light Retreat offers. This course offers 43 hours of continuing education credit. .

Acquired knowledge by the end of the course

Gain practical client assessment skills including structural and functional assessment, and basic Ayurvedic constitution assessment

Learn how to take and document a client history

Learn to create, document, and evaluate individualized therapeutic yoga plans

Deepen your understanding of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology

Learn how to design individualized yoga therapy regimes

Discover how yoga and Ayurveda work together to promote well-being of body, mind, and spirit

Deepen your understanding of the breath of yoga teachings (asanas, meditation, pranayama, diet, yoga philosophy, intuition, lifestyle, and more), and how they can *be used to help a client therapeutically

Explore energy healing; how to send healing energy to others, the roles of prayer and intention, the power of the mind, and the therapeutic use of affirmations, *visualizations, and mantras

Explore important issues in conducting the business of yoga therapy

In addition, you will learn how to communicate with health care professionals and how to generate and interpret referral information. You will explore how to establish therapeutic relationships with your clients and how to set clear boundaries. You will also learn what are professional and ethical boundaries and listening and communication skills.

In short, by the end of the week, you will have been given the basic skills for creating your own yoga therapy practice. This program is also a prerequisite for some other yoga therapy programs offered by The Expanding Light Retreat.

The field of yoga therapy is rapidly evolving and being recognized as a valuable modality by the world of western medicine. Being trained as a yoga therapist will open up a wide variety of employment opportunities for those who are inclined to work collaboratively with health care providers. As a prerequisite for this course, you must be a graduate of the Ananda yoga teacher training, have one year of personal practice and one year of experience teaching Ananda yoga (minimum of 80 hours).

You can also be a 200-hour graduate of a registered yoga school program, who has taken bridge to Ananda yoga and has taught 30 hours of Ananda yoga. You must also have a year’s personal practice, and have completed an application for Ananda yoga therapy training. This course starts the afternoon of the first date listed. It’s recommended to arrive before 14:00, if you are able to. That way, you can join in the afternoon session of yoga and meditation, which begins at 16:45.

Dinner is at 18:30. The first real gathering of the group is at 19:30. If you need to arrive here after 17:00, it's fine, but it will help The Expanding Light Retreat if you let them know. They can also put aside a dinner for you if you need to arrive after 19:00. The program ends with lunch on the last date.

Course syllabus

  • 65 course hours: 53 contact hours and 12 non-contact hours
  • 23 practicum hours: 11 during course; 12 non-contact in home practicum

Course description

This in-depth seven-day program provides many practical foundational skills necessary for a safe and effective yoga therapy practice including assessment skills from the perspective of structure and function, posture alignment, breath, subtle energy, chakras, Ayurvedic assessment of Prakruti, Vikruti, and Gunas.

Therapeutic relationships are discussed as well as practiced by working with volunteer clients in class and at home with faculty supervision. Documentation skills are learned and practiced as well as the basics of business aspects of becoming a yoga therapist. This program is the foundation for all of our other yoga therapy programs.

Required texts, reading materials, and reading assignments

McCall, Timothy B. Yoga as Medicine: “The Yogic Prescription for Health & Healing”. New York: Bantam, 2012. Printed chapters one and two, and Afterword, pages 493 to 4966.

Lasater, Judith: “Yogabody: Anatomy, Kinesiology, and Asana.” Berkeley, California; Rodmell, 2009

Simpson, Savitri Chakras Workbook, (2012, Savitri Simpson, self-published) pages 11 to 28 and 40 to 45.

Walters, J. Donald, and Devi Novak: “Intuition for Starters: How to Know and Trust Your Inner Guidance.” Nevada City, California: Crystal Clarity, 2002. Chapter one and two, pages 13 to 43 and chapter six, pages 101 to top of 108.

Ayurveda pamphlet, Ayurveda: “A Brief Introduction and Guide, (2006, The Ayurvedic Press) (pamphlet will be given to you when you arrive)”, page one to top of page three.

Yogananda: “Scientific Healing Affirmations: Theory and Practice of Concentration.” Los Angeles; self-realization fellowship, 2012. Chapters one to four, pages three to 34.

Yogananda. “Divine Will Healing Excerpts” (currently out of print but handout is available in section five of the manual.

Walters, J. Donald. “Affirmations for Self-healing”. Nevada City, California; crystal clarity, 2005. Pages from 13 to 18.

Yogananda. “How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality”. Nevada City, California: crystal clarity, 2011. Chapter one; “Vitalize the Body”, pages from nine to 20 and 30 to 37. Chapter two; “All-Round Health”, pages 39 to 49, and chapter seven; “God’s Healing Power”, pages 117 to 129.

Ananda yoga therapy training manual: “Principles, read all”.

Subject matter and competencies covered

  • Familiarity with the evolution of the teachings and philosophy of the yoga tradition and its relevance and application to yoga therapy including teachings from Vedic and post-Vedic periods, Samkhya, yoga, Tantra, and Ayurveda
  • Knowledge of yoga perspectives on the structure, states, functioning, and conditions of the mind including but not limited to citta vrtti (activities of the mind), citta parinama (structural changes in the mind), and vyutthana and nirodha (mind's potential for distraction and focus)
  • Knowledge of the basic perspectives on health and disease from yoga and Ayurveda relevant to the practice of yoga therapy
  • Knowledge of categorizing illness
  • Knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, including all major systems of the body and their interrelationship as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist
  • Knowledge of biomechanics and movement as they relate to the practice of yoga and the work of a yoga therapist
  • Knowledge of common pathologies and disorders of all the major systems, including symptoms, management, illness trajectories, and contraindications as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist
  • Familiarity with common medical terminology
  • Knowledge of how to reference current healthcare information relevant to the work of a yoga therapist, including pathologies, disorders, drugs, and surgical procedures as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.
  • Knowledge of the interaction of the body, breath, mind, intellect, and emotions in health and well-being
  • In-depth knowledge of, and observed capacity for, well-developed communication skills; listening, presence, directive, and non-directive dialogue
  • Demonstrated ability to recognize, adjust, and adapt to specific client and student needs in the evolving therapeutic or professional relationship
  • Demonstrated ability to recognize and manage the subtle dynamics inherent in the therapist and client relationship
  • In-depth knowledge of the scope of practice of yoga therapy and how to assess the need for referral to other professional services
  • In-depth knowledge of, and demonstrated ability, how to implement effective teaching methods, adapt to unique styles of learning, provide supportive and effective feedback, acknowledge the client's and student's progress, and cope with unique difficulties and successes.
  • In-depth knowledge of and demonstrated ability to transmit the value of self-awareness and self- responsibility throughout the therapeutic process
  • In-depth knowledge of, and demonstrated ability to develop and adjust appropriate practice strategies to the client and student
  • In-depth knowledge of the range of yoga practices and their potential therapeutic effects for common conditions
  • In-depth knowledge of contraindications of yoga practices for specific conditions and circumstances
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct intake and assess the client/student, including
  • Demonstrated ability to elicit the goals, expectations, and aspirations of the clients and students
  • Demonstrated ability to integrate information from the intake, evaluation, and observation to develop a working assessment of the client's condition, limitations, and possibilities
  • Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge on how to determine which aspects of the clients and student's conditions, goals, and aspirations that might be addressed through yoga therapy
  • Demonstrated ability to identify priorities and set both long and short term goals with the clients and students
  • Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of pacification, purification, and strengthening strategies
  • Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of strategies that address common disorders and pathologies of the major human systems and common mental health conditions, as well as other goals and aspirations of the student as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist
  • Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge on how to combine intake, evaluation, observations, and working assessment to develop an appropriate practice or session strategy for individual clients and students as well as group classes, taking into consideration the holistic nature of the
  • Demonstrated knowledge of how to choose and prioritize the use of yoga tools and techniques, including selecting, sequencing, adapting, and modifying yoga practices appropriate to the needs of clients
  • Demonstrated ability to teach or deliver the appropriate practices for individuals as well as groups, taking into consideration the assessment of their conditions, limitations, possibilities, and the overall practice strategy
  • Demonstrated ability to facilitate the experience of the practice for students and clients
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain therapeutic relationships
  • Demonstrated ability to provide follow up and re-planning
  • In-depth knowledge of yoga practices and methods for self-inquiry related to establishing, practicing, and maintaining ethical principles
  • In-depth knowledge of generally accepted ethical principles of health care codes of conduct and yoga's ethical principles
  • Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of generally accepted ethical principles and related concepts from the yoga to professional interactions and relationships
  • In-depth knowledge of the scope of practice of yoga therapy, resulting in the demonstrated ability to discern the need for referral to other modalities
  • Knowledge of the extent of one's own individual training, skills, and evolving experience in yoga therapy, and knowledge of the importance of practicing within such parameters.
  • Knowledge of current relevant local, state, and national laws and regulations impacting the work of a yoga therapist
  • Basic knowledge of business practices relevant to the work of a yoga therapist, including record keeping, planning, and financial management.
  • Basic knowledge of how to establish, maintain, and utilize a referral network of peers and related
  • Basic knowledge of how to develop and maintain ongoing collaborative relationships
  • Knowledge of the fundamental value of ongoing personal practice, long-term mentorship, and skills maintenance and development through continuing education
  • Knowledge of when and how to seek advice and support for case consultation, educational advancement, and personal practice

Course completion requirements

  • Attendance at all classes
  • Completion of all assigned readings
  • Participation in class discussions and activities (including case studies, review sessions, and practicums). Participation needs to reflect that the student has learned and begun to assimilate the information from their assigned readings. The faculty will be assessing whether the student has achieved the level of knowledge and appropriate application of that knowledge according to the IAYT competencies that apply
  • Satisfactory performance on in-class (closed-book) quizzes. This will indicate an achievement of the stated course learning objectives. Students will be given answer keys to the quizzes immediately after taking them and there will then be time for further questions and answers and group discussion with the faculty.
  • Satisfactory completion of the home practice assignment. Students are given written feedback by supervising faculty along with an offer to speak in person or by phone in addition. If the expected standard of satisfactory performance (set by IAYT standards and competencies) is not met, then students will be given additional guidance and assignments as needed until they can demonstrate the expected competency
  • If any of the above requirements or expectations are not met, the student will be counseled and/or given additional assignments in order to help them be able to demonstrate satisfactory performance


Nayaswami Mangala
Nayaswami Mangala has an impressive background in yoga teacher training, Ayurvedic training and practice, and in-depth medical training and practice. She holds a master in nursing and has won awards as nurse practitioner of the year in 1982, and for outstanding achievement in teaching when she was a lecturer at The University of Washington School of Nursing in 1987.
Maitri Jones
Maitri’s name means “Friend” in Sanskrit and well describes her kind and supportive nature. She is a calm, high-energy person who approaches her many interests with enthusiasm and talent. Maitri was drawn to doing yoga postures and living a yogic lifestyle in the early 70’s. A certified Meditation Teacher, Yoga Teacher and AIYT Certified Yoga Therapy teacher. Maitri's special interest is Yoga Therapy for body,mind and spirit. With another nurse, Maitri created the successful MS Study at The Expanding Light, for which she created a video of Energization Exercises and yoga postures for MS.
Barbara Bingham
Barbara is a Hatha yoga teacher, a registered physical therapist, and a former gymnast. She brings all of her training together in her yoga teaching and helps people enjoy using their bodies in the healthiest way possible. Barbara teaches the anatomy and physiology classes of the Ananda yoga teacher training and can show clients and students how to adjust yoga movements to their particular limitations, whatever those might be. Known for her playful, approachable style, Barbara also brings compassion and sensitive awareness to her yoga teaching.

Retreat location

This retreat will be held at The Expanding Light in California, USA. The Expanding Light is located in Ananda Village, one of the world's most successful spiritual communities. Situated in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern California, it’s approximately two hours east of Sacramento and two hours west of Lake Tahoe. The Expanding Light is a teaching and retreat center set on 40 beautiful acres.

Guests have visited here for almost 50 years from all parts of the world with many different spiritual perspectives between one and two thousand visitors each year. All programs are based on the universal teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. Founded by Swami Kriyananda in 1969, Ananda Village is a spiritual cooperative community, an expression of one of Paramhansa Yogananda’s ideals that people live together harmoniously, united in the goal of self-realization.

Ananda Village, home of The Expanding Light, is an intentional community, with about 200 resident adults and children. Ananda is organized like a village, with member-operated businesses, a school system, a market, homes, and temples. Expanding Light guests are offered tours of the Village and are welcome to walk the acreage as they wish.

Nearby Places

  • Lake Tahoe - 2 hours
  • Sacramento - 2 hours
  • Yuba River - 20 minute drive



  • Hiking nearby
  • Massage nearby
  • Swimming nearby


  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Dining area
  • Garden
  • Lake nearby
  • Studio
  • Yoga studio


  • Convenience / grocery store nearby
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Laundry

This Yoga Retreat is vegetarian-friendly

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Three delicious and satisfying vegetarian buffet meals are included with the cost of your stay. Some dishes contain eggs and dairy. Organically grown foods are used as much as possible including some organically grown eggs and produced at Ananda Village, and organically grown fair trade coffee.

A variety of teas and fresh fruit are also available all day. Special dietary needs with non-dairy, non-wheat, and egg-free choices can be accommodated on request. A small refrigerator for guests who are staying in "Serenity House Lounge" and a full size refrigerator outside the kitchen are available for storing special foods. There is also a market in the Ananda Village if you’d like to buy special items.

Things to do (optional)

During your free time, "Serenity Lounge" is a homey room located in the Serenity building. When not in use for a class, it is open to guests for relaxation, reading, meditation, watching videos, listening music, or just socializing. Serenity Lounge is also stocked with tea and coffee and equipped with a small refrigerator, microwave, and electric teapot for guest use.

Visit Lahiri Mandir

Lahiri Mandir is a small chapel on the path to Lotus Lake. It is a sacred space ideal for meditation, Lahiri is open all the time for quiet reflection and meditation.

Visit Lotus Lake

Lotus Lake is a lovely lake that fills with water lilies and lotus flowers in summer. It is a beautiful area ideal for walks where you can often see wild birds. A path around the lake includes outdoor altars to the line of Masters.

Visit the main temple

This temple is located just off the dining room, is a beautiful space in which daily practice of yoga postures and meditation is held, as well classes and evening programs. When not in use for a scheduled class or event, it is open for meditation and Hatha yoga.

Spa treatments

Located just across the meadow from The Expanding Light Retreat is The center for radiant health. The center offers massage, body and energy work, emotional freedom techniques, career coaching, and astrology consultations. It is an independent cooperative of qualified Ananda health practitioners. These services are available by prior appointment during the whole week for an additional cost.

What's included

  • 3 daily buffet-style meals
  • 7 nights accommodations
  • All classes and activities mentioned on the program
  • All course materials

What's not included

  • Activities not mentioned on the itinerary
  • Airport transportation
  • Massages and therapies

How to get there

Driving directions from Sacramento International Airport (SMF)

  • Take I-80 Eats towards Reno and keep going about 25 miles.
  • At Auburn, turn left on CA-49 North towards Grass Valley, Nevada City for 38 miles.
  • Just past Nevada City, turn left at the “49 to Downieville" sign and follow this road for 10 miles and a half. It's a curving mountain road that crosses the Yuba River.
  • Turn right on Tyler-Foote Road immediately after the sign for Malakoff Diggins State Park and keep going for about five miles.
  • Turn left on Ananda way and left again almost immediately on Expanding Light way.

Driving directions from Reno–Tahoe International Airport (RNO)

  • Take I-80 West towards Sacramento and keep going 55 miles.
  • Take CA-20 West and keep going 27 miles.
  • Turn right on CA-49 North towards Downieville and keep going 10 miles and a half.
  • Turn right on Tyler-Foote Road (immediately after the sign for Malakoff Diggins State Park) and keep going about five miles.
  • Turn left on Ananda way and left again almost immediately on Expanding Light way.

Driving directions from the Northwest

  • Take I-5 South to Williams, California.
  • Take CA-20 East to Nevada City and keep going 77 miles.
  • Turn left on CA-49 North towards Downieville and keep going 10 miles and a half.
  • Turn right on Tyler-Foote Road (immediately after the sign for Malakoff Diggins State Park) and keep going about five miles.
  • Turn left on Ananda way and left again almost immediately on Expanding Light way.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Sacramento International Airport (SMF). Another option is to book your flight to arrive at Reno–Tahoe International Airport (RNO). Airport transportation is available on request for an additional cost. A carpool matching service is also available. Please send The Expanding Light Retreat an inquiry for more information.

Arrival by bus

Bus services are available to Colfax. To get to Ananda from Colfax you will need to take a cab.

Arrival by train

Train services are available to Colfax. To get to Ananda from Colfax you will need to take a cab.

Cancellation Policy

  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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