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200-hour Yoga Teacher Training

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A YOGA TEACHER?

At Queen Street Yoga, we believe the answer to this question is community. And community takes time to grow. This is why we structure our 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) to take place over the course of 10 months. We want to provide time for relationships to grow, for trust to develop, for confidence to build, and for conversations to deepen. While teacher training is a substantial commitment, with our format you don’t have to put your life on hold while developing your yoga practice.

Participants in our three previous YTT programs regularly exclaimed about how supported and encouraged they felt by the faculty and by one another. There was a tangible feeling of deep learning and relationship building happening in the group. Many participants spoke about how the program was impacting and transforming their lives "off the mat," giving them the confidence to try new things or make significant changes in their lives.

Our program is one of the most comprehensive programs in Canada with cutting-edge faculty and a strong practicum component. As you look into different programs, we encourage you to look closely at the quality being offered and ask the director lots of questions to ensure that you will graduate with competent teaching skills and a range of perspectives. Many programs are taught by just one or two teachers, which means you get a pretty limited view and scope. Most programs offer very little chance to practice and hone your teaching skills and get feedback on your teaching. Our program has an in-depth emphasis on practice teaching, mentorship, and practicum, and a carefully designed curriculum that takes things step-by-step to help you build your confidence.

Our Empowering Program Focuses on:

You will learn to teach a progressive blend of yoga, functional movement, and strength training. You will understand the limitations of yoga asana and how to incorporate other modalities and perspectives into your classes to make them intelligent, well-balanced, and fun. This program will teach you how to make yoga a sustainable and resilient practice for yourself and your students for years to come.

"Leena and Emma facilitated an informative and empowering teacher training. They created an open space within the training for students to connect with each other, the faculty, and the practice. The program was vigorous and authoritative without being dogmatic. They were open about how their own practices have been shifting and brought in incredible guest faculty to round out the training and to bring differing points of view. It was obvious to me that they were serious about their roles as life-long students as well as teachers." - Sarah Kernohan, QSY YTT 2016 graduate

To get a sense of how current research has informed our teaching, read some of our blog posts explaining our approach to our community:

Where did all the Chatturungas go? by Emma Dines, QSY YTT director

Strong or Flexible: Why not both? by Leslie Stokman, QSY core teacher and QSY YTT 2016 graduate

You will learn to articulate teaching instructions with clarity and detail and how to explain complex concepts in approachable ways. You will learn what effective pedagogy is and how to apply different teaching tools to a range of situations. You will have opportunities to practice teach regularly, and you will receive continuous feedback from faculty and peers throughout the process. You will develop your teaching skills in a carefully designed, step-by-step process, to leave you confident and equipped to teach a range of students.

"This YTT is designed with an explicit focus on developing teaching skills and providing the opportunity to practice teach. Queen Street Yoga’s YTT transformed my own yoga practice and gave me the confidence to step into the seat of the teacher and share my on-going learnings with others." - Kate Parizeau, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

While our classes and program are not overtly spiritual, the program will offer you regular opportunities to dig deep and reflect on your values, worldview, and how you want to share that with your students through yoga. Whether you want to focus on values of self-acceptance, body-positivity, mindfulness practices, or spiritual philosophy, you will be supported on a journey of self-inquiry to learn to teach with integrity and thoughtfulness.

"Training at Queen Street Yoga - and specifically with teacher trainers Emma Dines and Leena Miller Cressman - has been one of my most valuable formal education experiences. Emma and Leena are a dynamic teaching team, with varied experiences and a common passion for yoga. They have created a brave learning space in which the care and community were palpable, and the inquisition contagious. Their values of thoughtfulness and intentionality become threads masterfully woven into each module, session, workshop, and briefing. One of both Emma’s and Leena’s greatest gifts as teachers is their natural propensity and practiced ability to listen deeply." - Rebecca Steiner, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

Yes, we will talk about cultural appropriation, consent, power, privilege, oppression, and trauma. We will discuss inclusion, accessibility, and representation. There will be no easy answers or conclusions here; we aim to ask critical questions and discover how to continually evolve how we teach yoga and engage with the world with these questions in mind.

"When you join the YTT cohort, you welcome the possibilities of enriched community, depth-of-practice, and engaging dialogue on relevant social issues. The group is large enough to invite diverse perspectives, yet small enough to form relationships. Leena and Emma facilitate the group with extraordinary care, intuition, and creativity; these are two people I'm so happy to know and from whom I feel fortunate to continue to learn." - Nicole DeNoble, QSY YTT 2016 graduate

Our 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program consists of ten full weekends of training, as well as three shorter tutorial sessions.

Approximate schedule for weekend training sessions:

  • Fridays: 6:00pm to 9:00pm
  • Saturdays: 10:00am to 5:30pm
  • Sundays: 10:00am to 4:30pm

Full list of weekend training sessions:

  • Oct 4-6, 2019
  • Nov 1-3, 2019
  • Dec 6-8, 2019
  • Jan 10-12, 2020
  • Feb 7-9, 2020
  • Mar 6-8, 2020
  • March 27-29, 2020
  • April 17-19, 2020
  • May 1-3, 2020
  • May 29-31, 2020

Tutorial session dates (1:00pm to 6:00pm):

  • Sun, Jan 26, 2020
  • Sun, Feb 23, 2020
  • Sun, April 5, 2020

Thursday, July 11, 2019 7:30pm-8:30pm

Meet Leena and Emma, QSY YTT directors, at an information session. We will talk about our dynamic approach to training, discuss the faculty we've chosen for this year, and be available to answer your questions. You are welcome to attend the 6pm Basics class with Emma for free if you are coming to the info session.

Leena is currently on maternity leave and will return to teaching in the fall of 2019, so this is a great opportunity to meet her, as she will not be teaching classes until the YTT program begins.

Please RSVP to let us know you are coming: emma@queenstreetyoga.com

We can't wait to meet you!

Not all YTTs are created equal. We have met numerous people throughout the years who chose their yoga teacher training without knowing what to look for, and later regretted it. We do not want this to happen to you.

A New Jersey based yoga teacher trainer named Emma Magenta wrote a great article on How to Choose a Yoga Teacher Training Program. We recommend reading this article, and doing a good amount of research before committing to any program.

We hope this article inspires you to get in touch with us and ask us some questions about our program. You can reach Emma directly at emma@queenstreetyoga.com

We choose to run our 200-hr YTT every other year because it allows us time to update our trainings, refine our program, and develop relationships with new faculty members. It also allows us time to spend with our families, and return to the training with fresh energy. The next time we will offer a YTT program after 2019/2020 will most likely be the fall of 2021.

Updating Our Trainings - This past year Leena and Emma have been facilitating a Continuing Education Program for Yoga Teachers, with sessions on functional breathing, embodied anatomy, trauma-aware yoga teaching and restorative yoga. This has allowed us to study with Cecily Milne of Yoga Detour, Madeleine Shen of the Axis Syllabus Research Community, and continue to appreciate the innovation of Kathryn Bruni-Young.

Leena also completed Kathryn Bruni-Young’s Mindful Strength Teacher Training Program last summer, and Emma travelled to study with Axis Syllabus founder Frey Faust. We are excited to integrate our most recent learnings into the 2019/2020 program.

Meet our Exceptional Faculty

Leena Miller Cressman, YTT Program Director

Leena Miller Cressman

ERYT®500, YTT Program Director

Leena has been teaching for over a decade, and specializes in a blend of functional and dynamic movement, strength building and mindful alignment. Leena has completed over 1,000 hours of training in alignment-based and vinyasa yoga, functional anatomy, strength-training, Ayurveda, and teaching pedagogy. Leena’s teaching has been influenced by Kathryn Bruni Young, Katy Bowman, Jenni Rawlings, Christi-an Slomka and Matthew Remski.

“Leena’s teaching is nuanced and layered: she builds upon key lessons in subtle and interconnecting ways. As a teacher trainer, her depth of knowledge and her commitment to ethical practice create a safe and engaging learning environment.” - Kate Parizeau, QSY YTT 2018 Graduate

Emma Dines

ERYT®200, YTT Program Director

Emma has been teaching since 2010, and specializes in teaching beginners and students in bigger bodies. Emma has completed over 700 hours of training with local and international teachers and continues to feed her own practice and zeal for teaching with ongoing study. In the past few years, she has been expanding her movement paradigm by studying the Axis Syllabus, Contact Improvisation, and Functional Movement. Emma is a certified Yoga for Round Bodies™ teacher and is passionate about creating body-positive contexts that celebrate a diversity of abilities and sizes.

Emma's playful humour helps make big topics feel more accessible. Her sincere openness to new ideas and different approaches levels the playing field and fosters a learning space of compassion and curiosity. Her study of yoga history is personal, yet thorough, and this translates into creativity in her teaching.” - Rebecca Steiner, QSY YTT 2018 Graduate

Madeleine Shen

Madeleine Shen is a certified Axis Syllabus Teacher and is currently studying at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto. With a background in contemporary and modern dance performance and Biomedical Engineering, Madeleine brings a passionate, informed and creative approach to teaching movement and anatomy. Madeleine’s infectious enthusiasm for how our unique bodies form, grow and move will delight you and change the way you practice.

The Axis Syllabus Movement Research Community is revolutionizing the way that movement and dance are understood and taught worldwide. We are the only yoga teacher training in the region that includes this valuable approach to understanding anatomy.

Matthew Remski, Ayurvedic Health Educator, YTT Faculty

Matthew Remski

Yoga Therapist, AHE (Ayurvedic Health Educator), Author

Matthew Remski is an author who “writes and presents on yoga and ayurveda in the shadow of capitalism and climate change”. Matthew facilitates programming for yoga trainings internationally, focusing on yoga philosophy, meditation, Ayurveda, and the social psychology of practice. His most recent book “Practice and All is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, and Healing in Yoga and Beyond” is at the forefront of the #metoo movement for the yoga world, and offers a clear pathway forward into enhanced critical thinking, student empowerment, self-and-other care, and community resilience.

Carly Stong

ERYT®500, YACEP® (Yoga Alliance Certified Education Provider)

Carly Stong is the Educational Director and Lead Instructor at Yoga Teacher Training Kingston. She began her movement exploration as a dancer in her youth and pursued a post-secondary degree in kinesiology and health studies while concurrently completing her Bachelor of Education. She opened a yoga studio in 2011 and, since then, she has offered a contemporary perspective to yoga that is informed by science as well as experience. Her teachings are built on the pillars of critical thinking, anti-oppression, and empowerment and rooted in social activism. As a a passionate advocate for body positivity, Carly sits as a member of the Leadership Team with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. Her approach to accessibility is modern and informed by a fully embodied and integrated experience; reframing accessibility as the default and not the exception.

Jennifer Snowdon

Jennifer is a yoga teacher and Buteyko Educator. She began teaching Buteyko breathing to clients to help them with disordered breathing and the resulting conditions, as well as to improve their athletic performance. She passionately teaches yoga teachers about functional breathing and how to evaluate breathing practiced in yoga classes.

What makes our training unique in the region

We always have at least two teacher trainers present, plus an assistant, so all trainees get more attention and conversation about their individual practice and learning.

“Leena and Emma are teachers that give a truly caring, considerate, and informative training course. Every training weekend I spent at QSY was an opportunity to grow, learn, and develop a special community. As teacher trainers they are so passionate about giving their students the opportunity to discuss new ideas while also giving them the space they need to absorb all of the information that this program offers.”

- Liz Harris, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

We bring in carefully chosen guest faculty to share their perspectives, so that you hear and learn from a range of voices. We choose experts who are leaders in their fields. We dive deeply into their areas of expertise, learn how to ask probing questions, and create a teaching-learning environment that invites multiple perspectives.

“I was really impressed by the diverse and well-rounded set of learning experiences that Leena and Emma cultivated in the YTT program at Queen Street Yoga. I came away from this training with a better understanding of human anatomy and biomechanics, the value of incorporating movement practices beyond “traditional” postural yoga, and was challenged to think about big, difficult topics (like cultural appropriation, oppression, and privilege) that are tightly associated with but not always addressed by the yoga community.” - Wendy Michaud, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

“This program prepared me to teach by providing an abundant quantity of incredible content paired with real teaching opportunities. The caliber of research presented to us was very high, and the contemporary practitioners we studied with were cutting edge.” - Rebecca Steiner, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

All sessions are live and in-person for the highest quality learning and integration. This allows us to be as responsive as possible to the interests and needs of everyone present, modelling how to teach and serve the students who are in the room. This is the opposite of a one-size-fits-all approach of pre-recorded sessions - teaching yoga is a dynamic interplay that requires as much face-to-face time as possible.

"Emma and Leena are an outstanding teaching team. I am inspired by their shared commitment to on-going learning and their constant search for new ways of understanding the body. Their teaching curriculum is carefully planned and well-researched, and yet they also think well on their feet to create a dynamic learning environment. Leena and Emma approach the study of yoga with an appreciation for tradition, a commitment to inclusive practice, and the willingness to bravely explore the diversity of modern yoga." - Kate Parizeau, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

Many programs fail to get into the nitty-gritty of teaching techniques. A core aspect of our program is tangible teaching skills - you will be able to break down all teaching instructions into clear categories, and learn how to weave them back together with creativity and personality. Learning to do this effectively requires constant feedback on how your instructions are coming across. In our program you will get regular feedback on your evolving teaching skills from our highly experienced faculty and your peers.

Leena and Emma are skilled at giving really effective “feed-forward” (their term for feedback); their approach built up our strengths and challenged us to improve, but removed any competition and comparison. They articulated our unique talents in a way that helped all of us recognized the skills of each other and ourselves, as well as understand areas where we could refine our teaching.” - Nadine Quehl, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

We run public classes at our studio in which trainees can practice teach to real people. In other programs, teacher trainees graduate after having taught only to their friends and family, or fellow trainees during the program. There is no substitute for teaching real people who may have no yoga experience at all. We encourage and support you to jump into the deep end and develop your teaching skills in real classroom situations.

One element that really sets the YTT experience at Queen Street Yoga apart from other YTT programs is the amount of time we were able to actually practice teaching. From the first weekend, we got to practice getting the words out (even if it was terrifying at first!), and eventually had the chance to practice teaching whole classes. I can’t imagine going through a YTT program without having that opportunity to put into practice all the things I was learning. Or coming out of a YTT program and then having to jump in to teaching a whole class, instead of having that progressive teaching experience behind me.” - Wendy Michaud, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

Leena and Emma teach weekly classes to ensure they are staying in touch with what it’s like to teach yoga day-to-day. This also allows teacher trainees a chance to practice with us in regular classes (not only on training weekends), so they can witness our presence and skills in action. Many teacher trainers who focus solely on offering YTT programs fail to keep up with teaching weekly classes and are disconnected from the needs of everyday students.

I have experienced Emma's individual strengths and gifts to be her colourful creativity, her deep spirituality, her philosophical knowledge and ability to share this in an attainable way, her comfort in her own skin, and her sunny soul. I have experienced Leena's individual strengths and gifts to be her lengthy and vast experience as a teacher, her attention to detail, and her detailed knowledge of bodies and health, which she shares happily with her students.” - Laurel O’Gorman, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

Trainees in our program will have access to unlimited drop-in classes for the duration of the program, to refine their understanding of poses and teaching outside of the training weekends. Trainees will have the opportunity to be integrated into our studio community, taking regular classes with a range of teachers at our studio. Most of our regular teachers did their initial training with us and continue to evolve their teaching with ongoing learning and study.

Trainees in our program will have the opportunity to sit in on our classes and observe our teachers in action. This is a unique opportunity, as “watching” a yoga class isn’t welcomed at most studios. Observing classes is an incredible opportunity to see how experienced teachers respond to their students and learn from the range of situations that come up in teaching.

Learn more about our Curriculum and Admissions

Testimonials

Emma and Leena are a compassionate, knowledgeable, and entirely complementary teacher-training partnership. Together, they've created a unique yoga teacher training program that goes far beyond teaching physical poses, anatomy, and history, opening the door for personal development in what is undoubtedly the most supportive learning environment I've ever experienced.

Nicole DeNoble, QSY YTT 2016 Graduate

We don’t usually get to pick our parents, but I chose Emma and Leena as my ‘yoga mamas’ and I’m so happy that I did. In Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), they created a thoughtful, inclusive, supportive, and fun learning community for ten unforgettable weekends. With sincerity and generosity, they taught us by example that our sense of humour is as important to the foundation of our practice as a good mat. They instilled the belief that strength and flexibility grows best when we invest in caring deeply for ourselves and our students. I apply those treasured lessons in my emerging practice as a teacher. I encourage anyone – especially men – to enroll in the YTT program at Queen Street Yoga. It’s a wise investment in yourself and your community.

Scott Morton Ninomiya, QSY YTT 2018 Graduate

The most important and profound thing I gained from this training was the process of learning something new and making space for mistakes all along the way. Initially I was holding high expectations of myself and trying very hard to do this perfectly. I became discouraged and disenchanted with the training until I realized how my expectations were getting in the way of play and exploration. Once I opened up the possibility for mistakes and invited them in as valuable teachers, the whole experience shifted... Now I know exactly what that means and I see these lessons have universal applications in other areas of my life. Overall, I have gained a tremendous wealth of knowledge to teach asana to students and I have found my voice in the process. I will use that voice to creatively combine this knowledge with my other teachings to be more adventurous and creative.

Christopher Bourke, QSY YTT 2016 Graduate

Emma and Leena leave no stone unturned. They think of everything a teacher could possibly need and take time to answer questions we all had along the way... I am grateful to have taken part in this life-changing experience. Emma and Leena create a training that is compassionate and non-competitive, yet challenging and full of growth. I worked hard, grew in ways I did not think possible, and created friendships and networks with a group of amazing people.

Laurel O'Gorman, QSY YTT 2018 Graduate

Emma and Leena bring deep care and thoughtful reflection to each weekend. They cultivate a space of community, where students can be vulnerable, learners trying out new skills, supporting one another. We laughed and cried, shared food and poetry. I appreciated how Leena and Emma shared their own journey of learning and teaching and how that continues to evolve. They encourage each student to find their voice, their strengths and gently support areas of growth. By the last weekend, each student had come into their own as yogis and teachers. It was fascinating and inspiring to see how different each person's teaching style was, yet rooted in the same skills and teaching. I could not imagine taking my YTT anywhere else. QSY is a second home to me; a sacred space of grace, safety, peace, and love.

Sara F. QSY YTT 2018 Graduate