Course Syllabus

Ananda Ashram Yoga | Teacher Training
July 23 – August 19, 2018

Tuition $3000 plus $1600 semiprivate | $1300 dorm | $1050 camping | $550 commuter


Asana training is focused both on developing a personal practice with daily classes and learning the art of verbal and hands-on instruction. Teachings from the Mysore School of Yoga, most specifically Ashtanga Vinyasa as originally taught by Sri T. Krishnamacharya, will be our reference. Students will learn how to use Vinyasa Krama methods to modify and develop sequences into modern Vinyasa styles suitable for all levels. Restorative, prenatal, and therapeutic modalities will also be covered. The eight-limb system of Yoga as elucidated by Maharshi Patanjali and transmitted by Ananda Ashram Guru and Founder, Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, is central to our investigation of all of these methodologies. In addition, we will practice pranayama (breath work), kriyas (techniques for purification and awakening of energy), mudras (energetic seals made by the fingers, hands and limbs), bandhas (energetic locks in the body) and relaxation techniques. This integrated approach provides students with a solid foundation to teach hatha yoga in a powerful, dynamic way to a wide audience, including individuals with different levels of experience and ability. In addition, we will explore important principles such as safety, alignment, energy flow, healing, strength, resilience, balance and relaxation, which all act as gateways on the path of Yoga.

Meditation & Scripture Studies

We meet each morning to meditate together in silence and to participate in spiritual studies and practices. This is an integral part of ashram life, designed to provide inner nourishment and renewal as well as spiritual education, while supporting and stabilizing us in the discovery of our own natural state of clarity, harmony, unity and self awareness. Group meditation generally begins with a simple form of the Vedic fire ceremony, offered for world peace and individual and planetary healing. This includes chanting Sanskrit mantras followed by a period of silent meditation. In our 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training, we focus our studies primarily on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. These important texts form the foundation of the science of Yoga and vedantic philosophy. Sutras and mantras come to life through the vibration of Sanskrit chanting, word-by-word translation, examination of commentaries and discussion of their relevance in our life and our world. The combination of a meditative approach with clarification of the philosophical context, as well as some grammatical explanation, illuminate the inner meaning of the scriptures, including their significance for healing and Self realization. Another important text we will study is Fundamentals of Yoga, written by our Founder Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati in 1959.

Sanskrit Studies

A special feature of our Yoga Teacher Training is the direct approach to the ancient teachings of Yoga and Vedanta through study of the Sanskrit language. Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, "Guruji" as he is referred to here, was a recognized master of the language and ignited the love of Sanskrit at Ananda Ashram. In his teaching he prominently used the medium of Sanskrit, emphasizing chanting and study of mantras, hymns and scriptural texts as well as study of the language itself as the “science of vibration.” Chanting is a powerful medium for transformation, and even an introductory knowledge of Sanskrit grammar conveys a feeling for the language and facilitates access to the meaning of the ancient scriptures. Our program is one of a kind. Beyond learning yoga asana names, students learn pronunciation, how to read and write Sanskrit Devanagari script, and the derivation and translation of asana names, mantras and more. In doing so, students gain skills through an interactive method of chanting, making it possible for them to embark on a lifetime of Sanskrit practice. Creative homework assignments reinforce interdisciplinary course studies, including the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita and Sankhya Yoga philosophy.

Applied Anatomy & Physiology

The anatomy & physiology component of our training uses movement, palpation and interactive learning to help students develop an experiential sense of the body’s anatomical structures. We learn basic anatomical terms to describe the body and its movement, and explore the roles of different body tissues, particularly bones, muscles and connective tissue, to gain an understanding of how they come together to form a living whole. Emphasis is placed on the anatomy of breath and of the spine, hip and shoulder joints. Technical material will be oriented to explore the concepts and their relationship to Yoga Asana. Class time includes lecture, demonstration, hands-on partner work, movement, play and Asana practice while exploring the exciting facets of the human body.

Teaching Methodology

During afternoon practicums, students work together applying what they have learned during the week, actively developing teaching skills and an ability to articulate teaching instructions clearly and succinctly. An important part of this group experience is learning to listen to constructive feedback and helping to guide and support others in their learning process while also gaining confidence. This teaching methodology provides students with guidelines for the practice of teaching yoga either in one-to-one or group class settings. Assisting in poses and manual adjustments of postures with each other are also an important part of these interactive sessions. Effective and practical methods for teaching, the business and ethics of teaching, and the student-teacher process and relationship are discussed. Group participation is encouraged throughout this class as we explore how teaching yoga benefits the student, the teacher, the community and ultimately our whole world family.

Prenatal Yoga

In this introductory workshop, students learn modifications of yoga postures, use of props, breathing techniques and other helpful information to support pregnant mothers through the changing phases of pregnancy.

Nada Yoga

The East-West School of Music offers a one-day Nada Yoga retreat, which is a special highlight of our program. This day will guide the students to deeply restorative and intuitive states through intervals of sitar music, meditation and silence. Nada Yoga is an ancient science of awareness that utilizes the sacred music of India as a way to harmonize and still the mind, balance body chemistry and transform states of awareness. This full day of contemplative silence, scheduled at the end of our fourth week, offers students a profound time in which to assimilate the insights and experiences of their journey and prepare for their final week of training.


David (Yogananda) Hollander, E-RYT, Director

David has been teaching Yoga since 1994. In New York City he has helped to develop the teacher training programs at both the New York Yoga and the Yoga Sutra Centers and he runs the daily Mysore Ashtanga room at Pure Yoga East. David has studied directly with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and with his s on Manju and other students of the Mysore tradition of Yoga. Currently he is studying with Sri B.N.S. Iyengar of Mysore. He has been a guest teacher and devotee at Ananda Ashram for several years. His goal is to help each person learn Yoga with kindness and truthfulness at his or her own speed and intensity. David is also a classically trained figurative artist and has taught art for over a decade. Visit f or more information.

Nicole Lewitan, Director & Course Facilitator

Nikki received her Yoga Therapy certification from Yoga Vidya Dham in Nasik, India, and her Hatha Yoga Teacher’s certification from Ananda Ashram’s International Schools of East-West Unity (Gurukula), where she is currently director of the School of Hatha Yoga. In addition to living, studying and serving at Ananda Ashram since 2007, Nicole spends her winters traveling abroad. She enjoys the mystery of exploring the unknown and connecting with masters through different cultures and traditions. While in India Nikki studies with Sri V. Sheshadri of Mysore, a distinguished teacher of traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga as taught by Sri Krishnamacharya, Sri B.N.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

Shri Radha, Introduction to Sanskrit & Yoga Sutras

Radha met her Guru Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati in 1977 and received intensive training from him until his passing in 1993. She served closely as his secretary and assistant, traveling with him and serving as his main interpreter during the final ten years of his life. She lives at Ananda Ashram where she is a life-term trustee of the Baba Bhagavandas Publication Trust and a trustee of the International Schools of East-West Unity (Gurukula). Since 2004, Radha has been graced to further her spiritual education and practice with Amma Sri Karunamayi, both in India and the USA.

Bharati Devi, Bhagavad Gita

Bharati began her studies with Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati (Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D.) in 1968. She studied the Sanskrit language, Yoga-Vedanta philosophy, meditation . and related subjects with him both in Europe and at his Ashrams in the U.S., simultaneously working as his assistant. Under his direction she began teaching in 1971. Bharati was named head of the School of Sanskrit at Ananda Ashram and appointed trustee of the Baba Bhagavandas Publication Trust and the International Schools of East-West Unity by Founder Shri Brahmananda. Since 1997 she has also been studying with Prof. Ram Karan Sharma, renowned authority on the Sanskrit language.

Laurice D. Nemetz, MA, BC-DMT, LCAT, E-RYT, Applied Anatomy & Physiology, Prenatal Yoga

Lauri is a certified and registered experienced-level yoga teacher, a member of the Academy of Dance/Movement Therapists Registered, a Board Certified Movement Therapist and a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist. She is co-president of the YTA (Yoga Teachers’ Association) and serves as an adjunct professor at Pace University and a guest faculty member at the College of New Rochelle. In addition, she teaches and works in a number of public and private therapeutic settings where she specializes in teaching accessible anatomy workshops for the yoga and movement community.

Lauri has been influenced by many teachers and traditions and is particularly grateful to Karin Stephan, David Hollander and Kim Schwartz. In her free time, she leads yoga and kayaking trips on the Hudson River, in Canada and Costa Rica. Author of A Place of Balance: Yoga Practice for the Kayaker (Sea Kayaker Magazine, Oct. 2010), she has also published writings on movement therapy and yoga in several books and journals. Lauri has degrees from Wellesley College and a Master’s degree in Dance/Movement Therapy from Goucher College. She has continued to deepen her proficiency in the field of anatomy through intensive full-body dissection work with Gil Hedley, several courses in Functional Anatomy for Movement and Injuries at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and a 200-hour course in Body Language with anatomist Tom Myers, with whom she continues her studies. She is also a graduate of Leslie Kaminoff's year-long Yoga Anatomy course and is currently teaching as an associate teacher for Tom Myers' Anatomy Trains work ®. Visit and for more information.

Course Prerequisites

Ananda Ashram Yoga Teacher Training is a challenging four-week experience involving discipline and dedication. A basic knowledge of yoga postures, a sincere desire to learn and an openness to the classical teachings of yoga are required. A preliminary knowledge of yoga philosophy is helpful. Due to the intensity of the course, students are expected to complete the required reading prior to their arrival.