The Yoga Development Course
For over 40 years students have found the Yoga Development Course (YDC) to be a transformative experience.
In the YDC, students approach the fundamental goal of yoga – the union of individual consciousness with Cosmic Consciousness. Classes in Hatha Yoga, Raja and Jnana Yoga, Mantra and Japa Yoga, and Kundalini and Karma Yoga help to show how this goal may be attained.
Personal exploration workshops designed by Swami Radha – Life Seals®, Straight Walk®, Ideals, Two Selves and Identification – are given to help students accept themselves, develop strengths, overcome weakness and become the kind of person they want to be. Such inner work is essential on the path of yoga.
By integrating yogic practices with personal development techniques, the YDC offers powerful tools for transformation. Self-inquiry is the foundation, and questions are explored, such as, Who am I? Who do I want to be? What is life all about? What makes my life worthwhile? How do I prepare for the rest of my life?
The YDC is for those who wish to do extensive work on themselves and learn from living in a spiritual community. The YDC is the prerequisite for all of our Teacher Certification programs.
Every day begins with Hidden Language Hatha Yoga. Morning and afternoon workshops are interactive with work in large and small groups. The daily schedule includes time for reflection and personal practice. Each evening the whole community gathers for satsang. One day a week is reserved for Karma Yoga.
The emphasis in the YDC is on personal reflection. Spiritual diary and written reflection are incorporated into each workshop. Daily and weekly written summaries are often suggested, in order to capture your insights. Four books are assigned during the YDC, with a book report on each to be completed over the course of your studies.
There is an optional post-course component of continuing study, in which each student has one year to complete a personalized reading list with written reports on thirty books. These reports must be completed before taking the Hidden Language Hatha Yoga or Kundalini Yoga and Dream Yoga Teacher Certifications.
All of our staff teachers are Yasodhara-trained, and our senior teachers are disciples of Swami Radha, each with over twenty years of teaching experience. Resident sanyasis provide education program oversight and advisement during the course.
- Life Seals®
- Life Seals are a symbolic representation of your path through life – as it has been, as it is now, and as it may grow in the future. Students draw personal symbols that represent mind, essence, senses, likes, dislikes, and positive and negative characteristics. This process allows the unconscious to come forward, revealing patterns, life lessons and the potential for change.
- Straight Walk®
- The Straight Walk technique is based upon an ancient Buddhist practice of self-awareness. Through meditative walking, observation and concentration, students explore areas of their personalities that need to be refined or developed. Steps are taken, literally and symbolically, on the search for tools to expand awareness and understanding.
- This workshop is an exploration into the relationship between life purpose and ideals. We explore what ideals are, where they come from, how they work and what their power is. Each student investigates the questions: What kind of person do I want to be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
- Two Selves
- This workshop looks at the dualistic nature of the mind and self. We examine concepts of gender roles and identities such as male/female, mother/father, rational/irrational, Shiva/Shakti.
- Identification and Self Image
- Who are you? Using self-observation techniques, such as written reflection, group work, audio and video recordings, students explore their personality aspects, the power of imagination and image creation, in an effort to uncover the true ‘Self.’
- Raja Yoga
- Raja Yoga is known as the ‘King of Yogas.’ Exploring the philosophy of Pantajali through the Yoga Sutras, we investigate the yamas and niyamas, which are the ethical foundation of all yogic practices. Pranayama, asana and concentration are also practiced.
- Mind (Jnana Yoga)
- Jnana Yoga is the study of the psychology of the mind. Yogic methods of self-inquiry are explored, including meditation and mind watch. The questions: What is mind? and, What is consciousness? are investigated.
- Bhagavad Gita
- An in-depth study of the Bhagavad Gita as a source text. Through personal reflection on the key verses, students develop a deeper understanding of the various paths of yoga, including Karma Yoga, the Yoga of Renunciation, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. The theory of Karma and reincarnation will also be studied.
Each year we accept approximately thirty students into the Yoga Development Course.
Prior to application we recommend that you take a course or retreat at Yasodhara Ashram or attend classes at a Radha Yoga Centre to ensure an understanding of the type of program you would be entering.
Each applicant will have an entrance interview with the Program Advisor. This process is individually tailored to take into consideration personal circumstances. We ask applicants to thoroughly explore their reasons for taking the course and what their focus would be.
The fee for the course is $7,400 which includes accommodation and meals.
After admission, a deposit of $750 is required to reserve your space. The remaining payment can be made at the beginning of the course or in three equal installments over the three months.
Bursaries are available for young adults (ages 18-30) who have participated in our Karma Yoga programs. Payment plans can be discussed with the Program Advisor.
Post YDC Extended Stays
After the YDC we offer an extended-stay program for up to five months at no charge to support students in the work they have done during the YDC. The program is focused on Karma Yoga and active engagement in the Ashram community. It is designed to help students put their learning into action and develop a deeper understanding of what it means to live in a spiritual community.
Participants take part in the daily Karma Yoga, morning Hatha Yoga classes and evening satsang as well as a post-YDC weekly reflection class.
Our full Teacher Training and Certification program looks like this:
1 YOGA DEVELOPMENT COURSE
- 675 hours of instruction and practice
2 HATHA YOGA TEACHER CERTIFICATION
- Ten-day certification plus post-course practicum
Prerequisite: completion of the Yoga Development Course
3 HIDDEN LANGUAGE HATHA YOGA TEACHER CERTIFICATION
- Fourteen-day intensive
Prerequisite: completion of the YDC and Book Report Project
4 KUNDALINI AND DREAM YOGA TEACHER CERTIFICATION
- Fourteen-day intensive
Prerequisite: completion of the YDC and the Book Report Project
Teachers are required to be re-certified every three years.
Please contact the Program Advisor to begin the YDC application process.