The Yoga Development Course (YDC) offers yoga in the deepest sense of the word, a path leading to liberation. Focus inward on your own personal and spiritual development while being held by the support of the Ashram community. Your awareness will also be expanded by being part of a group of equally courageous and curious people.
In 1969 Swami Radha offered the first YDC based on her own in-depth exploration of the ancient teachings of yoga. Her personal experience and understanding of mind and consciousness became the foundation of the three-month course.
Have a look at the course details below and contact the YDC program advisor to start the application process.
January 15 to April 14, 2024
Transform Your Life. Heal. Grow in Community.
The program, set in the Ashram’s pristine forest and lake during the quiet winter, offers a balance of self-inquiry and group work in community, a process that leads to new discoveries and purposeful change.
WHAT YOU WILL GAIN
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
WHEN AND HOW
Please join us with our online information sessions and Q&A lead by senior teachers.
See below to apply.
EXTEND YOUR STAY
Immerse yourself, with the option to stay on for up to five months of Karma Yoga after the three-month YDC to put your learnings into practice. Join the Hatha Teacher Certification course immediately following the YDC to open further to the richness of your own potential.
Whether you are interested in a three-month program or a nine-month immersion – this is a unique experience of a lifetime in our safe and nourishing environment.
Read more details in the sections below.
An Invitation from Past Participants
Graduates of the YDC speak about their experience – and invite you to join this life-changing program.
Michael – “A Foundation for My Path; Joining the YDC in 2007, I was a confused 24 year old with little direction in life. I happened to find out about Yasodhara doing an online search and a voice inside told me I needed to go. Not only did Yasodhara not meet my expectations (I thought we were going to do hot yoga!?), it opened me up to parts of myself that had long been silenced and repressed. I hadn’t cried in years, hadn’t danced since I was a young boy, certainly did not sing in front of anyone. The ashram provided me with space to lovingly confront the beliefs and expectations that no longer served me. It set me on a path of reclaiming my freedom and empowerment.
It was also where I experienced my first men’s group. 15 years later, I am running men’s groups and working as a men’s therapist, bringing the same compassion and loving clarity I found in Swami Radha’s teachings.
I am grateful to the ashram and the long term residents for their commitment to the work, for sharing it with the world, and being a beacon on Light.”
The Yoga Development Course provides a framework to help deepen self-understanding and expand awareness in order to move toward greater liberation. You will be immersed in a three-month seven day a week, full time, residential intensive, totaling 675 hours of class time. The course consists of a series of integrated workshops one to five days in length.
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.
Being in residence during the course allows you to be fully present. We take care of daily concerns such as shopping, cleaning and food preparation—you focus on your own growth.
The emphasis in the YDC is on personal reflection. Keeping a spiritual diary and writing reflections are an integral part of each workshop. Daily and weekly written summaries are often suggested, in order to capture your insights. Several books that are on your reading list have been selected for in-depth reflection over the period of your retreat.
After the completion of the YDC, there is an optional mentored component of continuing study, in which each student has one year to complete a personalized reading list with written reflections of a total of 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 twenty to thirty years of teaching experience. Resident sanyasis provide education program oversight and advisement during the course.
The YDC includes instruction and practice in all aspects of Yasodhara Yoga.
Each day starts with Hidden Language Hatha Yoga, which combines listening to the body and reflecting on the symbolism of the asanas. This approach allows insights to gently emerge. The benefits of daily practice build over the three months, creating more freedom, strength, flexibility and relaxation in both body and mind.
The underlying structure of the YDC is based on the symbolism of the Kundalini system, with exploration of the senses, the mind and speech. Programs like Life Seals and Transitions give the unconscious an opportunity to speak directly through drawings, while Dream Yoga opens access to an inner teacher through examining the personal message of dreams. Observing the images arising from these deeper layers of mind informs us about how we’ve handled major transitions in our lives and opens options for change.
Instruction in spiritual practices such as mantra, the Divine Light Invocation, various meditation and visualization practices, silence and speech awareness are given throughout the course. These practices can clear and uplift the mind, creating a strong foundation that provides new perspectives and the courage to move toward your ideals or heart’s desire.
Study of sacred texts, such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras, is approached through personal reflection on key verses, exploring what is personally meaningful and can be applied to your life now. Karma Yoga is taken out of the book and put into action, with one day a week focused on work as selfless service.
To complete each day, the whole Ashram community gathers to chant, listen to inspiring readings, and to send out positive vibrations to those in need.
Momentum builds over the three months with a rhythm that balances relaxation, movement, reflection, work, spiritual practice and study. The YDC gives time and support to take a good look at your life and tools to help you renew, heal and evolve.
Please see Our Practices for additional information on the core Yasodhara Yoga practices.
Course Dates: January 15 to April 14, 2024
Prior to application we recommend that you take an online course or have experienced a retreat or Karma Yoga at Yasodhara Ashram. Attending classes or online offerings through a Yasodhara Yoga Centre is another option 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.
For more information Contact us.
2023 fees (per person):
Your stay will include a $25 contribution (added to your invoice) toward The Reconciliation Fund initiated January 1, 2022. The collected money will be donated to a First Nations non-profit organization. These contributions, together with offerings from Ashram residents, will be given with the sincere intention to help right past injustices. All who visit or live at Yasodhara Ashram are on the beautiful but unceded territory of First Nations peoples, and we want to take meaningful action and give something back for this privilege.
Indigenous Bursary Program
The bursaries (for three different programs) are open to all First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, with a special invitation to the Ktunaxa and Sinixt peoples on whose unceded territory the Ashram is located. To apply, please fill out this form: Bursary Application or for more information, please contact us here.
After admission, a deposit 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 for young adults 18-30 are available on application for those who have financial need and have spent time at the Ashram.
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.
Expand into the YDC 9-month Immersion Program Stay at the Ashram after completing the YDC for our 12-Day Hatha Yoga Teacher Certification course. Participate in our extended-stay program for up to five months. This is an opportunity of living in our community putting your learnings into action and is offered at no extra charge! The focus for the extended-stay program is on Karma Yoga – the yoga of service and action. It includes daily hatha, reflection time, evening satsangs and weekly classes with your peers. This is a unique experience of a lifetime in our safe and nourishing setting.
The Yoga Development Course has been given each year since 1969. Originally called the Yoga Teachers Course, it was created by Swami Radha in response to the need for skilled teachers of yoga. It was revolutionary for its time, offering aspiring teachers in-depth self-study before teaching others. Now open to all who would like to develop their yoga practice, the YDC is still the first step on the path to becoming a Yasodhara certified teacher.
We encourage you to consider whether an even longer-term stay would be a good next step anytime. We are happy to discuss possibilities with you.
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
- Twelve-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 Reflection 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.
The YDC is the prerequisite for all of our Teacher Certification programs. If you want to do extensive work on yourself within the safety and beauty of a dedicated spiritual community, please contact the Program Advisor to begin the YDC application process.