Yoga Development Course
The Yoga Development Course (YDC) offers three months of yoga in the deepest sense of the word, as a path to Liberation. Come and expand your understanding. Heal. Give yourself the spiritual nourishment you need. Challenge yourself to evolve.
This program, set in the Ashram’s pristine forest and lake during quiet winter, offers a balance of self-inquiry with group work in a community of like-minded people, a process that leads to new discoveries and purposeful change.
During the YDC, spiritual practices such as mantra, dream yoga and Light meditations help you access hidden levels of mind. And three months of reflection supports a process of clarification. Who are you now and how do you want to live your life? Which old patterns are limiting? Where have you created a helpful foundation?
Learn to understand the language of your personal symbolism through listening to your body, your dreams, your mind and your heart. This is an opportunity to see your life in a new perspective and to open to the richness of your own potential. Change that starts with yourself has a deep effect and will ripple out to touch others. Change yourself, change your world.
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Yoga Development Course (YDC). Swami Radha’s original vision is vibrantly alive at the core of this program while Swami Radhananda’s experiential learning approach updates the teaching process.
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.
Following the YDC, we offer an extended-stay program for up to five months at no charge to support you in putting your YDC learnings into action. The program is focused on Karma Yoga and active engagement in the Ashram community – another wonderful opportunity to live and grow in spiritual community. This includes participation in daily hatha, reflection time, evening satsangs and weekly classes with your peers.
What YDC participants have to say:
The YDC continues to nourish people year after year, decade after decade – opening the way for richer, more meaningful lives.
The Yoga Development Course provides a framework to help deepen self-understanding and expand awareness in order to move toward greater liberation. The YDC is 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. 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.
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.
2020: January 8 – April 8, 2020
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 Yasodhara 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, which includes accommodation and meals:
2019: Double Occupancy – $7,800, Single Occupancy – $9,300
2020: Double Occupancy – $7,900, Single Occupancy – $9,400
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.
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.
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.