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Kripalu School of Yoga

Yoga Teacher Training 500-Hour Certification

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Curriculum

Content Hours | Textbooks and Materials

The Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training 500-Hour Certification builds on your technical skills and helps you deepen your approach to teaching. It then prepares you with advanced training to bring yoga to a wider range of students while strengthening your ability to work one-on-one with clients’ unique needs. This training also brings you deeper into understanding yogic philosophy and practice, while providing opportunities to learn and experience what it means to be a transformational yoga teacher. You will graduate a 500-hour certified Kripalu Yoga teacher with the advanced tools, knowledge, and confidence needed to excel in teaching and support your ongoing personal evolution.

As a student in the 500-hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training, you will review Kripalu’s foundational tools and techniques including

  • The three stages of Kripalu Yoga: posture focus, deepening awareness, and meditation in motion
  • Natural alignment principles
  • Pranayama
  • Meditation
  • Pratapana (movements that warm up and condition the body for sustaining poses)
  • Creative sequencing
  • Nonjudgmental awareness
  • Breath coordinated with movement
  • Micro-movements
  • Guided imagery
  • The koshas
  • Six movements of the spine
  • Knowledge of benefits and contraindications.

The 500-hour training also provides education in the following areas:

  • Advanced asanas and private instructional skills Learn alignment principles for advanced elements of practice, as well as techniques for safely guiding students in and out of more advanced poses. Develop the skills and confidence to provide effective private yoga sessions.
  • Posture assisting and experiential anatomy Practice giving more advanced posture assists and receiving feedback from peers and skilled facilitators. Learn anatomy principles through experiential posture clinics focused on the Kripalu methodology of cultivating internal awareness of body systems. Learn to have every student experience the anatomical benefits of a pose in a way that works for them through the use of props, adjustments, and gradient approaches to the pose.
  • Yogic philosophy and modern-day applications of ancient texts Explore the wisdom of classic texts such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita and inquire into the meaning of these texts in your daily life. Expand your yoga practice off the mat by cultivating an awareness of yoga philosophy for inspired living and teaching.
  • Advanced pranayama and meditation techniques Delve deeply into the practice of classic pranayama and meditation techniques, and explore the Kripalu signature methodology of meditation in motion. Learn teaching tools to help your students access the power of meditation and prana flow.
  • Tools for crafting transformational classes and workshops Learn to teach from your most authentic self, using your own inner wisdom as the seed for inspired teaching. Develop techniques for crafting transformational workshops and creating sacred classroom space, including group facilitation methodology, approaches to assessing and shifting group dynamics, and reflective listening skills.
  • Skills for working with special populations Craft classes and posture sequences that are authentic to your teaching style and adjusted to the level and needs of your students. Learn basic principles of posture modifications and class design for special-needs populations and apply principles and techniques of restorative yoga to your class planning.

The modules will take you deeper into your teaching by focusing on a variety of advanced concepts and practices. Each module provides a minimum of 75 hours of combined instruction and in-depth practice. The modules may be taken in any order and most students complete all four modules within two years.


Module One: Advanced Techniques for Teaching and Assisting Asana

Gain a mastery in the art of teaching asana. Increase your ability to appeal to students who want more challenge in their practice and to assist those who have unique limitations. In this module, you will improve your knowledge of asana, learn more about the anatomical principles of alignment and the benefits of the poses, and enhance your ability to assist your students by offering creative and knowledgeable modifications and variations for all levels.

Using the koshas (the five bodies: physical, pranic, psychoemotional, witness, and bliss) as a framework, you will undertake a multidimensional study of asana. You will dive into the deeper dimensions of core yoga poses and explore some new challenging postures to widen your scope of students. You will also discover ways to weave the powerful methodology of the vayus (the five winds: prana, apana, vyana, udana, and samana) and chakras into your teaching.

This module includes

  • Fine-tuning and deepening your practice of Kripalu Yoga’s 25 basic poses
  • Understanding anatomy in relationship to asana
  • Exploring 10 essential postures and their intermediate to advanced variations
  • Advanced techniques for teaching in-depth asana assists
  • Learning the essential anatomy of the hips, the sacroiliac joint, and the fascial chains
  • Multidimensional use of the koshas as an exploration into yogic anatomy
  • Exploration of nonjudgmental self-awareness, or witness consciousness
  • Additional advanced postures
  • Developing better teaching skills through one-on-one practice and evaluated practice-teach sessions.

Module Two: Exploring the Energy Body: Teaching Pranayama and Meditation

By deepening your knowledge and practice of pranayama, meditation, and yoga philosophy your work as a yoga teacher, guide, and healer will be enhanced. This course is designed to help you explore these yogic technologies to transform your life and impart your discoveries on others. Swami Kripalu, Founder of Kripalu Yoga, emphasized the foundational nature of pranayama, saying, “Whatever yoga one may practice, directly or indirectly, one must worship prana, the life force.” Patanjali writes in the Yoga Sutras, “When pranayam is mastered, the veil that covers the inner light is removed.”

This module explores the modern-day applications of pranayama, inner stillness, and yogic philosophy, focusing on the energetics of yoga as expressed in breath practice, meditation, and daily life. You learn not just to articulate the technology of each technique, but also have an understanding of the effects of these transformative practices on the body, mind, and spirit as well as an understanding of the philosophy from which these techniques originate.

Packed with both experiential components as well as practical information, this module will help empower your pranayama and meditation, taking your practice and teaching to the next level. Some components this course will cover include

  • Relationships between the respiratory, endocrine, and nervous systems
  • Exploration of the science of prana and the physiology of energy
  • Discovering the philosophical foundations of energy mastery
  • Deepening your sadhana and social silence, chanting, toning of bija mantras, and integrative breath work
  • Improving your skills and confidence with one-on-one practice and evaluated practice teaches.
  • How to draw on the teachings of yogic lifestyle to support transformation.

Module Three: Tools for Transformational Teaching

Get empowered to lead transformational classes that inspire and catalyze. This module offers the opportunity to learn techniques for crafting transformational workshops and creating sacred classroom space, including group facilitation methodology, approaches to assessing and shifting group dynamics, and reflective listening skills. Each session will serve as a learning laboratory, in which you will both experience personal transformation and engage in reflection about the transformational process through guided journaling and group discussion. You will also have multiple opportunities to find your own teaching voice through partner and small-group work using the Kripalu methodology of source teaching, teaching that stems from integrated life experience, presence in the moment, and intuitive responses to students’ needs.

This module includes

  • Transformational teaching tools using the koshas and the chakras
  • Chanting, ceremony, and ritual as transformational tools and community building
  • Guided half-day “vision quest” to clarify your teaching voice
  • Teaching applications of the mediation practice of samyama (full absorption)
  • Philosophical discussion of the concept of acharya (spiritual teacher).

Module Four: Therapeutic Approaches to Yoga

How we take yoga out into the world and into our classes, and the variety of what we have to offer, plays a part in determining how successful we are as yoga teachers. This module focuses on developing skills for working one-on-one and for meeting individual students needs in a group environment.

This module teaches you how to offer posture modifications to create a safe and therapeutic environment in both group and individual classes. You will learn the key principles of Ayurveda, India’s nature-based health science, and how they support yoga instruction customized for the individual. You will also apply principles and techniques of restorative yoga to your class planning, learning how to customize restorative teaching for the populations with which you work.

This module includes

  • Advanced skills for working with private clients
  • Bringing principles of Ayurveda to your teaching methodology
  • Anatomy of the circulatory and lymphatic system
  • Cultivating a personal dinacharya (self-care) practice with Ayurvedic lifestyle tools
  • Tools and principles for teaching special populations (Note this will be an introduction to the basic principles of teaching to these populations, not a complete training in any of these areas.)
    • Restorative yoga
    • Prenatal yoga
    • Elder yoga
    • Yoga for chronic conditions such as cancer and fibromyalgia
    • Yoga for round bodies
    • Yoga for bone and back conditions.

Content Hours

The Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training 500-hour provides a minimum of 300 hours of training (in addition to your 200-hour certification), designed to deepen your practice, teaching skills, and repertoire. The curriculum is comprised of four 9-day modules, each offering a minimum of 75 hours, which together will deliver a comprehensive, advanced training in Kripalu Yoga.

At the completion of the 500-hour certification, hours completed will include

Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Certification*
Techniques: Instruction in Yoga Asana, Pranayama, and Meditation100 hours
Teaching Methodology30 hours
Anatomy and Physiology20 hours
Philosophy/Ethics/Lifestyle30 hours
Practicum15 hours
Other5 hours
Total200 hours


Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training 500-Hour Certification**
Techniques: Instruction in Yoga Asana, Pranayama, and Meditation 100 hours
Teaching Methodology 60 hours
Anatomy and Physiology 40 hours
Philosophy/Ethics/Lifestyle 60 hours
Practicum 40 hours
Total300 hours

*If you have taken your 200-hour teacher training somewhere other than Kripalu, your content hour breakdown for that training may vary from the one listed above.

**Content hours reflect the combined total content hours for all four modules that make up the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training 500-hour.

Textbook and Materials

On the first day of training, students receive a complimentary Kripalu 500-hour yoga teacher manual. Students will also be reading and referencing the following texts during the training. The required texts for the module are

All Modules

  • Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat, by Richard Faulds (Bantam Books)
  • Pilgrim of Love: Life and Teachings of Swami Kripalu (currently out of print), by Atma Jo Ann Levitt
  • The Key Poses of Hatha Yoga, by Ray Long

Module 1

  • The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy, by Cyndi Dale

Module 2

Module 3

  • There is no homework for this module.

Module 4

  • Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing, by Timothy McCall
  • Ayurveda: A Practical Guide; Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing, by Vasant Lad
  • Additional Suggested Reading
    • Yoga and Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization, by David Frawley
    • Ayurveda: A Life in Balance, by Maya Tiwari

These books can be purchased through the Kripalu Shop.

Graduates of Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training are in great demand for their in-depth knowledge, clear instruction, ability to teach to all levels, and ability to guide students to the experience of self-awareness that is the true essence of yoga. Kripalu Yoga teachers range in age from their 20s to their 80s and can be found teaching in community yoga studios; in urban and rural areas; in schools, prisons, and hospitals; and at workplaces from the United Nations to Cirque du Soleil. Because Kripalu supports individual inquiry and expression and helps teachers find the yoga that is unique to them, the places you find our teachers are as varied as the teachers themselves.