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Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

RYT 200 and 500 Courses: Escalating Steps to Becoming a Great Yoga Teacher

Sep 03, 2013 09:13PM ● By Maxine Renée

When people want to dive deeper into yoga, with ambitions to either become a yoga teacher or simply for personal growth, they often find the best course of action is to enroll in a yoga teacher training course. Yoga Alliance (YA), the governing organization of yoga in America today, certifies yoga schools, making it easy to find qualified programs simply by checking a studio’s RYS status. Schools with this designation adhere to YA requirements and guidelines which specify subject matter and number of hours programs should devote to each of the key elements of yoga.

All RYT 200 training programs study the eight limbs of yoga. Philosophy, methodology, anatomy, physiology, meditation, pranayama, history, and posture focus are combined with practicums so students can practice corrections, assists, and sequencing to prepare them to share yoga with others safely and effectively. How this material is presented or the style of yoga learned may differ among schools, but regardless of where you train, a qualified RYT 200 program usually provides students with enough core knowledge to teach in gyms, health and wellness centers, community halls or to begin classes independently in whatever location they can arrange.

But when a student discovers yoga as a true calling and wants to make a career of teaching, they are wise to seek more advanced training—an RYT 500 course. This advanced studies certification involves an additional 300 hours of study after a student has completed a primary 200 hour course. RYT 500 programs often focus on one specialty, either offering more sequences and theory in a single method, or focusing on Yoga Therapy, Ayurveda, Children’s Yoga or some other specialized yoga coursework. In some cases, such as ReFlex Arts in Sarasota, a combination of subjects is offered to help teachers expand their talents and employment opportunities.

ReFlex Arts, an RYS 500 and RCYS accredited school, has just opened a new seven acre yoga retreat center called Heartwood off State Road 64 in Bradenton (5 miles off Highway 75). This new facility is designed to house their popular yoga teacher training programs. With a state of the art 2600 square foot yoga studio, chakra garden for meditation, outdoor practice area with fire pit for contemplation and conversation, and grounds to walk, meditate, and practice outdoor aerial yoga, the school’s yoga teachers training programs can provide not only an unparalleled educational experience, but opportunity for teachers to renew and refresh their spirit too. Teacher trainees are also invited to the primary studio, ReFlex Arts in Sarasota, with classes in dance and aerial yoga, and a dedicated yoga studio facility equipped with infrared heat system for hot yoga and a host of other yoga classes. Heartwood, however, will now be home to most of ReFlex’s training programs as well as their new yoga and writing retreats.

ReFlex’s RYT 200 program teaches over 100 people a year, a popular program because of the humor and warmth of the trainers, and also because the course covers more material and includes additional certifications compared with other programs of its kind. In that tradition, ReFlex has designed their RYT 500 program to cover an even greater, broad based education and includes additional YA certifications. The school’s philosophy is that diverse training assures instructors will be qualified to teach anyone, anywhere, extending their reach to new populations and increased job opportunities.

The RYT 500 course meets approximately one weekend a month for a year at Heartwood, with some additional work scheduled according to the student’s personal study plan. The course includes Yoga Therapy, Ayurveda Yoga practices and a variety of specialty workshops, including Tai Yoga Massage, Advanced Posture focus, Bhagavad Gita studies, Prenatal Yoga, Chair Yoga, Transcendence, and Mudras. Participants also take two weekends of Children’s Yoga training, so those who wish to become YA certified in Children’s Yoga simply need to devote time to the additional practicum required. (There is no additional fee for RCYT certification.)

The RYT 500 program is designed to take teachers to a whole new level, creating master teachers through projects to enhance communication skills, explore the dynamics of strong teaching, and learn how to design classes and programs that are inspirational and help a teacher stand out in the field.

The RYT 500 course runs from October 2013 to September 2014 (National Yoga month), ending with a yoga festival open to the public which will be organized and planned by the graduating RYT 500 teachers. The festival not only helps these master teachers learn how to plan yoga experiences beyond the hour long mat class, but provides a forum to present their new specialty to the public in classes, workshops or lectures.

ReFlex programs have low tuitions and the school offers convenient tuition payment plans. It is possible for students to take both the RYT 200 and 500 programs simultaneously at a discount rate, but only if the student can handle the demands of doubling up coursework in the first few months while the RYT 200 training unfolds.

ReFlex believes success in any program depends on a good fit of personalities and expectations, so incoming students are encouraged to meet with the director before enrolling to explore whether the program will serve their long term goals and personal aspirations and determine if the trainers and trainees will be a good fit.   

Director of ReFlex Arts, Ginny East, is an E-RYT 500, RCYT, and Reiki Master, and is currently earning her degree in Ayurveda Counseling. She has a BA in Business Management and an MFA in Writing. These diverse qualifications serve to help her train teachers in not only the methods, philosophy and pathways of yoga, but in gaining a better understanding of the business of yoga as well.


For more information, call ReFlex Arts at 941 359-9642 or visit See ad page 31.