Teacher Training

Circle Yoga Teacher Training

January – December 2019

The 2019 Circle Yoga Teacher Training has begun. Interested in joining us for a future 200-hour training? Email cytt@circleyoga.com.

Teach mindful yoga to adults of all ages and stages of life.

Join us for the Circle Yoga Teacher Training and spend a full year deepening your love of yoga and learning to share it with others. Take the time to dive into the fundamental principles of asana, philosophy, anatomy, and more. Learn how to create practices that are healthy, mindful, and welcoming. You’ll work with a diverse team of passionate, experienced teachers and a supportive group of fellow trainees. Come to Circle Yoga for your 200-hour teacher training and find the heart of your yoga within a thoughtful and caring community.


Watch this video about the CYTT.

As a trainee, you will learn how to:

  • Craft thoughtful, creative asana sequences
  • Weave mindfulness, meditation, pranayama, and classical yoga philosophy into your yoga classes
  • Cue healthy alignment based on an up-to-date understanding of anatomy
  • Teach men and women of all ages and body types
  • Modify for common injuries and physical conditions
  • Create an inclusive, joyful class environment

This is a small training, with fewer than 20 students, so you’ll have plenty of personal feedback from your teachers. You will also have the opportunity to work closely with and get to know your fellow trainees throughout the year.

Our lead trainers, Alex, Bonnie, and Eduardo, will split the primary training modules equally, each teaching from their strengths, so you’ll have access to a range of expertise and a variety of approaches and teaching philosophies. At the same time, the curriculum is carefully coordinated: the trainers will work as a team to help you develop your understanding of yoga and your ability to teach it, step by logical step.

Becoming a seasoned or specialized yoga teacher takes many years of experience with continuing learning and training. By the end of this 200-hour program, you will have established a strong foundation from which to begin your teaching journey. You will be prepared to teach a full-length public class—from Gentle to Level 1-2—to adult students with the usual range of abilities and special circumstances. 

You will also have experience with adapting practices for students with arthritis and minor movement limitations, students who are pregnant, and students with larger bodies.  When you graduate from the Circle Yoga Teacher Training, you will know your own strengths and areas for growth as a practitioner and as a teacher. And whether or not you plan to teach, you will feel well-prepared to embark on the next stage of your yoga path.

Julie Adjusting Cobra Rotated

The Circle Yoga Teacher Training (CYTT) exceeds the requirements for the Yoga Alliance® 200-hour certification.

It’s easy to be here. Circle Yoga was founded after 9/11 as a resource for the local community, and the studio’s roots in our neighborhood, in mindfulness, and in children’s yoga have made it into a uniquely welcoming and supportive environment. Our students bring their neighbors, friends, and family members here because they know that almost everyone can find a class to suit their needs.

Toolsi Bolster

The teachers at Circle Yoga come from a wide variety of yoga traditions, but our common thread is safe, mindful, compassionate yoga, with an emphasis on self-awareness and the long-term goals of the practice. We’re known for our ability to welcome all students, to offer them a rich and varied experience of yoga, and to help them cultivate their own mindful, sustainable practice.

We can’t wait to share these skills with you in the Circle Yoga Teacher Training.

Ready to find out more?

Connect with one of our lead trainers.

Email Us Program Details

The CYTT will be held over twelve weekends during 2019. The summer months of the program will be less structured; students will have more flexibility in scheduling practice teaching sessions and class observations. See CYTT 2019 Schedule for specific dates.The basic principles of mindfulness and of mindful yoga—yoga that encourages awareness of and compassion for the whole self, at all stages of life—are the foundation of the CYTT. These principles will be presented and explored during the first weekend. In the first few months, you will lay the groundwork of your teaching skills by:

  • Learning how to establish or deepen your own mindfulness practice
  • Participating in several sessions of user-friendly anatomy and asana where we build the principles of asana alignment (standing poses, forward folds, backbends, twists) based on the way real bodies work
  • Beginning to study yoga philosophy and breath / pranayama
After a few months, you’ll begin to apply these principles by:
  • Learning sequencing basics (how to put poses in order to structure a class)
  • Practice teaching individual asanas in pairs, with a focus on clear language and building poses from the foundation
  • Discussing mindful classroom management
As the program progresses toward summer, you will develop your understanding even further by:
  • Studying more complicated asanas and sequencing (inversions and Suryas)
  • Doing more practice teaching, including demonstrating poses and offering assists
  • Gaining exposure to special topics like Ayurveda, Supportive Yoga for Larger Bodies, gentle yoga, working with injuries and special conditions, and prenatal yoga
During the summer, you will apply what you’ve learned so far by:
  • Observing and analyzing several yoga classes at Circle Yoga and/or other studios
  • Participating in at least three of five practice teaching intensive modules, totaling at least 12 hours, so that you will be ready to stand in front of a group and teach
  • Continuing to develop your own asana, breath, and mindfulness practices
In the fall, with several months of fundamentals and practice under your belt, you’ll be:
  • Tackling more nuanced topics like energy-based practices, flow yoga, and thematic sequencing
  • Learning how to teach more subtle topics like mindfulness and breath awareness / pranayama
  • Refining your own asana teaching and preparing for the final, celebratory practice teaching weekend
  • Discussing how to thrive as a yoga teacher, including the business of yoga
  • Reflecting on what it means to be a yoga teacher and your own next steps in developing your own teaching–how, what, and where you will teach
HomeworkYou will reinforce what you learn in class with carefully designed homework assignments, which you will work on individually or in small study groups depending on the assignments.  Examples of these assignments include: writing teaching scripts (what you say when you teach a pose), putting together sample sequences (the list of poses, in order, that you would teach in a class), doing reading on mindfulness and yoga philosophy, preparing anatomy and ethics presentations, and observing several types of yoga classes.  We expect that homework to take about 10 hours a month, on average. You will also establish or continue your own mindfulness, breath, and asana practices and keep a basic record of those practices.Private SessionTo provide you with truly individualized guidance, each student will have the opportunity to schedule a 45-minute private session with one of our lead trainers partway through the program.  This is unusual for teacher training programs, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to have a senior teacher focus completely on your unique experiences and goals.You will emerge from this training with a deeper understanding of yoga, of mindfulness, and of yourself.  And this is just the beginning of the journey: the true joy of a training is that it allows you to embark on the path of sharing yoga with others. Teaching yoga can be infinitely challenging in the best of ways, and also infinitely rewarding. This training will give you a strong foundation to learn and grow gracefully through all of the challenges–and to be ready to fully enjoy the rewards.

CYTT 2019 Schedule

Fridays 5:00-8:30 pm, Saturdays 1:00-6:30 pm, and Sundays 12:00-5:00 pm
Jan 18-20
Feb 8-10
Mar 1-3
Mar 22-24
Apr 5-7
Apr 26-28
May 17-19
Sep 6-8
Oct 4-6
Oct 25-27
Nov 15-17
Dec 6-8Summer Practice Teaching: For summer practice teaching, trainees will choose at least THREE of FIVE 4-hour sessions. These will be scheduled by online poll early in the program.Flexible Make-Up Policy: We recognize that not everyone will be able to attend all weekends. You can make up as many as to two full weekends (10 units of the syllabus) for free in the next training year. We also offer private make-up sessions with our trainers for $75 an hour if you need to schedule at a different time. These sessions may be shared, with the cost split, by students who miss the same sessions. With fewer students, make-ups often move more quickly than the initial session. Make-up Hours for Winter Weather: If the studio is closed due to snow or ice during the winter months, we will extend the training hours on Saturdays (starting at 12:30 and ending as late as 7:30 p.m.) until all missed hours have been made up. Trainees are expected to save these hours should we need to use them.


Lead Trainers

Alex Phelan, E-RYT 200, RYT 500

After over a decade of chance encounters with yoga, Alex first discovered the transformative power of a consistent yoga practice at the Iyengar Institute in Mumbai, India in 2006. This experience led her to complete the 200-hour and 300-hour teacher trainings with YogaWorks in New York. Alex has since expanded her knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics by studying with Paula Liberis, Glenn Black, Jill Miller, Jillian Pransky, Leslie Kaminoff, and others. She has also worked closely with physical therapists and integrates multiple perspectives on movement into her classes. All of these experiences infuse Alex’s teaching to provide each student with a practice that is tailored for the needs and challenges of his or her body. Alex’s classes are anatomically focused explorations of movement and action in the body, with sequences that reach beyond a traditional asana practice. She combines the principles of Iyengar alignment, biomechanics, dynamic movement and a focused attention to the breath to bring balance to both mind and body.For this training, Alex will be teaching Anatomy and linking those sessions to foundations of Asana. She will also teach Ethics, Beginners / Gentle Yoga, some Sequencing, and some Practice Teaching sessions.

Bonnie Foote, PhD, E-RYT 500

Bonnie’s teaching is lighthearted but focused: she wants her students to understand the principles of healthy alignment and be able to treat their bodies well, not just in class, but in their daily lives. Bonnie uses her rigorous training at the original YogaWorks in Santa Monica and her current interest in biomechanics to make sure that each session combines classic asana with innovative approaches to movement, alignment, and breath. She also uses her academic background (Humanities at Yale, English at UCLA) to give her classes a clear intellectual structure. But most of all, she uses her own experiences with chronic pain and gradual recovery to anchor her compassionate, individualized approach to teaching. She loves it when her students take charge of their own practices! She always encourages them to ask questions, make up modifications, and steal anything they like and take it home.For this training, Bonnie will be teaching some modules of Asana, Sequencing, Mindfulness / Meditation, Pranayama, Philosophy, and Practice Teaching.  She is also working behind the scenes on curriculum coordination.

Eduardo Guedez, MS, E-RYT 200/RYT 500

Eduardo has been practicing Hatha Yoga since 1994 and teaching since 2007. Initiated into the Sri Vidya lineage of Swami Rama of the Himalayas, he is most inspired by his master teachers, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait and Yogarupa Rod Stryker (ParaYoga). His teaching approach is grounded in the biomechanics of alignment, Ayurveda and yoga philosophy, as they apply to the current challenges of modern living. Eduardo holds a Masters Degree in Computer Science from George Mason University and maintains an ever-demanding corporate job that helps him relate to “left-brained,” more logic-based students who are combining their analytical view with a heart oriented practice. Eduardo is also co-director of StoneSong Awareness & Nature Center in Western Maryland. In his teaching, Eduardo strives to help his students cultivate a felt sense of alignment, efficacy of movement, mental ease, and that sweet spot known as the “sacred pause”–where we draw from our inherent intelligence to skillfully respond non-reactively to whatever comes up at work, at home, in life.For this training, Eduardo is teaching Philosophy, Mindfulness / Meditation, Pranayama, Energy Body, Energy-Based Sequencing, Thematic Sequencing, and several Practice Teaching sessions.

Special Topics Trainers

annie smiling no scarfAnnie Mahon, MA, MS, E-RYT 200, C-RYT
Annie Mahon is an author, ordained Buddhist mindfulness teacher and founder of the Circle Yoga Cooperative in Washington, DC. Annie has been writing about mindfulness, parenting, stress and yoga since 2004. Her blog, rawmindfulness.com, led to a book of Annie’s collected essays, Words to be With. Her most recent book,Things I Did When I was Hangry (Parallax Press, September 2015), documents Annie’s search for sanity in her eating disordered family life and reveals how mindfulness helped her go beyond the search for perfection and learn to love the moment as it is. Annie holds certifications in yoga, focusing and massage therapy and dabbles in Nonviolent Communication (NVC). When not visiting her children, teaching, traveling the world with her husband, drinking jasmine tea with honey, writing or walking her dogs, she practices yoga and mindfulness with her community in DC.For this training, Annie M. is teaching two full afternoons of mindfulness: the first session will focus on establishing your own practice, and the second session will focus on how to teach mindfulness.
Annie Carlin CroppedAnnie Carlin, E-RYT 200
Annie Carlin has been practicing yoga for over 12 years, studying many different styles, from vigorous vinyasa to technical alignment-based hatha, prenatal, and therapeutic yoga. She completed her 200-hour training with Tias Little (Prajna Yoga) in 2011 and has been teaching ever since. In December 2014, Annie completed her prenatal yoga teacher training certification with Integral Yoga. Her goal is to create a safe space for all to enjoy the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of yoga. She emphasizes self-acceptance and specializes in customizing poses to suit each person’s practice. Through thoughtful sequencing and creative modifications, Annie hopes to show her students that everyone can do amazing things on the mat. Annie offers profound gratitude to all of her teachers and students and is thrilled to be sharing this incredible practice. For more yoga with Annie, check out her website, www.supportiveyoga.com.For this training, Annie C. is teaching a three-hour session on Supportive Yoga for Larger Bodies.
Cinema WoodCinema Wood loves the art of yoga.She believes in the medicine of movement and has been fortunate to find initiated teachers of an unbroken, beautiful lineage to guide her along the path. She met her Master Teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait in 2003.Rooted in a rigorous tantric tradition, Cinema is committed to sharing all of the limbs of yoga. Her classes are influenced by her work as a writer, her passion for dance and her mixed African, European and Indigenous North American heritage. Cinema blends movement and meditation, poetry and stillness. Her classes are infused with a lighthearted and laid back sense of pace merged with a disciplined and wholehearted focus on the unappropriated message of the Vedas. She is honored to share her knowledge of the sacred texts and practices of the Himalayan sages with students of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. For this training, Cinema will lead sessions on The Yoga Sutras, The Bagavad Gita, and Teaching Yoga with an Inclusive Agenda.
Debbie Helfeld, AHC, E-RYT 200/RYT 500
Debbie first became interested in Ayurveda over 15 years ago when both her primary care doctor and the owner of an Indian grocery store recommended that she read Deepak Chopra’s Perfect Health. Drawn in by this excellent, accessible introduction, she began reading more about Ayurveda independently and in her yoga teacher trainings. Wanting to immerse herself, she enrolled in the Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist (AYS) and Torchbearer programs started by the Himalayan Institute and led by Kathryn Templeton. Finally, she took a 2-year advanced program also sponsored by the Himalayan Institute in collaboration with Dr. Rosy Mann, the doctor in residence at Kripalu. She is certified as an Ayurvedic Health Counselor with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. Debbie infuses her yoga classes with Ayurvedic principles and tips. She offers individual diet and lifestyle counseling and teaches Ayurvedic workshops. Her specialty is cooking workshops in which participants learn about Ayurveda while they prepare and then eat a delicious Ayurvedic, mostly Indian, vegetarian meal.For this training, Debbie is teaching a three-hour session on Ayurveda.
Joey Gottlieb, LMTThe son of two diplomats, Joey’s first experience with yoga was as a depressed teenager nursing two sports injuries. He began studying yoga right here at Circle Yoga, discovering new dimensions within his body, mind, and spirit. After several years of practice, Joey took his first teacher training in vinyasa yoga with Ellen De Jonge. In 2014, he met Master Teacher Amy Ippoliti, and began apprenticing with her in alignment-based vinyasa yoga, therapeutic yoga, and Rajanaka philosophy. He has traveled the globe assisting at her trainings and workshops. Joey teaches public classes in Washington DC, as well as working with private and corporate clients. He has led workshops and anatomy teacher trainings up and down the East Coast. He has served on the faculty of 90 Monkeys, Amy Ippoliti’s in-person and online yoga school, and is also a licensed massage therapist.For this training, Joey is teaching sessions dedicated to Flow Yoga.
Liz Butler, E-RYT 200Liz has been practicing and teaching yoga for over a decade. She came to yoga to address chronic back pain and stayed because of all the other possibilities revealed. Liz teaches playful, irreverent, physically-challenging, alignment-focused classes. Each class is intended to foster connection, self-awareness, equanimity and a love of learning. Her three children and their unique relationships with the universe are a constant loving inspiration. She brings the experience and perspective of having taught in many venues: schools, studios, homeless shelters, gyms, corporations and the great outdoors. She also brings the experience of serving in many roles: studio director, owner, teacher, trainer and student. Liz is passionate about using yoga knowledge to help others to be more compassionate to themselves and others.For this training, Liz is teaching a three-hour session on the Business of Yoga.
Mercedes Santos, E-RYT 200Mercedes began practicing yoga over 20 years ago. She brings her many years of experience as an athlete and her knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology to her teaching. Registered with the Yoga Alliance at the E-RYT 200-hour level, Mercedes teaches Hatha yoga that is primarily a blend of Iyengar and traditional Raja (Eight Limb Astanga) styles, spiced up with some Vinyasa (flow). Mercedes is keen on yoga therapeutics and believes yoga is a practice that can be made accessible to everyone. Mercedes especially enjoys teaching the physical practice (asanas) as a pathway to concentration and meditation.For this training, Mercedes will teach sections on Ethics and Classroom Management, as well as Yoga for Seniors.
MichelleMichelle Cohen, CBD, RYT 200
Michelle received her vinyasa yoga teaching certification from Tranquil Space in 2007 and taught flow, restorative and mixed level classes.  During her first pregnancy in 2008 she began to teach prenatal yoga. Completely transformed by her experience of pregnancy, labor and birth, Michelle found her greatest passion in teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga. She completed Conscious Birthing Prenatal Teacher Training with Janice Clarfield in 2010 (4 months after giving birth to her second son!) to deepen her knowledge. She then felt called to serve and support her students, and other clients, in a full-circle process of birth and motherhood and trained to become a birth doula through ToLabor in 2012 and a postpartum doula through Birth Arts International in 2015. Michelle is deeply passionate about helping women have their best birth and strongest start to motherhood and feels the best way to do this is through yoga, mindfulness, contemplative practices, education, and hands-on support. To learn more about Michelle, visit www.savoritstudios.com.For this training, Michelle is teaching a three-hour session on Adapting a Practice for Prenatal Students.

Fees & Payment

The fee for the Circle Yoga Teacher Training is $2975, with an additional $50 application fee. Payments will be made as follows:Due with application – $50 Application Fee (non-refundable)
Due upon acceptance to the program – $575 Registration Fee (includes $250 non-refundable deposit)Trainees may choose one of two options to pay remaining registration fees:

  • Pay remaining fees in full by January 14, 2019 – $2400
  • Pay remaining fees in installments as follows in 2019 (with a $15 admin fee per installment):
    • Due January 14 – $615
    • Due April 7 – $615
    • Due July 7 – $615
    • Due October 7 – $615
Partial scholarships are available.

Refund Policy

The $50 application fee is non-refundable. In addition, the initial registration fee of $500 includes a non-refundable $250 deposit for the program. If for any reason you need to withdraw from the program, refunds can be provided according to the following schedule:

  • Before January 1, the initial registration fee minus the $250 deposit will be refunded.
  • Between January 1 and January 10, if you have paid the full program fee ($2900), you will receive a refund of $1800.
  • Between January 1 and January 10, if you have paid the initial registration fee ($500) and the first quarterly payment ($615), you will not receive a refund, but you will not be responsible for any further installments.
  • After January 10, refunds will not be provided.
How to Apply

Applications for the Circle Yoga Teacher Training will be accepted on a rolling basis. To apply for the training, first download the CYTT Application. Email your completed application to cytt@circleyoga.com and use our online registration system to submit your $50 application fee.After we receive your completed application and $50 application fee, we will send you an email to confirm receipt. If we are not already familiar with your practice, you will then be invited to attend a class with one of our Lead Trainers at Circle Yoga as part of the application process. Upon acceptance to the CYTT, you will need to pay the $500 initial registration fee in order to secure your space.

Other Questions?

If you have any questions about the Circle Yoga Teacher Training, email cytt@circleyoga.com. You may also call the studio at 202-686-1104 and leave a message for CYTT staff. We will return your call as soon as possible.


As I hoped, the CYTT program focuses on deepening your personal yoga practice as the foundation for learning to teach. Teachers and fellow students make becoming a more committed yogi both challenging and fun. Our classes, readings, and group projects all support developing a home practice that integrates yoga poses with breath work, mindfulness, anatomy, yoga philosophy…and perpetual curiosity.

Connie S.

The CYTT program has already surpassed my expectations in providing both a team of competent and inspiring teachers as well as a community of fellow students motivated to learn and support each other. As someone who has discovered yoga in the middle years of life, I have appreciated how the CYTT incorporates compassion without judgment for my own physical and emotional restrictions in my yoga practice. This gives me the tools for offering that same compassion to future students. The program has also helped me discover more freedom in taking my yoga practice “off the mat” in new ways as it becomes more about the way I move in my daily life.

Rae J.

I am incredibly thankful to have found the CYTT. The program is thoughtfully structured to provide deep learning and time for integration into daily life. It is a wonderful mix of personal learning at home and experiential based learning in the classroom. The teachers each bring their own unique strengths and skill sets to the program, and I’m enjoying building my yoga community with peers in the training. I recommend this training enthusiastically.

Eloise R.

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