Avalon's University Level Training Programs!

Now Registering Student for Avalon’s 31st 200-hour Program!

Below: A small group of Avalon Teacher Training Students at play on Saturday, 13 January 2018. Our current Program again sold out early, and we are now enrolling students for our 31st Program, which runs from 7 April – 2 Sept. 2018.

Email our Director at info@avalonyoga.com to set up an Enrollment Interview if you want to save yourself a spot.  

The curriculum of the 31st Program, which runs from Saturday, April 7th, through Sunday, September 2, 2018 is discussed below.

We are also adding a number of world-known Faculty in the 31st Program not yet noted below — including a Harvard University specialist on medieval yoga — and will focus in depth on new systems biology approaches to yoga developed in just the last few years.

Avalon’s 31st worker-friendly University-Level 200-hour Teacher Training Program runs Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 12 – 4:30 pm from April 7th -September 2nd, 2018.

Holiday breaks coordinated with Stanford University School of Medicine class schedules occur around Memorial Day and the 4th of July this coming term.

Please note that outside weekend classes we offer all our students extensive opportunities for sophisticated hands-on teaching practice — including among others leading twice weekly classes for Stanford University School of Medicine medical students and PhD candidates.

Stanford University School of Medicine students & PhDs after
one of their popular twice-a-week classes led by Avalon students!


One of the many ways Avalon is unique lies in the Program offering far more opportunities for hands-on teaching than any other 200-hour Program in the United States — which helps explain why Avalon graduates are currently in high professional demand. (Every year we typically hire our best graduates ourselves!)

Special emphasis this coming term will be on recent breakthroughs in our understanding of the deep genetic, immunological, and neurobiological impacts of yoga on human longevity and healthspan.

Both Avalon’s Director will be lecturing on some sides of this in a major conference on Aging and Inflammation at Stanford University School of Medicine that will take place early in the term.

Please note that our Programs regularly sell out, and we are selective in whom we take in the Program. Email us at info@avalonyoga.com  to set up a personal enrollment interview with our Director.

For special discounts and other exclusive privileges that go long with Early Enrollment, see following the Full Program Description below!

Below: one of Avalon’s recent graduates, the famous French dancer Arthur Cadre, practicing with his class at the beach last summer. Arthur is now acting as assistant to the well-known Italian Director, Franco Dragone, creator of the world-famous Cirque du Soleil: 

Click for a story on Arthur and a stunning one-minute video of him
practicing during Avalon Teacher Training this summer! Wow!



Avalon hosts the most advanced University-Level Yoga Teacher Training Programs in the world, which have been offered both in the US and overseas. Faculty include some of the world’s leading yoga historians, practitioners/teachers, and medical researchers.

Past and present affiliations of the Faculty include many of the world’s leading universities and research institutes, including Stanford University, Stanford University School of Medicine, Harvard University, Cambridge and Oxford Universities, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and many other top schools.

In the 31st term of our Flagship 200-hour Program we will pay special attention to advances in our understanding of the biology of yoga and the role yoga can play with other lifestyle changes in preventing reversing low-grade chronic inflammation, the main driver of so-called diseases of aging.

Avalon’s Director will be giving a paper on this topic at an international conference on inflammation and aging at Stanford University School of Medicine this coming November.


Below: Part of one of our most recent graduating class on a training break. The students in recent years have become increasingly diverse professionally and culturally  — representing dozens of countries and professional fields. 

Avalon students tend to come from highly diverse cultural backgrounds. Often our Palo Alto Programs include natives from as many as a dozen countries.

Because of the advanced scientific and medical approach we  take to the field, we tend as well to attract a much better educated group of students than other programs, including many Faculty, undergraduates, graduate students and post-docs from Stanford University.

A list of just a few of the students in the last few Program include a leading academic mathematician; an American novelist; research neurobiologists and many physicians; a Veterinarian surgeon; teachers, corporate attorneys, personal trainers; the Palo Alto YMCA Director of Health and Wellness; current or former Google and Apple executives; martial arts experts; financial analysts; and a precocious 13-year-old (the youngest Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor ever, to the best of our knowledge).

As this list suggests, you don’t have to intend to become a professional yoga instructor to make good use of our Program!

Typically each term about 1/4 of our students want to be professional teachers; about 1/4 are looking for yoga training to supplement their work in health or scientific fields (neuropsychology, family therapy, physical therapy, etc.); and about 1/2 consist of professionals who simply want to deepen their practices with the best scientific training in yoga available anywhere in the world.

• • • • •

For a quick overview of our 31st Program see below (click here or on the picture for a bigger/clearer image).

Avalon’s Teacher Training Program is one of the only Programs in the world that provides University-Level instruction and takes a strictly scientific approach towards yoga.

Our Faculty this term will include as always prominent M.D.s, Ph.D.s, and Faculty with other advanced degrees. Some of the many dozens of books written by Avalon Faculty on yoga and closely related research topics are on permanent display at the Studio.

Besides cutting-edge researchers on yoga history, neurobiology, and medical sides of yoga, our Faculty each term includes some of the world’s top yoga practitioners, representing a variety of diverse yoga styles.

The driving idea behind the Program is to balance physical practice with intense training in teaching techniques and the full range of academic topics related to the most recent advances in scientific and medical yoga.

A few other novel aspects of our Program include:

  • Unlike nearly all other Teacher Training Programs, Avalon’s curriculum is not tied to a single yoga style (e.g., Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Jivamukti, etc., all invented in the 20th century). It aims so far as possible to familiarize students with the full spectrum of world yoga traditions, ancient and modern, including some — like Sukshma Vyayama, the most popular yoga style  in modern India — virtually unknown in the West. The aim here is to invite our students to draw from as wide a range of traditions as possible in creating their own creative “mixed style” classes, for which Avalon is justifiably famous.
  • Avalon is unique in the extensive opportunities we give our students to teach regularly (under Faculty supervision) in the many free classes that Avalon offers regularly to the general public, Stanford University School of Medicine Students & PhD candidates, young children, and others. This kind of public teaching experience, which can’t be obtained from passively taking classes, helps explain the unusual success that top Avalon students have found in Bay Area studios, even in those of our local competitors.

31st Program Faculty & Curriculum

Avalon’s Spring-Summer 2018 term will be taught by the largest and by far the most diverse and prestigious group of Teacher Training Faculty ever assembled in the region. Avalon Faculty and their major areas of responsibilities in the Program are listed below.  

Avalon has special strengths in the history of yoga and medical yoga – two fields that are currently undergoing revolutionary transformations – and studies of the anatomical and physiological sides of yoga, including those that involve rapidly evolving areas of brain research.

  • PicoSteve Farmer, Ph.D. CEO/Director of Avalon Yoga International and Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of the Systems Biology Group, Inc., in Palo Alto. Author of many influential scholarly studies on the evolution of premodern religious, philosophical, and cosmological traditions throughout the world, in the West as well as the East; major articles on India’s earliest civilization and the early origins of yoga; specialist on cultural neurobiology, focusing on the coevolution of brain and culture. Stanford University Ph.D., former Harvard University Research Fellow and Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities; internationally known university lecturer, with recent invited talks in Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Scotland, Japan, China, Poland, Armenia, and the Czech Republic as well as the United States. Subjects taught: The history and literature of yoga; neurobiological and medical revolutions in yoga; related topics. Click here for a small selection of Steve’s academic and popular writings.
  • Adam Sewell, ERYT-500. Adam is a multiAdam.Sewell.2-talented athlete, fitness triner, yoga instructor, and taiji teacher. He also has a background as a professional Hollywood stuntman, and when not leaping out of buildings, jumping through plate windows, or crashing cars for a living, teaches a remarkably wide spectrum of ovement styles, from the most gentle to most advanced. Among Adam’s specialties: paddle board yoga (see on right), special balance training classes, yin yoga, strong Ashtanga-derived vinyasa yoga, and alignment-based yoga. Adam knows the yoga and fitness business thoroughly, first entering the field in 1990, and at one time owned his own Fitness Studio in Colorado. He has written health manuals, practiced many martial arts styles, and has trained special populations from children (a specialty at Avalon) to Para-Olympic athletes and seniors. Taught by his own injuries, even in his strong classes he puts strong emphasis on alignment and safety, and spends much of his time working with private clients who have back injuries.
  • Rebecca Kovacs, ERYT-500. Rebecca regularly serves on Avalon’s Faculty and on the International Teacher Training Staff at the famous Dharma Mittra Yoga Center in New York City. Rebecca has one of the most beautiful practices in the world (see below), and is a super popular teacher besides. She flies in regularly to teach at Avalon. Subjects taughtKundalini yoga; advanced asana practice; Dharma Yoga; inversions; other topics to be announced.
  • Aedra Ho, E-RYT-200. Aedra Ho is a talented professional actress and yoga teacher who has a deep knowledge of human physiology and kinesiology. She is a top former graduate of Avalon’s Teacher Training Program. In her own classes she teaches a beautiful multi-style practice, influenced by a wide range of international yoga styles seldom seen in the U.S. Her own Monday morning classes at Avalon are consistently packed with admiring students. Subjects taught: advanced teaching methodologies; yoga script writing; teaching cueing practices; other topics to be announced. 
  • Seth Powell, PhD candidate,  Harvard University Department of Religious StudiesSeth Powell is a talented scholar of Indian religion, Sanskrit, and yoga traditions, a PhD Candidate at Harvard, and a dedicated yoga practitioner himself. His research focuses on the history, theory, and practice of medieval and early modern Sanskrit yoga texts and traditions, as well as their intersections with the culture and practice of modern transnational yoga. His dissertation is on the relationship between Śaiva ritual, bhakti (devotional)yoga, and medieval yoga traditions in south India. He is expert on the Śivayogapradīpikā, or “Lamp on Śiva’s Yoga” (c. 15th century) and early evidence for medieval yoga postures (see e.g. the image on the left). As a unique scholar-practitioner, Seth is gifted in his ability to present the ancient teachings of yoga in an accessible and light-hearted  manner—while maintaining rigor and sensitivity to traditional Indian knowledge systems. Subjects taught: premodern yogic texts and practices; other topics to be announced. 
  • GirishGirish. Girish is an internationally known yoga musician and Sanskrit mantra (chanting) specialist. he  has been a regular part of Avalon’s Faculty since 2011, taking time out each term from his busy touring schedule to teach our students. He is currently writing a book on music, yoga and the brain. Subjects taught: The use of Sanskrit mantras in teaching and meditation; musical traditions in yoga.
  • Luis Gonzalez-Reimann, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley Ph.D.) is an internationally known specialist on Hinduism and ancient Indian oral and written traditions. Among much else, Luis is an expert on Indian conceptsCover of 'The Mahabharata and the Yugas' by Luis Gonzalez-Reimann, Ph.D. of time and the evolution of religious and mythological ideas in manuscript traditions. He received his M.A. in South Asian studies from El Colegio de México, and his Ph.D. in South Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches. He is the author of The Mahābhārata and the Yugas (Peter Lang 2002, Indian reprint Motilal Banarsidass 2010), and other books on Indian civilization. He publishes widely in both English and Spanish, and among his recent articles in English are: “The Coming Golden Age: On Prophecy in Hinduism,” in Prophecy in the New Millennium, ed. By Harvey and Newcombe (Ashgate 2013); “Ending the Mahābhārata: Making a Lasting Impression,” in the International Journal of Hindu Studies, 2011; and “Cosmic Cycles, Cosmology and Cosmography,” in vol. 1 of Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism (2009). Subjects taught: Sanskrit for yoga teachers; the ancient literature of yoga; other topics to be announced.
  • Philip Deslippe, Ph.D. ca., University of California at Santa PhilippeBarbara. Philip is one of the leading experts on the evolution of yoga in the United States. He is also a long-time practitioner with special training in Kundalini yoga. Philip is currently studying unique archival materials at Stanford University, the New York Public Library, and UC Santa Barbara to attempt to reconstruct the social and economic networks involved in the early evolution of yoga in the US, from the start of the 20th century through the 1930s — an area he knows more about than anyone else in the world. One of his recent papers reconstructed for the first time the odd history of so-called Kundalini yoga in the US, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, debunking claims of its fictional roots in ancient India.  Subjects taught: the evolution of yoga traditions in the US; Kundalini yoga.
  • James FoxAuthor, remarkable yogi, and Director of the foxinternationally famous Prison Yoga Project. Click here for a Time Magazine TV documentary on James’ work teaching yoga to prisoners at San Quentin State Prison (now over 14 years). You can also read moving interviews with prisoners whom James teaches in a recent article here.  Author of The Prison Yoga Project: A Path for Healing and Recovery, which has been distributed free to tens of thousands of prisoners in the US and around the world. (We also distribute the book free to our students each term.). James is a leading expert on rehabilitation yoga and the use of yoga in training traumatized clients of any sort — from prisoners, to returning war veterans, to battered women. Subjects taught: Teaching yoga to special populations; yoga in the treatment of PTSD and related condition.
  • ShawnDr. Shawn Bek, Prominent and super-popular Bay Area Chiropractor and certified yoga instructor. Shawn has long been a key member of the Avalon Community, and is an expert on the integration of yoga and other body-work traditions. Shawn also is expected to accompany our class to our next Human Anatomy/Human Cadaver Lab and helped set up our first Lab in the series. Subjects taught: Yoga anatomy and physiology from a chiropractor’s perspective; other topics to be announced.
  • Janya Wongsopa. Core Teacher Training staff member and one of the area’s most popular teachers. Specialized training in traditional Indian medicine as well as yoga; Janya has frequently led annual Retreats for Avalon to her native Thailand. Subjects taught: Posture sequencing, yin yoga, restorative yoga. Like many of our best teachers, Janya is herself an top graduate of Avalon’s Teachers Training Program. Janya is the best of the best in the field — and not coincidentally is an Avalon Teacher Training Graduate herself (class of 2007).
  • ElenaElena Milyukova. Russian born and Avalon trained, Elena is year in and out one of the most popular teachers in the area. After graduating from Avalon in the late 2000s, she gained valuable teaching experience in a number of Bay Area Studios before being hired as a Avalon staff member in 2012. She was promoted to the Avalon Teacher Training Faculty the following year. Elena has a gorgeous inversion practice and a huge and loyal local following. Subjects taught: Advanced inversions; other subjects in 2014 to be announced.
  • Irene auIrene Au. A former top Google executive turned yoga instructor, Irene Au is one of our strongest Avalon Teacher Training graduates. Now a prominent venture capitalist, Irene has an extraordinarily diverse style and a loyal following. Irene draws on many styles of yoga, combining choreographed flow sequences with proper alignment to make yoga accessible yet challenging. Her sequences are well-rounded, with a focus on safety, joining movement with breath, and having fun. Subjects taught: Mixed-Style Classes.
  • Laura FerroLaura Ferro. A fairly recent addition to our teacher training Faculty is a world-class choreographer and film maker, the immensely talented Laura Ferro, who has taught dance choreography and yoga on three continents. Before moving to Palo Alto a few years ago, Laura taught in Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Lisbon, and six Brazilian states. She is the founder of the Swásthya Performing Arts group in Brazil and the AdiMove Dance Ensemble in Portugal. Subjects taught: Yoga and Dance; Creating your own Choreography.
  • The biographies of a number of other key Program instructors will be added here soon.


  • Evidence of a serious commitment to yoga, personal growth, and teaching (if teaching yoga is a primary goal in enrolling);
  • Formal approval by the Studio Director (involves an entrance interview if the candidates are not personally known to the Director or core Faculty).

Class Schedule/Syllabus/Readings

  • Formal classes will be held exclusively on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 – 4:30 pm.
  • A day-by-day syllabus and list of assigned readings, which include texts on yoga and anatomy and related subjects, will be handed out on the first day of classes.

Evaluation/Teaching Certification

  • Before completing the Program, students will be given extensive opportunities to teach public classes in supervised situations. If the teaching student passes the evaluation he or she will be awarded Teacher Certification from Avalon’s Yoga Alliance registered Program.
  • The Program also includes some final written materials (including finished class “scripts”) due at the end of the term.

Payment/Free Classes

  • Tuition includes all class instruction and the right to take unlimited free yoga classes  over the entire length of the Program. (Most Yoga Teachers Training Programs do not offer free classes to Teachers in Training, or add major restrictions on their use).
  • Beyond tuition, students will need to buy a small number of required texts, which will be available at the Avalon book store. Total book expenses total under $100.

Early pay tuition options (includes a $250 tuition discount for full payment before the Program begins)

  • $3600 if advance payment is made before Wednesday, 11 October 2018 (includes the $500 non-refundable application fee).
  • $500 non-refundable application fee to hold a place in the Program; full payment at least one week before class starts to qualify for the $250 discount.
  • NEW IN 2017 & 2018: As an extra perk for enrolling early, unlimited FREE yoga classes at Avalon — which all enrolled students receive throughout the term (a unique option at Avalon) — begin the first day that students who opt in for the early pay tuition option pay their tuition in full!

Time-payment plan (no $250 discount, total $3850)

  • Initial payment of the $500 non-refundable application fee;
  • Five later payments of $670, automatically billed to a debit card or credit card, on 4 April 2018, 4 May 2018, 4 June 2018, 4 July 2018, and 4 August 2018.
  • Please note that we offer time-payment options as a convenience to our students. But full tuition is not pro-rated or pay-as-you-go: We only enroll students for the entire (and not partial) class terms.

Registration, Make-Ups, and Further Questions

Formal registration opens on and ends when enrollment is full.

We take a strictly limited number of students each term. Due to the high cost of hiring the teachers and running the Program we cannot refund tuition after the enrollment period officially ends.

If due to serious unforseen events a student cannot complete the session, unlike other Teacher Training Programs, we normally allow him or her to complete the Program the next term without additional cost.

If you have further questions, or want to set up a Registration Qualifying Interview, email Avalon’s Director at info@avalonyoga.com

We’re proud of Avalon’s Programs, and are happy to talk about them anytime!

General Contact Information:

Avalon Yoga International
Telephone: 650.324.2517
Email: info@avalonyoga.com