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Alison was recently featured in Yoga Journal's 

Yogapedia, Philosophy, & LiveBeYoga columns

and was invited by Yoga Journal to create a

six-part Yoga for Back Health online series

500-Hour Mandala of Yoga

Teacher Training


with Alison West and Kaitlyn Hipple

Learn! Grow! Inspire!

Yoga Union is excited to present its full 500-hour Teacher Training: the Mandala of Yoga starting in September 2019 and running through May 2020. The Mandala of Yoga brings together a powerful and seasoned group of teachers to help you become a knowledgeable, compassionate, creative and inspiring teacher.


A Mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol representing the Universe. Mandalas may be used to focus the mind, as a tool for meditation and spiritual guidance, to establish a sacred space and more. The Mandala of Yoga Teacher Training will open the four gates of asana, pranayama, meditation and swadyaya (self-study and study of ancient texts) in an integrated way. Completing the full Mandala of Yoga 500TT is the single best way to achieve a strong understanding of yoga as a practical, philosophical and spiritual path. Build a thorough foundation for outstanding alignment as well as vinyasa teaching grounded in intelligent work and sustained teaching practice.


See what others say by scrolling to the bottom of this page.

Guests include

Leslie Freyberg (Sanskrit)

Bob Gilbo (Philosophy)

Hae Soo Kim (Pregnancy and Menstruation)

Brette Popper (Self Practice, Restorative, and the Business of Yoga), 

Laurel Beversdorf (Anatomy)

Sarah Tomlinson (Yantra)


Registration Deadline and full payment due:

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Early bird deadline: 

(Full payment with Early bird discount)

Monday, June 24, 2019

Payment plans available.

Email about options.

Please read the requirements below.

They include a Level 2 audition Class + application,


You must take 10 alignment classes by Friday, September 13, with Alison West or Kaitlyn Hipple

​ Start taking your 10+ required classes now!

Please note: they will be away for some of the summer.

(Alison is away June 1-22 and July 24-September 1. So start taking your classes now!)

500-Hour Teacher Training 2019-2020 Schedule

The YU 200/500TT begins August 15 with one-month of at-home study

and written homework in preparation for the

in-studio part of the teacher training.


Studio sessions begin September 13.

The 10 pre-requisite classes take time and can begin now.

In addition to Asana and Weekend intensives, 

all Monday nights for the duration of the teacher training   

September 16 - December 16, 2019

and January 13 - May 11, 2020



Asana and Weekend Intensives Schedule 

Fridays 5-8pm; Saturdays and Sundays 8:30a-6p

Note: Some weekends are as long as three-and-half days.

200 TT (part of 500 TT):

Sanskrit Weekend: Saturday-Sunday, September 14-15 (9a-5p each day)

8-day Asana Intensive: Friday, September 20  - Friday, September 27 (8:30a-5p each day & 8:30-7p 9/27)

October 4-6 (Friday-Sunday)

October 18-20 (Friday-Sunday)

November 15-17 (Friday-Sunday)

December 6-8 (Friday-Sunday)

300 TT (part of 500 TT):

9-day In-studio Intensive: Saturday, January 4 - Sunday, January 12 (8:30a-5p each day)

January 24-26 (Friday-Sunday): Ropes Weekend

February 6-9 (Thursday-Sunday): 4-Day Backcare Weekend

(Thursday 2-5, Friday 1-8, Saturday 8:30-5:30, Sunday 8:30-5)  

March 20-22 (Friday-Sunday): Basic Chairs Certification

April 24-26 (Friday-Sunday): Hypermobility/Hyperflexibility

May 15-17 (Friday-Sunday): Closing TT Weekend

+ 18 Level 2 Alignment Classes with Alison or other designated teachers (included in cost of TT)

+ Assisting 10 Alignment Classes, and taking and assisting backcare classes and more (read below)


Important Dates and Requirements

  • Registration Deadline and Full Payment Due:

Thursday, September 12, 2019​

  • Early Bird Deadline: (Full Payment required for Early Bird discount)

Monday, June 24, 2019

  • Requirements before the start of in-studio training sessions September 13:

Application + Audition class: any regular class with Alison West or other designated teachers.

10 Level 2 alignment classes with Alison West or other designated teachers. 


Recommend the TT to someone and save $200 on yours.

“If anyone is contemplating a teacher training, Alison West’s Yoga Union Teacher Training is the absolute best in NY! Cannot recommend it highly enough…” 

 Caroline Andrews, FB 2014

"Outstanding teachers, who are thorough, with very high standards, and available for personalized attention, direction and support whenever it's needed. I highly recommend this program. I have learned (and continue to learn) so much about yoga and about myself as a direct result of this program."

Jamison Steinke, 2017


ALISON WEST, assisted by Kaitlyn Hipple, leads the powerful “Gold Standard” YU Teacher Trainings with a roster of exceptional guest teachers. Limited class size and seasoned teachers make for an unforgettable experience. The YU 500TT continues the “Gold Standard” (TONY 2007) quality of its 200TT in a rich and demanding eight-month program that provides you with the opportunity not only to become an outstanding teacher at the intermediate+ level, but to maintain a serious self-practice in asana, pranayama and meditation. Become a confident and knowledgeable teacher while exploring the more subtle aspects of Yoga and and the relevance of ancient texts to modern life. You will develop your teaching skills and understanding in an intimate environment with world-class teachers.  Excellence, integrity, hard work, inspiration–these are some of the qualities you can expect from the YU® 500TT.  Because of the limited group size, you will receive abundant personal attention and have the opportunity to develop a real Satsang with your fellow students.


In addition to the well-rounded program described below, you will receive Basic Chair and Wall-Ropes Certifications, allowing you to safely and effectively use wall-ropes at YU and other studios where they are available to you. You will also come away ready to teach two workshops prepared by you as part of your final. A 200-Hour Certificate will be awarded in December, allowing you to start teaching, providing you have met all requirements. All certificates are subject to satisfactory completion of all requirements and demonstration of appropriate teaching ability. 


  • Fundamentals of a sound Asana Practice and Principles of Action and Alignment

  • Principles of Observation and Analysis of poses, with modifications and variations

  • Principles of Prop Use

  • How to Self-Practice

  • Principles of Safe, Ethical Teaching

  • Fundamentals of Pranayama

  • Yoga Philosophy including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Sankhya Karika, history, and discussion

  • Fundamentals of Anatomy

  • Subtle Anatomy (Chakras, Nadis, Koshas, Shariras)

  • Fundamentals of Kinesiology

  • Fundamentals of Yoga for Pregnancy and Menstruation

  • Fundamentals of Restorative Yoga

  • Two-day Sanskrit immersion with Leslie Freyberg of the American Sanskrit Institute

  • Fundamentals of Meditation

  • The Business of Yoga and How to Become a Successful Teacher

From the very beginning fifteen years ago,  teaching practice has been one of the cornerstones of the YU Teacher Training.  Surya Namaskar is the fundamental vinyasa practice and it is covered in detail with variations, building confidence and the ability to see students in motion and adjust on the go.


  • to come away with the ability to teach a solid alignment basics class, with language and adjustments suitable to that level, including a flowing Surya Namaskar, the foundation of all vinyasa teaching.

  • a rigorous and therefore rewarding program that includes regular homework (reading, writing, self-practice/exploration, and teaching practice) and clear feedback on your teaching.

  • to learn anatomy and kinesiology, especially its application to yoga, to deepen your understanding of the poses including how to modify them and prevent injury.

  • to gain a meaningful understanding of one of the central texts of Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

  • to experience the vibratory quality of Sanskrit through the alphabet and mantras.

  • to deepen your own practice through class, observation, and self-practice.

  • clear feedback on your teaching that gives you a good sense of your strengths and weaknesses and  helps you move forward in a positive direction.

  • to get to know and study with some of the best teachers in America.


  • Basic Ropes Certification

  •  Intro to Backcare: herniation, osteoporosis, and other sagittal issues of the spine

(If you wish to do the Backcare Certification, you can. Please read more at Backcare Certification. Additional fees and requirements apply. The Certification is no longer part of the 300 Hour program, as Yoga Alliance does not allow any Yoga Therapy as part of a regular 200/500 program. This has dropped the cost of the TT by a substantial amount.)

  • Basic Chairs Certification

  • Yoga with Dowels

  • Yoga for Hypermobility and Hyperextension

  • Anatomy and Kinesiology applied with greater sophistication

  • Yoga Philosophy including the Bhagavad Gita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika

  • Pranayama: Beyond the Fundamentals

  • Meditation: Beyond the Fundamentals

  • Yantras


  • to have three Certificates for Ropes and Chairs in addition to your full 500-Hour TT

  • to come away with the ability to teach a solid intermediate alignment class, with language and adjustments suitable to that level

  • to achieve new clarity and confidence in your practice and teaching, including observational skills and adjustments

  • to sequence with greater sophistication and understanding

  • to sustain a fulfilling self-practice

  • to be able to teach basic pranayama and meditation

  • to have two marketable workshops ready by the end of the 500TT

  • to gain a fundamental understanding of mudra and yantra painting

  • to assimilate a substantial body of philosophical information on which to draw both in the studio and daily life, helping you to forge a more harmonious, fulfilling existence for yourself and your environment.



Practice and teach at a new level. Yoga Union’s trademark emphasis on teaching practice during the program will help you to perfect your observation, verbal, physical and tonal expression, pacing, sequencing, and modifications. Refining your knowledge of alignment will help you in whatever form of Yoga you teach. 


Delve into the body’s systems (nerves, muscle, bones, organs) so that you can have a more secure sense of how the body moves and functions.  Kinesiology is more demanding than anatomy, and understanding the challenges the body and mind face when working in the poses is fundamental in developing your own sense of sequencing, avoiding injury and approaching more challenging poses.



Yoga Union is one of the few studios in NY with major rope walls as well as ceiling slings (not the soft silks of aerial Yoga). The ropes and slings are unique and wonderful tools that allow the body to work in all characters of pose. They increase effort or release, and with the advantage of traction they offer many powerful challenges.



Awaken your whole being by studying in greater depth the subtle anatomy of the body, chanting, mantras and paining yantras with Sarah Tomlinson. There is nothing that does not vibrate in the manifest cosmos.



Still your mind under the guidance of outstanding teachers who will oversee your meditation practice, offering a series of three-hour sessions of lecture, discussion, and personal interviews.  Between sessions, a buddy system will help you maintain a regular practice and lay the foundation for a lifetime of meditation.  If you already have a meditation practice, this will be the perfect time to receive sustained guidance.



Explore new texts, such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Bhagavad Gita. This is a wonderful opportunity to read texts you might not otherwise find the time for and to share your experience of them in the company of interested colleagues.  



With the YU 500TT, you will enter a new dimension of Yoga at the personal level and become ready to safely teach at the intermediate level anywhere. YU strives to develop teachers who can be hired with confidence by any center looking for a well-rounded, confident and sensitive teacher. The personal mentoring of senior teachers will provide you with a solid point of reference while you continue to forge your personal trajectory in Yoga. 



YU is recognized by Yoga Alliance at the 200 & 500 level. But more importantly, it is recognized by its peers as one of the leading Teacher Training institutions in America. 


500 TT REQUIREMENTS (in addition to application requirements below)

• You must complete all in-studio sessions listed on the above schedule (Monday evenings and intensives). Note: if there are scheduling conflicts, some modifications are possible.

• Daily self-practice of asana, pranayama, and meditation and a log of this in Google Doc form.

•Take a minimum of 18 classes, at least 2 times per month, at level 2 or above with Alison West (included in the cost of your TT).

• Assist 10 YU alignment classes beginning in January or February 2020 (not more than once a week).

• Assigned reading, written homework, and asanas/sequences for self-practice.

• Mid-term and final written exams, group and individual teaching practicums, philosophy final questions and essay.

• Prepare two marketable workshops.

• One class, at least, of each of the following studios/styles January-May 2020 (not included in the cost of the TT): Jivamukti, Iyengar Yoga Center, Dharma Mitra, Yoga Works, observe Astanga class or take led Mysore style, Sivananda. Note the sequence, relative pose duration, music used, and so on. Prepare an essay based on your observations about the impact each form has on you and what its gifts are.

Note: Yoga Union reserves the right to withhold certification in the event that not all requirements are fulfilled or that the work fails to meet the YU standards for the 500TT. 


• TT Manual will be provided after registration.

• All other books and materials must be purchased by participants and are not included in the cost of the TT. 

• A list of required reading will be provided upon registration.


• Have at least three years of regular practice and be now at the intermediate level (this includes an understanding of standing poses and the ability to hold the poses, all basic backbends, full headstand for at least 5 minutes in the center, and full shoulderstand for at least 10 minutes in the center, unless you have specific issues contra-indicating these poses)

• Written Application

• Interview with Alison + audition class with Alison (Level 2 or higher) or designated Alignment Yoga teacher.  If you are unable to take any of these classes, you can schedule a private session with Alison or Kaitlyn, or if you are out of town, send a video of your practice to


  • Upon acceptance, take 10 Level 2 alignment classes before the start of the TT September 13. At least 5 must be with Alison West, who will be away June 1-22 and July 24-September 1. The other five can be with Alison or Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn will be away August 10-17, + a week TBD in July or August. If you are not at level 2, you need to progress to that level in time to take prepare to audition at level 2,  prepare and audition in a level 2 class, and take 10 level 2 classes before the start of the TT September 13.

  • Secure your place with a non-refundable $700 deposit (details below).




Registration Deadline and Full Payment Due: September 12

Early Bird Deadline: June 24 (Full Payment with Early Bird discount)



  • There is a non-refundable deposit of $700 to secure your place. Full prices below include your deposit.

  • Early bird by June 24: $6900 (Payment in full); after June 24: $7400 (due by September 12). 

  • Payment plans are available for $7700. Deposit is still due by September 12th. Design a plan that allows you to pay in full by August 31, 2020.

  • Payment can be made over the phone by credit card, or in person by credit card, cash, or check. You can also pay through PayPal for an extra 3% fee.

  • No refunds after September 12, other than emergencies. 

  • Refer the 500 Teacher Training and receive a $200 credit towards your own 500TT. 

Class attendance prior to Teacher Training application is an essential requirement. Spend time in your new home and get to know it!

Call 212.510.7404 or email  for more information.


Amy Matthews (The Breathing Project and co-author of Yoga Anatomy), Stephanie Sandleben, Deborah Wolk, Brette Popper, Katie Jehenson, Michael Hayes (Buddha Body Yoga), Kristen Davis (Yogasana), Mariso Sako (Kula Yoga), Jodie Rufty (Yoga Works), Jason Brown, Jason Orrell, Elizabeth Reiback, Liza Toft, Paula Liberis, Ellen Huang, Julia Frodahl, Katie Jehenson, Laura Staton, Olga Kuchokova, and many more!



"Yoga Union’s 500-hour Mandala of Yoga was my first yoga teacher training program, and after much shopping around, I am very glad that I chose this one. The asana teaching was intelligent, clear and safe, the philosophy teaching was outstanding, and the anatomy teaching was thorough and practical. Additionally, the emphasis on yoga for back care was invaluable, especially considering the growing demand for yoga as a means to address back issues. An expert in her own right, Alison West also brought in outside experts to teach workshops on Philosophy, Anatomy, Meditation, and Sanskrit, which provided a fresh perspective and a deeper understanding in these areas. Alison, Kaitlyn and Kristin are truly inspiring as yoga teachers and practitioners. Their endless energy and commitment to the students made it virtually impossible for us not to succeed. They would continually encourage, challenge and motivate us while reinforcing key principles and concepts until we were able to demonstrate our understanding of the material. The 200-hour teacher training program was excellent; however, I am glad I continued with the 500-hour program because it gave me time to apply and absorb the material, deepen my knowledge and gain valuable teaching experience under the guidance of the teachers. While I realize that the learning has just begun, upon completion of the program in May 2017, I feel well-equipped to impart to others what I have learned and experienced in my own body. More than that, obtaining certifications in both Slings & Ropes and Basic Back Care (included in the 500-hour program) gives me a significant advantage as I begin my career as a yoga teacher. I am happy to say that as of June 2017, I am already teaching several classes per week, and I am enjoying every minute of it! I highly recommend the Yoga Union 500-hour Mandala of Yoga Teacher Training Program to experienced yoga teachers, aspiring yoga teachers, or those wishing to deepen their practice." JAMISON STEINKE, 2017

"Alison West’s “Ivy League caliber” yoga program is not a typical teacher training—nor should it be approached as such. It’s a robust pedagogical course intended for serious yoga practitioners who crave intellectual rigor—consider it “yoga graduate school.” Regardless of previous training or experience, all students should start at the program’s beginning to learn Yoga Union’s highly sophisticated and unique parlance. While previous trainings can be informative, few, if any, programs in the country provide the depth that this one does, so it’s best to “start fresh,” so to speak. All facets of the yoga practice are investigated—Sanskrit, chanting, literature, history, anatomy, alignment, prop use, the mind, the body, and, of course, teaching practice. This program is renowned for a reason and graduates are equipped to contribute to the yoga world in numerous ways, so look no farther than here—it’s time and money well spent."  MICHAEL LASKARIS 2015

Yoga Union is the gold standard for teacher training.  Over the course of the training, I developed strength and a deep, physical understanding of asana, a love of Indic philosophy, and received an excellent introduction to Sanskrit. pranayama and restoratives.  This alignment based program teaches the comprehensive use of props to both heal and prevent injury, as well as how to safely adjust students.  I teach Kundalini Yoga and the training has been invaluable in addressing correct alignment, and practicing yoga with injury or limited range of motion. 

Alison, Kaitlyn and Kristen are devoted teachers.  They are inquisitive, patient, and supportive.   I recommend this training wholeheartedly for both teachers and yogis who want to deepen their practice. LIZ DALTON, 2016

"This Teacher Training has been one of the most delicious, rigorous, challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. I am changed person and will and will be applying the principles and teachings in all aspects of my life in order to evolve as a yoga student, emerging teacher and human being.[..] Thank-you so much.” N. GOLDSTEIN, New York City, July 2010.


“I’ve known Alison for almost fifteen years as both a teacher and a fellow Astanga practitioner. Her insight and experience single her out as one of the most highly regarded Yoga instructors in New York City.” WILLEM DAFOE, New York City, March 2007


“Alison, and her impressive guest teachers, present an enormous amount of material expertly and concisely. Be prepared to work hard, and grow even more.  I can’t recommend her 200-hour TT enough.”   MEGAN MOOK, RYT, 2009 Winter TT


“The TT course was great; more than I expected in every sense!  Alison West is an inspirational teacher and leads the course in an extremely thorough fashion, along with other wonderful visiting teachers.  I would highly recommend anyone dedicated to yoga to do this course, whether it is with a view to teaching or to intensify their own practice.   SIOBHAN O’CONNOR, 2009 WInter TT


“The Teacher Training was comprehensive! I will be processing and returning to what I have learned for a long long time!” ALANNA BARRETT, 2009 Winter TT


“Alison’s Teacher Training was one of the most in-depth and empowering trainings I have ever had!” SARAH NIELSEN, Certified Massage Therapist and Yoga Teacher, 2007


"If you are a yoga instructor who feels a bit insecure about alignment and anatomy, this would be an amazing training for you! It is rigorous and intense but totally doable for everybody. I strongly recommend it."  XIMENA ROJAS


"It's been 13 years since my TT with Alison West and I still use the knowledge and skills I learned from her every time I teach or practice!"  JESSICA LUNT

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