What our Graduates Say

Over the years, we have gathered testimonials from graduates of our teacher training program. Usually, we highlight a sentence or two but have decided that the whole stories are useful and should be read by those considering our program. Here are all our testimonials, unedited. Enjoy!

 
 
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Darlene cruz, class of 2015 & Current square one teacher

I am very thankful to Square One Yoga and all the teachers for my training. It was a great experience that has provided me with the tools to start a new career, and find personal growth in so many ways. The extra bonus was the chance to further my learning after the training--we became assistants to Square One teachers, and taught our own community class on rotating Saturdays. 

 The program is uniquely well-rounded, and for a good reason! The teachers were all very knowledgeable, and supportive in helping us understand everything. In fact, the theology aspect--which I was initially less focused on--is now fundamental to how I teach my own classes at Square One and my residential building. So whether you follow a secular practice, such as myself, the program will give you all the necessary tools to get into that headstand *and* find your own path to a fuller and more wholesome self. Thank you Square One!

 

tiffany leung, class of 2016

What made you decide you wanted to do a teaching training program?

I love learning. When I first started doing yoga, I wanted to learn everything about yoga because I felt so lost in class. When the teacher started talking about ujjayi breath and bhastrika, I was like "What's that? What's this hollowing your belly and sticking your fists behind your ribs thing? How many ways can you to breath?!? Just inhale and exhale, right?"

 I financially didn't want to do a training program because I thought yoga was just a phase for me. Recurring thyroid issues kept bringing me back to yoga because it's really gentle and healing for my body. Five years of coming back to yoga led me to believe it was time for me to take the plunge. I hit the ceiling of learning in regular class and needed the next level of training to deepen my practice.

 Why did you choose Square One's program?

Square One was the first regular yoga studio I went to. By regular, I mean not hot yoga or themed yoga. It's just laid-back, no-fuss and you don't have to be wearing Lululemon to feel like you fit in. It's where I was first introduced to yoga and the mindfulness that can be cultivated through the practice.

 What were your fears or reservations about the program?

The financial aspect of doing this program was my biggest reservation. The first thing that popped in my mind was "Am I just getting another piece of paper that I won't use?" I previously carried thousands of dollars in student loan debt and I promised myself that I wouldn't go back to school unless I'm sure.

Did they materialize? How did you handle them?

This fear did materialize at the end of the program. I didn't know what to do with myself after the program ended. I asked myself "OK, program's over, what do I do next?" I forced myself to sign up for teaching the community classes so that my students can keep me accountable for my own practice - to keep learning.

What was the most memorable part of the program?

 During the Art fo Adjustments class, I volunteered to do the demonstration for Trikonasana (triangle pose) because it used to be a pose that I loved when I first started, but now find incredibly challenging. In the process of analyzing my version of this pose with my fellow teacher trainees, I learned that I have to seek within myself to find out why this really heart opening pose is so challenging for me.

What is your highlight from the training?

All my fellow yoga teacher trainees and the awesomely, wonderful teachers in the program.

Did you change or grow as a result of doing the training, and if so, how?

Yes. At the beginning of the program, I was unhappy with my job and actively looking for new work. I spent so much energy into looking for new work, I needed to do the complete opposite to recalibrate my mind. Throughout the program, I noticed that I just started to feel happier and more centered as a result of doing yoga/thinking about yoga for two days straight, every other weekend. This helped provide me with the mental clarity I needed to refocus my job search. By the end of the program I got a promotion within the company that I'm working at!

Now that some time has passes since the program started, what other lasting changes have you noticed?

I just have more mindfulness. I love being able to just open my mat at home and know how to practice Surya Namaskar on the fly when my mind/body need it. I love learning all the different breathing techniques available to help me calm my stress.

What advice would you give someone who was considering starting the teacher training?

Just go for it. It will change your life.


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ashley corri, class of 2016 & current square one teacher

I feel infinitely grateful for having done my yoga teacher training with Square One! It is led by amazing teachers, who are down-to-earth with such a passion for sharing the transformative gift of yoga. They helped create a safe and empowering place to explore and deepen my own practice, and equipped me with the tools to help others do the same. 

 The scope and depth of the material was impressive for a 200-hour program.  Great resources are provided post-training, from a grad-led Community class to a weekly Teacher's Practice. Truly, a beautiful sangha to be a part of! 

Pallavi Raju, class of 2016

It was a transformational experience and my life has been forever changed.


rebecca reedy, class of 2012 and beloved square one teacher 2013-2016

What made you decide you wanted to do a teaching training program?

I have always been what I call a perpetual beginner. I never committed fully to my Yoga practice even though I valued it so much. There was so much mystery about Yoga and I wanted to know what my teachers knew. Not just take a retreat. My son's cancer diagnosis ignited me to pursue YTT. Facing mortality I asked myself, what would you want to do before you die?

Why did you choose Square One's program?

Square one feels like a home to me. I have been coming here since San Pablo. I feel supported here. I have so much respect for the teachers here. And I love the mission statement.

What were your fears or reservations about the program?

My fears and reservations were the financial and time commitment. My age and physical limitations. The fact that I have had the same career for 32 years and had not deeply studied anything else made me doubt myself. I have no background in anatomy, sports medicine, or dance so It was all going to be new terrain. Sanskrit was very intimidating.

 Did they materialize? How did you handle them?

The financial and time commitment did not materialize as an issue. The sanskrit with my accent was super hard and still is. With anatomy and Sanskrit, I just kept practicing. We started a student study group once a week. I had loved ones help me study. I took my binder everywhere with me!

What was the most memorable part of the program?

Study of the Bhagavad Gita with Katy Cryer. I love sharing our thoughts,, and interpretations with the group. I loved that stuff, even if it goes over my head and I can just sink in deeper and deeper every time.

What is a highlight from the training?

Cosmology with Tara Sullivan was always an esoteric ride that I didn't want to end.

Did you change or grow as a result of doing the training, and if so, how?

I had definitely changed in a lot of ways, friendships and interests that I had were peeled away. I didn't want to see a movie or a fashion magazine. Going to a hip restaurant wasn't interesting to me anymore. A lot of my life as I know it, things that I used to appreciate, I was disinterested in. It's stuck with me. It didn't revert back. I don't covet things I used to covet. I still appreciate nice things, but I don't need to own them.

Meditation came in to take its place. Nature. I fell deeper in love in nature. The ocean, hikes or even a random tree branch, you know what I mean? I started to really notice and appreciate more mundane things, like preparing a meal.

 Now that it's been year since the program started, what other lasting changes have you noticed?

My home practice is very strong. I continue to study all limbs of Yoga, from taking classes, to reading articles, watching videos, listening to audio books.  My lifestyle has changed, I do not eat any meat and I try to be mindful when I eat. I continue to massage with sesame oil, and I meditate.

 What advice would you give someone who was considering starting the teacher training?

I would advise the student to prepare to change deeply. I think it is important that your loved ones are prepared to see changes. I found that by sharing my experiences at YYT with family and friends it actually made them excited for me and therefore they supported me. 

Would you recommend the Teacher Training?

Yes, of course, highly, worth every penny, even if people don't want to teach yoga. It is a really mysterious thing. I want to know what the teacher knows, not just go to Bali or Esalen, which I used to fantasize about, where people tell me my pose is good and I eat healthy food for a week. I want to live it. I still want to know more. It's just so vast. You have to study it for a lifetime.

Did you know that you wanted to be a teacher?

No. honestly, the real reason I wanted to teach is that it was criteria to take my next training, so I knew I had to do it. But I've loved teaching and my students. You go to your edge in yoga, you go to your edge in teaching. It's a new edge.

 Anything you would like to add?

When I talk to other people who did teacher training, they tell me that they didn't get what I got. It felt like a factory, they were just cranking out teachers. It wasn't like that at all at Square One. There was a lot of spirituality and a really amazing group of people. I loved it.


 

david donovan, class of 2013

What I loved about the teacher training at Square One was the community.  The training provided a safe, loving space for me to meet my own personal challenges and to grow my practice from where I was when I began.  The training provided a balance between pushing our own boundaries and being gentle with ourselves.  No one in my class looked like the yoga teachers you might see in a magazine, but the training helped each of us to cultivate our practice and identify the particular gifts each of us had to offer to the yoga community. –David Donovan


mary lawrence, class of 2013

Teacher training at Square One Yoga was an intense and challenging experience for me.  I was 66 years old, and had been practicing yoga since my teens, without much depth.  In the course, I increased my knowledge of asanas, pranayama, yoga philosophy, and anatomy, and met an inspiring yoga community.  I am using the knowledge I gained in my daily life and in teaching seniors.

 


JOSEPHINE KELLY, CLASS OF 2016 & CURRENT SQUARE ONE TEACHER

I moved back to the Bay Area at the end of 2015, after finding a passion for yoga during my time in college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life or career but I knew I wanted to start with a yoga teacher training. I had been checking out some programs in the East Bay and SF but none resonated. Then a dear friend recommended Square One’s YTT. I checked out their website and emailed Katy, the owner, who told me about their program. A teacher training committed to teaching yoga to every body in an accessible way? With extensive asana workshops as well as classes on yogic philosophy and anatomy? It sounded too awesome to be real; it was exactly what I had been looking for. I went to the tea talk and met the amazing faculty and I was sold: everyone was so sweet and supportive.

The training I signed up for was a 3-week intensive. We were in the studio Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 7 pm.It was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. It was an experience that provided me with a stronger physical and spiritual foundation. My fellow teacher trainees became family. The teachers became guides that I so desperately needed in my practice. I worried that my chronic health issues would interfere with my progress in training and that it would drain me. But it did exactly the opposite. The training nourished me a in a way I never thought possible. I came out of the training in awe of what my body could do and loving myself more than ever. I always felt accepted and supported by my fellow trainees and teachers. They encouraged me to find my edge, but always respected my limitations. They taught me that there is so much more to advancing your yoga practice than perfecting complicated asanas. Even when my body grew tired, I knew that everyone was rooting for me and it gave me the drive to keep going.

The program is somehow well rounded without compromising the depth of each subject. Tara’s chanting and mythology workshops gave me the confidence to sing from the heart. Broderick’s anatomy and subtle bodies classes provided me with insight into both Western and Eastern philosophies of understanding the human body; every session was packed with so much mind boggling information that I’m still processing it! Reading the Gita with Katy, who presents the text from a grounded and relatable place, allowed me to understand it in a way I could have never accomplished reading it on my own. Doing asana and hands-on adjustment workshops with Kristyn helped me feel more comfortable in my own body, while providing me with the tools to help people feel more comfortable in theirs. Jennie’s intense asana workshops taught me the meaning of discipline and how to “strengthen the vessel.” Jen’s gentleness and kindness taught me that yoga really is for everybody and how to teach yoga to all bodies.

Square One’s teacher training was exactly what I needed and more. It exceeded my expectations. Not only did I get the opportunity to strengthen my body and become more advanced in my asana practice, but it provided me with the internal resources I needed to become a kinder and more open person. I knew that I wanted to become a teacher when I took the training, but I had no idea that once I started teaching that I would love it as much as I do. The training provided me with a loving community to push myself to the edge, while learning to listen to my body, and I carry this philosophy as I begin to support my students in developing their own practice. I will never forget this transformational experience that provided me with the resources to enact meaningful change in my life. If you want to become a teacher, or take your practice to a deeper place, the training will put you on the path to get there. Check out one of the tea talks and you’ll see what I’m talking about :)

ashley brown, class of 2014 & square one teacher

Teacher training at Square One Yoga is definitely worth every penny! I made long-lasting friendships with my yoga teachers and my classmates. Every teacher is open, giving, and most of all, loving. It changed my 10 year yoga practice, especially through Kristyn's "art of adjustments" and Jennie's deep dive workshops on asanas. Katy prepares you by letting us teach among our peers as well as providing classes focused on the business aspect of yoga. I'm so grateful to have completed my teacher training in a supportive and accepting environment! 

Fail: First Attempt In Learning. I found that quote a little while after an incident at my current teaching job lead me to question who I was and if I was to continue to be a teacher. I have always known what I've wanted and who I've wanted to be, but somehow I lost that groundedness and turned into a reactive teacher. I couldn't communicate properly to my students, emotions where running wild, and I was stuffing my schedule with so many things. So in an attempt to find my teaching style and confidence again I decided to stuff my schedule even more and by the next fall I was looking into teacher training programs.

Before the winter break I started researching Teacher Trainings. I researched different studios and even considered doing the one at my regular studio, but after talking with my friend, fellow dancer and now teacher, Jen Meek, I signed up for Square One Teacher Training.

Katy really wants people to not only explore the world of yoga in classes, but the immersion of Teacher Training, in an affordable non-judgmental space. I was able to get finances in order and focus solely on the experience that Teacher Training allowed me to have.

Even though you can read and practice all of the yoga before Teacher Training there is something safe and familiar with the Teacher Training at Square One. All of my colleagues and I felt our ideas and beliefs we have held onto (some for many years) were validated. We found our space to become the women we have been wanting to be. Finding strong voices and to never be sorry. The teachers brought so much of their personal backgrounds and stories to help us find our ways as people and future teachers. It felt like we all brought something to the Thanksgiving table and the 4 month dinner was delicious. Broderick has so much passion for the body and Anatomy you will want to use anatomical language all of the time. Jen Meek has such a grounded ora to help you find your grounded yet most open self as a teacher. Yoga Sutras with Tara will make you laugh, understand the secret language of yoga and the how to follow the path of yoga.

After graduation I have found my roots and am able to listen to myself incase I do fall back into being a reactive teacher. All of our lovely teachers gave us so many tools to become a well rounded teacher by the end of training. I would encourage those who have open minds and hearts about their practice to join the Square One Yoga Teacher Training. You won't regret it! 

hope amico, class of 2014 & square one teacher

The owner of the studio where I just completed my teacher training asked me to write about my experience. Here is my long form answer.  The short answer to the question of my experience in the program is: yes. Just that: yes. 

Five years ago, I was in school, taking yoga classes in the Rec Center, with a gentle teacher who used a headset microphone and said “namaste” with every pose.  Sometimes I would take the noontime vinyasa class, and for a while my friend was the teacher. He was in the process of taking a teacher training. He invited me to practice in the park with him a few friends who took tuns calling out the sequence. He invited me and I never made it, a little intimidated, a little uncomfortable in his class—for me he called out poses too quickly, and I often felt I was rushing to catch up.  I thought about yoga teacher training, and then I thought about the mountain of school work I tunneled through each semester.  

My practice came and went over the following years. Sometimes I practiced often, at home and at a few classes I liked, sometimes not at all for months. Graduating and arriving on the west coast I was interested in practice again. I found a great studio with affordable early morning classes and started attending more regularly.  I had a great teacher, whose poses and modifications excited me about class. I became a work/trade student, checking in classes and cleaning the studio in exchange for free yoga classes. I sometimes took 3 classes a week, sometimes none, leaving as soon as my shift was over. I tried different teachers, changed schedules but began to make my Tuesday classes a priority.

Last summer I returned from a trip to discover I had lost my job (good riddance) and that the studio, Square One Yoga, was offering a teacher training. I was lucky to have a little extra money and some time I wanted to devote to something other than more restaurant work.  Immediately I knew I wanted to sign up. I didn’t know if I wanted to teach as a full-time job but I thought I could maybe add a class or two to my schedule when I was done. But I was hardly thinking of graduation and a plan for afterwards. I was interested in the time of the training, the opportunity to practice often, to be immersed in the program, to break down poses into digestible bites, to explore the realm of texts and spirituality and history.  I didn’t know what to expect when it ended but I knew I wanted to follow this opportunity for the journey it offered.

Even seeing the curriculum ahead of time, knowing the range of topics and teachers didn’t prepare me for the variety and depth of study subjects. Talking with other friends who took trainings, I felt grateful for the thoughtful and thorough curriculum I was a part of.  At times it seemed overwhelming, and there is so much more I want to know because of it, but for me that was the point. That 200 hours is not nearly enough time to teach you everything you need to know to become a good yoga teacher. But I   was offered a well-rounded and inspired start to my learning.   Regardless of the subject of the day’s lesson, regardless of the instructor,  I was assured that no two people’s practice looks the same, in anatomy or intention or spirituality. There was a lot of room for differences and also strength in the idea that we want to keep students practicing safely, whatever that practice may look like.

I am not sure what I thought would happen once I graduated, but I quickly realized that, for me, this was just a beginning.  I wake a little extra early to practice every day. I am excited to share with my students but also excited to learn more.  I am excited because I know there are so many right answers to a question, so many ways to solve a problem, so many paths to the achievements we desire.  My training allowed me to call on my strengths and interests and develop those as tools in my own practice and while teaching others.

There are many trainings available in the Bay Area, for a range of cost with a range of experiences.  I will continue to take trainings but will forever be grateful for the foundation I was given.  I know that my teaching is colored by the lens of my training, and am grateful it makes me a more patient, open, adaptable teacher.   Is this teacher training right for you? Only you know. I am grateful for the seeds of possibility that have been planted, for the time I made available to study and practice and for the people I met who were doing this with me.  It was an amazing experience, a beginning still unfolding.