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250-hour Yoga Teacher Training

A dynamic approach to learning, rooted in community.

Our 2021 yoga instructor training program is underway both in-person & virtually. 2022-23 program plans will be annouced in spring 2022.

A learning community like no other

At The Branches, we believe that the best learning happens within a community, and that both learning and community take time to grow. This is why we structure our 250-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) program to take place over 10 months. We provide time for trust to develop, for confidence to build, and for reflections and conversations to really evolve. While teacher training is a substantial commitment, with our format you don’t have to put your entire life on hold to deepen your yoga practice.

Our YTT is one of the most comprehensive programs in Canada with diverse, industry-leading faculty and a strong practicum component. Many programs are limited to only a 200-hour yoga teacher training, and are taught by one or two teachers, exposing you to a limited view of Yoga and scope of teaching. Typical programs offer minimal chances to hone your teaching skills, but we thread practice teaching and offer mentorship throughout the program. Our curriculum design is geared to support your journey and skill development step-by-step, building your confidence through meaningful feedback over the entire 10 months.

Participants in our four previous YTT programs regularly exclaimed how supported and encouraged they felt by the faculty and by one another, and the tangible sense of authentic learning and relationship building in the group. Many participants have shared how the program impacted and transformed their lives off the mat, giving them the confidence to step outside their comfort zones, try new things, or make significant changes in their lives.

Our empowering program focuses on:

Explore the spaces where asana (Yoga postures), functional movement, and strength training overlap and diverge. Develop an appreciation for the purpose and limitations of yoga asana, and how to seamlessly incorporate other modalities and perspectives into your classes to make them intelligent, well-balanced, and fun. This program will teach you how to make your yoga a progressive, sustainable and resilience-building practice for yourself and your students for years to come.

"Leena and Emma facilitated an informative and empowering teacher training. They created an open space within the training for students to connect with each other, the faculty, and the practice. The program was vigorous and authoritative without being dogmatic. They were open about how their own practices have been shifting and brought in incredible guest faculty to round out the training and to bring differing points of view. It was obvious to me that they were serious about their roles as life-long students as well as teachers."
- Sarah Kernohan, QSY YTT 2016 graduate

To get a sense of how current research has informed our teaching, read some of our blog posts explaining our approach:

Where did all the Chatturungas go? by Emma Dines, QSY YTT director

Strong or Flexible: Why not both? by Leslie Stokman, QSY YTT lead instructor, 2016 graduate

Learn how to articulate teaching cues with clarity and appropriate detail, and how to explain complex concepts concisely and in an approachable way. Discover and integrate effective pedagogy by learning to apply different teaching tools in a range of situations. You’ll have opportunities to practice your teaching skills on a regular basis, including community classes run through our studio. Begin the process of reflective self-development, and receive continuous feedback from faculty and peers to develop your teaching skills from the ground up. Our intentionally designed, step-by-step process will support you to feel confident and equipped to teach a diverse range of students, including brand-new beginners.

"This YTT is designed with an explicit focus on developing teaching skills and providing the opportunity to practice teach. Queen Street Yoga’s YTT transformed my own yoga practice and gave me the confidence to step into the seat of the teacher and share my on-going learnings with others."
- Kate Parizeau, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

While our guidance is not overtly spiritual, our program will offer you consistent opportunities to dig deep, and reflect on your values, your worldview, and how you want to show up and share with your students through Yoga. There is space for you in this program whether you want to focus on values of self-acceptance, body-positivity, mindfulness practice, or spiritual philosophy. Your learning journey and self-inquiry process will be supported, and guided towards teaching with integrity and thoughtfulness.

"Training at Queen Street Yoga - and specifically with teacher trainers Emma Dines and Leena Miller Cressman - has been one of my most valuable formal education experiences. Emma and Leena are a dynamic teaching team, with varied experiences and a common passion for yoga. They have created a brave learning space in which the care and community were palpable, and the inquisition contagious. Their values of thoughtfulness and intentionality become threads masterfully woven into each module, session, workshop, and briefing. One of both Emma’s and Leena’s greatest gifts as teachers is their natural propensity and practiced ability to listen deeply."
- Rebecca Steiner, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

Since our first teacher training in 2014, we’ve been embracing the need for conversation about cultural appropriation, consent, power, privilege, oppression, and trauma. Engage in brave, meaningful self-reflection and discussion about inclusion, accessibility, and representation. There will be no easy answers or conclusions here; we aim to ask critical questions and discover how to continually evolve how to teach yoga, and how to engage with the world with these questions in mind.

"When you join the YTT cohort, you welcome the possibilities of enriched community, depth-of-practice, and engaging dialogue on relevant social issues. The group is large enough to invite diverse perspectives, yet small enough to form relationships. Leena and Emma facilitate the group with extraordinary care, intuition, and creativity; these are two people I'm so happy to know and from whom I feel fortunate to continue to learn."
- Nicole DeNoble, QSY YTT 2016 graduate

Dive into an authentic, supportive education.

"Emma, Leena, and Leslie are master educators — each in their own right. They embody the values of their teaching and present the course content with openness and curiosity. This open mindset is reflected through the program’s dynamic and circular approach to learning. As a graduate, I feel that I really know the content! The QSY YTT program is truly the most refined and well put together educational experience I’ve ever taken part in. I cannot imagine having a better foundation to start out as a new yoga teacher!"

Nathan, QSY YTT 2020 Graduate, hybrid format

"I really appreciated the authenticity, expertise, humour, and heart that Emma, Leena, and Leslie brought to the program. Despite the fact that we were a big group, there was a real sense that each individual’s needs were heard and met to the best of their abilities. In their own styles, with patience and kindness, all three instructors created a safe, supported, and enjoyable environment for learning.

The program content was comprehensive and well beyond the expectations of a standard 200hr YTT, designed with the intention to facilitate learning in a practical and progressive way. Beyond preparing me to design and deliver safe, appropriate and engaging sequences, the program also touched on important topics like career development and yoga in the larger context of spirituality and social change."

Andrea B., QSY YTT 2020 Graduate, hybrid format

"QSY YTT felt like the right fit for me. Having practiced there previously, and attending the information session, and also hearing from friends who took training elsewhere, I knew that the experience at QSY would be a unique one that encompasses everything I wanted in a training program. I went in not necessarily intending to teach, but since graduating, I have been teaching consistently, mostly on a volunteer basis, and that has been a lovely result. Even if I didn't end up teaching, I would do the QSY training all over again."

Nadine Q., QSY YTT 2018 Graduate

"This training is at the cutting edge of what’s offered, with its strong blend of biomechanics, social justice, science of teaching, philosophy, and interpersonal work. The kinds of work our training has been doing is exactly what many people have been asking for: more rigorous, more critical, more self-reflexive, with greater supports over longer periods of time.

The community of practice you created by having the talking partners, and the team teaching, and the feed-forward practices was very, very valuable to me. I can’t remember the last time I tried so hard and earned so many rewards with such a diverse group of equals. Amazing. This is something a shorter, intensive training can’t give.

I have, pretty much, nothing but good things to say about the training. I feel really lucky to have been in this group, at this time. I feel ready to take up my seat as teacher, and my own personal practice has really developed over the year as I approach my yoga study more intensely and with added goals. I feel energized and empowered."

Aimée Morrison, 2014 YTT Graduate

"Emma and Leena are a compassionate, knowledgeable, and entirely complementary teacher-training partnership. Together, they've created a unique yoga teacher training program that goes far beyond teaching physical poses, anatomy, and history, opening the door for personal development in what is undoubtedly the most supportive learning environment I've ever experienced."

Nicole DeNoble, QSY YTT 2016 Graduate

Meet our exceptional faculty

Leena Miller Cressman

YTT Program Director (ERYT®500)
asana, pedagogy, business, prenatal yoga, restorative yoga

Leena has been teaching for over a decade, and specializes in a blend of functional and dynamic movement, strength building and mindful alignment. Leena is passionate about building rich learning communities and mentoring new teachers through Yoga Teacher Training and Restorative Yoga Teaching Programs.

Leena has completed over 1,000 hours of training in Anusara Yoga and other alignment-based and vinyasa styles, functional anatomy, Ayurveda, Mindful Strength and teaching pedagogy. Her teachers and mentors include Christi-an Slomka, Meaghan Johnson, Darren Rhodes, Matthew Remski, Kathryn Bruni-Young and her co-teachers at QSY.

“Leena’s teaching is nuanced and layered: she builds upon key lessons in subtle and interconnecting ways. As a teacher trainer, her depth of knowledge and her commitment to ethical practice create a safe and engaging learning environment.” - Kate Parizeau, QSY YTT 2018 Graduate

Emma Dines

YTT Program Director (ERYT®200)
asana, pedagogy, history, philosophy

Emma has been teaching since 2010, and specializes in teaching beginners and students in bigger bodies. Emma has completed over 700 hours of training with local and international teachers and continues to feed her own practice and zeal for teaching with ongoing study. In the past few years, she has been expanding her movement paradigm by studying the Axis Syllabus, Contact Improvisation, and Functional Movement. Emma is a certified Yoga for Round Bodies™ teacher and is passionate about creating body-positive contexts that celebrate a diversity of abilities and sizes.

Emma's playful humour helps make big topics feel more accessible. Her sincere openness to new ideas and different approaches levels the playing field and fosters a learning space of compassion and curiosity. Her study of yoga history is personal, yet thorough, and this translates into creativity in her teaching.” - Rebecca Steiner, QSY YTT 2018 Graduate

Leslie Stokman

YTT Program Assistant & Lead Instructor
asana, mobility, pedagogy, nervous system and trauma-informed teaching

Leslie’s been teaching Yoga since 2016, and her classes are informed by all sorts of education and experience in areas like the Tensegrity Repair Series, strength and mobility work, rock climbing, and Vipassana meditation. She is a Certified TRE Provider (Tension & Trauma Release Exercise) and an FRCms (Functional Range Conditioning mobility specialist). She also brings her B.Ed and school teaching experience to our learning community. Leslie loves to dive deep with teacher-trainees into the nitty gritty of joint mechanics and tissue adaptation, nervous system branches, the ethics of the industry, and the deeper meaning of life!

"Dynamically engaging our group of bewildered teachers-to-be with love and levity: that’s Leslie in a nutshell! By asking open-ended questions early and often, our beloved tutor encouraged us to shape our learning process for ourselves. Her generosity and support through the program assignments was an incredible gift. She challenged us to spend time with the details and fully integrate learning into our bodies." - Alissa F-E, QSY YTT 2020 Graduate

Madeleine Shen

YTT Guest Faculty
embodied anatomy

Madeleine is a body researcher and educator, chiropractor, crafter, cafe owner, and artist. She lives a double life in a small volcanic town in Patagonia, Argentina and in the big jungle city Toronto, Canada. She is curious about how we become intimate with our anatomies and their movement, how we engage with agency and power over our bodies, and how we connect our bodies with others. She looks to expand her learning and teaching through curiosity, which is her main pedagogical tool.

She has had the pleasure of teaching embodied anatomy and movement classes independently as well as at QSY, SpiritLoft, and Cornerstone Studio. Her approach to teaching anatomy in the context of yoga combines her experience as a yoga practitioner and dancer, her studies of the Axis Syllabus, and her training as a chiropractor, centering safety, discovery and consent.

Matthew Remski

YTT Guest Faculty
Yoga history, philosophy, and ethics

Matthew Remski is a yoga teacher and trainer, and investigative journalist covering conspirituality & cults.

He “writes and presents on yoga and ayurveda in the shadow of capitalism and climate change”. Matthew facilitates programming for yoga trainings internationally, focusing on yoga philosophy, meditation, Ayurveda, and the social psychology of practice.

His most recent book “Practice and All is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, and Healing in Yoga and Beyond” is at the forefront of the #metoo movement for the yoga world, and offers a clear pathway forward into enhanced critical thinking, student empowerment, self-and-other care, and community resilience. He currently co-hosts a podcast called Conspirituality.

Carly Stong

YTT Guest Faculty
inclusion, accessibility & body diversity

Carly Stong is the Educational Director and Lead Instructor at Yoga Teacher Training Kingston. She began her movement exploration as a dancer in her youth and pursued a post-secondary degree in kinesiology and health studies while concurrently completing her Bachelor of Education. She opened a yoga studio in 2011 and, since then, she has offered a contemporary perspective to yoga that is informed by science as well as experience. Her teachings are built on the pillars of critical thinking, anti-oppression, and empowerment and rooted in social activism. As a a passionate advocate for body positivity, Carly sits as a member of the Leadership Team with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. Her approach to accessibility is modern and informed by a fully embodied and integrated experience; reframing accessibility as the default and not the exception.

Jennifer Snowdon

YTT Guest Faculty
breath physiology and Yogic breathing

Jennifer is a trauma-informed Buteyko Educator and experienced yoga teacher living in Moncton, NB. Bringing together the traditions of yoga, the science of breath and body, and the understanding of the nervous system and trauma, Jennifer teaches people to breathe, move, and live better.

Jyoti Solanki

YTT Guest Faculty
honouring the roots of Yoga & mantra

Jyoti Solanki-Davie (she/her) has many roles: a mother, a teacher, a healer and forever a student. Her work consists of Massage Therapy and teaching Yoga, running her clinic from her home. A self proclaimed “anatomy nerd”, she loves to talk about fascia and the wonder of the human body. She is also an avid gardener with aspirations of building an edible perennial garden, she enjoys spending time in nature, learning from her cycles. Spending her days raising her child, knitting and working with yarn, she enjoys bringing yoga off the mat and into the mundane.

Christopher Bourke

YTT Guest Faculty
pain, trauma-informed teaching, and movement for mental health

Christopher Bourke is a movement instructor and mental health professional. He has worked in the field of mental health and addictions for over a decade and roots his teaching in that experience – placing a strong emphasis on practices that respect, support, and encourage an individual’s innate resilience.

Christopher teaches with the hope of helping people rebuild a connection to their bodies, expand their range of (e)motion, and enhance their capacity to handle tough life events. He’s passionate about building spaces that promote a sense of courage, safety, and self-compassion.

Nicole Brown Faulknor

YTT Guest Faculty
trauma sensitive Yoga

Nicole is a Registered Psychotherapist, a yoga teacher, and a Child and Youth Counsellor. She is a member of both the Colleges of Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario and the Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy.

Nicole has over 18 years of professional experience working with marginalized, vulnerable, and oppressed communities, individuals, families, and children. Nicole's yoga teaching draws on the methodology of Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY). Her approaches as a yoga teacher and a psychotherapist recognize the intimate relationship between the physical body and the psychological well-being of a person. This approach holds the view that the body is a resource for self-discovery and psychological healing. Learn more about Nicole at Wounds2Wings.

Robin Lacambra

YTT Guest Faculty
business & compassionate leadership for social change

As founder of GOODBODYFEEL Movement Studio, a for-profit small business prioritizing progressive values; host of the Empowered Embodiment Podcast; somatic coach; and social justice advocate, Robin believes that there is always an intersection worth exploring and sharing. She works to create and strengthen bridges between various industries and social causes, and in doing so, has developed the Sharing Privilege Online Course, as well as a 200 hour Teacher Training Program, focused on radical inclusivity and accessibility.

No matter the project, Robin’s work always comes back to the community: empowering people to believe in the importance of creating a culture filled with compassion so, in turn, it can fuel an environment of belonging for each and every body.

Carin Lowerison-White

YTT Guest Faculty
asana, teaching pedagogy and voice

Carin has been teaching since 2007, and draws upon her background with modern dance and martial arts in pursuit of a broader base of movement and mindfulness knowledge. To date, she has accumulated over 450 hours of yoga teacher training and considers herself a lifelong student.

Carin also flavours her teaching with her work as the Co-Founder and Managing Director of a not-for-profit theatre company in Waterloo Region called Green Light Arts, a professional theatre producer, arts administrator, choreographer, performer, and occasional sessional instructor in Physical Theatre for the Theatre & Performance Program at the University of Waterloo.

Shwetha & Manu Subramanya

YTT Guest Faculty
Sanskrit and asana

Manu and Shwetha have been married for more than 10 years and have a son, Shiva (named after Lord Shiva who is the first Yogi). Both of them were immersed into a culture of shlokas and mantras from childhood. They formally studied Sanskrit from high school. Their specific interest in Sanskrit are in subhashitas (proverbs), hymns and the ancient texts of science.

Shwetha has been practising yoga for more than 25 years and teaching yoga for 5 years. Yoga has given her immense strength and helped her rediscover herself. Since Shwetha come from the birth place of Yoga, India, she has been fortunate to study the ancient texts of yoga to understand the roots of yoga. She practices and teaches vinyasa flow yoga that emphasizes the elements of nature. For her, Yoga is a bridge that connects my soul towards the purpose of life. It teaches her to enjoy the physical movement of the body while experiencing a stillness in the mind.

Manu has been a student of yoga for 10 years. Along with the mental connection with the physical body, his interest in yoga is in the scientific understanding of the eight limbs of yoga, and the influence it has on the individual and universal level.

Kristina Lekin

YTT Guest Faculty
post-natal Yoga

[Bio coming soon.]

Join our free info session for our upcoming cohort

Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training program is a big decision, and the reflection process can catalyze your journey, whether you chose our program or not. We highly recommend you attend our free info session to get some tools that will help you make the right choice. We’ll start with a free class, then dive into the details, saving plenty of time for Q & A. We’re excited to answer any and all of your questions about this learning journey. Join us!

If Yoga Teacher Training is calling you, our program will give you the most well-rounded and cutting-edge education available in Canada.

What makes our training unique?

We staff our programs with trainers and assistants according to enrollment. This ensures that all trainees get more attention and more conversation about their individual practice and learning.

“Leena and Emma are teachers that give a truly caring, considerate, and informative training course. Every training weekend I spent at QSY was an opportunity to grow, learn, and develop a special community. As teacher trainers they are so passionate about giving their students the opportunity to discuss new ideas while also giving them the space they need to absorb all of the information that this program offers.”

- Liz Harris, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

We bring in carefully chosen guest faculty to share their perspectives, so that you hear and learn from a range of voices. We choose experts who are leaders in their fields. We dive deeply into their areas of expertise, learn how to ask probing questions, and create a teaching-learning environment that invites multiple perspectives.

“I was really impressed by the diverse and well-rounded set of learning experiences that Leena and Emma cultivated in the YTT program at Queen Street Yoga. I came away from this training with a better understanding of human anatomy and biomechanics, the value of incorporating movement practices beyond “traditional” postural yoga, and was challenged to think about big, difficult topics (like cultural appropriation, oppression, and privilege) that are tightly associated with but not always addressed by the yoga community.
” - Wendy Michaud, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

“This program prepared me to teach by providing an abundant quantity of incredible content paired with real teaching opportunities. The caliber of research presented to us was very high, and the contemporary practitioners we studied with were cutting edge.
” - Rebecca Steiner, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

Many programs fail to get into the nitty-gritty of teaching techniques. A core aspect of our program is tangible teaching skills - you will be able to break down all teaching instructions into clear categories, and learn how to weave them back together with creativity and personality. Learning to do this effectively requires constant feedback on how your instructions are coming across. In our program you will get regular "feed-forward" on your evolving teaching skills from our highly experienced faculty and your peers.

We use the term feed-forward to emphasize a growth mindset with which you integrate the information, and then look ahead to your next opportunity to teach and apply what you are learning.

Leena and Emma are skilled at giving really effective “feed-forward” (their term for feedback); their approach built up our strengths and challenged us to improve, but removed any competition and comparison. They articulated our unique talents in a way that helped all of us recognized the skills of each other and ourselves, as well as understand areas where we could refine our teaching.” - Nadine Quehl, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

We run public classes at our studio in which trainees can practice teach to real people. In other programs, teacher trainees graduate after having taught only to their friends and family, or fellow trainees during the program. There is no substitute for teaching real people who may have no yoga experience at all. We encourage and support you to jump into the deep end and develop your teaching skills in real classroom situations.

One element that really sets the YTT experience at Queen Street Yoga apart from other YTT programs is the amount of time we were able to actually practice teaching. From the first weekend, we got to practice getting the words out (even if it was terrifying at first!), and eventually had the chance to practice teaching whole classes. I can’t imagine going through a YTT program without having that opportunity to put into practice all the things I was learning. Or coming out of a YTT program and then having to jump in to teaching a whole class, instead of having that progressive teaching experience behind me.” - Wendy Michaud, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

Leena, Emma and Leslie teach weekly classes to ensure they are staying in touch with what it’s like to teach yoga to regular folks on a day-to-day basis. This also allows teacher trainees a chance to practice with us in public classes (not only on training weekends), so they can witness our presence and skills in action. Many teacher trainers who focus solely on offering YTT programs fail to keep up with teaching weekly classes and are disconnected from the needs of everyday students.

I have experienced Emma's individual strengths and gifts to be her colourful creativity, her deep spirituality, her philosophical knowledge and ability to share this in an attainable way, her comfort in her own skin, and her sunny soul. I have experienced Leena's individual strengths and gifts to be her lengthy and vast experience as a teacher, her attention to detail, and her detailed knowledge of bodies and health, which she shares happily with her students.” - Laurel O’Gorman, QSY YTT 2018 graduate

Trainees in our program will have access to unlimited on-demand videos and regular live classes for the duration of the program, to refine their understanding of poses and teaching outside of the training weekends. Trainees will have the opportunity to be integrated into our studio community, taking regular classes with a range of teachers at our studio. Many of our regular teachers did their initial training with us, and continue to evolve their teaching with ongoing learning and study.

Trainees in our program will have the opportunity to sit in on our classes and observe our teachers in action. This is a unique opportunity, as “watching” a yoga class isn’t welcomed at most studios. Observing classes is an incredible opportunity to see how experienced teachers respond to their students and learn from the range of situations that come up in teaching.

We choose to run our 250-hr YTT every other year because it allows us time to engage in our own continuing education, refine our program, and develop relationships with new faculty members. It also allows us time to spend with (or start!) our families, and return to the training with fresh energy.

In the past, we have facilitated a Continuing Education Program for Yoga Teachers, with sessions on functional breathing, embodied anatomy, trauma-aware yoga teaching and restorative yoga. This has allowed us to study with Cecily Milne of Yoga Detour, Madeleine Shen of the Axis Syllabus Research Community, and continue to appreciate the innovation of Kathryn Bruni-Young.

The time between our 2019-2020 YTT program and our upcoming 2021-2022 session has been deeply transformative for our brick and mortar location and our offerings. When the pandemic hit Ontario in March 2020, we were just over halfway through our 2019-2020 YTT program. We immediately adapted the training to take place completely online, alongside operating our studio’s courses and drop-in classes. This education by direct experience has allowed us to reflect, and thoughtfully tailor our program to be meaningful and effective in an online learning environment.

Curious about online training? Hear from our 2020 grads about the switch to virtual:

"The QSY YTT Program turned out to be one of the most enriching things I have ever done! The teacher trainers were incredible.

As an older adult applying for this program, I felt so well mentored, accepted, and supported by these three trainers, who were delivering an extremely well-designed program. When COVID-19 forced a switch to online learning, they helped me to learn the necessary skills and continued to help me feel connected and supported by the many outreach efforts they made. I acquired knowledge and grew my skills so well that I was quickly able to feel confident in launching into business teaching yoga online."

Linda Collins, QSY YTT 2020 Graduate, hybrid format

"While our training was interrupted by the onset of the COVID pandemic, I didn’t feel that I missed anything in my YTT education, as the way the program was adapted on the fly to keep everyone safe while maintaining the same high quality of teaching over a new modality was incredible.

The Queen Street Yoga YTT isn’t just a teacher training, it’s building a community and an evolution of personal growth, both on and off the mat. It’s the most supportive group and learning environment I’ve ever participated in. I’d encourage anyone who wants to cultivate a deeper and broader practice along with their teaching to enrol in the program."

Catherine Mittelholtz, QSY YTT 2020 Graduate, hybrid format

"When the unthinkable happened in March 2020, QSY trainers modelled unwavering resilience. Their co-creative approaches inspired me again and again as she deftly guided a total reorientation of our YTT to be largely completed online under COVID restrictions. They guided embodied learning into a virtual experience without compromising quality or humanity.

Rather than a harsh transition between YTT and real-world teaching, there was a natural flow from one stage of learning into the next because we started teaching the very first weekend we gathered. I count myself very fortunate because our cohort graduated with the hybrid experience of in-person teaching for 5 months and online teaching for 4 months.

The piston of a powerful engine, Leena’s cadence sustained a supportive container for our learning through the chaos of adaptation. The authentic care work Emma brought to QSY’s YTT enhanced every aspect of my learning and is a foundation I will build upon for the rest of my life. Leslie made space for us to turn left into our nerdiness and let go of our self-imposed corrections. These ways of practicing fuel my home routine and ground me as a new teacher."

Alissa F-E, QSY YTT 2020 Graduate, hybrid format


Our 250-hour Yoga Teacher Training program is designed to provides both continuity and plenty of time to digest your learning. The schedule consists of (roughly) two Thursdays evenings + one weekend per month.

(listed as Thursdays + Weekends) 

Oct 7 + October 15-17
Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4 + November 12-14
Nov 18, Nov 25 + December 10-12
Dec 16, Jan 6 + January 14-16
Jan 20, Jan 27 + February 4-6
Feb 10, Feb 17 + February 25-27
Mar 3, Mar 10 + March 25-27
Apr 7, Apr 14 + April 22-24
Apr 28, May 5 + May 13-15
May 19, May 26 + June 10-12


Thursdays 7:00-9:00pm
Fridays 7:00-9:00pm
Saturdays full day, ex. 1:00pm - 8:30pm* (with 2 breaks)
Sundays full day, ex. 1:00pm - 5:30pm* (with 1 break)

*exact hours subject to change; this is our intention, not a promise

Our 2021-22 YTT program format has been designed and adapted to take place via two format options:

  • Option 1: 100% online. This might work best for you if you aren’t feeling ready to say “Yes” to in-person gathering, for any reason. It might also work best if you live too far out of town (Kitchener, Ontario) to make the weekend trip.

  • Option 2: a hybrid model of partially online, partially in-person. Our physical business is subject to the normal rules governing capacity, and exceptional rules to govern capacity during a pandemic. However, we are committed to making in-person learning available as much as possible.

Both format options will include 10% of learning content that is pre-recorded required viewing or practice. Our Thursday and Friday night 2-hour sessions will be held online for everyone. The longer learning sessions on Saturday and Sunday are when/where the format differences will show up.

For out-of-towners who are excited to learn in person, we plan to schedule a later start on Saturday and earlier finish on Sunday to make travel time easier and only require one overnight stay. We know all the best local coffee shops and grocery stores - just ask!

Note: if federal, provincial or municipal regulations force us to completely limit in-person learning, the program will continue 100% online.

Download our application form right HERE.

Email your completed application to with the subject line: "2021 YTT Application."

Historically, our program has filled up well in advance. If there is space, we intend to continue accepting applications until September 6, about one month before we begin.

Standard Price: $4,700 CAD + hst (from August 1 onwards)
Deposit: $1,000 CAD + hst (due upon acceptance to secure your spot, non-refundable)

Tuition Also Includes:

  • Unlimited monthly The Branches On-Demand Subscription and a 50 class pass for attending Live (in-person or livestream) drop-in classes - a total $1,060 value.

  • Two Small-Group Coaching Sessions (60 minutes per session) with one of our Teacher Trainers - a $150 value

All prices listed in Canadian Dollars (CAD) - US folks, by the nature of the exchange rate, you get a huge discount.

Deposit due upon acceptance to secure your spot ($1,000).
After deposit:

  1. 50% of remainder due by October 1st ($1850 for standard price)

  2. Final Payment by December 1st ($1850)

Option to pay in full up front and get an additional 10 Class Pass!

1 in 5 of our YTT spots will be offered at a 50% off scholarship for folks who identify as BIPOC, trans, disabled, or low-income. If you identify with one or more of those groups and would like to apply for a scholarship spot, please complete that section of your application. Application does not guarantee a scholarship spot - we will be in touch with you to discuss your application.

  • $1,000 initial deposit to secure your spot is non-refundable.

  • Before Sept 1, 2021 a participant needing to cancel their participation will receive a full refund on tuition minus a $50 administrative fee and minus the $1000 non-refundable deposit. There are absolutely no refunds after September 1, 2021. In the case of medical emergency or family emergency only, the faculty may offer the option of rescheduling participation to a future YTT course.

Our yoga school is registered with the federal government as a Certified Educational Institution. We will provide you with a tax receipt (T2202A), which means you can use your tuition amounts as tax deductibles.

Ready to apply? Download, complete & submit your application.


A deep & transformative journey

We don’t usually get to pick our parents, but I chose Emma and Leena as my ‘yoga mamas’ and I’m so happy that I did. In Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), they created a thoughtful, inclusive, supportive, and fun learning community for ten unforgettable weekends. With sincerity and generosity, they taught us by example that our sense of humour is as important to the foundation of our practice as a good mat. They instilled the belief that strength and flexibility grows best when we invest in caring deeply for ourselves and our students. I apply those treasured lessons in my emerging practice as a teacher. I encourage anyone – especially men – to enroll in the YTT program at Queen Street Yoga. It’s a wise investment in yourself and your community.

Scott Morton Ninomiya, QSY YTT 2018 Graduate

Emma and Leena leave no stone unturned. They think of everything a teacher could possibly need and take time to answer questions we all had along the way... I am grateful to have taken part in this life-changing experience. Emma and Leena create a training that is compassionate and non-competitive, yet challenging and full of growth. I worked hard, grew in ways I did not think possible, and created friendships and networks with a group of amazing people.

Laurel O'Gorman, QSY YTT 2018 Graduate

The most important and profound thing I gained from this training was the process of learning something new and making space for mistakes all along the way. Once I opened up the possibility for mistakes and invited them in as valuable teachers, the whole experience shifted. Now I know exactly what that means and I see these lessons have universal applications in other areas of my life. Overall, I have gained a tremendous wealth of knowledge to teach asana to students and I have found my voice in the process. I will use that voice to creatively combine this knowledge with my other teachings to be more adventurous and creative.

Christopher Bourke, QSY YTT 2016 Graduate

Emma and Leena bring deep care and thoughtful reflection to each weekend. They cultivate a space of community, where students can be vulnerable, learners trying out new skills, supporting one another. We laughed and cried, shared food and poetry. I appreciated how Leena and Emma shared their own journey of learning and teaching and how that continues to evolve. They encourage each student to find their voice, their strengths and gently support areas of growth. By the last weekend, each student had come into their own as yogis and teachers. It was fascinating and inspiring to see how different each person's teaching style was, yet rooted in the same skills and teaching. I could not imagine taking my YTT anywhere else. QSY is a second home to me; a sacred space of grace, safety, peace, and love.

Sara F. QSY YTT 2018 Graduate


Most foundational Yoga Teacher Training programs are 200 hours, which is because the Yoga Alliance sets the bar at 200 hours as the minimum required education to register with them after completing training (and list yourself as “RYTT”). We choose to go above and beyond the minimum requirements because we believe that 200 hours is not enough to really set participants up for success.

Your learning time will consist of 180 contact learning hours, 40 hours of class participation and observation outside our weekends, and the remaining 30 hours of self-directed study including self-practice, homework, and practicum teaching. Looking at it all at once can feel intimidating, but remember, this will all be spread out over 10 months.

Our program has always been this rigorous and thorough, and we are now proud to claim that this is our own minimum required standard.

We recommend that applicants have at least one year of yoga experience, ideally with a qualified teacher and in a form of alignment-based yoga. Students should have a general level of knowledge of yoga poses. If you do not meet this requirement, please get in touch with us to discuss possibilities.

All applicants must attend a minimum of 5 classes at QSY prior to applying, and at least 2 of those classes must be with Leena, Emma or Leslie.

You do not have to be an elite pretzel to be in this program - all bodies and abilities are welcome! Read Leslie's blog post, Is YTT Physically Demanding? to get a better idea of the intensity of the physical side of practice.

You will hear back from us within 2 weeks of submitting your application.

Students are asked to carefully clear their schedules for the ten weekend intensives and twenty Thursday evenings. 90% of our training, whether in person or online, will take place live, and is designed for you to participate in real-time with plenty of large and small group interaction. The dynamic quality of special guests, lectures, and exercises happening during our sessions are extraordinarily valuable. Participation in the live sessions is required.

That being said, we understand that illnesses and life circumstances still happen, and we will work with you if there are circumstances that must prevent you from attending part of one of the weekend intensives. Students are responsible for making up any missed hours of training. This may involve additional written assignments, obtaining notes/recordings from classmates, attending additional relevant workshops or possibly one-on-one time with a faculty member. All sessions will be recorded, and available to review for the following year.

If one-on-one time with a faculty member is necessary to make up the material with you, you will be charged an hourly rate to work with our faculty. One hour private session is equivalent to 3 hours of missed class time. This cost is not covered in the tuition fee.

We advise setting aside 2-3 hours a week to complete assigned readings and homework. This is in addition to attendance in yoga or meditation classes at The Branches (1-2 per week) and at least 2 hours of home practice per week.

Our program is rigorous because we want you to graduate with concrete knowledge and skills to teach well. We design the homework to support your learning and grow your confidence as a teacher.

Required texts are an additional cost, outside of tuition costs. Books can also often be found at local libraries or bought second hand online. We recommend students put aside around $100 for required texts/additional reading material.

We will give you a PDF manual of handouts, plus a great deal of resources as part of the training, and you will be required to print these on your own. Your local library is a great resource if you don’t have a printer at home. These will support our lectures and your learning. We have heard from participants that hard copy resources were incredibly helpful to their learning, and that they turn to them again and again for years afterwards.

Yes. Our program will equip you with teaching skills and confidence to begin your journey as a yoga teacher. We believe that learning never stops, and encourage all of our graduates to continue to find ways to expand their learning and understanding as they develop as teachers. If you want to register with the Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher, you can submit your QSY YTT certificate to them as part of their registration process. Our program is yoga alliance certified, and exceeds their standards for accreditation.

In order to receive a certificate of completion, participants must complete the following in full:

  • Attendance in all teacher training classroom hours

  • Attendance of 1-2 classes each week (40 classes minimum over the duration of the program) at Queen Street Yoga (Note: a 50 class pass is included in your tuition fees!)

  • A home practice for the duration of the program

  • Successful completion of monthly homework assignments and reading assignments (plan for 2-3 hours each week for homework)

  • Observe, assist and report on a minimum of 12 classes

  • Complete a 10-class practicum of practice teaching and peer review

  • Successful completion of teaching initiation and comprehensive open-book exam at the end of the program.


  • Learn how to build a supportive home practice

  • Learn a variety of meditation techniques to bring more presence and awareness to your life

  • Explore breath awareness, pranayama, and introduction to the subtle body and chakra systems

  • Physical, mental, emotional, and energetic benefits of postures

  • Use the tools of Ayurveda to bring more balance to your practice and lifestyle

  • A detailed study of fundamental, intermediate, and restorative yoga postures including modifications of poses and use of props

  • The New Science of Stretching - understanding range of motion in relation to the nervous system, and unlearning common misconceptions about yoga and stretching

  • Functional Movement - what it is, why it’s helpful, how we can integrate it into yoga practice for a more healthy and sustainable practice

  • Biomechanical principles of alignment for a safe and sustainable practice

  • Study anatomy and physiology, with an emphasis on experiential learning and embodied understanding

  • Understand the physical effects of yoga on the body

  • Learn about the anatomy of the breath, and the effect of yoga on the central nervous, endocrine, and immune systems

  • Learn how alignment and the practice of interoception can help avoid injury and decrease chronic pain

  • The Nervous System - understand the different anatomical and functional branches of the human nervous system, and how they play a role in every Yoga practice.

  • Learn to articulate and express your worldview and beliefs through exercises of contemplation and self-reflection

  • Discover how to share your worldview conscientiously through your yoga teaching

  • Learn about privilege and oppression and how to create safer spaces for more bodies, genders, and ages

  • Explore yoga and body image and the approach of Health At Every Size (HAES), and how to encourage body neutrality, acceptance, and positivity in your life and your teaching

  • Develop a trauma-considerate lens to your teaching that respects and includes diverse nervous systems.

  • Discuss the ethics of teaching yoga and integrity in the student-teacher relationship

  • Learn about the historical context of yoga - how yoga asana as we practice it today is not the 1000-year-old practice many people claim it is

  • Learn about the main philosophical schools and texts that have influenced modern postural yoga

  • Participate in dynamic discussions about the relevance of the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita (both pre-feminist, pre-scientific texts) to our modern context

  • Learn to teach effectively with confidence and compassion

  • Learn to give clear, simple instructions through verbal cues and body language

  • Learn to see and understand a variety of bodies in terms of proper alignment

  • Share your love for yoga from your authentic experience and teach with heart-based themes

  • Understand sequencing strategies for all levels

  • Learn to create dynamic classes for a range of students

  • Learn invaluable strategies for teaching beginners

  • Understand common misalignments, key points of safety, and modifications

  • Practice hands-on adjustments and enhancements

  • Demonstrate postures and techniques clearly and effectively

  • Modify the practice for special groups such as prenatal yoga, seniors, teens, and students in bigger bodies

  • Teach breathing and pranayama techniques

  • Get clear on what populations you most want to teach, and consider how to reach out to them and best serve them

  • Discuss platforms for marketing, how to build a student base and begin to create a niche for yourself

  • Discuss creative ways to begin offering classes, considering non-traditional spaces to offer yoga and how to leverage your community connections

  • Understand that building a career as a yoga teacher takes time and effort, and programs that promise you instant success as a yoga teacher may not be telling you the whole story