Teacher Training


Long time friend and teacher of co-owner Kathleen, Johanna Bell created Illumina Yoga in 2006. Niraj teachers are Illumina Yoga trained and certified and Niraj partners with Johanna’s Illumina training program to offer Yoga Alliance approved 200 and 300 hour teacher training programs.

Illumina Yoga, the teaching philosophy created, honed and practiced by Johanna Bell in 2006, was born through years of fascination with the revelatory qualities of light and a long term love affair with the divine spark inside every human being. These loves ignited a strong desire to heal, to help people remember and awaken the supreme brilliance and wholeness that is our birthright. For more on Johanna and an indepth look at Illumina, please visit her site IlluminaYoga.com

200 YA Registered Program Information

Ready to commence the journey of a lifetime and beyond? Illumina’s 200 hour YA registered program will open every doorway in your heart to the living path of yoga and give you all the tools you need to successfully dive into the sacred calling of teaching.

Sample Curriculum

Morning Embodiment Sadhana: Each Weekend Morning Sadhana will introduce and deepen topics covered throughout the training including alignment, both energetic and physical, as well as basic principles of connective sequencing.

Adventures in Asana: In each session, a different category of asana will be broken down with the use of the training manual. Individual postures within each category will be embodied. We will discuss proper cues, correct alignment and cover foundational modifications/use of props for each posture. Key muscular actions will be discussed as well as how the posture relates to the energetic system.

Assists and Enhancements: This section will include a detailed breakdown of how to assist each of the postures covered within the context of the training. Students will learn how and when to safely adjust postures structurally and when to offer energetic enhancements. This section will also include a discussion and practice of how to see structure and energy as a teacher.

The Art of Breathing/Pranayama: Students will learn to embody the breath as a gateway between the physical and spiritual practice of yoga. Classical techniques of pranayama will be broken down in terms of technique and energetic effect and students will embody and reflect on each.

The Power of Sound Vibration/Mantra: Mantra will be defined and explained as a pathway to meditation and connection to divine source. Students will learn the correct pronunciation and meaning of some fundamental mantra and will have the opportunity to practice mantra both in a group setting and individually.

The Inner Journey/ Meditation: In these sessions, students will learn about meditation and from a practical and esoteric standpoint. Different basic meditation techniques from a variety of traditions will be explored in theory and practice with an eye to understanding how these techniques may serve unique individuals in different ways.

Beginner’s Mind: This will be a specialized section dedicated to understanding how to deeply modify postures, techniques and sequences for the absolute beginner with the awareness to common postural misalignments, challenges and misconceptions.

Personal Embodiment: An invitation to create a dedicated at home practice to support the teacher in training and to anchor key concepts within the asana.

Illuminated Sequencing: This is Illumina’s primary philosophy and underlying focus. The art of proper vinyasa (placing in a special way) with strong intention in alignment with life force and the natural rhythms of the universe. Students will explore the philosophy of vinyasa krama and learn to sequence in a variety of ways, from classical category, to peak pose, to illuminated cycle.

The Creative Stream: Illumina believes that the creative stream of each individual is the pathway to universal truth. This section will show students how to link their individual truth to the universal through theme, light-filled language, and all elements that affect the Bhavana or feeling state of the class.

Pathways to Communication: As many individuals as there are, there are equally as many ways of learning. In this section we will explore different learning styles (visual, kinetici, auditory etc.) and how to effectively teach to reach the broadest expanse of possibilities. Positive and affirmative communication methods will also be explored

Yoga Biz: Tools to guide the new teacher in the practical work of teaching. Included will be legal requirements and the preparation of documents, branding and websites, pricing guidelines and the art of networking.

Private Yoga: An exploration of the differences between private sessions and public classes. We will explore ways of crafting unique practices for the individual client. Students will receive sample worksheets to help them understand the needs of the individual and to design a personal program accordingly.

Essentials of Anatomy: Illumina students will receive a 2 day intensive immersion in the beauty and complexity of the body and will explore the essential components for understanding and teaching from a safe modern bio-mechanic standpoint. Topics will include the 12 systems and structures of the body, the planes of the body and associated movement, the control systems (endocrine and nervous), compression vs. tension, anatomy of the breath, and basic pre-natal awareness. Practical application and fun embodiment exercises included.

The Anatomy of Energy: Students will study the landscape of the subtle body (the Chakras, Nadis and Koshas) and will explore the power of these systems in the healing of the whole human system and in bringing energetic depth to the creation of the class. We will also investigate how the energy systems relate to the physical.

Practical Application of Anatomy: Students will independently connect their anatomy learning (physical and subtle) to the physical postures with the worksheet assigned each asana within the manual. Students will also complete a take home anatomy exam and an on site subtle body exam.

The Origins of Yoga: Students will learn and discuss the origins, meaning and evolution of yoga through the years. They will learn the contributions of Key figures in Yoga’s passage to the west such as Vivekananda, Krishnamacharya, Iyengar, Jois, Indra Devi and Desikachar.

Ethics/First Do No Harm: We will discuss the ethics of being a yoga teacher through the lense of the Yamas, in particular ahimsa (non-violence) in all the ways a teacher may interact with students.

The Eight Limbed Path: The Eight Limbed Path as described in the Yoga Sutras will be discussed in depth as a key tool in accessing the depth and richness of the full practice of yoga. Students will be required to journal on and speak about their personal relationship to each of the limbs.

The Yoga Sutras: We will explore this foundational text of Ashtanga Yoga in a very personal way. Each student will be required to read the text in advance and write 4 personal reflections, one on each pada. We will discuss each pada as a whole. Students will be asked to present their thoughts on one sutra of choice and explain how they might access the wisdom of the Sutra in the context of class creation.

The Bhagavad Gita: We will explore this classic and heroic text from the context of the archetype of the inner hero. Students will be invited to read the text as metaphor. We will also explore the different paths of yoga as outlined in the text. A written personal reflection will be required as well as a classroom presentation of themes that resonate within the heart of the student.

Deities and Archetypes: In this section, we will dive into the many archetypes revealed by the pantheon of deities from the Hindu tradition which inform the yoga practice. Particular attention will be given to how to relate each archetype/deity to the modern human condition and the context of class creation.

Teaching Skills: Students will have a weekly opportunity to step to the front of the room and guide their fellows through individual asanas, small flows and energetic exercises with feedback from the instructor. They will also be required to practice teach independently at home and log those hours. This practice teaching will culminate in the practical exam where each student will teach a portion of a final class created by a small group of fellows. This final project will bring all of the elements together from physical, to subtle to the sequencing that holds it together.

Observation: Each student will be required to observe 6 hours of staff teaching. They will complete evaluation forms that help them look for details such as theme, peak pose, key actions, arc of the class and bhavana. Assisting: Each student will be required to assist 3 hours of class with staff towards the end of the training to anchor the feeling of what it is like to be a teacher in the room, to demo and apply simple assists.

Teacher Training


During this 6 month training you will:

  • Embody, Align, Enhance and Teach Asana from day 1.
  • Explore the origins of yoga & the ancient wisdom texts in a deeply personal way.
  • Enter the intricate beauty of the body systems, from both a physical & energetic perspective.
  • Enjoy the process of creating Full Spectrum classes that originate from the heart and are sequenced from a place of physical integrity & aligned with higher wisdom.
  • Envelop yourself in the life-changing practices of meditation & pranayama.
  • Embrace the sacred archetypes at the heart of the yoga tradition.
  • Engage in useful conversations about the practicalities & intricacies of being a yoga teacher.

200 RYS


So, you’ve completed a 200 hour training and you know you’ve just dipped a hand into the vast ocean of wisdom contained within the yoga tradition. You’re longing to dive deeper…into the teachings AND into the teaching!

Illumina’s Full Spectrum 300 hour Yoga Alliance certification will challenge you to a higher vibration of instruction and a richer embodiment of the practices. Using the chakras as a lens for the layers of teaching and the art of personal practice, you will learn to invoke the conversation between all the disparate aspects of the self in order to reveal the wholeness, the healing, the YOGA at the heart of every experience.

Practicum meetings every other week on Monday evenings with Kathleen Savoy at Niraj and a monthly teleconference with Johanna Bell on Mondays.

Sample Curriculum

The Illumina Philosophy: This section will introduce the students to a more in-depth look at the full spectrum approach, using the chakras as a lens for teaching and healing. Introduction of key texts including “Eastern Body/Western Mind”.

Illuminated Sequencing 1: An exploration beyond the basics of sequencing into techniques that turn good, vinyasa, krama into soul, resonating adventure. Students explore the next wave of cycle style sequencing, incorporating inspiration from the structure of vibrational & musical sources, spontaneous moving metaphor and conscious exploration of their own relationship to universal truths as a gateway. Templates and inspirational materials will be provided to help map the journey moving forward.

Illuminated Sequencing 1 – Techniques: Practical application of the Illuminated Sequencing System including practice/sadhana, and the use of templates to create and teach heartfully crafted sequences.

As above, so below – Advanced Anatomy: Building on the foundations of anatomy established in the 200 hour program, students will dive deeper into the body systems from the standpoint of healing and therapeutics, also examining how the energetic maps of the body align with the physical. Experiential learning and practical application to the art of teaching will be a significant component of this module.

Advanced Anatomy Embodiment: Asana Practice in accordance with the principle alignment and healing concepts covered in this anatomy module.

Creation – Pre-Post Natal and Fertility: A more in-depth exploration of Pre and Post Natal concepts building on the basics received in the 200 hour program. Students will learn about the anatomical, hormonal, and muscular changes which occur normally in the pregnant body, and explore modifications and sequences that support these shifts. In addition, this module will address the psychological and emotional shifts that can occur pre-natal and post-partum. Meditation and other practices to support conscious processing of the beautiful journey of fertility/pregnancy, through birth and beyond, will be explored and embodied.

The Fire of Practice – Advanced Asana: Building on the categories of asana covered in the 200 hour program, students will learn to embody, cue and align the advanced kramas within each category. Each asana will be explored from the standpoint of key actions and energetic effect.

The Fire of Practice – Sequencing for Advanced Asana/Advanced Assists and Restorative: Students will explore sequencing techniques for more complex asanas and pairs of asanas. More advanced techniques of enhancing including marma point work will be explored. A section will be dedicated to the use of props and wall for restorative asana.

Bhakti – The Path of Love: Exploration of the path of devotion through kirtan and deeper study of the Hindu archetypes of the divine. Students will also receive a basic tutorial on how to play the harmonium.

Bhakti Embodiment: Morning Sadhana with a focus on devotion towards a chosen aspect of the divine, and singing praises in the form of kirtan.

Illuminated Creativity, Sourcing Inspiration: In this module, we tap into the wealth of natural/spiritual inspiration available in the sacred vibrational sources of poetry, art, dance, numerology, geometry, metaphor and myth. We will play with receiving this inspiration, learning to spontaneously express it through the channel of our individual truths. The weekend will culminate as we direct the creativity and free expression back into the clear channel of the yoga experience and the art of sequencing a class.

Creative Embodiment: Morning Sadhanas designed specifically to tap students into the creative flow and to explore sacred sourcing.

The Unified Mind – Advanced Meditation and Pranayama: Students will dive deeper into their embodiment and discipline within meditation and pranayama practice. They will also learn to effectively choose techniques for their clients and learn to teach these transformative practices in a classroom setting.

Embodying the Unified Mind: Morning Sadhana designed to support the techniques being covered in this module.

The Divine Pulsation – Yoga Spandakarika and the path of wholeness: Students will dive into the concepts revealed by the sacred Tantric text, the Yoga Spandakarika. In addition to discussing the essentials of tantric philosophy, each student will share passages they find personally relevant and how they might source the text within a teaching context.

Embodying the Divine Pulsation: Morning practices exploring the concepts of spanda and wholeness/healing.

The Ministry of Yoga: A discussion of the concept of ministry as the act of giving aid or service from a holistic spiritual perspective. Students explore how being a yoga teacher can evolve (in the words of Iyengar) into a “dedicated service to humanity”.

Healing: Remembering wholeness: A special section devoted to health/wholeness as a natural state, and exploring healing as the conscious conversation between all aspects of being. Time will be allotted to explore the concept and manifestations of trauma and the ways a yoga teacher may support healing while setting healthy boundaries.

Embodying the Teaching – Practicum: Practicum evenings two times/month to embody and teach peers the concepts contained within the most recent module.

Embodying the Teaching – Assisting: Taking assisting to the next level by supporting the classroom journey of regular students, as well as 200 hour trainees, with more complex assists and embodiment.

Embodying the Teaching – Community Class: Students will embody the 300-hour curriculum by teaching in a real class setting. Classes will be by donation, and the teaching will be Seva for the home studio.

Full Spectrum Sadhana: Students will meet with Illumina’s Director to discuss and align their personal sadhana with a sequential journey through the Chakra System.

Illuminated Reading/Writing: Key texts for the course (including Eastern Body Western Mind, and The Yoga Spandakarika) will be read and reflected upon culminating in a paper or a class creation.

Seva Ministry: Application of Seva in an external environment facilitated by a local ministry or support group, such as CHIME the “Chaplaincy Institute of Maine”.


During this 9 month training you will:

  • Initiate yourself in the sacred healing power of the chakras/subtle energy systems
  • Inhabit the landscape of anatomical form with more of an eye to therapeutics & the links between subtle & physical.
  • Immerse yourself in deeper awareness of Pre/Post Natal and Fertility within the context of Yoga.
  • Ignite an even more empowered asana practice & the ability to teach more complex poses & sequences.
  • Inspire your inner being with the Sacred archetypes of the Hindu Tradition & the art of Bhakti.
  • Invoke richer layers of vibration and inspiration within the art of sequencing a class.
  • Intensify your pranayama and meditation practice & increase your comfort in teaching these forms.
  • Illuminate the inherent wholeness of the Micro/Macrocosm through study of the Tantric text, Yoga Spandakarika & through the exploration of the nature of healing and Yoga as a Ministry.

RYS 300