200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program – Full Testimonials

Natalie, 2017 Graduate

What did you love about the program?

Oh my gosh, so much! The community, first and foremost. It really was a place where we all grew and grew close through our time together. Each instructor brought something different, different teaching styles and expertise. I also loved how available Savonn was and how invested she was in us. I wasn’t from the area and didn’t belong to the studio, but she and Sellwood yoga made me feel welcome.

What was the one thing that you resonated with in the curriculum?

I really loved the breathwork and pranayama. I continue to use this all the time. I loved that Mindfulness and Meditation was woven into it as an amazing offering in addition to our training. Sellwood Yoga’s 200 hour teacher training takes a holistic approach to yoga and doesn’t just teach you how to teach. I feel like it helped me harness who I am as an instructor.

What would you like to share with prospective students?

Don’t waste a moment doubting yourself; you are in good hands. Take advantage of their level of experience, and ask for what is in your heart and what you need on and off the mat.

Nicci, 2016 Graduate

What led you to explore teacher training?

There were so many factors that led me to teacher training, and in a nutshell, I can honestly say that yoga saved my life. At one of the lowest points in my life, I chose to take a yoga class, and that led me on such a journey of self-healing and growth in ways I did not think possible. Through this journey, a community was formed with people who inspired me and held space for my journey. There is a saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” That saying could not be more fitting to how I felt when I decided to enroll.

What did you love about the program?

There was so much excitement. We had such an amazing group of folks. The curriculum was very educational. I loved the philosophy portion of it. I loved the anatomy instruction. I loved being part of all the classes the students were teaching. I felt so alive and part of something so fun. There wasn’t a thing I disliked. I think, most of all, I loved the challenge. I stepped outside of myself, and it felt so good.

What would you like to share with prospective students?

This will be one of the best decisions of your life. Don’t hesitate. Only good things come from this. If you do commit, keep an open mind, and let all the possibilities in. Take the extra classes, and sign up for the workshops. Take yourself out of your comfort zone. If you are only in it for fitness, throw that to the side. It will strengthen your mind more than your body. Trust in your teachers, and ask questions. Talk during the discussions. Everyone grows by sharing and listening.

Armand, 2020 Graduate

What led you to explore taking teacher training?

I decided to enroll in Sellwood Yoga’s teacher training program to expand my own understanding and appreciation for yoga. I saw it as a unique opportunity to dive deeper in my own practice, to challenge myself in new ways. I never anticipated teaching in the future. After teaching for the first few times, however, I found that I equally loved sharing yoga with others.

What did you love about the program?

Despite my familiarity with the studio’s instructors and community, I loved the casual, welcoming, and non-judgmental approach to teaching and working together. Each student had a different level of curiosity and interest, and it felt like everyone had the space and freedom to ask those odd or simple questions that may be initially seen as irrelevant or less sophisticated, at least to a newer student. Similarly, given the class size, we got to know each other really well, and as the months went by, it felt like a small family gathering every weekend. I leaned on others as I was doubting myself in my ability to teach, or as I felt confused about my own practice and other things going on in my life.

What was it like teaching that first community class within the program?

Despite the natural nerves, honestly, it was easy, comforting, and a very, very joyful experience. It was rewarding to teach a class of my fellow classmates, family, studio members, and others in my own style and with my own sequences. It felt like I was expressing my love for this practice by sharing it with others, and I was equally appreciative for others who wanted to join and participate in that moment. It was absolutely a rewarding, memorable experience that I will never forget and still feels like a major point in my own yoga and life journey. Definitely just as important—and memorable—as the actual information we were there to take in.

Ashley, 2015 Graduate

What led you to explore teacher training?

Yoga teacher training was a dream after practicing yoga for many years in my early 20s and 30s. Not necessarily as a means to teach yoga, but as a way to deepen my practice and spend some real time studying the lineage around a “hobby” I had grown so fond of.

What did you love about the program?

The people, hands down. Savonn and Bill are such steady teachers, and they create an accessible, fun, encouraging space for people to show up as they are—no expectations or limitations. I appreciated the 360-degree learning opportunities presented to us that went beyond just deepening the physical practice of yoga (shapes and moves). They gave us solid tools that we could use on our journey with yoga beyond our teacher training, including sessions on the “business of yoga,” philosophy of yoga, anatomy, mindfulness, prenatal yoga, etc.

What did you learn about yourself by taking Sellwood Yoga’s teacher training?

I can do hard things! Also, pursuing advanced education is always a good thing, no matter the subject matter. Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and my experience with it was (and still is, comparatively) very limited. I was grateful for the opportunity to dive in deeper and gain a better understanding and appreciation for the history of this wonderful practice that I love so much.

India, 2018 Graduate

What led you to explore taking teacher training?

I wanted to deepen my personal practice. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach, but I knew I wanted to learn more. I loved my community at Sellwood Yoga, and my positive experience there encouraged me to dive deeper. I don’t think I would have sought out teacher training at another studio.

What did you love about the program?

I loved learning more about the science of what I had experienced firsthand in my personal practice, and I loved my cohort. We formed our own little community. Later, when I was considering teaching, I loved being able to personalize my classes based on my own informed opinions I made during the instruction. Plus, I just got to do a ton of yoga, and that was amazing!

What was the one thing that you resonated with in the curriculum?

I loved learning more about restorative practices and how to create a comfortable, safe space for people to relax. Sellwood Yoga has always modeled the most thoughtful techniques and practices.

Pam, 2016 Graduate

What led you to explore taking teacher training?

I’d been practicing yoga for most of my adult life, and when I learned that Sellwood Yoga was offering a teacher training course, I was excited at the opportunity to explore yoga more in-depth. I initially had no plans to teach.

What did you love about the program?

I loved being part of a supportive learning community of teachers and students. Savonn and Bill were endlessly encouraging and always ready to answer questions.

What did you learn about yourself by taking Sellwood Yoga’s teacher training?

I learned that it is never too late to be a student. It was a great reminder that stepping beyond one’s comfort zone is invigorating and empowering. And I found myself with a new career!

Heather, 2016 Graduate

What did you love about the program?

There was a lot of room to get what you needed out of it and make it your own. There was also time and space to explore all the aspects of yoga, from common yet elusive alignment in certain asanas to anatomy to philosophy.

Tell us about your yoga teacher training community—your fellow students.

All were ready to learn, all shy about it, all willing to be vulnerable and courageous. Lots of backgrounds. I really enjoyed the group.

What would you like to share with prospective students?

Go for it—it is so enriching in your life and in your practice. And it is YOURS with which to do what you want. If you try teaching, great! But even if you don’t or have no intention to teach, you’ll learn so much from amazing teachers whose agenda is only to give you an experience to learn as your authentic self, not “make” you into something you are not.

Katie, 2020 Graduate

There are many 200 hour yoga teacher training programs. Why did you select Sellwood Yoga? What did you love about the program?

I selected Sellwood Yoga simply because this is the studio I’d fallen in love with and been attending since 2014. There are so many special things about Sellwood Yoga, and I have found such a vibrant, joy-filled, diverse sense of community here. I knew I wanted to be mentored as a teacher by the same teachers who instilled such joy, intention, acceptance, and humor in their classes. I could not have been happier with the experience I had at Sellwood Yoga. The sense of community, the diverse ages and interests of the group, the personalized mentorship and relationships we built with the instructors, the practice teaching modules—everything was fantastic.

Tell us about your yoga teacher training community—your fellow students.

My fellow students were a wonderful, up-building, supportive, and fun group to be with, and one thing I loved most was that we were such a diverse group. In age, we probably ranged from early 20s through mid-60s. We had different careers, were in different stages of life, and had different aspirations as far as teaching, and we had varying reasons behind what had led us to yoga teacher training. I was able to learn so much from my classmates, and it was incredible going through this transformative process with them. I loved seeing everyone’s unique personality and giftedness come through in the classes they taught.

What are you doing today as a result of your yoga teacher training?

Today, I have my dream job teaching yoga and mindfulness within the Health and PE department at St. Mary’s Academy, a private all-girls school in downtown Portland. It’s an immense privilege to teach students for a full semester. We dive into all sorts of yoga history and philosophy and learn breathwork, mindfulness, and movement practices. The end of the semester culminates in the students creating their own short yoga class, and it’s incredible to see how empowered they feel, and how they continue to incorporate mindfulness and yoga practices in their lives.

Rebecca, 2020 Graduate

Did you have any fear and apprehension about or barriers to taking that first step?

All of them! All the fears and all the “am I nuts to be here?” questions and so many apprehensions. I felt too old! (I was almost 59 when yoga teacher training started.) I felt nervous, but they were the “first day of school” excited nerves, not the “I shouldn’t be here” regretful nerves.

Tell us about your yoga teacher training community—your fellow students.

I made some deep, deep connections. I see some fellow students regularly: some in person, some via random text messages or social media posts, others in a class at the studio or in advanced training together. There is great familiarity and joy when we see each other and share milestones of babies and marriages and life accomplishments, as well as support when we face challenges. Our graduation was in February 2020, and a month later, we went into lockdown. Most of us lost the chance to launch our teaching in person, but we wanted the community and connection more than ever. I don’t remember how or who started it, but we started teaching just for each other on Zoom twice a week. We used a Google spreadsheet for anyone who wanted to sign up to teach a class, taking turns and then providing feedback. I guess you could say we kept yoga teacher training going without our instructors or the rest of the Sellwood Yoga community. We kept up with our Zoom classes for about six months. That experience solidified our relationships and really sealed in what we had spent four and a half months learning. AND it launched my Zoom teaching career.

What are you doing today as a result of your yoga teacher training?

Unbelievably, I’m running my own yoga teaching business. I have a website, teach private sessions in student’s homes, teach at Sellwood Yoga every week, lead workshops at Sellwood Yoga, and teach Chair Yoga on Zoom and in person at senior residence homes and community centers. My focus on Chair Yoga, Accessible Yoga, and Yoga for Healthy Aging classes would not have happened without the support and encouragement of the yoga teacher training instructors and my mentors. Whether they know it or not, they all helped me find this path.

Kari, 2018 Graduate

There are many 200 hour yoga teacher training programs. Why did you select Sellwood Yoga?

The community, hands down, is what led me to select Sellwood Yoga. Very supportive. Very real. At the time, I was only going to Savonn and Bill’s classes. I liked their approach to teaching. Not dogmatic. No militant asana alignment. It was explorative instruction to fit your unique body. Everybody could be themselves in the practice. That said a lot to me, as I had practiced at other studios where the instruction was not skilled enough to individualize to the students in the class at that moment—where it was more about the teacher’s yoga abilities vs. where the student was at that time in their practice.

What was it like teaching that first community class within the program?

I was certain I was going to mess up, make mistakes. One of the students who signed up to take the community class said to me right before I started, “When you feel like you are going to freak out, look at me in the back, and you will see a big smile on my face encouraging you.” That just shows how supportive the Sellwood Yoga community is—they come to your first community class to support you! The first five to ten minutes, my heart was pounding. But then, I got into a groove and taught! And I made a mistake! And we all laughed about it. I have been teaching since graduation, and to this day, I still make mistakes when I teach. It is part of being human. But it felt so great to finally do this. I was hooked. I wanted to teach.

What would you like to share with prospective students?

You can do hard things. When you are terrified, Sellwood Yoga will hold your hand the entire way and work with you individually to help you find your authentic voice as a teacher. If you don’t teach, that is okay, too.

Sally, 2019 Graduate

What led you to explore taking yoga teacher training?

I’d been practicing yoga for nearly 20 years at that point and really connected with the movement and philosophy, so I wanted to learn more. I also wanted to explore if teaching could be a potential encore career for me as I get closer to the age where I’d want to step back from my current day job.

What was it like teaching that first community class within the program?

We took baby steps within our yoga teacher training classes by teaching to classmates before we did the community classes, and that really helped. My first attempts teaching to classmates were hilarious because I literally wrote everything down, then tried to crib from my notes while moving through the poses. Let’s just say I got better because the feedback we received from the instructors was effective and delivered with compassion and understanding. So when I taught my first community class, I was nervous but also felt well-prepared and excited.

What did you learn about yourself by taking Sellwood Yoga’s teacher training?

I learned that I can create a space that is welcoming, authentic, fun, respects the diversity/needs of students, and honors the practice of yoga. And importantly, that I don’t need to be the “best” yogi in the room to pull it off.

Read more insights about our 200 Hour Yoga Teaching Training Program:

Sellwood Yoga’s Teacher Training far exceeded my expectations in terms of preparing me to be a yoga instructor. The curriculum steadily guided the deepening of my own practice while introducing me to key concepts in anatomy, body mechanics, proper alignment, and intelligent sequencing. Yoga philosophy and the practical application of mindfulness and breathwork made the program a rich learning experience. All of the instructors consistently emphasized listening to the body, healthy and safe alingnment, and self-care and modifications.

Not only did I learn so much from the many amazing program instructors, but I also learned a lot from my classmates. Savonn masterfully facilitated my deepening into my own wisdom and my learning from the wisdom of my classmates with fun Q&A sessions and active discussions. The safety and respect I was given as a student modeled for me how to create the same for my students.

From the get-go, Savonn and Bill encouraged us to find our voices and unique gifts and to bring our inspired selves to our teaching. Actual practice as teachers began early in the program, so that, upon graduation, I already had a meaningful amount of positive experience as a teacher. This aspect of the program has been so valuable in helping me to make the transition from practicing to teaching. Savonn and Bill are deeply dedicated to creating compassionate and confident teachers. Most importantly, I have learned to teach from my authentic self, confident in the knowledge that I have something unique to offer. I highly recommend Sellwood Yoga’s Teacher Training Program!

Taking Sellwood Yoga’s Teacher Training Program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Bill and Savonn have created a program that supported and nurtured me, while also pushing me beyond what I thought I was capable of. I am so inspired by Bill and Savonn’s commitment to creating accessible and creative classes taught by knowledgeable and passionate teachers.

SYTT emphasizes a holistic approach to teaching and learning. Throughout the course, we met so many amazing instructors, and we learned everything from anatomy and sequencing to breathing techniques and philosophy. One of my biggest takeaways from the program is that, in order to be the best yoga teacher you can be, it is crucial that you begin by taking care of yourself. I personally benefited tremendously from the pranayama and meditation-based stress reduction modules, and I know that I will be able to transfer my newfound love for those modules into the classes that I teach. As a yogi who practices both vinyasa and restorative styles of yoga, I was thrilled that we had the chance to immerse ourselves in both.

If you are unsure as to whether or not you are ready to take the leap into this program, I highly encourage you to join this beautiful community and begin your journey of self-discovery and growth. You could not ask for a better team to guide you along the way.

The teacher training at Sellwood Yoga is well structured, engaging, supportive, and multi-dimensional. Savonn and Bill set an encouraging, and sometimes playful, context that facilitates learning and risk-taking. The program includes class sequencing for vinyasa and restorative yoga, alignment and adjustments of the asanas, anatomy relevant to yoga poses and movement, breathwork, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and yoga philosophy.

The program’s flexibility was ideal for me. Being interested in one-on-one restorative yoga instruction rather than teaching group classes, Savonn problem-solved with me about how to prepare for that goal. We created a plan that differed from the rest of the training group, and it fit my needs perfectly.

Over the course of five months, our student group became very connected and supportive of each other. Learning together was a wonderful way to get to know a diverse group of talented and sweet people.

Because of the program, I have discovered a special interest and have been working individually with the guest presenter, breathworker Margaret Townsend. This unexpected outcome has deepened my personal practice and my understanding of the importance of breath.

I recommend this teacher training program without hesitation. It is enriching, challenging, deepening, and, ultimately, very satisfying.

Sellwood Yoga provides a warm, welcoming, and professional teacher training program that is affordable and accessible for people of all ages and body needs. The course takes place over many months, allowing students to not only bring yoga to a new depth within their own lives, but to bond with the other participants. The community-building aspect deepened the work by allowing trust to grow within the cohort.

Without trust, the practice of yoga stays physical. It’s true—physical asana has an important place within yoga, and this is well-covered in the training! Beyond the physical layer, though, the teachers at Sellwood Yoga cultivate time and place for a wholehearted and vulnerable yoga teaching practice to both emerge and take root.

Gratitude for this brilliant program’s offering!

I had researched yoga teacher training options for years, never finding the perfect fit. Once the announcement had been made that Sellwood Yoga was going to offer their first-ever teacher training, I was in. Since the studio’s opening, I have deeply appreciated the respect and grace with which Savonn and Bill lead their classes. This attitude is definitely conveyed in the teacher training. From day one, the focus was on discovering a deeper understanding of yoga and finding an authentic, individual voice with which to share this passion with students. The six months of sessions are a big commitment, for certain, but the program was structured in a way that didn’t interfere with work or personal responsibilities. The course content was rich and comprehensive, and it was paced in a way that allowed us to lay a solid foundation for our practicum teaching toward the end of the training.

And what an awesome group of classmates! Sellwood Yoga has always attracted a community of souls that I can relate to, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find such kind, brilliant, balanced folks training alongside me. But I was truly wowed by the connection created amongst those of us taking this journey together—it made for an unforgettable life experience.

I wasn’t sure, going into teacher training, whether I would actually be interested in teaching, but along the way, I discovered that I am eager to impart the joy I’ve found on the mat with others. Sellwood Yoga Teacher Training has helped me to find my personal way of doing that, for which I am incredibly grateful.

The Sellwood Yoga teacher training made my life more worth living. For many years, I had practiced yoga, and for at least five years, I had considered training to be a yoga teacher. I looked at a variety of programs and none of them seemed right for me. Then, I found the Sellwood studio and began to practice there. Within a few weeks, I knew I had found the right place to learn to teach. It is a community-based program that seeks to make yoga accessible for all people—the young and the old, the neophyte and the master. The training program was comprehensive, giving teachers-in-training a broad base of knowledge from yoga philosophy to anatomy. We also learned a great deal about designing interesting classes with themes and with adaptations for special populations. I’m looking forward to pursuing more training from this gifted group of teachers, and most days, I pause for a moment in my practice to express my gratitude for them and all they do to make the world a better place.

I am forever grateful for this journey to becoming a yoga teacher. I feel like I have a solid foundation from which to grow. I appreciated the well-rounded teaching style that included hands-on teaching experiences with my fellow classmates from the very beginning. The coursework in philosophy, anatomy, and mindfulness exposed me to the fundamental components of a holistic approach to yoga and planted seeds for further exploration.

During this process, I felt supported at every step. When I felt uprooted, I found grounding. When I felt challenged, I found successes. When I felt intimidated, I found that I was also ready. However, the most impactful teachings came not from the texts or the weekend workshops, but through the shared experiences with this extraordinary group of people. Yoga became so much more than asana.

From the wonderful and diverse group of teachers who inspired me with authenticity, to the unique curriculum that included mindfulness training and real-life teaching experiences, Sellwood Yoga’s teacher training program was everything and more than I could have hoped for. The journey advanced my practice, but not in the “I learned how to do a handstand push-up kind of a way.” Instead, it taught me how to truly live yoga—both on and off the mat.

In the Sellwood Yoga teacher training program, I expected to learn more about yoga, and I did. What really stood out, however, were three things. First and foremost was that we covered so many of the important aspects of yoga—from philosophy and breathing techniques to anatomy, alignment, and the many poses used in yoga practice today. Because the curriculum was well thought-out, we were able to cover a really impressive amount of material in a way that just made us want to keep learning more. When we finished the program, we knew we had built an amazing foundation.

Second was that we were truly taught to teach—to go beyond learning about yoga to really learning how to teach real students. It was not about any one style or approach either; our instructors helped every one of us find our voice and begin to develop a style that was personally authentic. They brought us along every step of the way, helping us build our skills and our confidence in teaching.

Third, the program helped us build a supportive team. Our training class of 2016 was able to work together, learn from each other, practice together, build new friendships, and complete the program with plans to keep in touch and continue supporting one another. I would recommend this program highly for anyone who thinks they might want to teach—even if you are not sure. It is an amazing journey of learning, growth, and discovery.

When Savonn remarked at our first meeting something to the effect of, “This course will change your life,” I thought it was a nice sentiment but was doubtful it would have such an impact. Six months later, I ask myself, did it indeed change my life? Yes, in the sense that the experience connected me with a wonderful, caring, and supportive community of instructors and fellow learners. Yes, in that I was challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually to reach beyond my comfort level. Yes, in that I have come away with a passion for sharing yoga with others and with the teaching skills to do so.

Savonn was right; she and Bill believed in our abilities from the first moment and genuinely and continually offered encouragement and inspiration. As is so often the case, a little knowledge leads us to seek more. Paradoxically, I feel confident in beginning my yoga-teaching career after completing the 200-hour training course, but at the same time, I know that there is so much more that I want and need to learn. That’s the truly exciting part: coming away with an eagerness to continue the journey begun six months ago!

When I signed up for the 200-hour yoga teacher training program at Sellwood Yoga, my goal was to increase the accessibility of yoga to the patients I care for who are undergoing surgical breast cancer treatment. After completing the training, I have gained a much deeper personal practice, made lifelong friends in a lovely community, and feel prepared to lead yoga classes, in a variety of settings and with yogis of various abilities and interests.

The mindfulness practice woven through the first half of the experience provided a lovely foundation on which to build our classes, bringing out our authenticity into our teaching. The philosophy classes, pranayama, and asana breakdown classes allowed me to deepen my understanding of yoga in its entirety and strengthen my design of future classes. My fellow students taught me so much through their feedback, life experience, and individual interests.

Currently, I am starting to teach a variety of classes, including classes focused on people following breast cancer surgery. I highly recommend the yoga teacher training at Sellwood Yoga and am eternally grateful for this life-changing experience with outstanding teachers and fellow students.

Sellwood Yoga’s 200-hour teacher training was everything I hoped it would be! Bill and Savonn did an excellent job setting up this training, making sure I had all the tools and resources to confidently complete the course. I am ready to start teaching with a newfound outlook and knowledge of what yoga “is” and what it means to me. This yoga teacher training is unique, with a focus on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and breathwork, in addition to vinyasa and restorative yoga flows. I will forever be grateful for the amazing group of people this training brought into my life. This experience will live in my heart for years and years to come.

The Sellwood Yoga teacher training program was an amazingly transformative experience. Bill and Savonn created an environment that allowed for exploration, growth, and challenge, all the while providing a safe space that did not once make me feel like I was doing something wrong or asking the wrong questions.

The additional teachers seemed to have been selected with such care because they were all effective and knowledgable: Caroline, an anatomy expert who made learning fun, introduced us to “Frank” and his bones and muscles; Matt, our philosophy guide, had the most wonderful presence and teaching style that promoted open discussion without judgment; Denise took us on a journey of mindfulness from what we ate, to how we got ready in the morning, to how we walked; Rosey and Annie, the two sweetest sisters, touched on pre-natal yoga to give us just what we need to assist pregnant women in a class.

On top of all the knowledge, confidence, and a deeper meaning to yoga I gained, I met fourteen wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, and wildly colorful women who I know will be lifelong friends. I feel so grateful to be a graduate of the teacher training class of Sellwood Yoga and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I highly recommend the training for anyone wanting to deepen their own practice, gain a new perspective, seek confidence, or teach in any fashion.

Thank you, Bill and Savonn, for extending your hand out to each of us, guiding us through this journey, and giving us the strength, courage, and wisdom to share our love of yoga with others.

I don’t know what I expected. I tend to jump into things blind so I don’t change my mind, especially when I know it’s a great, healthy, adult action. I did not expect to come out the other side so loved and accepted as a human; I did not expect the serenity that has befallen me post-graduation. I don’t feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, and I don’t feel abandoned by the “ending” of school; it feels more like beginning, like transitioning into becoming more of the human I want to be.

Savonn and Bill are irreplaceable. They hold you gently in their hands and patiently learn who you are and how you learn, giving you the confidence to fly away and the comfort of knowing you can fly back and stay whenever it is needed. The teachers they employ to guide the teachers-in-training are not only well-versed in their subjects, but they are true friends to Savonn and Bill. The anatomy, philosophy, and mindfulness portions were all taught with a deep respect and passion for each subject by yogis who are firmly grounded.

My favorite part of the program is something I almost can’t promise another—my sangha. The love and support I have found in those women (and Bill) is unprecedented. The community that Savonn and Bill have made is heart-warming, humbling, awe-inspiring, and quickly became everything to me.

Looking to embark on a transformative experience?

Our next 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program will take place from October 2023 to March 2024. Click the button below to learn more about the program, curriculum, and faculty.