Yoga, Social Justice, and Leadership: a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Welcome to the start of your journey to becoming a healing-centered, social-justice-oriented yoga instructor.

This inquiry-based, 200-hour online yoga teacher training includes live lectures and discussions, postural training workshops, and self-guided learning modules. It provides you with an in-depth understanding of the practice of yoga and the skills to support others’ personal and collective healing. This program emphasizes offering yoga in an accessible way to all students in studio and non-studio settings to create access for a diverse spectrum of people. Our goal with this training is to further the diversification of yoga teachers offering this practice to underrepresented populations to increase access to this healing practice for all.

Yoga programs focused on healing, often called trauma-informed yoga, are becoming common in correctional facilities, addiction recovery centers, veteran programs, mental health facilities, and youth and community support programs. Trauma comes in many forms, including personal trauma and social/systemic traumas, such as racism, poverty, discrimination based on disability, religion, or sexual orientation. Often these traumas intersect, compounding the impact. Research has demonstrated the efficacy of yoga to address trauma, reduce stress, support recovery, and improve health. This training will prepare you to facilitate healing-centered yoga programs by understanding how trauma impacts our minds and body. 

We believe that yoga and social justice are profoundly interconnected and that yoga should be available to and accessible for everyone who wishes to explore this practice. This yoga teacher training focuses on understanding yoga practices, philosophy, and heritage as it connects to individuals and their unique needs within a historical, societal and cultural context. You, as a participant, are invited to bring your whole self – your ancestry and lineage, culture and traditions – and adapt the practice appropriately. 

You are your first student. This training is an exploratory program that will offer you the opportunity to understand better how yoga may be beneficial to your ongoing personal development. As you move through the training, permit yourself the time needed to process and reflect on the information and ask the questions that arise as you work through these modules and when we come together as a group. Your unique insight and feedback will help others, just as you will learn from the contributions of your fellow learners. 

Who should attend?

We suggest participants have familiarity with the practice of yoga and the ability to commit approximately 10 hours per week to the program. With that being said, having a diverse background of experiences can be beneficial to the people you serve. Lawyers, therapists, social workers, addiction counselors, teachers, and other people whose work is in or intersects the criminal justice system would benefit from this training. People interested in bringing about a more effective and humane approach to addressing crime, addiction, and mental health in our communities. Formerly-incarcerated people and anyone with a personal experience of incarceration. Anyone working in prison or jail as staff or as part of a community-based or non-profit organization. Space is limited to ensure ample individual attention.

What to expect?

  • 16 self-paced online learning modules
  • Weekly online lectures, discussions, postural training, and cueing workshops
  • Comprehensive training manual
  • Journaling assignments
  • Community outreach opportunities
  • Mentor office hours
  • Private forum for additional support and discussion
  • Access to additional continuing education content on the PYP Community website

Meet your Instructors:

Chanda Williams
Trainer, Program Director (Bay Area-Sacramento) 

Chanda Williams, MA, RYT, is a yoga teacher with a background in body mechanics, wellness coaching, and advanced training in trauma-informed yoga practices. Chanda has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in integrative health studies. A yoga teacher since 2004, Chanda offers group Hatha and vinyasa yoga classes as well as individual yoga therapy sessions for people with injuries or chronic health conditions. With a deep devotion to service, she taught yoga in the San Francisco County Jail for two years before joining the Prison Yoga Project, where she has taught regularly since 2014 at San Quentin State Prison. Committed to teaching yoga for health and social transformation, she is pursuing a doctoral degree in somatic depth psychology researching evidence-based practices to heal trauma through mindful movement, breathing techniques, and meditation. 

Jen Lindgren
Trainer, Program Director (New Hampshire) 

Jen Lindgren, E-RYT, y4c, joined Prison Yoga Project in 2019 as Chapter Director for New Hampshire. She has been facilitating trauma-informed and healing-centered yoga classes to incarcerated individuals since 2017, including the instruction of 200-hour yoga teacher training programs. Jen’s passion for movement and movement-based therapy began in the late 90s working with at-risk youth to share dance and interpretive movement for connection and confidence. This connection to healing through movement has guided her studies to become a yoga therapist. It has inspired a passion for offering yoga and movement inclusive and accessible beyond a dance or yoga studio setting. 

Jen offers exploratory workshops to support individuals seeking a deeper connection to their healing through yoga principles and philosophy and trauma-informed workshops to yoga teachers wishing to incorporate this methodology into their classes. 

Additional Guest Lecturers: 

  • James Fox, Founding Director
  • Josefin Wikstrom, Program Director and Training Coordinator, Europe
  • Bill Brown, Executive Director

What are the training dates? 

The training will take place from June 1- October 28.

Training Sessions

  • Tuesdays & Thursdays – 5:00 – 8:00 pm (EST) / 2:00 – 5:00 pm (PST)
  • Second Sunday of each month – 11:00 am – 4:00 pm (EST) / 8:00 am – 1:00 pm PST

It is our hope that participants attend all of the Training Sessions live. However, since this may not be possible due to time constraints as well as time zones, we will require that participants attend at least one live session per week. All the sessions will be recorded and participants are expected to view the replay prior to attending the subsequent session.

Office Hours – dates and times TBD

Trainers will be available one hour per week for office hours. Dates and times to be determined. 

Study Group / Practice Sessions – dates and times TBD

Participants will be organized into small groups according to time zone and availability. Groups will coordinate at least one hour per week to complete practice teaching and other group assignments.

Final Practicum – dates and times TBD

Each participant will lead a full one-hour practice for their peers to complete the training. Participants will attend at least three peer-led practices. Participants are welcome to invite friends and family to attend their practice. 

How much does it cost? 

We are offering this training in a tiered-pricing model:

  • Community – $2,880
  • Supporter – $3,880
  • Benefactor – $4,880

For people who can afford to pay a little more, the extra you give covers a part of the cost for those who cannot. 

For those with constrained finances, we also offer a limited number of scholarships. Scholarship applications are evaluated based on economic need, identification with a disproportionately impacted group by trauma and incarceration, and the likelihood to apply the knowledge and skills learned in service to the community. You will find the scholarship application here.

Payment plans are also available with a 25% down payment and the balance paid between three and six months. Look for the Flexible Payment Plan button in our store: https://shop.prisonyoga.org/collections/training/products/yoga-social-justice-and-leadership-200-ytt.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

How long is this training?

We anticipate most participants will complete the program in 20 weeks. It contains 16 weekly, self-paced learning modules. It allows an additional four weeks for program completion, mentor support, preparation and submission of the final sequencing assignment, journaling, and an optional community-based research project.

What happens if I have a scheduling conflict with one of the sessions?

Each learning module will offer two discussion options for participants to attend and weekly office hours to connect with instructors. 

What will I need to participate in this training?

You will need access to an internet connection and a computer with a camera and microphone to participate in online meetings. You will also need a notebook or journal for personal reflection. We suggest, but don’t require, that you have a yoga mat, blocks, blanket, bolster, and a binder for materials

Are there any prerequisites to enroll in this YTT?

We suggest participants have familiarity with the practice of yoga and the ability to commit approximately 10 hours per week to the program.

What is my weekly commitment? How many hours should I devote to the material and study?

We will meet in person for 6 hours each week plus an extended meeting on the second Sundays and suggest 5-7 additional hours for learning modules, self-reflection, personal practice, and sequence preparation.

Not Enrolled
$2,880 / $3,880/ $4,880

Course Includes

  • 13 Lessons
  • 21 Topics