Yoga College of California

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Yoga College of California Mission

The overarching mission of Yoga College of California is threefold:

1) to conduct world-class yoga teacher training that is Yoga Alliance approved,

2) to offer continuing education courses that are required for Yoga Alliance registered yoga teachers (RYTs) to renew their certification/s, and

3) to provide personal development classes to the general community.


Yoga Teacher Training

  • Our yoga teacher courses balance yoga philosophy with yoga practices. For example, you will learn how to apply what you learn about anatomy to crafting a cue-driven dialogue in your class that is safe and clear. 

  • We have a very skillful and caring faculty who will support your education (of body, mind, will, and spirit) in a masterful and innovative way. What you learn will be BOTH profound and practical. Positively!


Continuing Education Courses

Continuing ed courses are required by RYT-registered yoga teachers to renew their RYT registry in these four educational categories:

1) Techniques, Training & Practices,

2) Teaching Methodology,

3) Anatomy & Physiology, and

4) Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle & Ethics.

  • We will be offering a variety of courses in each of the four categories listed above for RYT-registered yoga teachers throughout the year; these classes will also be open to the general public (space permitting).

  • Sample courses: working effectively with the chakras, applying the yamas and niyamas to daily life


Personal Development Courses

  • Yoga College of California offers workshops, intensives, retreats, and classes to the Yoga Health Center community and the general public to engage their curiosity and to inspire them to learn about topics that pique their interest.

  • Some of the offerings that are open to the general community are also applicable to earning continuing ed hours (for RYT-registered yoga teachers).

  • Sample offerings: how to maintain a meditation practice, total fitness Sivananda style (the BREAD method)

Yoga Alliance Educational Categories for the RYT 200 Yoga Teacher Training 


Techniques, Training, and Practices (TTP)

  • Definition: how to do/practice yoga (i.e., the ways to practice yoga)

  • Example topics: asana (5 types), pranayama, mudra, mantra, meditation, chanting, bandhas, kriyas

  • Note: These hours must be a mix between 1) analytical training in how to teach and practice the techniques and 2) guided practice of the techniques themselves. Both areas must receive substantial emphasis.

  • Number of hours required for TTP: 100 hours (min. 75 contact* hours, 50 with lead trainer/s**)

Teaching Methodology (TM)

  • Definition: broad principles about how to teach yoga (i.e., the general techniques and methods to teach yoga)

  • Example topics: learning styles (VAKW); how to sequence a flow; establishing healthy and clear boundaries, communication skills, such as group dynamics, time management, prioritizing, the power of proximity and vocal projection; how to address the specific needs of individuals and special populations to the degree possible in a group setting; principles of demonstration, observation, assisting and correcting; qualities of a teacher, teaching styles, the student learning process, business aspects of teaching yoga (5 hours max)

  • Note: TM is a broad overview and analysis of teaching methods, NOT how to practice or teach specific techniques

  • Number of hours required for TM: 25 hours (min. 15 contact hours, 10 with lead trainer/s)

Anatomy and Physiology (AP)

  • Definition: structure and processes of the muscular and skeletal systems (physical AND subtle bodies)

  • Example topics: human physical anatomy and physiology (bodily systems, organs, etc.) and energy anatomy and physiology (chakras, nadis, etc.), study of the subject and application of its principles to yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns, etc.)

  • Note: A minimum of five hours must be spent applying anatomy and physiology principles to yoga

  • Number of hours required for AP: 20 hours (min. 10 contact hours, 0 with lead trainer/s)

Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle, and Ethics (YPLE)

  • Definition: the study of ancient texts/scriptures (Yoga Sutras, or Bhagavad Gita) along with more modern ideas/philosophies of yoga masters (BKS Iyengar, Vivekananda, Sivananda, Paramahansa Yogananda)

  • Example topics: yoga lifestyle and precepts, such as the precept of non-violence (ahimsa) as taught in the yamas and niyamas, the concepts of dharma and karma, ethics for yoga teachers (i.e., the guidelines for healthy boundaries in teacher-student relationships); understanding the value of teaching yoga as a service and being of service to others through yoga (seva or karma yoga)

  • Number of hours required for YPLE: 30 hours (min. 20 contact hours, 0 with lead trainer/s)


  • Definition: leading and observing yoga classes

  • Example activities: practice teaching as the lead instructor (does not include assisting, observing or giving feedback), receiving and giving feedback, observing others teaching, assisting trainees while someone else is teaching

  • Special requirement: Each trainee must spend a minimum of five contact hours actively practicing teaching as the lead instructor (time spent assisting, observing others teaching, or giving feedback to others is excluded from these hours).

  • Number of hours required for practicum: 10 hours (min. 5 contact hours, 5 with lead trainer/s)


*Contact Hours & Non-Contact Hours 

  • Definition of contact hours: Yoga Alliance defines contact hours as hours that “take place in the physical presence of a faculty member. Content of contact hours must be intended for teacher trainees rather than the general public.”

  • Examples: reports submitted by trainees on their experiences, related homework and projects that advance the education of trainees explicitly through the course syllabus and its learning objectives.

  • Number of contact hours required for certification: 180 hours (min. 65 with lead trainer/s)

  • Definition of non-contact hours: Yoga Alliance defines non-contact hours as “the number of hours of learning that occur without a faculty member present. All non-contact hours must be relevant to the five educational categories. These outside resources should be thoughtfully chosen to support the training.”

  • Examples: at-home reading and written assignments, watching audio/video presentations or webinars online; these assignments must relate to yoga and be classifiable under one or more of the five Yoga Alliance categories

  • Number of non-contact hours for certification: 20 hours maximum (self-study time, no faculty present)

(**Note: According to Yoga Alliance guidelines, there may be 1-2 lead trainers for the RYT 200-hour training. The requirement to qualify as a lead trainer is either: a) E-RYT 200 certification, or b) E-RYT 500 certification.)


Brad Nitschneider, Program Director of Yoga College of California

EdD, MA, MY, BA, E-RYT® 500, YACEP®

Brad has a doctorate (EdD) in educational leadership and management, a masters (MA) in counseling psychology (specializing in yoga as a treatment for mental health issues), and a BA in behavioral science (a blend of individual psychology and social anthropology). Brad has also earned certifications as a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner, an Ayurveda and Yoga Wellness advisor, a Yoga Siromani and Yoga Archarya (Master of Yoga, MY, in the Sivananda yoga lineage), and a Feng Shui consultant.

Brad is registered with Yoga Alliance to provide yoga teacher training and continuing education courses (E-RYT® 500, YACEP®). He also holds a current California multiple subject teaching credential which qualifies him to teach any subject to students in pre-school to the adult level. For the past 35+ years, Brad has taught a wide variety of subjects and led workshops with students in the age range of 3 to 75 in California, Hawaii, North Carolina, Minnesota, Florida, and China (Beijing and Changchun). 哇塞 (wāsāi)! Brad led his first workshop in Big Sur, California in 1983 on the topic of spiritual self-discovery. Very groovy.

Brad began his yoga practice (Bikram) in 1979 and his meditation practice (Zen) in 1983. Brad has passionately practiced and taught over 20 different styles of meditation and yoga for over four decades in 40 different countries and all 50 states. His most recent integrative yoga/meditation practice is bringing sound healing meditation into his mindfulness classes and yin yoga classes at Yoga Health Center.

Just for fun, Brad enjoys writing and presenting ideas playfully and formally. He has written five math books for children. His academic and scholarly writing has been published in professional journals and his poetry presented in university publications and spoken word poetry slams. He is also an award-winning essayist. Brad has appeared on television as a conflict resolution specialist, on HGTV for his gardening work, and was featured in an educational DVD about Tantric Yoga.