Amy Prais Achieves New Certification

We are very proud of all the instructors who have helped make our yoga program the best in the area. You might be surprised at just how much training instructors at their level undergo. Our main instructors, Beverlee Burke and Amy Prais, are the only instructors in the area to have achieved their 500-level training in yoga. Here, Amy Prais, RYT, shares some of her recent experiences and accomplishments. Amy’s monthly iRest Yoga Nidra meditation class takes place this Wednesday (classroom opens at 5:30 PM). You can see all our regular yoga classes here.

Amy Prais, RYT

Yoga Alliance, a registry of Yoga teachers who meet minimum requirements with certifications from schools with approved syllabuses, recognizes four main designations. The initial certification, which is a prerequisite for all following certifications, is the 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (200 RYT) certification. However, since registering with Yoga Alliance is not mandatory, some Yoga teachers do not go through this basic training. Others do the training, but decide not to register with Yoga Alliance. Other common trainings recognized by Yoga Alliance include Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT) and Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT). Besides the initial 200-hour Yoga Teacher certification and the specialized Children’s Yoga Teacher and Prenatal Yoga Teacher certifications, there is the 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher certification (sometimes also referred to as the 300-hour certification, as the 500 hours include the initial 200-hour basic Yoga Teacher certification, plus an additional 300 hours of advanced training). Yoga Alliance also recognizes teachers at the 200 and 500 level as “Experienced.” To be considered experienced at the 200-hour level, a teacher must have been teaching for 2 years and have 1000 hours of teaching experience. To be considered experienced at the 500 level, a teacher must have been teaching for 4 years and must have 2000 hours of teaching experience (500 of those hours must be since completing the 500-hour training).


Instead of the complexities of teaching advanced poses, I am always asking myself as a teacher: how can I make Yoga more accessible, more pertinent, more helpful?

I completed my 200-hour Yoga Teacher certification in 2014 and my Prenatal Yoga Teacher certification in 2015. I have over 5 years and 2,500 hours of teaching experience. So, I am currently an E-RYT 200 (an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 200-hour level) and a RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher). For the past two years I have been working on my 500-hour Yoga Teacher certification at Prairie Yoga in Lisle, IL. My training consisted of four main modules (totaling 180 hours), anatomy training with Yoga greats Judith Hanson Lasater and Tias Little (54 hours), as well as additional anatomy training with Prairie Yoga Trainers Marinda Stopforth and Linda Troutman (27 hours), and a Tantra Yoga teacher training with Prairie Trainer Tricia Fiske (24 hours). The four main modules consisted of: 1) Teaching Skills, Sequencing and The Student/Teacher Relationship 2) Yoga Philosophy, Yoga History and Meditation 3) Energetics, Pranayama and Ayurveda, and 4) Adaptations: Common Conditions and Special Populations. Besides the reading and homework associated with each module, there were other requirements such as community service, teaching and doing write-ups of 5 private sessions, and a video review of my teaching.

The culminating requirement of my 500-hour Yoga Teacher training was teaching a 9-hour workshop and subsequent thesis. For my workshop I taught a six-class Postpartum Yoga series this past Fall at Creative Therapeutics. This was a natural progression of the Prenatal Yoga class that I teach Saturday mornings at Creative Therapeutics. I began doing Yoga after the birth of my second daughter and it helped me in so many ways. Researching, developing, and teaching the workshop was inspiring and brought back many memories from young motherhood–what an amazing and exhausting time! My 30-page thesis was a little less fun, but I am happy to have completed this final chapter. My 500-hour Advanced Yoga Teacher certificate should be printed in mid-December. Although the 500 is often considered to be “advanced” most 500-hour programs do not necessarily focus of advanced poses. Rather, the trainings often focus on the intricacies of Yoga philosophy, history, pranayama, the subtle body, the sister science of Ayurveda, and improving teaching skills. Instead of the complexities of teaching advanced poses, I am always asking myself as a teacher, how can I make Yoga more accessible, more pertinent, more helpful? Although I already have over 5 years and over 2,500 hours of teaching experience, even after I get my certificate I will have to teach for an additional 500 hours before I am considered by Yoga Alliance to be experienced at the 500-hour level. My new title will be E-RYT 200, RYT 500, RPYT.

I love learning and I am always looking for opportunities to explore my own practice in new ways, as well as exploring options for improving my teaching and finding innovative techniques to help my students. As a lifelong learner, I have already signed up for another Yoga anatomy training with Tias Little in April. Since completing my Level 2 iRest Yoga Nidra guided meditation teacher training this past September, I also began working on my certification for iRest Yoga Nidra, which is about a 2-year process.

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