Danielle Day's Open Up! Yoga Teacher Training with Danielle Day
"Seattle's Best Yoga Teacher" 2015, Seattle Yoga News Danielle Zissou
Top 5 Finalist,
Danielle asks that you email her to inquire
Your Best Bet for YTT in the nation, Danielle Day is a 500 Hour E-RYT Yoga Alliance certified Yoga teacher and Yoga teacher trainer living on the north shore of Lake Washington near Seattle. The founder and lead trainer of Open Up! Yoga Teacher Training, Danielle has led over 50 sessions of her 5-Star, top-rated 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certified program, Open Up! Yoga Teacher Training, (Yoga Alliance RYS #117218, est. 2013).
Throughout her career, Danielle has trained well over 500 of the region’s best-loved early-career Yoga teachers since 2009, the majority of which have gone on to teach in local yoga studios, fitness centers, gyms, corporate wellness centers, schools, Native American Tribal Communities, Pilates/Barre and Crossfit gyms, MMA training facilities, private home yoga studios, winery and agri-tourism businesses, and both recreational and professional sports teams. Many of Danielle’s graduates have also gone on to open their own Yoga studios and successful Yoga businesses. Danielle is an expert Yoga teacher, having taught over 11,000 documented hours of public Yoga instruction in the region’s finest Yoga studios and gyms since 2003. Voted a Top-Five Finalist in Seattle Yoga News’ Seattle’s Best Yoga Teacher, 2015, Danielle has also been certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, The American Council on Exercise, USA Triathlon, and Body Training Systems’ Body Pump and Body Flow. Danielle served as a personal trainer with the 20/20 Lifestyles Program at PRO Sports Club, in Bellevue, Washington, where she was a finalist for Personal Trainer of the Year 2004. Since 2003, Danielle has taught Yoga in the Pacific Northwest alongside her career as an Ironman Triathlete and USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach. Danielle holds a Bachelor degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work, from Eastern Washington University, where she started her life with one goal: To earn her living helping people take their dreams and make them reality.
Danielle Zissou-Day addresses the click-bait piece titled: "The Yoga Alliance is Ruining Yoga"
Thank you for reading, as this is my opportunity to showcase the priorities of my program!
The click-bait piece is in bold, and my responses are in italics.
When I started practicing yoga, I never imagined that it would become as popular as it is now. I also never imagined that the majority of yoga classes happening these days would be a string of risky tricks taught by minimally educated teachers, all done to a rocking sound track.
Danielle Day, E-RYT 500, founder of Open Up! Yoga Teacher Training by Danielle Day, Yoga Alliance RYS #117218 wishes to respond.
First off, the "Risky Tricks" you mention are indeed an issue. In my RYS, we emphasize 5 Facets of A brilliant Class (proprietary learning objectives). One of these facets is “Safe Transitions” and another is “All levels all the time, in real time”.
We take a stand on “risk” by teaching functional anatomy. For example, when changing planes of motion from one posture to another, we teach appropriate joint actions, in the body’s own path of least resistance. Our program emphasizes healthy movement patterns like hip hinge when coming up from a forward fold, rather than rolling up, as this is the riskiest move you can make. We take a stand against unsupported forward flexion and we adjust leverage in accordance with the student's body. We teach people and not just poses.
As far as a rocking soundtrack, you bet we do. Nobody wants music that puts them to sleep when it’s Go-Time. But, when it’s Slow-Time, or Flow-time, we have music selections that are universally appropriate and support the activities at hand. We choreograph isotonic moves set to rocking tracks; and use ambient sources to chill out when that’s what’s going on. Both are best!
And, while there’s a lot of benefit to moving intelligently through an athletic vinyasa sequence, when we move without any sense of anchoring, we are just feeding into the neurosis of our culture: to get the next thing.
The goal is not to distract people from their suffering and monkey minds; but to hold space for their transformation. We seek not to “kick their asses”, but to lovingly bear witness with patience and courage, the students’ march through life’s rich pageant. We can’t help students deal with life’s ups and downs, if we cannot help them find equanimity in their practice. Rather than feeding into their neuroses, we hold space for the students to explore their relationship with craving and aversion; while helping them to develop patience and grace. We encourage “friendship with the breath they are on now,” as a way to build the muscle of calm serenity in the crazy pace of modern life. Good teachers meet their students where they are, with give and take. Savvy teachers give them a little bit of the distractions they crave, while all long, helping them build stillness, calm and patience into their practice. You may pull them in the door with the choreographed buns and abs sequences, but you help them to build their lifetime yoga practice with meditation and nurturing their relationship with their breath. Fostering not dependence on their fancy pants teachers, but deepening the knowledge of Who They Really Are.
While yoga practice has been documented to offer many profound benefits, it’s also producing an enormous amount of injury. As excerpted in the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer William Broad stated in his brutally honest book, The Science of Yoga, “A growing body evidence supports (the) contention that, for many people, a number of commonly taught yoga poses are inherently risky…The problems ranged from relatively mild injuries to permanent disabilities…Surveys by the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed that the number of emergency-room admissions related to yoga, after years of slow increases, was rising quickly.”
Yeah, because the number of people doing yoga is rising.
I welcome the increasing public awareness that a platform like the New York Times provides, but I didn’t need to see Broad’s data to know about the growing problem. I’ve been hearing about it frequently from beginning yoga students for years now. An all too common scenario was shared with me in Washington, DC a couple months ago. A beginning yoga student told me that he fell out of the very first headstand he’d ever done because there was no instruction beyond, “If you want to do a headstand, we have a few minutes for that now.” He looked around the room and tried to imitate what he saw. Once up, he fell to the side on a suddenly, sharply bent neck. Fortunately, he only suffered a few days of neck pain. But, injury from such a fall could have been, and often is, much more serious. Headstand, a tremendously beneficial pose, is also terribly risky. And it’s hard to teach well. Doing so requires years of practice and much education. But, sadly, “Do a headstand if you want to,” is the norm for beginning yoga teachers now.
I’m especially interested in addressing this point of “Go ahead and do a headstand”.
In our tradition at Open Up! Yoga TT, we emphasize that there are 3 different venues for teaching yoga, and our new teachers graduate ready to teach all 3.
1.) The 1:1 private session, in which a student is 100% supported with hands-on adjustments with the teacher right there, fully knowledgeable about safety and the student’s current abilities.
2.) The Workshop setting, in which a small number of students and an appropriate ratio of ordained teacher-helpers are on hand to mindfully teach the tricks, tips and strategies of the fancy pants poses.
3.) The Class. “All levels, all the time in real time,” as we teach in my program, emphasizes that we are not here to teach any fancy pants poses in real time, rather to hold space for students doing them, practicing them and learning in real time. Our new yoga teachers come around to spot new students and to encourage the growth and exploration of practicing all poses, in real time. We do not stop the flow of the class to demonstrate; rather we hold space for the people for whom its in their practice to do inversions, to have at it.
Any experienced yoga teacher will tell you; most of our job is encouraging exploration to take poses further. It is all you can do most days to get people to try and attempt new things. It is the very rare exception to have a new student just go for a headstand. And any decent yoga teacher is insulted by the insinuation that we just carelessly say, “okay do a handstand…” In our RYS, we teach teachers who hold space for the inversions, with dialogue catering to all levels. When we spot students, we narrate what is happening, encouraging exploration of all levels all the time, in real time. No demos while students just drink water and watch the teacher perform. (We have the internet for this).
We wholeheartedly affirm the advanced students' right to do any posture they please, so long as they pose no threat to themselves or the other students. It is our privilege to hold space for their practice. They came to class, they paid the drop-in, they are on their mats with us looking out for them. When else are they supposed to do a headstand, anyway? Later in the day at Costco?
It’s not just the fancy upside-down poses that require a well-educated teacher to be taught well. The populations we are teaching, for the most part, sit in chairs all day and rarely lift anything heavier than an iPad. Then they come to a yoga class where, for an hour or more, they flow quickly through poses, bearing weight in an unfamiliar way on their wrists, spines, and knees. It’s tragic that these poses, that can do so much to benefit sedentary bodies and racing minds, are instead hurting these weak joints and deepening an already troubling familiarity with, and desire for, getting to the next thing- the exact malady that yoga was invented to help. In fact, teaching any of the poses well requires an understanding that comes from deep study and long-term practice.
And at Open Up! Yoga Teacher Training, we teach this very idea. The bodies of the 21st century need to be taught using safe body movement patterns that fit the body they are in. We teach yoga teachers how to safely support all the bodies, in all their biomechanic individualities.
Broad writes, “Yoga’s exploding popularity — the number of Americans doing yoga has risen from about 4 million in 2001 to what some estimate to be as many as 20 million in 2011 — means that there is now an abundance of studios where many teachers lack the deeper training necessary to recognize when students are headed toward injury.”
And the last book he wrote was about Star Wars, wasn’t it?
In a typical flow-based yoga class these days, there is little or no instruction, often led by a teacher with a great personality who plays uplifting music. Not only is the event in no way representative of the vastly positive potential of yoga, it’s an embarrassing charade that looks kind of like something called yoga that one saw in a book once or twice. But, it’s really not the fault of the teachers. They are only doing what they’ve been taught.
Teachers who embody this vibration are not hired by the quality instructors we train, who then go on to open their own studios.
Nope, the above description sounds like the very styles I teach against.
YES, the Seattle yoga scene is full of them; I have trained a lot of them, too, and they went on to pick up bad habits on the street. We cannot dictate what they do once we certify them; but God help me, all I do all day long and have for over 50 plus 200 Hour RYT sessions is to coach people against this showy style.
Nearly all of these inadequately trained yoga teachers have been educated at or above the minimum standard that is almost universally accepted by those who hire yoga teachers. So, why don’t these teachers know how to teach an authentic and safe yoga practice?
The problem is teachers who never take additional training! Or worse, they stop being yoga students themselves.
And my suspicion is they start teaching, then go on social media to grow their careers, their brands….but not their practices of teaching safe, high-quality yoga.
The problem lies with the body who sets the industry standard for yoga teacher training. The organization that does that is Yoga Alliance, the world’s largest registry of yoga schools and teachers.
Since 1999, minimum standards for yoga teacher training have been authored and administered by Yoga Alliance. According to Pam Weber, their Director of Credentialing, Yoga Alliance currently has about 40,000 yoga teachers and 3,000 yoga schools registered as being in compliance with their standards, far more than any other such organization. To the untrained eye, they seem to be the gold standard for yoga teacher training standards. But, the standard that they set for yoga teacher training is nowhere near adequate. And it’s ending up with a lot of people getting hurt, and far more people walking away from their first yoga classes disappointed and wondering what all the hype is about. While Yoga Alliance is making earnest efforts to improve, it’s too little, but it may not be too late. If we want to make a change, it’s going to take us standing up and saying no.
Or you could simply find the best quality RYS, taught with the best results you can find, such as our program. We have led over 50 Yoga Alliance certified 200 RYT sessions since 2013.
Ask yourself, who is the Director?
Do they have any training in Anatomy and Physiology beyond their RYT? Since 2003, Danielle Day has been certified by the American College of Sports Medicine , The American Council on Exercise, USAT Triathlon, and the exclusive 20/20 Lifestyles Program at PRO Sports club, Bellevue Washington. She’s been a social worker, a personal trainer, a coach, and has taught yoga teachers since 2009; forming her own tradition in 2013. Danielle has taught yoga professionally since 2003 and has documented over 11,000 hours of public instruction.
She owned her own Seattle yoga studio, has directed YTT for HYI, and has mentored or coached nearly every other yoga teacher on the eastside of Lake Washington, from Bellingham to Tri Cities, Washington.
How many graduates go on to teach? How many go on to open their own studios?
Danielle has taught 500-plus TT’s, (as lead director, or team faculty) SO many graduates who go on to open such great studios as Revive Hot Yoga, Eleven Exhale, Pure 8 Hot Yoga, The Elephant Room School of Peace and Yoga, Hot Yoga Laurelhurst/ Fruition Yoga, Elev8 Yoga, Be One Yoga, PrAna Yoga, Hot Yoga Renton, I-Yoga, Bliss Yoga Monroe, Bent Yoga, Glow Yoga Chelan, Studio Barre and Lounge, Balance Hot Yoga, Sanctuary Yoga Pullman, Seattle Yoga Lounge, and so many more. Countless small businesses and yoga companies have Danielle’s efforts to thank.
How many sessions has the lead trainer taught?
Danielle has led over 50 sessions as the lead trainer. It’s important to know if you’re a guinea pig, helping your director learn on the job!
Or better yet, search for her program on the Yoga Alliance website to read 161 of her 5-star reviews. and counting!
Open up! Yoga Teacher Training with Danielle Day, Yoga Alliance RYS #118217, est July 2013
is the only yoga teacher training program that prepares you in real time to be Show-Ready Day One after graduating. You won't read tons of books, or write tons of papers, and do tons of homework. What you will do is practice tons of teaching. Effective teaching! Every session, every time, in 200 hours, this program puts you up there, front and center, helping you learn to cue safe, effective and delightful yoga classes. With our proprietary system, you will master "The 5 Facets of a Brilliant Class" as codified by Danielle after years and years, training hundreds and hundreds of the region's best-loved professional yoga teachers....and many studio owners!
Since 2013, Danielle has become the region's most experienced Yoga Teacher Trainer, honing her program and refining her system in over 46 of her 200 RYT sessions. That's 8-10 sessions a year, for 4-24 students, since 2013. There is no trainer in the Pacific Northwest with more experience training top teachers than Danielle Day.
Ask the studio owners who audition her graduates!
Recently, Danielle's former employer auditioned a recent graduate who did so well, he told her he had less feedback for her than for his senior teachers.
"Bottom line, Danielle turns out teachers who can actually teach!"--Debbie Dixon, owner, 7 Hot Yoga, 2014.
In addition to training students of every level,
Danielle has personally trained the studio owners of several Washington State studios, either as the sole E-RYT, or in formats owners additionally needed to learn.
Graduates are so prepared to go on to teach, many open their own studios!
These studios include the new yoga studios Bent Yoga Co. and Bliss Yoga in Monroe, The Studio Barre and Lounge in Black Diamond, PrAna Yoga in Puyallup, a "co-owner" of Elev8 Hot Yoga, the owners of 11 Exhale Yoga and the Lotus Pad Yoga in Tri-Cities, the owners of Hot Yoga Renton, Sanctuary Yoga in Pullman, Ohm Yoga in Lake Stevens, and the Owner of You(R) Hot Yoga in Arlington who started her program, and like all the aforementioned others, opened his doors immediately after...going on to hire Danielle's graduates, immediately upon finishing her program.
Danielle Day has taught more than 16,000 hours of yoga since 2003 in all the finest studios in the region. Her teaching experience also includes over 15 years in the fitness industry teaching Yoga, Spinning, Circuit Training and Personal Training as well as the yoga formats power vinyasa flow, hatha, yin and Yoga Sculpt--the program she personally created for HYI in 2010.
A former social worker and two-time Ironman Triathlete, Danielle learned anatomy, physiology and nutrition while working at PRO Sports Club in Bellevue. While training triathletes and clinical weight loss patients in the 20/20 Lifestyles program, Danielle learned the industry's most cutting-edge research. It is through this lens, that she teaches intelligently and handily.
Danielle began teaching Yoga in 2003, alongside the other group fitness programs she'd created over the years including Extreme Body Makeover and Cardio Blast. for PRO Sports Club. She began as a BTS certified teacher in Renton at Dana's Body Zone, circa 2002 in formats Body Flow, Body Pump and Spinning. In 2006, Danielle went on to acquire her 200 Hour RYT at 8 Limbs in 2006, and upgraded to E-RYT in 2012, as the Director of Hot Yoga Inc. Yoga Teacher Training program, training around 100 teachers in ten sessions from 2012-13, producing top teachers and studio owners of Pure 8, Glow Yoga Chelan and even "Studio Pure" in Argentina, to name a few.
Danielle recently completed her 500 Hour RYT at Twist, in Edmonds, grateful to have learned Ayurveda, Yin Yoga, and Restorative Yoga in their program, studying under Janell Hartmann and the beloved Jen Mitchell.
Danielle has trained 500 people and counting from ages 11 to 72 of all abilities. As a former social worker (1993-2001), Danielle is well-trained to help people "start where they are". These are people just like you, starting where they are! No matter what level of practitioner you are, Danielle will guide you to teach high energy, safe and delightful yoga classes.
Her "Performance Element" focus highlights tons of practical experience in the teacher training environment. Since 2013, Danielle has been teaching people how to develop the inner yoga teacher within, preparing them to be "show ready" from day one. Ask anybody in the region. Chances are, they have taken Danielle's classes, or have taken classes from someone she has trained.
While many programs merely lecture and offer a lot of philosophy and theory, Danielle's program puts you center stage from the first hours of training, honing your skills, revealing the glorious teacher that was inside you all along. Every session of TT is about you up in front, working on your voice, tone, tempo, timing and delivery of intelligent, inspiring instruction.
Danielle's core curriculum emphasizes 5 learning objectives. When you graduate you will be able to 1.) Teach a 60 minute class, divided into three distinct 20 minute segments: Warmup, Challenging, and Floor sequences, in both the Hatha and Power Yoga Traditions, as well as Yin and Sculpt. 2.) Utilize safe transitions, emphasizing active dialogue. 3.) Use music that facilitates the mind-body experience and enhances the activities at hand. 4.) Adjust yoga students energetically, verbally and physically as are appropriate, welcome and empowering to the student. 5.) Teach all levels, all the time, in real time.
Before choosing any teacher training program, ask them how much actual time you will spend teaching to the entire TT group. Ask what percentage go on to teach in studios. Ask how many have gone on to open their own studios. Ask if the teacher training program represents a small intimate program with a big circle of friends- networking you to the vast opportunities in the yoga community. 90% of success is really showing up ready to do your best AND who you know!
If you really want to be able to teach when you graduate, call Danielle right now!