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Masala Restorative Yoga Teachers' Immersion

    Section Index

    What Participants Will Learn

    The Masala Gentle/Restorative Yoga Teachers' Immersion is a 24-hour comprehensive intensive for yoga teachers who have successfully completed a Yoga Alliance registered 200-hour Basic Teachers' Training. The Immersion utilizes knowledge drawn from a wide range of principles, practices, tools and techniques, and encourages critical thinking skills, creativity and exploration, freeing the teacher or practitioner from reliance upon one strict methodology or sequence of postures. The Immersion is offered to small groups, or as private instruction. A schedule of mutually agreed upon dates and times is established once an application is received. An immersion by its very nature is designed to be intensive, and must be completed within 90 days from the start date. A Certificate of Completion is earned after successful completion of the immersion.

    Participants will gain practical experience, expertise and technical skills enabling them to support themselves and a wide range of students, including prenatal students and those who must modify and adapt the postures. Immersion sessions will include postural and breathing practices, discussion, lecture, teaching practicum, feedback and processing, and information on:

    • Utilizing a wide range of props
    • Sequencing guidelines (Vinyasa Krama) applied to postural and breathing practices
    • Principles of Asana/Pratikriyasana (pose/counterpose) drawn from the Viniyoga system
    • Gentle breath and movement dynamics appropriate for Restorative Yoga
    • Alignment Principles applicable to Restorative Yoga
    • Assisted stretching and adjustment techniques appropriate to Restorative/Passive Yoga practice
    • Sanskrit terms commonly associated with yogic practices
    • Teaching technique, methodology and style

    During immersion sessions, participants will be asked to comment, question, demonstrate and teach, and to integrate Restorative Yoga into their personal practice. Upon completion of the program, participants will be able to create, guide and practice a customized Restorative Yoga practice for themselves and others.

    Immersion Location

    All sessions take place at Masala Yoga in Caldwell, NJ.

    Attendance Requirements

    Attendance for the full program is required in order to receive a Certificate of Completion of Masala Restorative Yoga Teachers' Immersion. Participants are expected to arrive on time, and remain for the full session. No late arrivals or early departures. Cell phones are not permitted in the immersion space. The hours may be applied towards Yoga Alliance Continuing Education RYT renewal standards, and/or towards the 100 hours of required teaching for 500-hour RYT status.


    Tuition is $750, and is due before the first night of the immersion. Payment plans may be arranged. Payment plans incur a $25 administrative fee for each payment. The cost of the Masala Gentle/Restorative Yoga Teachers' Immersion Manual and other materials is included in the tuition. The cost of books and props is not included.


    Candidates for admission into the Masala Restorative Yoga Teachers Immersion must submit an Application, Letter of Recommendation and a copy of their Teachers' Training Certificate of Completion, along with a deposit check in the amount of $150 payable to Ellen Pfeffer. Applications should be mailed to Ellen Pfeffer, Masala Yoga, 38 Evergreen Drive, North Caldwell, NJ 07006. Applications are available on-line, at http://www.masalayoga.com, or by mail, by request. For more information, call Ellen at 973-226-4455.

    Admission Requirements

    Candidates for admission into the Masala Restorative Yoga Teachers' Immersion are required to have successfully completed a Yoga Alliance registered 200-hour Basic Teachers' Training. Teaching experience is helpful, but not a requirement. A self-guided Hatha Yoga practice is helpful, but not a requirement. Applicants will have a brief telephone interview with the teacher to demonstrate understanding and proficiency in teaching the following basic techniques of Hatha Yoga practice:

    • 3-part Yogic breath (Dirgham Shvasam)
    • Ujjayi breath, including a description of how to create the sound in the throat, and the distinguishing characteristics associated with Ujjayi
    • Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath)
    • Alignment Principles from any alignment-based Hatha Yoga system
    • Fundamental postural set-up techniques, from the ground up
    • Fundamental principles relating to breath/movement techniques
    • A brief description of how the diaphragm works in relation to the breath
    • A brief description of the Six Movements of the Spine

    Required Props & Pre-Immersion Reading Requirements

    Without exception, all participants must obtain the required props and books prior to the beginning of the Immersion. Pre-training reading requirements must be completed prior to the first session. Props and books must be brought to the first session. Failure to obtain the required materials precludes participation in the Immersion.

    • Yoga sticky mat (toolsforyoga.com - 1-888-678-9642)
    • 9-foot quick release yoga strap (www.yogaprops.net). Do not substitute with any other strap.
    • 2 Black Foam yoga blocks (www.yogaprops.net). Do not substitute with any other block.
    • 2 Mexican-style cotton yoga blankets (Diamond (MD), www.bheka.com, 1-800-366-4541)
    • 2 rectangular bolsters filled with kapok or cotton (www.bheka.com, 1-800-366-4541)
    • Relax & Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times, by Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.
    • Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, by B.K.S. Iyengar
    • Back Care Basics, by Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D.
    • The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama, by Richard Rosen
    • The Heart of Yoga, by T.K.V. Desikachar (includes Desikachar's Yoga Sutra interpretation)

    Recommended Reading

    • Yoga for Wellness, by Gary Kraftsow
    • Yoga for Pregnancy, by Sandra Jordan
    • Yoga for Transformation, by Gary Kraftsow
    • Yin Yoga, by Paul Grilley
    • Yoga: The Spirit & Practice of Moving into Stillness, by Erich Schiffmann
    • Any or all of Donna Farhi's books

    About the Teacher

    Ellen is a passionate and dedicated student of the Yoga tradition. She has studied and practiced with Raji Thron (Yoga Synthesis ™), Erich Schiffmann (Advanced Teacher Training), Dharma Mittra (Classical Hatha Yoga), T.K.V. Desikachar (Breath-centered Yoga), Angela Farmer, Richard Freeman (Ashtanga Vinyasa), Donna Farhi, Joseph LePage (Integrative Yoga Therapy), John Friend, Shiva Rea, Kali Ray (TriYoga ™) Max Strom, Aadil Palkhivala (Iyengar), and other respected teachers.

    Ellen's Vinyasa approach uses breathing in relationship to movement and stillness as the foundation of yoga practice. She interweaves elements of active, gentle, passive and Restorative Yoga with intuitive awareness and alignment principles to create a unique and fulfilling yoga experience.

    Ellen is particularly adept at modifying and adapting yoga practice to the individual, and applies these skills to people with physical limitations or disorders, including those with high blood pressure, M.S., stroke, hip or knee replacements or other musculoskeletal problems.

    Ellen developed the Masala Yoga Gentle/Restorative Teachers' Immersion, which goes above and beyond what is taught in basic yoga teacher trainings. Included in these immersions are deeper themes and practices, such as pranayama, meditation, mantra, creative sequencing, developing critical thinking skills, and how to modify and adapt to the needs of the individual.

    In June 2004, Ellen completed a Restorative Yoga Teachers' Training with Sudha Carolyn Lundeen at Kripalu, in Lenox, MA. In May 2006, she participated in Aadil Palkhivala's Intermediate Teachers' Training, in Bellevue, WA. Most recently, Ellen completed Raji Thron's Yoga Synthesis ™ Advanced Teachers' Training. She holds certifications from Yoga Synthesis ™, Shri Yogi Dharma Mittra and Kripalu Yoga.