Study Yoga as a Holistic System

A 15 week in-person immersion
into the deeper principles and timeless spirit of yoga.

200-hour yoga teacher training for dedicated students who
desire personal enrichment 
and/or want to teach.

Hello Student of Yoga,

I thought I’d set down my ideas on our approach to a 200-hr yoga teacher training to help you decide if Denver Yoga Underground is a good match for you.

You may have tried a home practice with online videos or DVDs, maybe studied yoga in college, or in a studio but realized that you were just learning the surface of an ancient system.

The practice may have pulled you through hard times. Many students have come to Denver Yoga Underground after some form of life adversity, such as:

  • Health crisis
  • Addiction
  • Divorce
  • Disconnected from self
  • Traumatic life event
  • Recent move to Denver

Yoga has touched your soul and now you are ready
to take a dive deep and perhaps even teach.

These traits make for a good match for
our 200-hr yoga teacher training:

  • Yoga is not a form of “workout”
  • Interest in yoga, beyond the poses
  • Open to yoga’s spiritual heritage
  • Eager to know yourself more completely
  • Are a school teacher or social worker, see Agents of Good Awards.
  • Desire to teach yoga (in some capacity)
  • Life can be overwhelming. Many people feel trapped, confused, or are in physical pain. Yoga helped you to gain peace and you can help others to do the same.

And we have a special place
in our heart for people who:

  • Drawn to conversations and philosophies that have depth.  You value wonder and mystery equally with “knowing things”
  • Are open, honest and self-reflective and, in so doing, are willing to be open and honest
  • Found at Natural Grocers (Vitamin Cottage), at the Tattered Cover bookstore, dancing, outside, and at meditation and yoga classes
  • Desire a richly supportive community of like-minded seekers
  • Dubious of inordinate materialism
  • Seek balance between tending to your own needs and community support

These traits don’t fit well with
our 200-hr yoga teacher training:

  • Principally want to study yoga as a form of exercise
  • Life is already maxed, another weekly commitment of 12-15 hrs will break something
  • Habitually late, with little regard for the collective learning environment
  • Technology dependent, e.g. impulsively check one’s phone during presentations
  • Have a significant physical health concern beyond the scope of our ability. Inquiries always welcome.

Greetings, my name is Derik Eselius.

Derik Eselius and Brenna Hatami, lead yoga teacher training trainers.

My wife Brenna and I founded the Denver Yoga Underground in 2003.

Personally, I was first introduced to yoga in 1991 while on a rogue trip to India just after high school. I studied asana, learned yoga philosophy, fasted and practiced pranayama and meditation on the shores of the Ganges river.

A whole new world opened up inside of me, and the tone for my adult life was set.  Over the ensuing decades, I studied with world-renowned asana and meditation teachers in the States and India. And completed multiple 200 and 300-hour trainings times to deepen my study.

I received so much benefit and guidance from yoga that I naturally wanted to share it with others and jumped into teaching full time here in Denver in 2001. We present yoga as a traditional and holistic system.

I’ve never subscribed to mainstream consumerism and I ride my bike everywhere.  I haven’t had many jobs that required shoes (I was a lifeguard before turning yoga teacher trainer).

DYU is a safe haven for a diversity of people to study traditional yoga, foster good in themselves, and learn the craft of teaching.

Jeremy Wolf, nationally recognized yoga nidra teacher

“I’ve known Derik for many years through our mutual study with Yogarupa Rod Stryker, and have had the opportunity to teach in his teacher training program.  Derik has been a pillar of traditional yoga in the Denver community for many years. I would definitely recommend his program. “

Jeremy Wolf E-RYT 500​

Nationally recognized yoga nidra expert and city-wide yoga teacher trainer

Tina Porter, Denver based yoga teacher.

“I’ve been teaching in Denver forever and have known Derik and Brenna for just as long. DYU is a rare gem in the city and teaches the true roots of yoga.  I’m so appreciative of their love and dedication.”​  

Tina Porter E-RYT 500
International teacher and conference presenter​

Yoga teacher Sam Mattei with palms joined.

“The Underground does an incredible job of peeling back all the layers of yoga and revealing the deeper practice, on and off of the mat.”

Sam Mattai  E-RYT 500​

International Teacher, Former The River Yoga Studio manager and DYU Grad.

Okay. A 200-hr yoga teacher training is a big commitment
but I think I’m ready to make this a priority

Spring and Fall

(Official dates & info at the bottom)

3250 E. Sixth Ave. 80206

What might a day in the life of the 200-hr yoga teacher training look and feel like?

For specific details about the course design and structure click here.

For a more intimate sketch of what a typical weekend session could look like, open below. Perhaps you can see yourself in this space.

It’s 12:20 on Sunday afternoon….

Imagine entering the heavy front door of our central Denver, historic 1900’s brick building and walking up a flight of stairs; yoga mat tucked under your arm. You gather a blanket and block out of the prop closet and find your space in the studio.

You take a few minutes to stretch out in a restorative pose then converse with your new-found friends.  The underground nature of this training attracts a unique set of practitioners.

Yoga training student in meditation

Class begins….

Just before 12:30, the teacher enters and the din of voices and laughter begins to settle.  After a few silent moments, class commences with the sound of “OM” followed by 5 minutes of silent meditation. Derik, the lead teacher, announces the schedule.

“Today we will begin with a talk on sequencing principles followed by workshopping Vrikshasana (Tree) and Krounchasana (Heron pose).  After that, I will introduce a new pranayama (breathing method), then we will spend about 20 minutes in meditation.”

Sequencing principles and posture workshops….

The hour long sequencing presentation is spot on and you now understand how to use asana in a systematic way for specific purposes. In short, the order of postures is an alchemical-art for self-regulation; and you begin to have a clear vision of how to craft unique experiences for yourself and future students.

After the initial talk, it’s time to move. “Please come to the front of your mat for our Vrikshasana and Krounchasana workshop”, Derik announces.   The in depth, two-hour session flies-by as does the ensuing half hour of pranayama and meditation.


You smile inside as you recall how asana (the poses) and pranayama (breathing) naturally lend themselves to deeper states of meditation. Meditation had previously seemed impossible, now it’s revelatory.

Derik hand draws the sequence you just practiced on the white board to discuss.  More lightbulbs go off.  The rich content of the program is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Time for a break.

Derik Eselius, lead teacher trainer talking with yoga students.

Student teaching…

Everyone returns after 10 minutes to practice student teaching the hand drawn sequence on the board. Derik also shares a specific method to deliver clear cues, which you practice as well. Like meditation, student teaching is coming along nicely. And the exercise comes to a close, time for another break.

Classical theory & community…

You grab some green tea and some fruit from the tea cart and sit next to Josh.  Josh has a knack for yoga philosophy and explains some of the finer aspects of the recent “Yoga Psychology” presentation.  He clarifies many points and you will check the online ‘Student Folder’ to look over the presenter’s notes.

The familiar sound of tingsha bells lets everyone know that the break is over.

Personal experiments….

The six hour day is nearly done and it’s time to get into pairs to discuss your ayurvedic experiments. You team up with Josh to share your experience since giving up sugar, developing a home practice and implementing a routine for better sleep. These three changes have been profound.

Josh shares his experience and you listen attentively.  The gentle sounds of tingshas ring again and you find your seat.  After a few moments of silence, the class closes at 6:30pm with the sound of “OM.”

teacher training students in warrior one pose.

End of the day…

After a few sweet “goodbyes” to your classmates, you lightly trot back down the stairs, out the heavy door and back to your car or bike. When you get home, you make yourself a cup of tea and settle into a growing sense of accomplishment for everything you learned that day.  You look forward to your nighttime routine, getting some deep sleep and the next yoga teacher training session on Tuesday night.

Five Reasons to Do
200-hr Yoga Teacher Training…

I’ll be blunt.

No matter who you do it with, a 200-hr yoga teacher training costs a lot of money, time and asks a lot of you emotionally and spiritually. There are plenty of reasons not to ever do one. But I believe there are also many strong reasons to do one as well:

 One of the biggest benefits of doing a teacher training can be who you become.

You learn how to manage your mind, eliminate distractions and chart a new path of greater peace and fulfillment. You don’t just read about these things, you do them for 3.5 months. Yoga teacher training will put yoga at the forefront of your life.  Practicing yoga on a consistent basis for 3.5 months will forever change how you see yourself and how you relate to the world.

Perhaps you’ve experienced being on a role with your practice, but somehow the wheels came off.  Teacher training puts yoga near the top of the list of priorities.

The yoga training content builds exponentially
as does your practice.

A 60 minutes asana class will only take you so far. Teacher training builds continuously; like a staircase that takes you all the way to the rooftop where you get a complete view of yourself and your unique yogic path.

Amidst the noise of modern-day life, it’s difficult to hear the voice of inner clarity and guidance. There are so many forms of distraction. Yoga helps us to get still, understand ourselves, our unique life path (dharma), and make positive life choices. 

A dharmic life is a far greater measurement of
success at yoga then handstand.

Contrary to a lot of hype, you are not defined by your achievements.  

However large or small your song may be,
you are here to live into your unique destiny,
no more or no less. 

If you bring the spirit of yoga to whatever do: as a parent, as a boss or employee, as a student, as a minister or a school teacher you might just find that, without knowing it, you have become a secret agent of good in the world.

If honest, students sometimes share that they are afraid to teach. They question if they are worthy or “good enough”. Understandable.  Their favorite teacher makes it look so effortless, and they initially struggle to find the words for basic postures; a fine place to start.

Our curriculum gradually walks you through all the steps to become an embodied teacher.  You will see noticeable improvements with each week and your confidence builds steadily.

Many people struggle with having a sense of purpose or contribution. They want to be of service, but maybe overwhelmed as to where to start.  Yoga is a blessing. Being able to teach intelligent classes is also a blessing, for yourself and others. Teaching yoga is a way to express your highest values.

“I can see myself doing this program, seems like a great fit!”

Spring and Fall

(Official dates & info at the bottom)

3250 E. Sixth Ave. 80206

Five Main Benefits You Will Get From
This 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training:

Done well, 200-hr YTT will continue to nourish and inform you for years to come. Here are what I consider to be the major benefits of our particular program.

  • Workshop the heck out of the poses and have dedicated time for ‘experiential’ asana practice as well.
  • Learn how to put asana, pranayama, and meditation together in a way that has a distinct effect and towards a specific end (such as calming or energizing).
  • Discover that you actually can meditate and experience it’s profound benefit.
  • Learn about ancient yogic philosophical principles and how they apply to modern life without compromising their integrity (we did not make this stuff up)
  • Get a nearly 200 page manual with pranayama exercises, meditations, detailed asana instruction, teaching principles and more.
  • Remove the weight of decades of accumulated stress and unconscious fear
  • Reevaluate your priorities, and spend more time doing the things that matter rather engaging in distractions
  • Get a rare opportunity to receive dedicated support and natural inspiration to retool your diet and lifestyle 
  • Feel healthy, grow spiritually
  • Enjoy a culture that is welcoming and supportive of whatever your background
  • Meaningful conversation and sincere sharing
  • Laugh in ways that they may have long since forgotten
  • Many participants remain life long friends and share a special bond
  • Class size is limited to just 24 participants for an optimal blend of classroom chemistry and individual attention
  • Our small and tightly knit staff will deliver a singular coherent message
  • Get veteran advice that will shift the trajectory of your practice into new territory, small adjustments could save you years of trial and error
  • Get access to an online ‘Student Folder’ loaded with powerpoint presentations, study guides, recommended books, sequences, content assimilation exercises and more.
  • Call or consult with our teachers on off-hours should the need arise
  • Receive your 200 hour Yoga Alliance approved teaching certification
  • Learn how to get started with a panel of experts who are already in the field
  • Be introduced to people doing great work in the community and need teachers

DYU grads have gone on to teach in:  businesses, refugee populations, mental health agencies, community/rec centers, seniors, people in recovery, prisons, hospitals, the military, board members for a yoga-related nonprofit, become studio owners, teach in studios, classes for people of color, trauma-sensitive classes, sheriff’s department, athletic clubs and more.

Brian Roy-Garland with hands joined in a yogic gesture.I was looking for a change in life path when I found DYU.  The teacher’s, the community and the content helped me to revision myself and launched me into being a successful teacher. Thank you Underground! I definitely recommend!”

Brian Roy-Garland PT, E-RYT 500​

Lead YTT Anatomy Instructor for Multiple Studios.

Beth Sanchez in a yoga pose with her favorite dog friend“Derik and Brenna are a gift to Denver and hold space for genuine yoga practice.  They approach the practice with reverence, respect, and connection to lineage. I recommend their trainings to anyone seeking both depth and accessibility in yoga practice.”

Beth Sanchez E-RYT 500​

Long-time Denver YTT instructor and 14th generation Coloradan.

“Join fellow seekers on a journey of embodied yoga practice and self discovery en route to becoming a 200-hr certified yoga teacher.”

Spring and Fall

(Official dates & info at the bottom)

3250 E. Sixth Ave. 80206

Frequently Asked Questions:

Yoga is much more than asana.  It is a dedicated system of theories and practices that are designed to bring out the best in you and make you a more compassionate and thoughtful person.  Whether or not you can touch your toes and stick crow pose is secondary to the deeper intent of yoga. More important than your ability to do wheel pose, is your desire and motivation to be a willing student with an open mind.

That said, our ability to accommodate those with significant structural or health issues is limited. We are available to discuss your needs if you have any concerns.

Our asana segments stems from Hatha Yoga.

Hatha Yoga is a much larger system (beyond the poses) and is the genesis of all forms of asana we see today, from power to restorative.  Hatha can be applied in a variety of ways from flowing to more stationary approaches. Hatha Yoga also includes breathing methods, meditation, postures, theory, diet and lifestyle. It’s much more than a label on the class schedule.

Hatha Yoga is not a measure of intensity (and it can be intense) but rather a much larger and holistic orientation towards integration and spiritual discovery.

Ideally you can attend every session, however, we recognize that obligations come up, trips happen and sometimes people get sick. DYU’s yoga teacher training has 12 bonus hours built into it and.  You can miss up to 12 hours of class time and still receive your certificate. We also offer up to 5 hours of extra credit opportunities. In theory, you could miss up to 17 hours of class time, do some extra credit, and still receive your certificate.  

Occasionally people to attend virtually or sessions are recorded, however this is the exception rather than the rule. 

Some people enroll in a training because they know they want to teach and others just want to deepen their practice, the training will accommodate both.  When you graduate and go out into the community, your skill as a teacher says a lot about the school you went to. Naturally (and selfishly) we want you to excel and have a dedicated and in depth student teaching curriculum.

Denver Yoga Underground is best suited for those who want to teach in the community, in their work place, with specific populations or anywhere else yoga may be needed.  We provide some resources and connections to get you started and it will take some leg work on your end to get started, regardless of whose program you take.

Yoga is an ever-expanding industry. You can find yoga in prisons and preschools, in corporate boardrooms and refugee centers, in professional sports teams and physical rehabilitation centers.  Yoga can be adapted to every environment. To get started, people often combine their particular passion or profession with yoga practice. How about bilingual yoga? Yoga for artists anyone? Yoga for school teachers or social workers?

Some people enter the program with a clear idea of where they want to teach upon graduation, they may even have a gig lined up.  Others will have to spend more time looking around for an opportunity. Good ways to get started include; get on sublists, introduce yourself to teachers and studio owners personally, have your certification and insurance ready to go.  There are lots of volunteer opportunities out there. Most importantly, get started right after graduation (don’t wait!) even with friends in your living room or at the park.

Examples of where DYU’s students have gone on to teach: working with the homeless, at recreation centers, working with seniors, in jails, hospitals, social work settings, hospice, in corporate environments, their place of employment, studios and many other places.

We will also introduce you to a panel of DYU’s graduates and studio owners who will give you their perspective on getting started. We also have a dedicated session with Yoga for the People to help you get started.

Some Underground graduates have gone on to teach full time professionally however they are the minority.  Full-Time teachers invariable went on to increase their education and or specialize in a certain area.  I would caution people against expecting that this to be an immediate sole means of livelihood and would be dubious of a training that told you otherwise.

We have a wealth of props and mats that you can use.  You will also need a notepad and to purchase some books.  I suggest using thriftbooks.com. The total estimated cost for books is $40-50

  • The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad
  • The Heart of Yoga  by T.K.V Desikachar – Read before the start of the training
  • Meditation and Its Practice by Swami Rama
  • Bhagavad Gita, a new translation by Stephen Mitchell
  • Ashtanga Yoga Primer by Baba Hari Dass

Part of our mission, is to “serve communities in need.” We aspire to recognize and empower those at the forefront of the community, those who work with young and vulnerable populations.

To support our mission and the greater welfare, we offer “Agents of Good Awards” to a limited number of school teachers and social workers to provide yoga classes to their students/clients or to their colleagues.  You can find more details about this offering here.

200-hr Yoga Teacher Training Calendars


Training Days & Times:

  • Tuesday: 6-9pm
  • Thursday: 6-9pm
  • Saturdays (Bi-Monthly: 9-6pm)
    * See additional dates and breaks below.

Training Dates:

Aug. (20,22,24) (27,29,31

Sept. *1) (3,5) (10,12,14) (17,19) (24,26,28)

Oct. (1,3) (8,10,12) (15,17) (22,24,26,*27) (29,31)

Nov. (5,7,9) (12,14) (19,21,23) (26,–)

Dec. (5,7,9)

Additional Dates and Breaks:
* Sundays: Sept. 1 | Oct. 27 | (9am-6pm)
* Breaks: Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving Break)


Training Days & Times:

  • Tuesday: 6-9pm
  • Thursday: 6-9pm
  • Saturdays (Bi-Monthly: 9-6pm)
    * See additional dates below.

Training Dates:

Jan. (23,25) (28, 30

Feb. (4,6,8,*9) (11,13) (18,20,22) (25,27)

Mar. (4,6,8) (11,13) (18,20,22) (25,27) 

April (1,3,5,*6) (8,10)  (15,17,19) (22,24) (29,

May 1,3) (6,8,10)

Additional Dates:
* Sundays: Feb. 9 & April 6 (9-6pm)

A Bit About Our Pricing:

Standard Tuition



* Early Bird Discount II – Save $200!
Exp. July 19th, 11:59pm

  • – Pay in Full –
  • o Save additional $100
  • – Deposit & Balance –
  • o Initial $395 deposit now
    o Balance due 30 days before start date
    o Balance due the two days before the training starts once inside of the 30 day window
  • – Deposit & Payment Plan –
  • o Initial $395 deposit now
    o Four $612.50 x4 installments
    o Due 1st day of every month of training (x4 mon.)
    o $50 Payment Plan Fee (factored into the above).

Bonus 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training Material!

  • Gain access to the “Online Student Folder”, loaded with exercises, assignments overhead projector presentations, study guides, and a sequence library.
  • Free and low-cost extra credit opportunities such as: ayurvedic cooking class, yantra painting, a blessing ceremony, musical events, a gong bath and field trips to a local temple
  • Access to teachers outside of class through text and email

Denver Yoga Underground is Guaranteed.

Participating in a 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training is a big investment of time and money. You may feel like some sense of risk in going with a school like DYU with limited opportunity to study in advance. We get it. 

So I am willing to take some of that sense of risk off of you and onto myself. If for whatever reason you decide to withdraw from the program within the first two weeks, we will refund your tuition minus the $395 deposit.

If you are eager to learn traditional yoga practice and to share it with others, click the Enroll Now button below and submit your application today.

“I resonate with nearly everything I see here. I think it’s a match.
Time to take the next step and complete the application.
Deep breath, this is really happening.”

Derik Eselius in malasana in front of a Denver churchThe application will help you to clarify your aspirations for the program and strengthen your intent.  It will also give us a chance to learn about you, what you love, your history and vision. We will review your application within two days and give you a personal follow up call .

P.S. We only conduct a few times a year and demand is high. The benefits will go far beyond your formal tenure with us, and will unfold for the rest of your life.