Study Yoga as a Holistic System

A 15 week (spring, summer or fall) In person immersion
into the deeper principles and timeless spirit of yoga.

For dedicated students who
desire personal enrichment 
and/or want to teach.

*Note: calendar & tuition at bottom of this page.


If you are looking into yoga teacher training in the Denver area, more than likely you’re drawn to deepen your practice, beyond simply poses, or even becoming a certified instructor. I thought I’d set down my ideas on yoga and our approach to teacher training to help you decide if our school 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 very surface of yoga.

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

Many students have shown up in our classes having faced some form of life adversity and yoga has proven to be a central pillar of their healing. I’m guessing you have your own story.

Whether it be:

  • A health crisis
  • Pivotal life choice (such as a divorce, or leaving a job)
  • A traumatic life event
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Recently moved to Denver and looking to connect with a community
  • Desire for spiritual growth and direction
  • Yoga has pulled you through hard times

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

You can read more about our point of view and philosophy here but we thought we might also share a few words about past ideal students, and just a few of the many traits that make for the best match. Perhaps you might see yourself in them.

  • You aren’t drawn to yoga as a fad, hell-bent on sticking crow pose or getting a ‘workout’. You are not in it for the chic pants.
  • You have a genuine interest in yoga, beyond the poses. And open to yoga’s spiritual heritage.
  • You are willing and eager to know yourself more completely and be inwardly resourced in the face of challenges in life.
  • You want to teach yoga (in some capacity). You know that 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.

From experience, these traits don’t make for a good fit:

  • People who are not interested in introspection and just want the yoga teacher training certification
  • Principally want to study yoga as a form of exercise, and no interest in the entire scope of yoga, including spiritual or personal growth
  • Habitually late, and have minimal regard for the collective learning environment
  • Are better suited for a luxury cruise liner than being on a sail boat working side by side with their peers actively contributing to complete the journey together
  • Dependent on technology and could not envision a class, a 10-minute break, or even shavasana without checking their phone
  • Have a significant physical health concern beyond the scope of our ability to attend to. Inquiries about your needs are 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 (then Axis Yoga) 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 entire adult life was set.  Over the ensuing decades, I studied with world-renowned asana and meditation teachers and completed multiple 200 and 300-hour trainings, and returned to India many 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. I am committed to presenting 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).

I created the Underground as a safe haven for a diversity of people who may prefer
to practice outside of a conventional studio setting and value a service mindset. 

I believe that we each have a purpose. Life circumstances lead us to understand our role and temperament more fully.  All experiences, whether “positive” or “negative” are an opportunity to develop our character.

Though it can be hard to recognize at times, the Universe is ultimately a safe and benevolent place.  Yoga practice aids in that recognition. It is also a sound foundation from which to teach.

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 yoga teacher training is a big commitment
but I think I’m ready to make this a priority

Spring, Summer and Fall

(Official dates & info at the bottom)

3250 E. Sixth Ave. 80206

The Three Main Reasons To Do
A Yoga Teacher Training…

Yoga teacher training is a significant investment, requires dedicated time and asks a lot of you emotionally and spiritually. There are plenty of reasons not to ever do one. But I also believe there are seven strong reasons to participate in a training. Here are the three main ones:

Reason #1: Adios Sporadic Practice. Hello Momentum.

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

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.

Reason #2: Find and Live Your Dharma.

Dharma means ‘your unique purpose’ (among other things).  Amidst the noise of modern-day life, it’s difficult to hear the voice of inner guidance.  Yoga helps us to get still and clear enough to understand ourselves and our unique life path.

Living a dharmic life is a far greater measurement of our
success at yoga than our ability to do a handstand.  

After 3.5 months, you might find that you have become the source of your own happiness. You can manage your mind, eliminate distractions and chart a new path of greater peace and fulfillment.

Reason #3: Learn to Teach. 

Many people struggle with having a sense of purpose or contribution.  Yoga is a blessing. Being able to teach well rounded and compelling classes is also a blessing, for yourself and others.

The yoga training content builds exponentially
as does your practice.

What might a day in the life of
training look and feel like?

Yoga teacher training students discussing their practice

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.

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

Yoga training student in meditation

“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), we will spend about 20 minutes in 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. The rich content of the program is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Derik continues; “Then we will do a student teaching exercises for finding and expressing your voice. Finally, we will get into pairs to check in on your ayurvedic experiments.”

Derik Eselius, lead teacher trainer talking with yoga students.

The sequencing presentation is spot on and you are finally able to make sense of why some classes feel so much better than others.


You now understand how to use asana in a systematic way for specific purposes.  After a 10 minute break, Derik invites everyone to get back to the mat.

“Please come to the front of your mat for our Vrikshasana and Krounchasana workshop”  The two-hour session flies by as does the half-hour of pranayama and meditation. Everyone reviews the hand-drawn sequence on the whiteboard to discuss how the class was put together.  More lightbulbs go off. Time for another break.

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

The familiar sound of tingsha bells lets everyone know that break is over and that it’s time to get in groups and do student teaching exercises.  Like meditation, student teaching is coming along nicely.

The five hour day is nearly done and it’s time to get in pairs and share how your ayurvedic experiments are going. You team up with Josh to report on the changes you’ve experienced since giving up sugar, developing a home practice and implementing a routine for better sleep.

teacher training students in warrior one pose.

These three simple 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.”

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 another full day of yoga teacher training the next day.

Group of yoga teacher training students.

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

Spring, Summer and Fall

(Official dates & info at the bottom)

3250 E. Sixth Ave. 80206

Selecting an Ideal YTT:
Four Sample Questions to Ask
Any Yoga Teacher Training.

It’s vital that you pick a training that is right for you. How do you know? Here are some of my reflections on the most important questions you need to ask of any teacher training (including ours).  In total, there are 12 questions to consider.  Here are the top four.

Teachers come with varying degrees of knowledge.  Some trainers have an arbitrary background or simply make stuff up (think goat or bar yoga) while others are steeped in tradition.  The way I see it, teacher trainers ought to be a dedicated student for at least a decade before offering a yoga teacher training.

Denver Yoga Underground’s Answer: DYU teachers are primarily linked through their study with Baba Hari Dass, an adept and lifelong yoga master.  Yogarupa Rod Stryker’s teachings are foundational to the program as well.  I believe that teachers who have a direct relationship with the mother-land of yoga bring greater integrity to the practices.

Many yoga trainings have five or more teachers with a range of experience and backgrounds. As a result, the message is diffused and the methodologies are inconsistent. When taught as an integrated system, the power of yoga practice is much greater than the sum of its parts.

Denver Yoga Underground’s Answer:

If you are just interested in asana, having fewer teachers is less important.  If you want to study yoga as a synergistic blend of asana, pranayama, meditation, and traditional theory having fewer influences is more important.  Imagine that yoga practice is like a flower. Each petal represents a different aspect of the practice, together the individual petals have a combined magic effect. 

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.  You will have the necessary skills to teach.

If you really want to teach at a particular studio you should do their program as they will give preference to their graduates.  Denver Yoga Underground is better 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.

The closest you may get to talking to a graduate may be by reading online reviews, which can be helpful.  Ideally, you can speak to an actual graduate and learn first hand about their experiences. Some trainings offer an introductory ‘open house’ or workshops. Individual trainings should be able to tell you about teaching opportunities.

Denver Yoga Underground grads have gone on to teach in:  businesses, with refugees, mental health agencies, recreation centers, with seniors, hospitals, the military, board members for a yoga-related nonprofit, with people in recovery, become studio owners, teach in studios, classes for people of color, trauma-sensitive classes, in studios or athletic clubs and more.

Denver Yoga Underground’s Answer:

Denver Yoga Underground has many reviews on Google and the Yoga Alliance, and some on Yelp.  We can also arrange for you to speak with a graduate first hand.  We offer monthly Pay What You Can workshops and open houses where you can take a class, meet grads, and get your questions answered.  Derik is also available to talk in person or over the phone. You can contact him here.

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

There are lots of yoga teacher trainings in Denver, each with their own particular culture and emphasis. Here are what I consider to be the major benefits of our particular program.

Benefit #1: Experience the synergistic power of a holistic yoga practice.

  • See yoga through the eyes of its original texts
  • Workshop the heck out of poses, learn the deeper “why” behind them and steep yourself in meditation

Benefit #2: Deeply Enrich Your Personal Health and Wellbeing. 

  • Feel healthy, grow spiritually
  • Shift your priorities. Spend more time with important relationships and tasks versus mindless distractions

Benefit #3:  Find a Deep and Beautiful New Community.

  • Experience a welcoming and supportive culture regardless of your background
  • Meaningful conversation, sincere sharing, and lighthearted laughter 

Benefit #4: Be Guided by a Small Group of Seasoned Teachers 

  • Limited class size, for an optimal blend of classroom chemistry and individual attention
  • Our small and tightly knit staff will deliver a singular coherent message based on mutual study with master teachers

Benefit #5: Become a Yoga Teacher With Depth.

  • 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
  • Underground grads have gone on to teach in:  businesses, with refugees, mental health agencies, recreation centers, with seniors, hospitals, the military, board members for a yoga-related nonprofit, with people in recovery, become studio owners, teach in studios, classes for people of color, trauma-sensitive classes,  in studios or 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 certified yoga teacher.”

Spring, Summer and Fall

(Official dates & info at the bottom)

3250 E. Sixth Ave. 80206

Frequently Asked Questions:

Our asana segments stems from Hatha Yoga.  “Hatha Yoga” may conjure up the image of doing yoga is sweatpants on a carpet, perhaps with some incense. Or it may fall into the bucket labeled “easy” in your mind.  However, this is not accurate. 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.

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.

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.  You will have the necessary skills to teach.

If you really want to teach at a particular studio you should do their program as they will give preference to their graduates.  Denver Yoga Underground is better 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. I 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 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

About Covid-19:

The official response protocol for Covid-19 continually changes, as it should.  Whenever possible we meet in person. As part of opening night, we have an open and honest discussion about the needs of the group to determine the best course of action.

    • Our rental space is separate from the rest of the building and is used minimally and well circulated with fresh air
    • Ample hand sanitizer, tissues, etc.
    • Dietary and lifestyle adjustments to increase health & immunity
    • Outside class sessions (weather permitting)
    • Open and honest communication
    • Spiritual practice for protection and healing including mantra and meditation

Training Schedule
*Live & In Person


Training Days:

Tuesday: 6-9pm

Thursday: 6-9pm

Sunday: 12:30-6:30pm

* See additional dates and breaks below.

Training Dates:

Jan. (27,30)

Feb. (1,3,6) (8,10,13) (15,17,*20) (22,24,27)

Mar. (–,3,6) (8,10,13) (15,17,*20) (22,24,27) (29,31)

April (5,) (5,7,*10) (12,14,–) (19,21,24) (26,28,)

May (*1) (3,5,*7,8)

Additional Dates and Breaks:

* Breaks: March 1 | April 17 (Easter weekend)

* Day Long Program (8-6): Feb. 20 | Mar. 20 | April 10 | May 1

* Bonus Saturday: May 7th (12-6pm)


Training Days:
Tues: 6-9 pm
Thurs: 6-9 pm
Sat: 8:30-5:30
Sun: 10:30-5:30

*See additional breaks & dates below.

Training Dates:
May (19, 21,22) (24,26) (–,–
) (31)
June (2,4,5) (7,9,11,12) (14,16,18,19) (21,23,25,26) (28,30)
July (-,-) (*5,7,9,10) (12,14,16,17) (19,21,23,24) (26,28,30)

Additional Breaks & Dates:
– Memorial Day Weekend (May): Sat. 28, Sun. 29
– Fourth of July Weekend: Sat. 2, Sun. 3
* Online to accommodate 4th of July travel: Tues. July 5th
* Graduation: Sat. July 30 6:30-8:30pm


Training Days:

Tuesday: 6-9pm
Thursday: 6-9pm
Sunday: 12:30-6:30p
* See additional dates and breaks below.

Training Dates:
Aug. (30)
Sept. (1,4) (6,8,*11) (13,15,18) (20,22,25) (27, 29)
Oct. (2) (5,6,9) (11,13,*16) (18,20,23) (25,27,30)
Nov. (21,3,6) (8,10,*13) (15,17,20) (22,–,–) (29)
Dec. (1,4) (6,8,*10,11)

Additional Dates and Breaks:
* Breaks: Nov. 24,27 (Thanksgiving Break)
* Day Long Sun.: Sept. 11 | Oct. 16 | Nov. 13 (8am-6pm)
* Bonus Sat.: Dec. 10 (12-6pm)

A Bit About Our Pricing:

Standard Tuition


#1 Early Bird Price for FALL – Save $250!

– Expires Dec. 9th, 2021 –

#2 Early Bird Discount for FALL – Save $150!

– Expires Jan. 6th, 2022 –

  • – Pay in Full –
  • o Save additional $100
  • – Deposit & Balance –
  • o Initial $395 deposit now
    o Balance ($2,150) due 30 days before start date
    o Balance due the first training session once inside of the 30 day window
  • – Deposit & Payment Plan –
  • o Initial $395 deposit now
    o Four $550 installments
    o Due 1st day of every month of training (x4 mon.)
    o $50 Payment Plan Fee (factored into the above).

Bonus 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

Yoga student doing a posture on the bank of Cherry Creek in Denver Colorado

Denver Yoga Underground is Guaranteed.

Participating in a 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 that does not offer daily classes and chooses to focus on more advanced programs instead. You won’t have as many chances to check us out at a regular class. 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 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.

Still have questions? Hear back from Derik personally.