What is the KotE YTT?
The Keepers of the Earth Yoga Teacher Training Course, or KotE YTT, offers a complete, methodical and comprehensive spiritual path for those whose aspirations reach beyond the confines of the conventional or Westernized approach to Yoga. Our programs have been built to satisfy the call for authenticity, legitimate & systematic spiritual progression, and embodied leadership.
Formed out of inspiration from the Earth and Nature, our Yoga school serves the primary purpose of providing higher education & training to human beings who desire to become forces of nature in their respective communities – true spiritual leaders who embody and transmit the ancient wisdom forward. We do this by providing immersive style trainings which bring people back to their essence; practicing Yoga the way it was designed to be practiced, in alignment with life using traditional methods while maintaining an intimate closeness to the jungles and forests and rivers and streams.
The founder of KotE School of Yoga & Mystical Arts is Grant T. Ifflander, a teacher of Hatha Yoga with more than 10 years’ experience in spiritual leadership; previously the owner of Bridge the Gap Yoga, a school of Yoga and meditation in Arizona. Grant’s practices and teachings have been deeply influenced by the sages of old but are rooted in the traditions and lineages of his contemporary teachers, including Krishnamacharya, Steve Harrison, and the International Nath Order. He draws his sources from his own daily practice and the very essence of which his masters have transmitted to him.
Grant provides a unique synthesis of teaching with the trainings provided by KotE as he effortlessly weaves together the most profound and yet practical aspects of his lineages, including Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Hatha Yoga and various Tantric traditions.
Our programs of Yoga are more than just an immersion into what it means to live like a yogi – they are an initiation onto the path, which includes the ongoing transformation of oneself, purifying the body-mind of conditioning, and revealing one’s deeper essence, like a diamond buried beneath the surface of the Earth, waiting to emerge and add even more beauty to the world.
What is the KotE Method?
Formed out of thousands of hours of practice, study, and research, the KotE Method is a system of practices formulated to deliver the very real, very tangible result of human spiritual transformation. Rather than a set of beliefs or dogmas, it is a set of methods and practices which have been time-tested over thousands of years by yogis determined to free themselves from the grips of the mind and experience greater and greater realities. Whether you want to succeed in the material world or the spiritual world, our Method is designed in such a way that you will become a more complete and whole human being capable of self-sourcing all that you need for your life and path ahead.
The Method itself is a combination of practices that are meant to satisfy the many dimensions and levels behind each human being such as their body, their energy, their heart, their mind, and their spirit.
By training with KotE, you can expect to receive a complete and comprehensive guidance through body-strengthening yoga asana, mind-expanding pranayama techniques, karmically purifying kriyas, energetically circulating mudras, and spiritually aligning mantras. In addition to covering the techniques of Yoga, you will be fully supported in the digestion and embodiment of the ancient and life-affirming philosophies of this spiritual science and the overall principles regarding your personal sadhana.
Our goal of the KotE Method is that each person, regardless of background or belief, will be able to work through whatever spiritual blindspots are present and therefore make legitimate progress on the Path of Awakening and Self-Realization.
How is our training structured?
Once per year we gather a small group of students, or “Keepers of the Earth”, to go back to our spiritual roots and to study, practice and grow together.
Our training to become a Yoga Teacher lasts three weeks and is an intensive, immersion style learning process, filled with plenty of practice and study whilst completely surrounded by Nature, dipping in fresh flowing water, and eating the most nourishing local food.
Students are led gradually and systematically through their transformative process along a series of Yoga Alliance approved modules.
Every morning of our YTT program, we practice direct and effective forms of asana, pranayama and meditation, to help each participant to become steady in their daily sadhana. During the day we will study traditional texts and discuss their applications into modern living. Several times during the week, at night, we will gather to tell stories, sing songs, or practice different forms of ritual and ceremony together as a community.
In addition to our focus on personal practice and study, each person will have opportunities to practice their leadership in the form of teaching and guiding others. A large part of our training has been designed to help individuals become more embodied in their leadership so that they can become pillars of light in their respective communities.
Thus, this program is a perfect opportunity to blend together the traditional methods of meditation and Hatha Yoga with leadership and communication development so that each person becomes a true force of nature.
What are the main subjects taught in the KotE YTT?
Traditional Hatha Yoga and classical meditation methods that are drawn directly from lineage and scripture form the basis of our spiritual development. In addition to this foundation, we include elements of Bhakti Yoga; Classical Tantra (not neo-Tantra); Vedanta; Vedic wisdom sciences such as Ayurveda and Jyotish (astrology); and the ancient metaphysical system of Samkhya. Students can expect a comprehensive but digestible introduction into these key spiritual sciences as they relate to the overarching framework of Yoga and how to apply them into modern life.
For more information, please review the Keepers of the Earth Teacher Training Overview
What is the KotE Certificate?
After the successful completion of our program, attendees will receive a KotE Yoga Teacher’s Certificate to become a “Keeper of the Earth”. This certificate confirms that you have completed 200 hours of Hatha Yoga teacher training according to the standardizing body of the Yoga Alliance (Keepers of the Earth is registered with the Yoga Alliance as an approved Yoga School).
With this certificate, Keepers of the Earth can begin to share and transmit their unique and authentic wisdom that has been awakened through their spiritual transformation during the training. Yoga studios and communities across the globe welcome authentic leadership and people who are dedicated to preserving the traditions of Yoga, but more important than a piece of paper, this wisdom will be available in your heart wherever you go.
Will I be qualified to teach Hatha Yoga and meditation once I have completed the KotE YTT?
What role does music have in the KotE YTT?
Although music is not meant to be an exclusive focus of the training, there will be a strong presence of live music through Kirtan and music ceremonies that are designed to enliven the heart, open the voice, and help students break through sticking points with public speaking. In our experience, this process of singing (related to the Bhakti Yoga tradition) can prove to be tremendously effective at supporting overall leadership development, which is related to our process of helping our students connect to their authentic voice.
What yoga skills do I need to enroll in the KotE YTT?
What ARE the requirements for attending the KotE YTT?
During our training we follow certain guidelines to ensure that the learning abilities are maximized for all participants. They are guidelines which support a yogic lifestyle and enhance the realizations and insights that can come through legitimate spiritual practice. We want you to receive the most from the KotE YTT!
These “rules” are not meant to be painfully enforced or overly restrictive, so if you feel that you cannot submit yourself to the following guidelines during the time of our training, then we kindly encourage that you consider other programs.
In the 7 days leading up to, during, and after our training program, the guidelines are as follows:
- Abstain from drugs, alcohol, and sexual activity.
- Abstain from excessive use of social media and technology
- Abstain from, at the very least, reduce consumption of difficult to process substances such as meat and sugar
- Try to avoid overeating, over-sleeping, over-talking, and abuse or over-indulgence of the senses
Generally speaking, those who wish to enroll in the KotE should take into consideration the responsibility that they take on by becoming a teacher of Yoga. Remember our three questions that form the pillars of our School: “What does it mean to be a good human being? What actions can I take to leave this world a better place? How can I live in better alignment with Nature?”
Although you are encouraged to make your own choices and to “do as you will”, we strongly recommend that those who wish to enroll in the KotE YTT hold the aspiration in their hearts of living a yogic life based on common sense and Natural Law.
Are there any prerequisites for attending the KotE 200 HR YTT?
Is the course intensive?
Our YTTs are very intensive courses with a daily schedule of learning and practice. The format is meant to develop the spiritual competencies necessary to become a torchbearer of Sacred Wisdom. This training is not a yoga vacation. Attendees should expect 8+ hours of training per day, six days per week (our sadhana is included in this time). There is one day off per week.
While the program is indeed intense, the Keepers of the Earth methodology includes and emphasizes BALANCE. There will be a good mixture of practice, study and time off, and there will be plenty of time to spend in Nature, in silence, and with the elements. This will give us space for digestion of the material covered. Yes, there is work involved, but the true benefits of spiritual practice are peace, joy, and a genuine celebration of life. These three things: peace, joy and celebration, are core components of every KotE training, and you will be sure to experience a good amount of them during your program.
Is the Hatha Yoga training intensive?
We do not maintain an extreme Hatha Yoga practice. This is not a “power yoga” training. Our emphasis is not on performance but rather the spiritual and therapeutic benefits of principle-based and breath-centric model of Hatha Yoga, the way it was designed to be done and the way it was passed to us via our lineages at Keepers of the Earth.
Therefore, there is very little (if any) “handstand” training or gymnastics type, calisthenics training during our programs. Yes, you will get stronger and build a healthy body, but you will not suffer unnecessarily, overstretch your body, or fight with yourself to “do it right”.
Instead, you will be taught how to practice principle-based asana & pranayama correctly and therapeutically and how to teach others to do them. More importantly, you will be shown how to practice and teach in such a way that the underlying principles and spiritual philosophies underpinning Yoga can help dismantle the ego-identity and the Western “striving” mentality that often leads to excessive displays of physical prowess and material ambition.
Most Hatha Yoga practices we do will be about 75-90 minutes in length and are comprised of a comprehensive system of asana, vinyasa, kriya, pranayama, & meditation. We have found that practicing in this way opens the door to incredible spiritual benefits. Thus, you will be thoroughly guided through all of these subsequent stages to arrive at the real fruit of Yoga practice – a deep inner sense of connectedness to oneself, to their life, and to their environment. By the end of your training, you will also be confident in your ability to carry on with this comprehensive sadhana yourself, as well as guiding others through the journey.
Does the YTT include anatomy & physiology classes?
Our YTT includes approximately 30 hours of anatomy and physiology classes as per the Yoga Alliance guidelines. You need no prior knowledge of anatomy or physiology to learn what you need to learn – our studies will be interactive, down-to-earth, and straightforward examination of what you truly need to know to be an effective practitioner and teacher of the spiritual science of Hatha Yoga.
In addition to covering the Western scientific view and looking at the material body, we will include the Tantric teachings on the subtle anatomy (nadis, chakras, kundalini) and spiritual body.
Can I enroll in the YTT in order to deepen my own practice rather than to teach?
How many students are in a KotE YTT group?
If I have been following a different spiritual path are there any conflicts if I enroll in the KotE YTT?
We do not believe that anyone’s background, belief, or spirituality should get in the way of their return to the Earth, Sacred Wisdom and Natural Law. Our trainings will center around the traditional wisdom from the Yoga sciences which are designed to help awaken the innate intelligence inside of each human being. Although there may be elements of different religious paths present during our trainings, the overall goal is to awaken to the unifying religion of Love and our common path as human beings on planet Earth.
REGISTRATION & PAYMENT
When will I find out if I have been accepted to the KotE YTT?
After you submit the application (the deadline for submission for FALL 2023 is June 1; for SPRING 2024 it’s November 1), you will be sent a confirmation that we have received all the needed information. The selection process will begin after the application deadline and confirmations of acceptance will be sent out no later than TWO WEEKS after the application deadline, just under three months prior to the start date of the training. The process may include an interview with Grant.
Upon acceptance into the course, you will need to submit a non-refundable $1000 deposit to secure your place on the training. A link with payment instructions will be sent to your e-mail. This deposit will be allocated towards your tuition.
If you aren’t selected for admission after the initial review, you’ll be placed on the waiting list. As people accepted to the course sometimes withdraw, you may still have a chance to enroll.
*Note that a late application fee may be incurred if applying after the application deadline
When is full payment for the KotE YTT due?
You must complete your payment for the remainder of your tuition no later than August 15 (for the FALL 2023 YTT) ; no later than January 1, 2024 (for the SPRING 2024 YTT). If you haven’t paid in full by this deadline, your enrollment will be canceled and the next person on the waiting list will be given your spot.
If the course is full, can I join a waiting list?
Yes. When the course is full we accept applications for the waiting list. Students on the waitlist will be next in line in the event that someone withdraws, and will be first-come-first-serve for the next year’s training.
What materials included in the price of the KotE YTT?
Our YTT students will receive a physical copy of the Keepers of the Earth Yoga Manual at the beginning of their program. This manual contains all the necessary materials and an overview of the course. The Course Manual is a 200+ page a comprehensive and detailed guidebook for students that can be taken home with them after graduation.
Where will the KotE YTT be held?
Does the tuition fee include accommodation and meals?
Your tuition covers everything except for transportation TO and FROM retreat location. Although our staff and assistants will help you organize the ground transportation, you must pay the taxi driver or shuttle directly, with cash. Airfare to Costa Rica is also not included. Depending on where you are coming from, a shared taxi can be approx. $50 per person and flights range between $500 to $1000 roundtrip.
What kind of accommodation is available?
For the 2024 Training, as we are staying at a private and secluded hermitage that can only be accessed via foot and a short hike. Luggage is brought in on horses. Students have the choice for eco-lodging and being more connected to the elements (with epic views of the Costa Rican mountains) and super cozy and comfortable bedding; or to be in a private and cozy home situated on top of the hill.
What sort of food is offered during the YTT?
Our YTTs offer wholesome and delicious yogi-made vegetarian meals. The 2024 Training will provide on-site home cooked meals by staff. All food is locally sourced and beautifully crafted to nourish you throughout your experience. Coffee, tea and exquisite tropical fruit will be available as snacks.
What is the refund policy if I’m unable to attend the YTT?
Please refer to the Payment and Refund Information page.
Getting Ready for the KotE YTT
Are there any books or other materials that I need to read before the YTT?
Grant recommends that you acquire the following books prior to your attendance on the training in order to familiarize yourself with the yogic teachings which we will focus on during our program. They are listed in order of importance (required vs recommended).
Kundalini by Dr. Svoboda (Book Two of the Aghora Trilogy)
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahamsa Yogananda
Pranayama the Breath of Yoga by Gregor Maelhe
Yoga Meditation by Gregor Maelhe
Spinal Breathing Pranayama by Yogani
What do I need to bring with me?
Since our YTT is held in Costa Rica, there are a few items to note for those who are unfamiliar with “jungle living”
Our 2023 course is taking place near the Pacific Coast during Costa Rica’s transition into the “wet” season. The benefit is that we will have slightly cooler and fresher weather with chance of rain, usually later in the day. Daytime temperatures can get up to 85ºF and night time the temperature drops.
Our 2024 course is taking place during Costa Rica’s “dry” season. Daytime temperatures at this location February have an average around 80ºF (27ºC), with the night time temperatures dropping down to the 60s. It gets chilly at the 2024 location (we are high up in the mountains at about 4800 feet).
It is strongly recommend to bring the following items as they will enhance your comfort: comfortable yoga clothing, bathing suit, sunglasses & sunscreen, insect repellant, light and warm clothes, an alarm clock, a flashlight, a journal, a water bottle, a camera, rain protection (umbrella), a first aid kit with small bandages, tape and tweezers.
Who is the contact person?
Contact KotEYogaSchool@gmail.com with any questions or for more information.
Do I need to have travel insurance during the YTT?
Although it is not a requirement, travel insurance valid during the entire YTT period can be helpful for peace of mind. We recommend Trawick International.