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Join Us for our Life Changing Yoga Teacher Training &
Advanced Learning Opportunities


We invite you to take a deep dive into the practice of yoga with us!  Focus your energy on the practice of yoga and watch your life change.  We are hosting our yoga teacher training and advanced studies program in the spirit of humility, exploration, and personal growth.  Deeply explore yoga in our serene studio, in a non-intimidating, and playful environment.  Discover what your body and mind need to feel balanced.  Find your voice and the skills you need to be a yoga teacher or fine tune what you already have.  Our next info session is Friday, 9/16 at 4-5:45pm, come check it out!

Meet Our Lead Instructor, Val!


This training program is being led by Valentina Petrova (E-RYT500) and will be co-taught with the help of other Senior Smiling Dog Teachers including Studio Owner, Roxy Borger.  Val has 20+ years teaching experience, and 14+ years experience owning and operating a studio in Morro Bay.  We’ve spent lots of time researching curriculum and documenting teachings that connect with us and are excited to share our version of "yoga's greatest gifts" with you.  Read on and explore our Teacher Training Menu above for more details on this training program.

  • Study your own practice and habitual behavior & learn to stop practicing “egoga”

  • Learn about the various branches, limbs, philosophies, and yoga practices that make yoga the powerful 2000 year old exercise trend that we know and love

  • Understand 80+ yoga poses and their effects

  • Study yoga philosophy and historical texts like the Yoga Sutras in an open & non-judgemental setting

  • Find out what kind of practice is best for you, for the different stages of life, and for different people
  • Learn what to do and what not to do in a yoga class, as a practitioner and as a teacher
  • Find out how to deal with specific injuries, concerns, and challenges on the mat.

For those interested in following the teacher certification track…

  • Understand and develop yoga sequences with themes and peak postures

  • Learn how to adjust postures for better alignment and safety.
  • Learn about the body and anatomy of movement
  • Learn how to teach clearly and specifically, using proven strategies and language

  • Practice teaching with feedback from your teachers and peers

  • Written final exam, private evaluation and feedback at the end of the training

  • Get certified to teach by Yoga Alliance

  • Get the opportunity to practice teach community classes during the training with feedback
  • Get the opportunity to interview & audition to join our instructor team afterwards.  We are looking for talented new teachers!


We Know You'll Love Our Training!

Most of our students participate to learn more about yoga and focus on their own health and wellness. About half of our attendees say they'll probably want to teach down the road.  We’re offering this training in the spirit of humility, continually growing and learning, together, in the yoga space we call home, in the town we love.  We are offering it in a cost effective, slow learning format because sometimes slow and steady just feels good.  We know there are lots of yoga teacher trainings & advanced learning opportunities out there for you to choose from.  The secret is out that yoga can be a solution to much of our suffering!  If you feel a connection to our studio, if you feel a draw to study & play with us, then that’s all that really matters.  Our training is unique in it’s cost, variety and skill of teachers, and it’s down home approach.  We are offering this because we love yoga, we love our yoga family, and want to spend more time exploring and playing together. We will focus on our favorite aspects of the practice, the aspects we draw upon each day in the studio.  We will focus on the physical practice, to help us fine tune our bodies in the spirit of becoming healthier, happier versions of ourselves.  At the same time, we hope to explore beyond the physical practice together in a non-dogmatic, verbose, or intimidating way, learning the practices and theory that we can put to work tomorrow to help us and our families heal and face the challenges of living life in todays world.  

Rockstar teacher trainings are great if you have the budget and don’t mind learning in a large group.  Yoga intensives & bootcamps are great if you don't mind stuffing your mind to the brim and can keep the inspiration going after the initial high wears off.  Nevermind the risk of injury.  You can take other trainings with more experienced teachers, some with less, some in retreat centers, some online.  With our training you can keep up with normal householder life.  There is something to be said about studying a subject you love, deepening your understanding in a slow format with a family of friends that are truly your yoga partners in crime.


Our training draws inspiration from the many teachers we've been blessed to study with from the masters to our weekly yoginis at the studio - including but not limited to - Shiva Rea, Lisa Pittelli, Camille Thom, Baron Baptiste, each and every teacher and student who practices with us daily. 

AND...Just a Few More Thoughts on Why I Created Our Yoga Teacher Training
From Smiling Dog Owner, Roxy Banta


I have taken a large number of teacher trainings and have had the privilege of working with a large number of extremely good yoga teachers in my experience working with Smiling Dog, MINDBODY, and Yoga Journal since 2005. I am thoroughly excited to share my experience with you as we embark upon a deeper yoga journey together.  Here are some of the reasons I think you'll love our training.



We are able to offer you a training schedule that I feel is "just right," as Goldilocks would say. While I love all yoga growth opportunities, I have often found the intensive format to be too hot, too much, too fast. It is difficult to digest so much information so quickly and really integrate it into your body, practice, and teaching. Nevermind the travel expenses, possibility for injury, or the cost of taking off work.  We all love a yoga vacation but perhaps that should be different than embarking upon the teacher education path?  On the other hand, my first training was one Saturday a month for two years. It left me craving more at the end of each session. By hosting our training one weekend per month, I feel like we are able to learn slowly and steadily, keep up with normal householder life, and put what we learn to use.

We’ve split this training into separate weekend workshops so the casual and committed student alike can participate.  The sessions will take place every other weekend Oct - Dec & Jan - Mar with summers off and will begin again each fall.  We'll meet Saturday & Sundays @ 12-8pm.  There will be about 4-8 hours per month of homework and self-study.  Ideal candidates for the training will have been practicing yoga &/or been relatively active for at least one year, are open to exploration, have a playful attitude towards their yoga and self care, and are interested in learning more about yoga.  The asana / physical part of practice will be about 3-6 hours per daily session.  

PART 1 – October through December, 2016

We will meet on the following weekends:

October 8, 9 at 12:00-8:00 pm
October 22, 23 at 12:00-8:00 pm
November 5, 6 at 12:00-8:00 pm
November 19, 20 at 12:00-8:00 pm
December 3, 4 at 12:00-8:00 pm
December 17, 18 at 12:00-8:00 pm.

Total of 96 hours.In this part we will focus on anatomy of movement, asana, postural adjustments, injury prevention, leaning basic sequences and developing teaching skills. All handouts will be provided. You will spend all of your time with the lead instructor, Valentina Petrova.

PART 2 – January through March, 2017

January 7, 8 at 12:00 – 8:00 pm
January 21, 22 at 12:00 – 8:00 pm
February 4, 5 at 12:00 – 8:00 pm
February 18, 19 at 12:00 – 8:00 pm
March 4, 5 at 12:00 – 8:00 pm
March 18, 19 at 12:00 – 8:00 pm

Total of 96 hours.  Independent Study hours for both sections = 36 hours.
Total combined training hours = 230!!!

In this part we will continue to explore the above subjects, focus deeper on developing teaching skills, finding your voice as teachers, history and philosophy of yoga, and learning more about various styles and ways to practice. All handouts will be provided. You will spend time with the lead instructor, Valentina Petrova, but also have the pleasure of experiencing other Senior Smiling Dog instructors. You will practice teach more, and we’ll go over everything you need to now as a yoga teacher. We will also give you the opportunity to be evaluated and will be selecting future Smiling Dog team members  This is also the time to prepare for your final exam.

*Exact schedule for each weekend will be made available to all who enroll in the program as well as the books you’ll need to purchase for the training. Smiling Dog provides a Yoga Teacher Training manual to all enrolled free of charge.


To Serve

We offer this training because we recognize that we all benefit from teaching and learning together.  We love yoga, we think it can help us all become better versions of ourselves, and we want to give you the opportunity to explore the practice more fully in our studio.  We offer this in the spirit of humility knowing we still have lots to learn as teachers and students and want to continually grow and evolve together.  We don't pretend to know what the future holds, but we do know that the practice of yoga seems to help us tackle our day to day with more grace, strength, and smiles.  We are inspired to help bring yoga to everyone we can, in whatever ways are possible.


Regarding the cost of this training, please compare apples to apples when comparing teacher training & advanced learning programs. We think you'll find our training is being offered at a comparable price in our community.  Pay for all sessions up front and in advance to get the best rate available in town.  Sign up for our payment plan if you prefer.  We have two 50% off scholarships available on a first come, first serve basis in exchange for work trade after the training concludes.  If you are interested in being considered for the scholarships send a letter of intent to  You also get your yoga membership as part of the training fee - for the duration of the training!  Think also of the amount of money spent at a gym, on a therapist, on long term health care... 

We believe our teacher training and advanced studies programs will exceed your expectations on every level. Our lead teacher, Valentina Petrova has over 30,000 hours of teaching experience, and our studio offers a supportive environment like no other in the area. You will find your yoga family here, all the support you need, and much, much more. We stand for QUALITY and COMPASSION.  Everyone enrolled in the program will get a FREE membership for the duration of the training and will be able to take unlimited classes while enrolled.

Pay $2400-$3400 for our course, depending on when you register. Get more details on payment options here.

Skilled Teachers

Lastly, we sincerely have a passion for teaching and not just performing yoga asanas!  Both teaching and demonstrating are just some of the yoga toolbox skills we strive for.  Have you ever had a class with a teacher who was super knowledgeable, yet they had a hard time breaking down the subject matter into digestible chunks?  Perhaps you have noticed this when a teacher is leading you through postures that only they can do and you find yourself distracted.  I often find the best teachers are not necessarily the most knowledgeable or experienced person in the room (although some of that is certainly necessary).  They are the teachers who love the basics as well as the advanced topics.  Often the best teachers are the ones that aren't too far from being students themselves.  Those who are empathetic and able to share their experience in a humble way.  They are patient, confident, yet not ego driven.  We have great teachers to share with you!  This makes me think of those brilliant old math professors in school, so smart, yet so unable to impart what they are trying to teach.

So, if you are ready to invest in yourself, join us! 

Good job making it to the end of our details page.  You can go ahead and pat yourself on the back.  Get more details on the training by exploring the Teacher Training menu of our website above.  If you have questions regarding any aspect of this training please call the studio front desk at 805.546.9100 for the basics or or e-mail Val at  You can also attend one of her classes at the studio on Fridays at 4pm to ask more questions in person.  We are also hosting our FREE INFO SESSION on AUGUST 14th.  Please join us to ask questions and get special rates available that day only!