Facilitating the evolution of the standard of healthcare from one of managing disease to one of fostering health.

SOMA: Science of Mindful Awareness 
800-Hour Professional Yoga Therapy Training

Get Certified As A professional Yoga Therapist

SOMA Professional Yoga Therapy Training program is an 800-hour program  accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. This program is led by Dr. Deborah Norris, and features senior faculty of The Mindfulness Center. Now available online!

Become A Certified Yoga Therapist

Therapeutic applications and scientific basis of yoga for group and individual sessions

Professional Yoga Therapy Training

Focusing on the clinical and therapeutic applications of yoga and 
related practices.


Deborah Norris, Ph.D. – Founder of The Mindfulness Center™, author of In the Flow: Bridging the Science and Practice of Mindfulness, and Editor-in-Chief of MindBodyJournal.com. Dr. Norris is Psychologist-in-Residence and Director of the Psychobiology of Healing Program at American University, and a past professor at Georgetown University Medical School.

Graduates of our Professional Yoga Therapy Training will be equipped to design and teach therapeutic yoga for groups and individuals with specific needs or health challenges. In this program, students will develop in-depth knowledge of the philosophy, theory, and application of yoga therapy as well as an understanding of scientific research methodology in the field of yoga therapy.

As a modular program offering rolling admission, students can work toward their full path of an 800-hour Yoga Therapy certification over the duration of 2+ years, giving them time to incorporate skills and gain practical experience. Our schedule features 5-day intensive modules “every other month” as well as asynchronous training on your own time, mentorship, and community practicum. Graduates will receive additional certification through The Mindfulness Center’s Meditation Teacher Training program. (Excludes transfer students.)

Students entering our Professional Yoga Therapy Training program must already be 200 Hr. Yoga Alliance registered teachers with a minimum of 1-year teaching experience. At the completion of our program, graduates are eligible to achieve their professional Yoga Therapy (C-IAYT) certification with the IAYT.

What's Included In The Program:

The 800-Hour Certification program includes the following components
  • Core Clinical Module: Professional Yoga Therapy Basics

    The Core Clinical Module provides training in the range of tools and practices available to the yoga therapist, including asana, bandhas, mudra, and pranayama. In this module, students learn the application of yoga therapy for specific health conditions including pain, trauma, hypertension, neurological conditions, the side effects of chemotherapy, and more. Yoga Therapy is an inherently integrative practice, simultaneously affecting the body, mind, cognition, emotions and the breath. Students learn different viewpoints of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual tools of yoga therapy. This module teaches the knowledge, skills, and ability of a professional yoga therapist to work with a range of clinical conditions, in groups or individually. Yoga therapy is considered a process for self-exploration, discovery, and transformation.

  • Yoga Research & Science Certificate Module

    Students who complete this module on Bridging the Ancient Practice and Modern Science of Healing along with Research Methodology in Yoga and Mind-Body Medicine will receive a certificate in Yoga Research. This certificate module in Yoga Therapy Science and Research is appropriate for anyone interested in conducting or assisting with the conduct of research in mind-body or other integrative approaches to health and well-being. It is also appropriate for yoga and other integrative practitioners who are interested in staying up-to-date on the most current medical science available in order to integrate state-of-the-art care into their practice.

  • Yoga Therapy For Mental Health Certificate Module

    Students who complete the two modules on Principles of the Therapeutic Relationship and Yoga Therapy Principles & Skills will receive a Certificate in Yoga Therapy for Mental Health. This certification program is appropriate for mental health providers interested in the yoga therapy perspective on behavioral health and well-being. As well as yoga instructors looking to incorporate a greater understanding of the mental health benefits of yoga and meditation into their teaching.

  • Meditation Teacher Certificate Module

    Become certified as a Mindfulness Meditation Instructor, with a specific focus on the therapeutic benefits and clinical application of mindfulness, for group or one-on-one instruction.

  • Beginners Ayerveda Certificate Module

    Students in The Science of Ayurveda: A Translation between Two Cultures will gain knowledge of Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga that informs yoga therapy. Students will learn Ayurvedic principles for categorizing illness as well as common pathologies and disorders of all the major systems, including symptoms, management, illness trajectories, and contraindications, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist. Students learn about setting priorities: symptoms/pacification (shamana [short term]) and purification/ strengthening (shodhana).

  • Mentorship

    The Professional Yoga Therapy Training Mentorship component ensures students feel comfortable and supported in leading their Yoga Therapy Practicum, in which program participants will practice yoga therapy in supervised and unsupervised environments. Mentorship will cover documentation of practicum as well as protocol development and more.

  • Practicum

    The Mindfulness Center offers an opportunity for our yoga therapists in training to provide clinical services in a supervised clinical environment through The Mindfulness Center. As a not-for-profit charitable, educational and research organization, The Mindfulness Center provides wellness services to our community. Supervised clinical practice experience provides students with the opportunity to lead yoga therapy sessions for both group and one-on-one client sessions; while also affording our community in need with yoga therapy services and classes. Students are required to contribute a minimum of 150 clinical hours to the community.

  • Professional Yoga Therapist Certificate

    Conduct research in complementary and alternative medicine, write grants and proposals for other scientific funding opportunities. Work closely with the Executive Director, Dr. Deborah Norris. Apply the broad realm of the science of mind-body therapies, including theory, practice, mechanisms of action, clinical measures and outcomes, research design. Familiarity with federal granting agencies, their application procedures and interests, as well as private foundation sources of support. Post-doctoral and other post-graduate students may apply directly to Deborah Norris, Ph.D., Executive Director.

What Students Are Saying...

“I am very glad for choosing The Mindfulness Center for my Yoga Teacher Training program. I instantly fell in love with the program and the instructors. The program has rolling admission which is very convenient and each session is conveniently scheduled. The program gears the students towards gaining a thorough knowledge of the theory and how to apply the learned principles into practice. .”

“The Mindfulness Center’s Yoga Teacher Training was an incredible experience for me. The program prepared me to be a confident yoga instructor not just at the technical level, but also at a deeper energetic level. I am more prepared to teach than I could have imagined when I started this program. Both Dr. Norris and Jessie have a wealth of knowledge to share with their students and do so in an engaging and joy-filled manner. Thank you! ”


Total Yoga Therapy Program Cost Includes:

Additional Costs and Expenses (not included in program cost):

Professional Yoga Therapy (800-Hours) Program

Discover The Therapeutic Benefits of Yoga
$ 12,590 (Early Bird Pricing Till Nov 31) Regular Price: $16,000
  • Payment Plans Available
  • Scholarships Available
  • Open Enrollment

Refund/Cancellation Policy: 

See Refund and Cancellation Policy on Program Enrollment Form for details.

Deposit is nonrefundable.

Uncover More Training 
Program Details

A Yoga Teacher typically has a basic 200-500 hours of training and is trained to lead their students through different series of sequences aimed at improving their general health and well-being. Some Yoga Teachers may be Certified with Yoga Alliance, but Yoga Alliance does not credential yoga therapy techniques, including the diagnosis or treatment of any mental or physical injury or illness.

A Yoga Therapist has a full 1,000 hours of training (800 from this program plus the requisite 200 from basic yoga teacher training , or 500 from this program as a transfer student who already has 500 from basic and advanced yoga teacher trainings). Certified Yoga Therapists are trained to provide yoga in a therapeutic manner for people with general needs and chronic conditions such as mental health support, chronic pain, chronic disease support, stress & anxiety, cancer supports, and addiction recovery support. Yoga teachers are not.

SOMA – The Science of Mindful Awareness, Professional Yoga Therapy training program is unique in its scientific approach to understanding the transformational power of yoga. Translating ancient perspectives of yogic principles into a modern-day understanding of evidence-based practices prepares professional yoga therapists to work in academic, medical, and other professional institutions, or enables professionals to build an evidence-based, trusted private practice. 

Modules on Yoga Research teach students to conduct research in mind-body therapies. Students review and interpret published research on the current science of yoga therapy. Modules on clinical applications train professional health care providers in other fields to incorporate yoga therapies into their practice.

Energetic principles are foundational to the transformational potential of yoga therapy. Understanding concepts such as the movement of energy, and how to release blockages, allows us to harness this power to balance all energetic levels of being. True health comes from within, and as we learn to empower our own optimal wellbeing, we can share these teachings with others. In this program, you will learn both the art and the science of health through yoga.

Lead Faculty member Dr. Deborah Norris provides a unique background as a health scientist and mind-body practitioner. Her teachings are infused with novel insights on the theory and mechanisms of action of mind-body practices. For example, her research in electroencephalography, where she studied the electromagnetic fields of energy emitted from the brain, allows her to offer her students a profound understanding of the mechanisms by which energy moves through and around the body. As a neuroscientist as well as a clinical exercise physiologist and professional dancer, she is able to teach her students the mechanisms by which the brain integrates with the body, to coordinate its function and facilitate its healing. As a professor at American University and Georgetown University Medical School, teaching Yoga Science and Research, Alternative Medicine, and Human Ecology, she was able to use her knowledge of mind-body health to heal herself of otherwise chronic conditions, including fibromyalgia, and seizures resulting from a traumatic brain injury. Dr. Norris brings a unique and highly qualified perspective on the science of the most mystical and powerful elements of yoga therapy.

SOMA 800 Hr. Professional Yoga Therapy Training is an intensive, advanced certification program for yoga instructors and other health care workers who are passionate about helping individuals or groups work through specific health concerns to find improved wellbeing through the tools of yoga, mindfulness, and healthy lifestyle practices.


  • Applicant must be 18+ yrs of age
  • Applicant must have at least one (1) year of yoga teaching experience
  • Applicant must be a Yoga Alliance 200RYT or hold a minimum of equivalent training and certification.

Design and teach therapeutic yoga for groups and individuals with specific needs or health challenges.

The Professional Yoga Therapist Program is a modular training program. As a complete professional program, students are prepared to design and teach therapeutic Yoga for groups and individuals with specific needs or health challenges.

Module 1: Foundations of Yogic Philosophies, Yoga Teachings & Philosophy (35 hrs) 1.1.1 Familiarity with the evolution of the teachings and philosophy of the yoga tradition and its relevance and application to yoga therapy, including teachings from Vedic and post-Vedic periods, Samkhya, Yoga, Tantra, and Ayurveda. 

Module 2: Yoga and the Mind, Yoga and the Mind (35) Students in Yoga and the Mind will gain knowledge of yoga perspectives on the structure, states, functioning and conditions of the mind. These conditions of the mind and their expressions will be studied as expressed in such texts as the Yoga Sutra, the Bhagavad Gita and other texts. 

Module 3: Yoga Therapy for Clinical Mental Health Applications, Psychology and Mental Health- (30 hours) & Yoga Therapy Tools (2.5 hours) Knowledge of commonly occurring mental health conditions—from psychological distress to psychiatric conditions—symptoms, approaches/interventions, basic knowledge of psychological concepts and terminology, AND meditation and relaxation techniques.

Module 4: Bridging the Ancient Practice and Modern Science of Healing, Framework for Health and Disease (25 hrs) and Anatomy and Physiology (10 hrs) Perspectives on health and disease from yoga and Ayurveda, including the concepts of : 
–  Koshas, Gunas, Doshas, Prakrti/vikrti, ama (undigested food, emotions, etc. accumulated in the body); agni (internal fire(s) and their contribution to health); prana vayu (prana, apana, vyana, udana,samana); surya/chandra (sun/moon);brmhana/langhana (expansion/contraction); and vyuha model: heya (the symptoms), hetu (the causes), hana (the goal), upaya (the tools).
–  Knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, including major systems of the body and their interrelationships, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.

Module 5: The Science of Ayurveda: A Translation between Two Cultures Framework for Health and Disease (25 hours), and Anatomy and Physiology (10 hrs) Development/evolution of disease (samprapti [pathogenesis]), including direction, intensity, onset, and duration and their influence on the ease or difficulty of healing and disease management. AND Setting priorities: symptoms/pacification (shamana [short term]) and purification/ strengthening (shodhana [long term]). AND Knowledge of common pathologies and disorders of all the major systems, including symptoms, management, illness trajectories, and contraindications, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist. 

Module 6: Yoga Therapy Tools, Working with Individuals Application of yama and niyama. Range of yoga practices and potential therapeutic effects. Students gain in-depth knowledge of the range of yoga practices and yoga tools including asana, pranayama, yoga nidra, and meditation as well as lifestyle concepts of sanctuary and vastu shastra, nutrition, and herbalism.  In-depth review of contraindications of yoga practices for specific conditions and circumstances is provided.

Module 7: Applied Yoga Anatomy: The Biomechanics of Yoga  Anatomy and Physiology (35 hrs) Biomechanics and movement as they relate to yoga, Ability to assess structural alignment and imbalances. Design and modify asana protocols appropriate to meet individual needs, physical limitations and diverse populations.

Module 8: Research Methodology in Yoga and Mind-Body Medicine Anatomy and Physiology (20 hrs), Additional Biomedical Knowledge (15 hrs) Common pathologies and disorders of all the major systems, including symptoms, management, illness trajectories, and contraindications. Commonly used drugs and surgical procedures, common medical terminology and how to reference current healthcare information, including pathologies, disorders, drugs, and surgical procedures.

Module 9: Principles of the Therapeutic Relationship Comp 3.2 Principles of the Therapeutic Relationship Communication skills: listening, presence, directive and non-directive dialogue, ability to recognize, adjust, and adapt to specific client/student needs in the therapeutic/professional relationship, dynamics of the therapist/client relationship. Knowledge of the scope of practice of yoga therapy and how to assess the need for referral to other professional services.

Module 10: Neurobehavioral Perspectives on Yoga Therapy Anat & Phys (15 hrs) Additional Knowledge (10 hrs) Body-Mind Integration (10 hrs) Students gain knowledge of models of human development, including developmental stages, lifecycles, and personality, and their importance to medical and psychological health and well-being. Students will also learn about the influence of familial, social, cultural, and religious conditioning on mental and medical perspectives of health and healing. Students will learn the role of the interrelationships of the systems of the body and how they interact with the breath, mind, intellect, and emotions in health and well-being, and as mechanisms of transformation through yoga.

Module 11: Yoga Therapy Tools- Working with Groups Yoga Therapy Tools (25 hrs) Principles and Skills in Working with Groups (10 hrs) Students explore the range of yoga practices and yoga tools, including asana, pranayama, meditation and yogic dietary concepts as they apply to working in a group setting. Students will deepen their ability to design, implement and evaluate group programs, as they gain familiarity with group dynamics and techniques, including communication skills, time management, and the establishment of priorities and boundaries as well as techniques to address the specific needs of individual participants, to the degree possible in a group setting.

Module 12: Professional Practices in Yoga Therapy Students learn professional considerations including ethical principles, scope of practice and need for referral, legal regulatory and business issues, collaboration and networking, personal and professional development and continuing education.

Module 13: Yoga Therapy Principles and Skills Students develop the skills needed to implement effective teaching methods, adapt to unique styles of learning, provide supportive and effective feedback, acknowledge client’s/student’s progress, to cope with unique difficulties/successes and to develop and adjust appropriate practice strategies to the client/student. Students also develop a demonstrated ability​ ​to transmit the value of self-awareness and self- responsibility.

Modules are scheduled every other month 

September, 17-21, 2021
November, 5-9, 2021
January, 7-12, 2022
March, 11-15, 2022
May, 13-17, 2022
July, 15-19, 2022
September, 9-13, 2022
November, 11-15, 2022
January, 13-17, 2023
March, 10-14, 2023
May, 12-16, 2023
July, 14-18, 2023


Friday – either 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. or 1:00-9:00 p.m. 
Saturday – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m
Sunday – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m
Monday – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m
Tuesday – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m

Dates for Professional Development Courses:
* SOMA: Professional Yoga Research January 7-12 and March 11-15, 2022.
Scientific research on yoga has demonstrated the clinical value of yoga principles and practices sufficient that yoga is now being integrated into medical  practices.  This program provides a detailed overview of the evidence-based research on yoga, along with access to reference material and resources.  Participants learn research methods in preparation for interpreting and conducting valid clinical research on yoga therapies. Scientific principles and practices are discussed as they apply to conducting research in the field of mind-body medicine.
* SOMA- Yoga Therapy for Mental Health:  Cognitive and neurobehavioral mechanisms of yoga therapy in treating mental health conditions – the mind-and-body connection. July 15-19 and September 9-13, 2022    – Learn to integrate yoga practices and principles into your behavioral health practice. Understand and explore the scientific evidence-basis supporting the integration of yoga therapy into mental health practices and the evolving medical standard of care.
* Ayurveda May 13-17, 2022.
Learn the principles of the oldest system of medicine, originating in the Vedic culture of India at least 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda, the Sanskrit term for “The Science of Life”, was taught for thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters. This course continues the oral tradition, providing both didactic and experiential learning. You will explore ancient traditions and specific lifestyle practices including diet, herbal remedies and spices, manual therapies, asana and yoga nidra; practices of purification, cleansing and creating harmony and balance between body, mind, spirit and the environment.
In-Person – We value the energetic and dynamic exchange that occurs with in-person sessions, and prefer in-person teaching for that reason, especially in teaching/learning yoga. We value the energetic and dynamic exchange that occurs with in-person sessions, while also respecting the safety and social distancing protocols required by the COVID 19 Pandemic. We will keep in-person training opportunities in mind and will offer them when deemed safe. Meanwhile,  ALL synchronous training sessions will continue to be live-streamed, with in-person sessions optional. When offered in-person, the location of training is either in Rockville, Md., or TBD in the D.C./MD/VA area.
Virtual/Online – We also recognize the need for some students to access the training online, and value the opportunities that technology provides to present real-time training virtually. Our training will continue to be simultaneously available online, in real-time along with in-person attendees, until further notice from the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Our goal is to continue to provide online access to training as long as possible.
On-Demand – In keeping with the requirements of the IAYT, some of our PYT training is available on-demand, meaning that you can view the content at times convenient to you. There are two on-demand components to the training.
1. Foundations of the Science of Mindful Awareness Professional Yoga Therapy.  This 10-hour, on-demand component introduces students to the principles of our training, and is foundational for all incoming students. 

2.  Science of Mindful Awareness: Meditation Teacher Certification.  This 140-hour, on demand component provides certification through this world-renowned online meditation teacher program.  Graduates will be certified to teach mindfulness in public and private settings, including medical, academic, institutional and private organizations, as well as deepening your personal practice.

Students who are already 500 Hr RYT with yoga alliance may apply under our transfer student policy. Please inquire for a transfer Student details, schedule, and rate.

We offer interest-free financing and extended payment plans for most of our teacher traiining programs.  Your payment plan will be based on the enrollment agreement you chose from our available options. No certificate or evidence of completion of the training will be offered until payment is completed in full. We require an additional agreement that includes accumulated interest if all monies owed are not paid in full before the training has been completed.

Complete and submit your application at this link:

Apply Here.

Qualified applicants will be contacted by our Registrar to set up an appointment for an interview. Students who are accepted into the training will be sent an enrollment form.  Enrollment is on a rolling basis.  Once you have been accepted, enrolled and paid (see payment plan options) you may begin with the next scheduled module.



Deborah Norris PH.D., 


Jessie Taylor ERYT200

Educational Director

James Foulkes 

Senior Faculty

Robin Glantz RYT500,

Senior Faculty

Cheryl Brown 

Guest Faculty

Dianne Gallino 

Guest Faculty

Erika Ganter M.S.

Guest Faculty

Ingrid Wirsig M.S. C-IAYT

Guest Faculty

Karen Rider 

Guest Faculty

Kelly Stickney

Guest Faculty

Per Erez

Guest Faculty

Sadie Grossman

Guest Faculty

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