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, allow us to harness this power to heal at all energetic levels of being. True healing is self-healing, and as we learn to heal ourselves, we can share these teachings with others. In this program, you will learn both the art and the science of healing with 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 healing 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
Yoga therapy caters to the physical, mental and emotional balancing of an individual and it is not at all only about stretching and movement.
Room & Board available at the Norris residence: $150/night. (Meals Included)
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.