Class Schedule
Inner Healing Yoga Therapy
TAYMS - Yoga for MS
About Yoga
Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis
Shop Yoga Heals Us
Contact Us
e-mail me

Yoga for MS Teacher Training

2016 Training Schedule


Therapeutic Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis

  • Fort Worth, Texas

Teaching Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis


As a person who has MS and a yoga practitioner for most of my life, I know that I would not be as healthy as I am without the benefit of yoga.  I developed Teaching Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis workshop to educate yoga teachers about MS - what it is, how it affects people, what to look out for and how to work with students who can have very different symptoms from time to time and different from other people who have MS.  Some students who have MS don't need a modified class.  Some do.  Some must not get onto the floor because they may not be able to get back up or risk injury, etc. 

Teaching Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis is offered as continuing education for yoga teachers and health care professionals who are interested in offering yoga to students who may have limited access or ability to attend traditional yoga classes. Many of the teachers who have taken this training are now teaching specialized classes for students who have MS or more skillfully include students who have MS in multi-level classes. Teachers who take this training will have additional tools to assist their students and to creatively address the many different stressors and limitations that can result from having MS. Skills and tools from this program are also relevant for many other student populations.

What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?


MS is a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from person to person and from time to time in the same person. For example, one person may experience abnormal fatigue, while another might have severe vision problems.  A person with MS could have loss of balance and muscle coordination making walking difficult.  MS is generally diagnosed between the ages 20-50, and two thirds more women than men develop the disease.

Previous Workshops - Comments and Photos


Course Description


This continuing education program is for certified Yoga Teachers who are committed to offering therapeutic and adaptive Yoga to students who have multiple sclerosis. MS is a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that causes damage to the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord and can affect the whole body, mind and spirit. The effects of this disease are highly variable, ranging from mild symptoms to severe disability. The focus of this program includes an understanding of multiple sclerosis, common symptoms and their effects on the body, mind and spirit, and the many ways that the eight-fold path of yoga can reduce symptoms and improve movement, health, and feelings of well-being. This training includes individual and group experiential components, lecture and discussion.

"Yoga is an excellent form of exercise for people with MS because it involves stretching exercises for the whole body. The controlled breathing exercises promote relaxation of the mind and the body and help people to be more in tune with their bodies.  As with any other form of exercise, it is important that the Yoga exercises be tailored to the particular physical needs and limitations of people with MS."  These statements come from National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) literature, one of the best resources for MS educational material. 


As yoga teachers, we know that yoga offers wonderful, whole body movement that stretches and tones the muscles, energizes the body, and releases toxins from the cell tissue.  We also know that yoga is not just about the physical body but all the bodies:  the body, mind and spirit.  In this training program we look at the many ways that yoga encourages health and well-being.  We learn about specific challenges for people who have MS and the many yogic tools that people can use for their optimal health.  MS affects people in many different ways.  In fact, there are as many representations of MS as there are people who have MS.  Yoga is the ideal healing modality because it too is highly individual and easily tailored to individual circumstances and needs.

Program Highlights


While the focus is on multiple sclerosis, this skills based workshop is applicable to other student populations who need an adaptive approach.

Topics to be covered include:

  • What is MS?
  • Disabilities Awareness
  • Health Questionnaire
  • Roles and Goals
  • Adaptive Asana
  • Chair Yoga
  • Props for Safety and Alignment
  • When and How to Assist
  • Hands On Practice
  • Teaching Considerations
  • Class Design for Students with Limitations
  • Relaxation and Meditation

Teachers who take this training will have additional knowledge, skills and confidence to assist their students and to creatively address the many different stressors and limitations that can result from having MS.

This training includes experiential components, lecture and discussion to increase teachers understanding and awareness of the challenges facing students who have MS and other challenging health conditions as well as the many ways that the eight fold path of Yoga can improve health and feelings of well-being.

Program History


In June 2003, the Greater Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society sponsored the first Teaching Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis Yoga Teacher Training presented by Karen O'Donnell Clarke and Lynette Coleman of the NMSS. This one-day training was attended by 22 yoga teachers. Since then, the training has grown into a packed two-day program that includes a community education workshop for people who have multiple sclerosis and their families. During this 2-hour workshop, people who have MS learn about the healing path of yoga and share their challenges and experiences with yoga teachers.

More than 300 yoga teachers have participated in this training throughout the United States. These teachers, who share a strong belief in the health and healing aspects of yoga, are committed to offering therapeutic and adaptive yoga to students with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. In 2007, I added  Find Adaptive Yoga Teacher  pages to this website to help you find a yoga teacher near you who is trained in adaptive techniques.  The future is bright for people who have MS and teachers who are expanding their practices to include students who need a nontraditional approach to yoga.