with Karen O'Donnell Clarke
A Workshop for Yoga Teachers and
Health Care Professionals
September 19 - 21, 2014
Yoga is the World’s oldest holistic system of self-development, integrating
body, mind, and spirit. The science of Yoga began its development in India over
5,000 years ago and has evolved into a contemporary mind / body health and
wellness system with practices ranging from purely physical fitness to a
holistic lifestyle grounded in spiritual principles that expand consciousness
and cultivate compassion.
Yoga encompasses a diversity of teachings and techniques, yet all schools of
Yoga commit to cultivating health, fostering personal growth and supporting
spiritual transformation. Yoga is highly adaptable which makes it a perfect
practice for people who have multiple sclerosis. And many people who have
MS are interested in yoga as a mild form of exercise, for its focus on
breathing and meditation, and for its spiritual benefits.
Therapeutic Adaptive Yoga for People with Multiple Sclerosis is an experiential
workshop designed to give experienced yoga teachers and health care
professionals training in adaptive yoga techniques for individual students or
students in group settings who have multiple sclerosis and other neurological
Founded on the Integrative Yoga Therapy model of whole person wellness, this
program includes practical information for yoga teachers as well as a model for
integrating yoga philosophy into practices for body, mind and spirit.
While the focus is on multiple sclerosis, this skills based workshop is
applicable to other student populations who need an adaptive approach.
Teachers who participate in this training will take away 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.
- What is MS?
- This will be presented by an MS Specialist with
extensive knowledge of MS and the importance of regular exercise
including: current research, the effects of stress on the immune system,
the anti-inflammatory benefits of exercise, etc.
- Disabilities Awareness:
- Language and exercise. This may include a film
clip and trying on symptoms. Yoga teachers receive their training
experientially. This is a great way to feel in the body some of the
sensations that people who have MS may experience.
- Health Questionnaire:
- A look at various ways to learn more about your
student and how to use that information to create a safe, meaningful
experience: symptoms, mobility, goals and expectations.
- Roles and Goals:
- This segment addresses the role of the yoga teacher as
yoga educator, an adjunct to traditional and complementary medicine.
- Adaptive Asana:
- Mainstream yoga classes often present too many
obstacles for students who have limitations, impairments and even
disabilities. Adaptive yoga addresses accessibility, appropriate
class levels and the use of props to create safety and a meaningful
- Chair Yoga:
- Many postures that are done sitting on the floor can
also be done sitting in a chair with better alignment, less pain and
discomfort. Chair Yoga also uses chairs for standing. Using a
chair for standing poses offers increased stability and often results in
better alignment for students who have joint and muscle stiffness,
spasticity, muscle weakness and more.
- Props for Safety and Alignment:
- As a practical matter, extensive use of props may work
well in a studio environment but not necessarily for community based
teachers who travel to multi-use spaces or private homes to teach
students. This workshop offers creative ways to use items at hand
to assist the student in achieving a particular posture or benefit.
- When and How to Assist:
- It’s an art and a skill to know when and how to assist
a student, especially students who have some of the mobility challenges
common in multiple sclerosis. Through discussion and practice,
teachers will explore ways of asking permission and skillful ways to
assist safely for both student and teacher.
- Hands On Practice:
- This very important part of the training includes a
two hour community education program where members from the
community who have MS are invited to participate. Teachers say this is the most
meaningful part of the training because they interacted with real people
rather than role playing. This is
also very challenging for some teachers who have never interacted with
someone who has disabilities.
- Teaching Considerations:
practicalities of teaching group classes or private lessons such as accessible
facilities, time of day, length of class, safety issues, learning styles,
symptom awareness, etc.
- Class Design for Students with Limitations:
segment addresses using the essence of the pose to choose the appropriate
variation for the student as well as sequencing to achieve maximum benefit and
minimal transitions for energy management.
- Relaxation and Meditation:
Nidra, Yoga Mudras and Pranayama are among the practices that distinguish yoga
from simply an exercise program. These
practices may in fact be more important for individual students than the
physical practices of adaptive asana.
These topics are covered briefly and experientially, modified for chair
O’Donnell Clarke, ERYT 500 certified Kripalu Yoga and Integrative Yoga Therapy,
teaches traditional and specialty yoga classes for students of all levels of
ability ranging in age from 5 to 95. A
frequent presenter on the topic of adaptive yoga for yoga studios and National
Multiple Sclerosis Society chapters throughout the country, including the
Kripalu Yoga Teachers Conference and Yogaville Ashram in Virginia, Karen has
presented Teaching Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis nationally since
September 19, 2014
September 20, 2014
a.m – 12:30 p.m. Program
– 1:15 p.m. Lunch
– 4:30 p.m. Program
September 21, 2014
a.m – 10:00 a.m. Program
a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Community Workshop /
– 1:15 p.m. Lunch
– 4:30 p.m. Program
includes manual, early bird $299 (due in full one month prior to workshop)
workshop meets the Yoga Alliance standard for up to 18 CEUs.
CEUs at registration.
Check or Money Order (USD) payable to:
Heals Us LLC, 32 Borodell Avenue, Mystic, CT
O’Donnell Clarke, ERYT500, PYT1000
Heals Us LLC
Corbin, M.A., MSCIR, Programs and Services Manager
requests made more than 14 days prior to the first day of the training:
made will be refunded in full (less a $35 processing fee).
requests made between 13 days and 1 day in advance of the first day of the
of payments will be refunded (less a $35 processing fee).
refund is available if you cancel less than 24 hours in advance or on the first
day of the training, if you don't show up, or if you leave the training early
for any reason.
strive to keep the costs down. A very
limited number of partial scholarships may be available depending on the number
of fully paid participants.
- Criteria: Annual income of less than $20,500 for
individuals and $25,500 for couples.
must agree to provide a free community workshop within 6 months and provide a
written summary of the experience to Yoga Heals Us LLC.
must pay their portion in full 10 days prior to the workshop.
hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification
LSPs, LMTs, nurses & other licensed health care professionals who work with
clients who have MS may also participate.
have a minimum one year direct yoga experience in an ongoing class with a
certified yoga teacher.
plan to bring your lunch.
Feedback from other very well trained yoga
teachers who have taken this program:
list of local hotels will be made available.
Clarke's training is an excellent program and resource for teachers for working
with people with MS. It provides both western and eastern perspectives, a
well-rounded perspective--both personal and big picture AND an opportunity to
work with some from folks with MS during the program. I highly recommend
it! (Susanne, Albany training)
took Karen Clarke's training, and it was invaluable. Karen is an IYT grad, and offers
sequences for each of the symptoms. She uses our kosha model and is very
comprehensive. Movements are offered for standing, chair, and wheelchair. The MS Society works with her, and presents
an excellent understanding of how the disease works and manifests, and brings
in students for us to practice with.
(Bev, Sioux Falls training)