Adaptive Yoga

Adaptive Yoga Series for Students with Special Needs or Disabilities
Online and In-Person!

In-Studio AND Online, Mondays 2:30-3:30pm
March 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, June 3
Next Series: June 10, 17, 24, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Cost: Free or by donation
Register: Please email to register.

Samamkaya is pleased to announce we have received grants to fund a weekly yoga class for students with disabilities. Non able-bodied individuals include people with neurological conditions such as  Cerebral Palsy (CP), Parkinson’s, and CVA as well as other conditions that may impact movement such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Spinal Cord Injury, and amputee’s among others. Individuals who use wheelchairs or other forms of assistive devices are welcome to attend.

This is a 10-class series which can be attended in full or in part. Please specify which session(s) you are planning to attend when registering.

The class is taught by experienced yoga therapists and PT/OTs including Julie Brandwein, Carolyn Hitzler, Roxlyn Moret, Laura Staton, Aditi Dhruv, Frank Ricci, and Deborah Wolk.

Email: for information and questions about attending.

We have been able to continue our online program as well as successfully reintroducing in- person classes. 
Please consider supporting us to continue this program.
1 year of weekly online classes, 1 class a week is = $11,180
6 months of weekly online classes  = $5590
3 months of weekly online classes = $2795
1 class = $215

Some Testimonials from our Adaptive Students:

“I attended my first Samamkaya adaptive yoga class in Spring 2022 about six months after my acquired brain injury/acquiring a disability. I had not done yoga in years and didn’t know what to expect. I felt so warmly welcomed by every teacher I met at Samamkaya. every teacher respected my boundaries and consent and acknowledged my expertise over my own body. in the year plus i’ve been taking this class i’ve gained so much body awareness and control and feel much more confident in my yoga practice. i’ve also developed friendships with my fellow classmates. I look forward to this adaptive class every week as an hour of regulating movement that helps me feel strong in my body without trying to change it.  The instructors of this class are skilled in adapting the practice to the students’ diverse abilities and meeting the access needs of every student. the studio is well equipped to accommodate my limited mobility and makes a wide range of poses possible for me. I feel safe, supported and strong in the Samamkaya adaptive yoga class.”

“After many months of researching adaptive yoga classes in New York City, it finally led me to The Samaṁkāya Yoga Studio…At 18 months old, I was diagnosed with Quadriplegic-Spastic Cerebral Palsy. I am a level-3 GMFCS and an ambulatory wheelchair user. Besides my apartment and Physical Therapy, the Samaṁkāya Studio is the only place I could get out of my wheelchair, move around, and discover my natural abilities. In my experience, adaptive yoga is vastly different from physical therapy. Personally, adaptive yoga is preferred. In Physical Therapy, patients only are allowed 30-minute sessions to work through complex physical illnesses and chronic pain. The therapist has to follow a strict regimen based on a general idea of the person’s diagnosis. The plan is personalized to an extent but isn’t created for the individual. Samaṁkāya Yoga provided a quiet, intimate, and supportive environment. My instructors, Deborah Wolk, and Aditi Dhruv, always give us a window of time to get acclimated to prepare us for an hour-long session of various yoga techniques. There’s always a smooth start at the beginning of these sessions. There is no rush. In the studio, there is a great selection of props for support. Yoga taught me how controlling my breathing can, ultimately, result in more control over my body. There are so much more aspects to the body than doing something the right way. Yoga is about bringing out the strength within to control our outer movement. I learned a lot about what my body is capable of and how a little support can go a long way. I’ve become more flexible, and my condition has improved with only a month of weekly sessions. My confidence, mentality, and overall health have improved participating in Adaptive Yoga because I’ve been seen as more than a person with a disability. Months before joining Adaptive Yoga, I didn’t have much of a support system that was easily accessible. Socializing and inclusivity are extremely limited for people with physical disabilities. Imagine growing up being separated from the general population because you’re different and people don’t understand how to interact with you or provide the proper care for your needs. It’s essential to have a place where you’re genuinely included. The Samaṁkāya Studio is that place for me. It’s more than yoga; it’s a community that encouraged me to push past limitations. Continuing to fund this Non-Profit would plant a seed of strong and more independent individuals who are differently abled.”


Julie Brandwein, MSPT, LMT, came to yoga seeking help from a back injury and found her way into her first Iyengar yoga class with Kevin Gardiner in 1992. In this technique she found the answer she was looking for to heal her body, and began a lifelong study and practice of Yoga.She has extensive training in Iyengar Yoga, in addition to studies in the Alexander Technique, Somatics and Pilates. She has taught yoga since 1997 both here and abroad.
She has earned her Masters in Physical Therapy from Columbia University, completed training at the Swedish Institute of Massage and has certification in a Pilates for Rehab Professionals training from Polestar Pilates, Inc. Licensed in both physical therapy and massage therapy, Julie has worked in a variety of clinical specialities, including pediatrics, orthopedics, sports injury and dance injury.Her massage training includes myofascial unwinding, integrative deep-tissue massage and neuromuscular repatterning. She has a private practice in Manhattan and Brooklyn offering services in therapeutic bodywork, stress-reduction massage, and  yoga privates. For more information, you may contact Julie at or call 347-832-7973

Aditi Dhruv first came to yoga through her study of classical Indian dance forms, and has been practicing for over 20 years. She completed her yoga teacher training in 2006 with Yoga Union NYC with Alison West. She also completed Prenatal training in 2012 and Therapeutics training in 2013 from Integral Yoga Institute, NYC. Aditi has studied with respected teachers including Alison West, Deborah Wolk and Jonathan Fitz-Gordon. Her light-hearted classes are informed by her extensive ongoing dance training (in the US and India) and continued practice in the Vinyasa, Iyengar and Ashtanga traditions; and focus on teaching students a series of poses while integrating the physical, subtle and spiritual bodies, through precise alignment and breath-focused movement.

Anita Haravon‘s yoga training and health care background come together to create accessible, thoughtful and fun-filled classes. Her clients include people recovering from injuries, people with physical limitations and people of all sizes and body types.   With advanced certification from Mind Body Solutions (Matthew Sanford), Accessible Yoga (Jivana Heyman) and FAMI (Functional Anatomy for Movement and Injuries), and Buddha Body Yoga (Michael Hayes). She has taught for the Shape Up NYC program of the NYC Parks & Recreation Department. Anita was a clinician and researcher in audiology and communication disorders for over twenty years and received her doctorate in Speech & Hearing Sciences from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.  Anita is also a certified EMT  and has volunteered in Central Park and with the American Red Cross.

Carolyn Hitzler: My dream is to make yoga accessible to all! I am constantly inspired by how many of us overcome our struggles, both physical and emotional, on our mats. Yoga continues to help ease my pain and improve my movement throughout my day. Yoga for me is like a navigation system, giving me direction, and stability.

My classes are rooted in Hatha and Iyengar style yoga and are taught in-the-moment, tailored to the students that day. Yoga reminds me how subtle and powerful movement and the breath can be. I enjoy teaching group classes as well as 1-on-1 private sessions.

I completed my RYT 200 with Sonia Sumar (Integral Hatha Yoga), and RYT 300 with Lynne Minton, ( Iyengar style). I have a M.S. in Exercise Physiology, specialization in Rehab.
Other certificates include: Yoga for the Special Child,
Yoga of the Heart; yoga for cancer, cardiac, and other diseases ( Nischala Joy Devi), Opening Yoga to All / Adapted Yoga (Matthew Sanford), Relax & Renew (Judith Lassiter), Accessible Yoga (Jivana Heyman),
Yoga For Healthy Aging ( Dr. Baxter Bell), Yoga for Back Pain( Dr. Loren Fishman ), Yoga for Osteoporosis ( Dr. Loren Fishman), Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease ( Char Grossman), Therapeutic Yoga ( Cheri Clampett Borda and Arturo Peal), Buddha Body; yoga for larger bodies ( Michael Hayes), Yoga For Scoliosis / did not do case studies portion ( Elise Browning Miller), Trauma Informed Yoga
Plus: Anatomy of Scoliosis, Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis, Yoga For Back Care, Yoga For Amputees

Frank Ricci: After leaving behind a career in the New York fashion industry, Frank Ricci was ready to find inner peace. What began as a casual yoga practice quickly became his passion, he found his true career calling: to help heal others. Frank received his yoga teaching certificate from Yogasana in Brooklyn, where he began teaching in 2010. Since that time, he has received extensive training in therapeutic yoga, including assisting Deborah Wolk. He studies regularly with his mentors and has had the pleasure and privilege of studying with Donald Moyer in the Yoga Room. In 2011, Frank traveled to India for a 5-week course of study In Iyengar Yoga with Rajiv and Swati Chanchani. Frank’s compassionate teaching style draws from Iyengar yoga as well as the Alexander Techique, creating a unique experience that is both encouraging and challenging.

Laura Staton’sC-IAYT, OTR/L, yoga classes cultivate increased body awareness and organization. She currently teaches yoga in Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective, and in Brooklyn at Yogasana and  her home studio in Clinton Hill. Past influential teachers have included Kevin Gardner, Lara Warren, Genny Kapuler, and Alison West, and she currently studies with Naghmeh Ahi and Brooke Myers. Laura completed her 800 hour professional therapist program through Integrative Yoga Therapy, is an affiliate teacher of the IYT 200 hour teacher training and was recently certified as a yoga therapist through IAYT.  Laura is a graduate of The Juilliard School and was a performer/choreographer in NYC before receiving her Occupational Therapy Degree from NYU. She also works as a senior Occupational Therapist specializing in acute rehabilitation and is the co-founder/author of Baby Om -Yoga for Mothers and Babies, published in 1999.

Laura Staton’sC-IAYT, OTR/L, yoga classes cultivate increased body awareness and organization. She currently teaches yoga in Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective, and in Brooklyn at Yogasana and  her home s

Lissy Vomacka has been practicing and teaching yoga for more than 14 years. She currently studies with Iyengar yoga with Genny Kapular.  She has had the pleasure of studying yoga for scoliosis and back care  with Deborah Wolk and has  assisted her back care classes both at Samamkaya and at Yogasana and is happy to be included among the esteemed teachers at Samamkaya.She has studied and completed a trainings in Yoga for Scoliosis with Elise Browning as well as in restorative yoga with Judith Lasater. In addition to practicing and teaching yoga, Lissy holds a Masters Degree in Special Education and has been working for many years with children on the auspice spectrum.  She also is a licensed acupuncturist and is certified in Zero Balancing. 

Deborah WolkC-IAYT, has been teaching and working with students with back issues, scoliosis, and other injuries for over 17 years. Her yoga practice working with her own scoliosis informs the work she does to help others.

Deborah met Bobbie Fultz in 2000—her first Yoga & Scoliosis teacher. She later met Elise Browning Miller and was certified as a Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer through Elise’s training program in 2005. Her primary teacher is Genny Kapuler, whose class she assisted for 10 years, and she has also studied extensively with Kevin Gardiner in NYC (now in Budapest) and Donald Moyer in Berkeley, among others. In 2007, Deborah travelled to India to study with the Iyengar family and spent most afternoons observing the medical classes there. Also in 2007, she co-founded Yoga Union Center for Backcare & Scoliosis and co-directed it for 8 years. In January 2015, Deborah founded Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective. In 2015 she completed Matthew Sanford’s MindBody Solutions Opening 1 & 2 course for Adaptive Yoga.

Deborah’s teachings are based in the principles of Iyengar style yoga and Body Mind Centering (BMC) techniques. She is warm and funny and her teachings are subtle yet explained at a level everyone can understand. Deborah teaches workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings on Back Care & Scoliosis in New York City, across the US, and around the world, and has a thriving private practice. To learn more about Deborah, make an appointment for a private lesson or see a schedule of classes please visit . An autobiographical piece/ The NY Times ArticleDeborah Teaches 1 pose 3 waysA review of Deborah’s classAn Interview with Deborah WolkEmily Gould’s Article