Advanced Studies



Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective is excited to announce that the Yoga Therapeutics Advanced Studies Program will be presented in an online format. We hope this home-based study will allow local, as well as international students and colleagues, to be able to join us for this dynamic online learning experience.

The First Module—“Seeing Human Structure”— focuses on symmetry and asymmetry, anatomy and pathology, sensing and feeling, and will be taught by Samamkaya Faculty: Deborah Wolk, Laura Staton and Rachel Lynch-John.

This module has been postponed. Please check our newsletter for the most up-to-date info!

This course is open to teachers and students interested in expanding their understanding of the body, and cultivating an expanded skill set of therapeutic observational, analytical, intuitive and communication skills. In a creative and nurturing environment, teachers and students will learn alongside each other and from one another.

If you are interested in signing up for this module, the entire 3 module training, or any individual workshop, please complete our application online here.

We will record the workshops for students who may have scheduling conflicts or time zone differences. The courses are IAYT certified and can be used as CE credit for C-IAYT teachers.

All students welcome but If you are not sure this program is for you, please contact us!


“Ways of Seeing” with Deborah Wolk

The first step in working with another person is to observe and see the body. Received, rather than acted upon, observation and vision are skills not always taught to teachers.  Yet without these skills one can not truly help an injured student or anyone with therapeutic needs.  And now, with online teaching, observation is even more challenging without depth of field, 3 dimensions and without touch.

In this workshop we will approach the question:  what is seeing?  What senses are involved? Which is more powerful: vision or touch?  From what standpoint can one truly observe a body?

To find the key to problem solving and subsequently healing you will learn what to look for as you observe your student  as well as look for alternatives to touch.  These skills will allow you to use light and dark, the draping of clothing, a sense of heaviness and lightness, the space around you, and more. When you see the student and sense asymmetry of bone, muscle, skin you will learn to communicate that to your student with a clear description of where it is happening and give them pathways to feel more clearly. Deborah will guide you to a tangible place where you too can develop a “good eye”.


“Back Care and Scoliosis Weekend” with Deborah Wolk

Experiential Anatomy of the spine


Deborah will teach a direct approach to relief  and awareness addressing all types of chronic back pain and alignment issues such as disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, swayback, whiplash and kyphosis. The Yoga poses practiced in this workshop with a specific focus can be the key to alleviating pain and creating more balance in the body. This workshop is for students of all levels who wish to work on any issues related to pain and discomfort in the back and for teachers wishing to learn more about how to work with these issues:

  • Spinal Anatomy (Sagittal curves)
  • Physiology of such back issues as: disc herniation and other disc issues, kyphosis, lordosis, spondylolisthesis, sciatica, neck and shoulder issues
  • Physiology of degenerative bone diseases: osteoporosis, arthritis
  • Muscular issues
  • How to see and correct postural problems and return to neutral curves of the spine
  • Defining and describing pain
  • Asana and modifications for acute back issues and pain
  • Asana and modifications for chronic back issues and pain


Deborah will introduce participants to the structure of the spine, the anatomy of scoliosis and how it affects one’s physiology and health. Yoga asanas and principles of sequencing will be practiced and modified for different curvatures and pain issues. Participants will learn how to develop a yoga practice which specifically addresses their own patterns and needs using awareness and alignment.

  • Defining scoliosis and asymmetry through spinal anatomy
  • Understanding and seeing lateral asymmetry and rotation
  • How scoliosis affects spatial and balance issues
  • How scoliosis affects the nervous system and can create joint issues and pain
  • Asana to realign and connect with the limbs.
  • Asana and breath techniques to create awareness, relieve pain, balance the nervous system and possibly stabilize the curves themselves.


“Asana & Pathology of the Arms and Legs” With Laura Staton

This workshop will explore yoga for various conditions of the arms and legs teachers encounter in classes. We use our arms throughout the day and our legs are our means of locomotion, so discomfort in our extremities dramatically reduces life participation. Rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder and carpal tunnel syndrome in the upper limb, and knee and hip replacements, chronic knee pain and foot issues in the lower limb are some of the orthopedic conditions we will be covering. The workshop will discuss the anatomy of each condition and explore yoga asanas for healing and safe practice. Students will leave with a comprehensive understanding for how to approach students with these challenges. The course is broken up into three manageable time slots and will be recorded for students who may miss portions of the workshops.

60 min follow up section within a few weeks for questions, concerns and comments. Time will be decided by the group.


“Asana & Pathology of the Axial Skeleton” With Laura Staton

This workshop will explore yoga therapy options for multiple conditions of the axial (spine) skeleton. These conditions are often painful and the movement indications and contraindications are important to understand to prevent further injury and assist with healing. Common conditions we see as teachers include disc herniations, sciatica, stenosis, kyphosis and lordosis. The class will explore yoga asanas suitable for safe practice and students will leave with a comprehensive understanding for how to approach each condition and assist with the healing process. The course is broken up into three manageable time slots and will be recorded for students who may miss portions of the workshops.

60 min follow up section within a few weeks for questions, concerns and comments. Time will be decided by the group.


“Embodying the Essence of the Skeletal and Ligamentous Systems” With Rachel Lynch-John

Exploring the Skeletal Structure and Dynamics of the Lower and Upper Limbs to find Ease and Support for the Spine.

Through an understanding of anatomy, from an embodiment perspective, we can begin to develop a foundation through which to explore movement based on our own experience. As we observe ourselves and others – this allows us to see anatomy as an exciting, experiential, and philosophical landscape. 

We will look at how we can develop clarity of action and thought, through an embodiment of the skeletal and ligamentous systems, exploring the qualities of being that arise out of these two systems. Defining them as a whole enables the potential for movement comfort and ease; developing a new awareness of how the body moves.

We will examine pathways within the limbs by understanding the relationships from the foot to the pelvis and hand to shoulder and ribs, refining the dynamics of how we direct movements of the limbs into and out of an asana. These explorations will open up the potential for an easeful, quiet, spine, from which to examine the structures and dynamics of the head to tail relationship. 

The series will culminate in an experiential exploration of the skeletal and ligamentous systems together as a whole in movement. This will include finding ways to enhance our ability to see and sense discord in the body, and to develop tools to help discern how to approach issues that present themselves.  This process will allow for asana practice to organically evolve in a way that is helpful, healing and supportive to each individual’s needs.