Adjustments, Modifications, & Verbal Instructions: Teaching Yoga For Scoliosis

with Deborah Wolk

Wednesdays, 1:45-3:45pm
2020 Dates: 
1/8, 2/12, 3/18, 4/1, 5/27, 6/10, 7/1, 8/26, 9/16, 10/7, 11/18, 12/16

One class for: $40 teachers, $30 Samamkaya Teaching Assistants, $20 Students 
Any 3 months for Teachers/Assistants/Students:  $105/80/54
Any 6 months for Teachers/Assistants/Students $180/150/100
Any 12 months for Teachers/Assistants/Students  $300/275/170

This course is now approved as an IAYT CE Course! You may begin the series at any point and have up to 15 months to complete the 12 class series +  one 1 hour mentoring session = 25 hours total
12 months for Yoga Teachers/Samamkaya Teaching Assistants/Samamkaya Faculty Members working for IAYT credit: $400/350/250

Students with scoliosis have very specific needs with the nervous system, proprioceptive system and with pain patterns.  One must avoid muddled information.  Using prop set-ups, hand on adjustments and verbal instructions, Deborah Wolk will guide you in how to better teach your students with scoliosis.

This class is appropriate for all yoga teachers and for students with scoliosis. Teachers of other modalities (Pilates, personal training, etc.) may attend as teachers with Deborah’s permission. This class is not recommended for brand new beginners to yoga.



Healthy Knees: Aligning the Spine from the Ground Up with Susan Elena Esquivel


February 1-2, 2020
Saturday 9am-12pm & 2-5pm
Sunday 9am-12pm
Full Weekend: $180 in Advance
Any 2 Sessions: $130 in Advance
1 Session: $75 in Advance | $85 Drop In
**The Saturday afternoon portion of this workshop is now SOLD OUT. To get on the waiting list, please email**

We rely heavily on our hips and knees to support us through life. As a result, the muscles of the hips and the knees tend to be an area where many people experience tightness, hold tension or have pain or injury at some time in their life. This workshop will give you an understanding of the relationship between the knees and the pelvis. We will also explore the role the feet play and how the alignment of the feet and the pelvis affect the knees. The proper alignment of these joints allows for greater stability and more freedom in the spine. For all students with spinal imbalances, stiffness or injuries to knees or hips as well as those who wish to maintain the health of their joints.

 Session 1: Feet and Ankles: In Iyengar yoga we always begin with the foundation. Participants will first learn how to properly align the feet and how this alignment impacts the knees and hips. We will take a closer look at the muscles, ligaments and bones of the legs while exploring flexion and extension of the knees.

Session 2: Knees and Hips: Pain or stiffness in the knees or groin stiffness and sciatica may originate in the hips. Participants will learn how to correct pelvic misalignment and how movement and slow release combine to create freedom and more stability in the knee and hip joints.

Session 3: Standing Your Ground: In this session, we will target the muscles of the hips and knees to aid in supporting the joints, leading to a greater range of motion. Students will learn how to adapt asanas for knee and hip issues. Variations will be introduced that lessen discomfort and ensure that the feet, knees and hips always work in alignment.

Susan Elena Esquivel is a Certified Iyengar Teacher (CIYT) at the Intermediate Junior II Level and a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT). She is on the Iyengar Faculty at Down Under Yoga in Boston and is the director/owner of the Yogashala at Yoga with Susan Elena in Western Massachusetts. Her teaching is a reflection of her focused practice and studies over many years. She is known for precision while taking a playful approach with skillful sequencing to all levels of study allowing each student to go deeper into the understanding of Iyengar yoga. Susan Elena has served on the Iyengar Yoga Association of New England Board since 2015.
Susan Elena is very fortunate to have built strong mentoring relationships with some of the most highly respected senior Iyengar teachers. The four senior teachers she is deeply indebted to and influenced by are Elise Browning Miller, Peentz Dubble, Patricia Walden and Gulnaaz Dashti. Currently, she continues her weekly studies and mentorship with Certified Advanced Senior Teacher Patricia Walden as well as an ongoing apprenticeship with Elise Browning Miller to further her knowledge of scoliosis and back care. She travels to Pune, India to regularly to work with the Iyengars and Gulnaaz Dashti

Please Register in Advance!

Cancellations made up to one week in advance will be refunded less a 20% administrative fee. There are no refunds for cancellations made within one week of the workshop.


Core Integration for Asymmetry and Injury with David Meloni

February 7-9, 2020
Friday 5-8pm
Saturday 9am-12pm and 2-5pm
Sunday 9am-12pm and 2-5pm
$450 in advance
**This Workshop is now SOLD OUT. To get on the waiting list, please email us at

We are so excited to welcome David Meloni, the highest-level Iyengar certified teacher to Samamkaya! He is travelling all the way from Florence, Italy to teach a workshop on Core Integration.

In 1996, David Meloni began practicing IYENGAR® Yoga. Since 2003, he returns regularly to Pune, India to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute. He studied with Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar until 2014 when Guruji passed away, and studies with his children Geetaji (until she passed away in 2019) and Prashantji. In 2013 B.K.S. Iyengar conferred upon him the “Advanced Junior level II” certificate. In 2015  Geeta S. Iyengar conferred upon him the “Advanced Senior level I” certificate. In January 2018, Geetaji awarded David the maximum level certificate in the Iyengar Yoga “Advanced Senior level II”, He is the only one in the world to have obtained it.

David Meloni is the director of  the IYENGAR® YOGA Rahasya Center – Florence – Italy, where he currently teaches. He leads teacher training programs and conducts seminars throughout Europe, Asia, U.S.A., and South America.

Please Register in Advance!

Cancellations made up to one week in advance will be refunded less a 20% administrative fee. There are no refunds for cancellations made within one week of the workshop.



“Yoga Scoliosis And The Nervous System” with Deborah Wolk

February 28–March 1, 2020
Friday – 6–8:30pm
Saturday – 9am–12pm & 2–6pm
Sunday – 9am–12:15pm & 1:45–4pm
Full Weekend: $310
Friday Eve Only: $60
Saturday All Day: $170
Sunday All Day: $125
Sunday AM Only: $80
Saturday AM Only: $75
Saturday PM Only: $100

This is part of the Advanced Studies Course.

The scoliotic spine affects not only the bones and muscles but also the nerves—the feedback from the right and left sides of the curves is not the same. The eyes are not level and the sense of internal and external space is distorted. Some of the most powerful asana directions for students with scoliosis are ones directing and re-training the nervous system. In this workshop, students with scoliosis will learn to practice so the spine follows the eyes and is re-directed by props, walls and other external stimuli. By the end, students will find more extension, alignment, and balance as a result of practice than ever before. The  sense of the body and particular nervous system issues will be felt in a new way and students will learn how to unravel the disorientation they may feel when practicing yoga or when receiving adjustments and modifications in the asanas. Teachers will learn to guide their students with scoliosis with a different set of directions.

An experiential exploration of the anatomy of the nervous system in relationship to the anatomy and physiology of the scoliotic body.

In the morning poses and breathwork will be introduced which stimulate the concave aspects of the scoliotic pattern awakening these areas and balancing the nervous system.

In the afternoon through yoga asana, students will use the eyes to re-pattern the spine and head; use the wall and props to bring awareness to the back of the body and other areas where it may be difficult to feel.

In the morning practicing even limb use in the asanas will help help strengthen and balance the spine. Moving sensory feedback away from the joints and into the muscle ie: avoiding hyperextension and other common scoliotic misalignments.

In the final afternoon session students will use props and other cues in the restorative poses to move from sympathetic to parasympathetic in the often agitated scoliotic nervous system.

This workshop is appropriate for all levels and the asanas will be modified for all abilities and range of motion issues.

6 months minimum asana practice is recommended before taking this workshop.




“Teaching The Older Student” with Laura Staton

March 21–22, 2020
Saturday – 9am–12pm & 2–5:30pm
Sunday – 9am–12:15pm & 1:45–4pm
Whole Weekend: $265
Saturday all day: $150
Sunday all day: $125
Saturday Morning Only: $75
Saturday Afternoon Only: $80
Sunday Morning Only: $80
Sunday Afternoon Only: $60

Working with an aging population requires an understanding of age related health concerns and a deft ability to observe what kind of support is needed. This weekend will provide an overview of common age related conditions and provide an increase understanding of how to treat them safely with yoga. The class will explore strategies to ensure participationin in yoga that will be positive, enjoyable and healing for both the student and the teacher. Hand-outs will be provided as will material from Laura’s upcoming book on healing orthopedic injuries through yoga.

Saturday will focus on conditions of the spine including herniations, disc bulges, stenois and osteoarthritis and explore understanding joint and muscle range of motion.  We will also explore strategies for fluxuating cognition such mindlfullness and breath work and why using external cuing is important.

Sunday will include fall prevention training and balance activities which are essential to reduce a risk of falling. These techniques can be used in class and when working with students privately. We will also explore mobility limations in the legs and pelvis including hip and knee relacements, and practice safe transfer techniques including getting on and off the floor.


A Two-Day Creative Exploration of Scoliosis and Spinal Fusions

with Martha Carter (movement) and Patricia Horvath (writing)
Saturday & Sunday, March 28–29, 2020 – 9am–5pm each day (with 2 hour lunch)
$300 in advance | $250 early bird if registered by January 11, 2020

Come and spinal fusion wellness expert Martha Carter and special guest and author Patricia Horvath for a wholehearted exploration of spinal fusions! Designed for people with scoliosis and spinal fusions, this unique workshop combines gentle movement and guided writing to address how this confounding condition affects the whole self – body, mind, and spirit.

The idea for this workshop was born when Martha had the realization that almost everyone with a spinal fusion, like herself, struggles to achieve comfort in their movement in different ways to what non-fused ‘scoliotics’ experience. Often there is fear and uncertainty around what is ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ movement, not to mention the many life-style questions that are difficult for non-fused folks to understand. This workshop will address it all!

Starting with a gentle blend of breathing, yoga, somatics, and freestyle movement, Martha’s comforting approach will help participants to better understand their bodies – with the goal of replacing stiffness and fear, with mobility and freedom. Patricia’s guided writing sessions encourage freewriting – stories, memories, emotions, not to mention reflections on the some fo the unusual medical moments that we all struggled through – that can either be shared, or stay private.

Martha Carter 
As a therapeutic movement specialist for scoliosis and spinal fusions, Martha teaches Gentle Yoga and Scoliosis Wellness classes, workshops, and retreats for all ages and abilities in Canada, the US, and internationally. She is a certified teacher of Yoga for Scoliosis, based on the techniques developed by acclaimed Iyengar teacher, Elise Browning Miller. She has also studied (and continues to enjoy explorations in) Pilates for Scoliosis, Essential Somatics, Energy Medicine, and Trauma Release techniques, which she weaves into all her classes to help participants with pain relief while enhancing their movement potential. Martha is the founder and director of the Twisted Outreach Project for Back Care and Scoliosis (TOPS), a Canadian-based non-profit that provides a range of holistic and creative approaches to working with back care and scoliosis. (

Patricia Horvath is the author of the memoir All the Difference (Etruscan Press) about her experiences with scoliosis and spinal fusion. Her stories and essays have been published widely in literary journals including Shenandoah, The Massachusetts Review, New Ohio Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Confrontation. She is the recipient of New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in both fiction and literary nonfiction and the Goldenberg Prize for Fiction at Bellevue Literary Review. She teaches at Framingham State University in Massachusetts.

Please register in advance!

Cancellations made up to one week in advance will be refunded less a 20% administrative fee. There are no refunds for cancellations made within one week of the workshop.


Yoga for Scoliosis Teacher Training Part II and Beyond
with Elise Browning Miller

Saturday, Dec 12 & Sunday, Dec 13, 2020 | 9–11:30am & 2–4:30pm Each Day
Full Weekend: $350 in Advance | $325 Early Bird Special if registered by Nov 7, 2020

Samamkaya is proud to present Yoga for Scoliosis Teacher Training Part II and Beyond. Anyone may attend this workshop—we highly recommend it for teachers and students alike. If you want to take Part II towards certification, you must have taken Part I with Elise Browning Miller at another time. Most of the Samamkaya faculty have completed Elise Browning Miller’s 20 hour course program. The Yoga for Scoliosis Teacher’s Training is the first teacher’s training program designed specifically to train yoga teachers on how to work with students who have scoliosis. This course may lead you to do the coursework and practicum for a Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer Certification and presence on the Yoga for Scoliosis website. This particular course is also appropriate for those who have already done the Teacher Training with Elise in full but would like to prepare or receive support for their practicum or are certified trainers but would like to learn more.

Samamkaya is the ideal location for this workshop. Well-stocked with props & outfitted with a 20 station rope wall, the workshop will be limited to 20 students. You will be able to address questions that have come up in teaching in an intimate and supportive environment. This workshop will go “beyond” Part II into more techniques and real life solutions than Part II at other locations.

During this course teacher trainees will learn:

  • The anatomy and physiology of scoliosis
  • The common scoliotic patterns
  • Patterns of injury and pain with scoliosis
  • Yoga Asana to address scoliotic patterns which will help reduce progression, pain and discomfort, and perhaps even the curve(s) themselves
  • About other patterns that often accompany scoliosis; such as hip and shoulder problems, neck problems, and disorientation
  • How to give verbal and hands-on adjustments to your students with scoliosis
  • How to use Yoga Props to specifically address scoliotic patterns and related issues
  • Addressing psychological aspects of scoliosis. How to work with your own students with scoliosis

Yoga for Scoliosis for Beginners with Elise Browning Miller

Friday, December 11, 2020 – 6–9pm
$75 in advance | $65 early bird if registered by Nov 6 | $80 drop in

New to Yoga? Want to get started addressing your Scoliosis with Yoga? Come to this 2-hour session with Elise Browning Miller, especially for those new to this practice. Elise is the author of the booklet and DVD Yoga For Scoliosis, and is world famous for her workshops and Teacher Training for Yoga for Scoliosis and Yoga for Back Care. Most of the teachers at Samamkaya have trained with her and we all love her!

Elise Browning Miller, M.A. in Therapeutic Recreation from UNC-CH, is a Certified Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher who has been teaching yoga throughout the US and internationally for over 30 years. A founding director of California Yoga Center in Mountain View, CA, Elise has successfully used yoga to minimize the effects of her own scoliosis. She has published numerous articles on scoliosis and other yoga related subjects in Yoga Journal and other national magazines. Elise has studied on numerous occasions with the Iyengars in India and specializes in Scoliosis, lower/upper back problems and sports related injuries. She recently launched her new book “Yoga for Scoliosis – A Path for Students & Teachers”, and has produced her own DVD and booklets, “Yoga for Scoliosis”, “Yoga for Back Care” and her “Yoga: Anytime, Anywhere book”. Her joyous personality and ease of communication endear her to students with a teaching style that is down-to-earth, precise and nurturing.

Please Register in Advance!

Cancellations made up to one week in advance will be refunded less a 20% administrative fee. There are no refunds for cancellations made within one week of the workshop.

Elise Browning Miller may also be offering a limited amount of private lessons while in NYC. Students interested in a private should contact Elise or her assistant Vera Popova directly at ASAP.  Samamkaya does not arrange private lessons.



It is strongly recommended that you pre-register for workshops. If you pre-register for a workshop, you must cancel either 1 week or 48 hours in advance (depending on the workshop), in order to be refunded for that workshop less a 20% administrative fee. Cancellation deadlines can be found below the workshop descriptions above.

Please cancel via email ( or call 646.964.5772. Even if we receive the message later, we will go by the time stamp and refund your money if appropriate. If you are ill or there is an immediate family medical emergency, we will of course waive the fee. However, please email us as early as possible, and before the workshop begins, to waive the fee or arrange a credit.dots2

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