Trauma Sensitive Yoga:
A 110-hour Certification Program
for Yoga Teachers

Presenter: David Emerson, E-RYT with Guest Faculty from the Trauma Center at JRI

Dates: September 7 and 8, 2013 onsite at the Trauma Center; additional classroom hours and supervision groups in person or via web platform (September 2013- March 2014 dates listed below)

Times: See below for dates and time requirements

Cost: Regular Rate - $3,995 USD; Early Bird Rate (if registered by July 1, 2013) - $3,595 USD.

Please note: Applications accepted through August 1, 2013. Space will be limited to 10 participants and applications will be reviewed upon receipt. Applicants that are accepted will be able to reserve their spot upon receipt of payment.

About the Presenter:

Founder and Director of Yoga Services for the Trauma Center at JRI (Justice Resource Institute) in Brookline Massachusetts, Dave Emerson is an accomplished yoga instructor and founder of the Black Lotus Yoga Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the teaching of yoga to individuals with PTSD. Mr. Emerson was responsible for curriculum development, supervision and oversight of the yoga intervention component of the first of its kind, NIH funded study, conducted by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk to assess the utility and feasibility of yoga instruction with severely traumatized adults with PTSD. Mr. Emerson has extensive experience in the instruction of yoga with PTSD in various populations, and has developed and conducted yoga groups for several rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, residential programs for youth, military bases, and Veterans Administration centers and clinics. In addition to co-authoring several scholarly articles on the subject of yoga and trauma, Mr. Emerson is the co-author of Overcoming Trauma through Yoga, released in 2011 by North Atlantic Books. He leads trainings for yoga teachers and mental health clinicians in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Educational Objectives:

  • Participants will gain a deep understanding from a variety of clinical perspectives about the impact of Complex and Developmental Trauma and PTSD throughout the life cycle.
  • Participants will learn, through both close supervision and in-depth individual investigation, why and how to use Trauma Sensitive Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for Complex and Developmental Trauma and PTSD in any setting with persons of any age.
  • Participants will gain the knowledge and the skills necessary to found a full Trauma Sensitive Yoga program in their community of choice.


Complex or Developmental Trauma in particular, have such a deep impact on the entire organism that there is a growing understanding among professionals in the field that treatment approaches need to reach beyond psychodynamic psychotherapy. Research done at the Trauma Center and elsewhere has shown the impact of Complex and Developmental Trauma to include most aspects of one’s sense of self and one’s sense of place and purpose in the world as well as measureable impacts on the brain, the endocrine system and even cell biology. Since 2003, the Trauma Center has been developing, implementing, and closely studying a yoga program specifically for survivors of Complex or Developmental Trauma. As a result of our empirical research, yoga is proving to be an effective, adjunctive treatment for the most severe trauma. The key to the whole endeavor is a deep understanding of the impacts of Complex and Developmental Trauma that lead to the way we teach yoga, which we call Trauma Sensitive Yoga as well as a deep relationship to the yoga practice, Ahimsa. These kind of deep understandings will require time and a significant commitment on the part of participants and instructors and this certification program has been created to allow the conditions for that kind of rigorous inquiry.

Best suited participants will have both a vibrant intellectual curiosity regarding trauma theory and a solid level of experience practicing and teaching yoga, which will provide critical subjective and intuitive insight into the place of yoga in a healing milieu. Best suited participants will want to make teaching Trauma Sensitive Yoga a significant part of their professional life. Through the close support of instructors, participants will be able to spend the time and energy necessary to gain the insight and understanding requisite to build and cultivate a Trauma Sensitive Yoga program of their own in any setting of their choice. Graduates of the program will be the gold standard for Trauma Sensitive Yoga in their community.

Program Information:

Please note, we have created this program to have both an in-person and a web-based option so that it is accessible to participants from any geographical location. The only in-person requirement is September 7 and 8 at the Trauma Center in Brookline (near Boston).


  • September 7 and 8, 2013 on-site at the Trauma Center
  • Classroom hours will be held either in person at the Trauma Center or by web platform between 6:30 and 8:00 PM on the following dates: Sept 17, Oct 1, Oct 15, Nov 5, Nov 19, Dec 3, Dec 17
  • There will be three, 2-hour supervision groups also held in person at the Trauma Center or via web platform on the following dates: Jan 7, 2014, Feb 4, and Mar 4
  • Each participant will receive 3 Individual hours of supervision either in person at the Trauma Center or via web platform and these hours will be scheduled individually between Dec 17, 2013 and Mar 4, 2014
  • There will be a term-paper style, special project assignment the topic of which will be decided upon by each participant and Mr. Emerson due Mar 4, 2014
  • The program will conclude with the return of the Special Project and awarding of certifications on Apr 4, 2014

To apply to this program, please dowload and print the APPLICATION form. Please note: Applications accepted through August 1, 2013. Space will be limited to 10 participants and applications will be reviewed upon receipt. Applicants that are accepted will be able to reserve their spot upon receipt of payment by either mailing a check/money order or using one of the following PayPal links.

Regular Rate $3,995 USD (use only if accepted into program)

Early Bird Rate $3,595 USD (if registered by July 1, 2013; use only if accepted into program)


TRAUMA CONFERENCE: 28th Annual International Trauma Conference, Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA, May 31-June 3, 2017


SUMMER INSTITUTE: 6th Annual Summer Training Institute, Cape Cod, July 17-21, 2017