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

This program is now full. It will be offered again in 2016.

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

Dates: September 5th (6:00 to 8:30 p.m.), September 6th (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and September 7th (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) onsite at the Trauma Center; additional classroom hours and supervision groups in person or via web platform (September 2014 - March 2015 dates listed below)

Cost: Regular Rate - $3,995 USD;
Early Bird Rate (if registered by July 1, 2014) - $3,595 USD.

Prerequisite: Applicants must have some prior training with the Trauma Center Yoga Program.

Please note: Applications accepted through July 15, 2014. Space will be limited to 14 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:

Dave Emerson is the Founder and Director of Yoga Services for the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Brookline Massachusetts, where he coined the term “trauma-sensitive yoga”. He 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, conducted, and supervised yoga groups for several rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, residential programs for youth, military bases, survivors of terrorism, 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 and Author of the forthcoming, Trauma Sensitive Yoga (Norton, 2015). 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 5, 6 and 7 at the Trauma Center in Brookline (near Boston).


  • September 5 - 7, 2014, on-site at the Trauma Center
  • Reading and writing assignments will predominate from September through December and then we will switch to practicum/supervision for January through March.
  • Small group meetings will be held by web Google Hangout and will be scheduled on a weekly format by appointment.
  • There will also be weekly office hours with instructors on Google Hangout with the times TBD.
  • Each participant will receive three individual hours of supervision either in person at the Trauma Center or via Google Hangout and these hours will be scheduled individually.
  • 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 March 5, 2015.
  • The program will conclude with the return of the special project and awarding of certificates on April 5, 2015.

To apply to this program, please dowload and print the APPLICATION form. Please note: Applications accepted through July 15, 2014. Space will be limited to 14 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 this button only if accepted into program):

Early Bird Rate $3,595 USD; valid until July 1, 2014 (use this button only if accepted into program):