Wheelchair Yoga – Online Teacher Training Program

Wheelchair Yoga Teacher Training Program Description

A multi-national collaboration of Yoga Teachers and mobility specialists, the Yoga Vista Academy Wheelchair Yoga Teacher Training and Certification Program is the first of its kind in pioneering the methodology to make Yoga accessible and inclusive for all levels of abilities. From Wheelchair users in Rehab and Assisted Living facilities to Paraplegics, Quadriplegics and Amputees, as well as those with MS, Parkinson’s, and other neurological conditions – you will gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to offer movement strategies for people using Wheelchairs. This program will equip you with the knowledge to create and offer individual Yoga sessions and/or group Wheelchair Yoga classes that meet the needs of this growing Yoga community.

Wheelchair users are seeking holistic and physiological practices to help them in their daily activities and to combat the effects of a static positioning that comes with using a Wheelchair. The time is now to learn and help serve this community in offering Inclusive Yoga for all!

We honor your interest in serving this wonderful Yoga community!  This Program brings you into their world so that you can understand, learn and teach with confidence, skills and knowledge. And most importantly, you are part of the solution in helping to raise public consciousness about the abilities of our Wheelchair Yogis!  Become a Trailblazer with us!

Course Curriculum

In the Course, you’ll receive video lessons and filmed live Yoga classes, downloadable training manuals, worksheets and guides for bringing Wheelchair Yoga into lives of wheelchair users in your life and in your community. Our training materials are in-depth, thorough and creative and have been developed through the collaboration of 6 different Yoga Teachers, some being Wheelchair Yogis themselves!   And the best part is, you can do this entire Program online and at your own pace.

The Online Wheelchair Yoga Teacher Training course incorporates the body of work from lead teacher, Sherry Zak Morris, C-IAYT, Co-Founder and Director of the Yoga Vista Academy, along with a team of Yoga Teachers who share their passion for teaching to people with physical limitations. You will also see us all on video teaching live classes where we put our teachings and philosophies to practice! Join us!

We use a wide range of creative props to help our Wheelchair Yogis experience the benefits of movement.

Learning Objectives

Our Goal is to educate you on the unique dynamics of working with and teaching Yoga to people using Wheelchairs. Therefore, this course is designed to give you the knowledge, tools and strategies to offer Yoga to people in wheelchairs who have various physical limitations. By the end of this Program, you will be fluent in the following areas:

  • Anatomy and Physiology issues and conditions as they pertain to wheelchair users that Yoga can help to address
  • Teaching methodologies to develop Yoga poses and sequences for wheelchair users
  • Therapeutic modifications and tools for adapting Yoga poses and sequences according to ability when teaching wheelchair users
  • The anatomy of the spine and an overview of the levels of injury to the spine and impact on function
  • Therapeutic precautions when teaching wheelchair users including paraplegics and quadriplegics
  • Safe sequencing and modifications of Yoga poses
  • The role of the breath in Yoga and breathing techniques to accompany poses and sequences
  • Validate you have demonstrated the Skill and Knowledge to teach a safe and effective class via online quizzes and tests, and your required 30-minute Teachback class

The course comprehensively and sensitively presents information about a wide range of wheelchair users to cover many of the issues that might be presented to a yoga teacher who would like to offer such a class. The best part is to see wheelchair users presenting and participating in the classes, showing clearly how exercises can be taught and the relevance that such a class can have to all abilities. The use of props is also a highlight to make movement more interesting and available.

Viki Boyko

Wheelchair Yoga Pilot Program Teacher

Who is Wheelchair Yoga For?

Wheelchair Yoga is a holistic healthcare and self-care option for anyone with impaired mobility, and/or those who use a wheelchair, cane or scooter for mobility. The practice of Wheelchair Yoga is gentle and accessible to almost everyone, whether they are recovering from surgery, an injury, a long-term illness, amputation, or even just struggling from general stiffness or reduced flexibility due to pain and tension.

Physical and recreational therapists, Yoga Teachers, nurses, eldercare associates and administrators, and senior living communities are all new and growing areas exploring this form of Yoga  and specialized Yoga instruction.

Who is Wheelchair Yoga Teacher Training For?

Yoga Teachers and Fitness Instructors

Expand and Build upon your Yoga Teaching knowledge to include working with Wheelchair users. Learn how traditional Yoga poses can be adapted to accommodate the needs of the Wheelchair Yogi by using props and asana modifications.

Key Program Benefits:

  1. Learn the anatomical and postural issues that result from long-term use of a wheelchair
  2. Gain a deep understanding of the physiological benefits that Yoga brings to the Wheelchair user
  3. Apply the principles of anatomy when choosing specific Yoga asanas to offer to your Wheelchair Yogis
  4. Design a custom Yoga class from beginning to end to meet the needs of the Wheelchair Yogi
  5. Enhance your teaching skills to offer Inclusive Yoga for Wheelchair and non-Wheelchair Yogis together in the same class
  6. Gain specific knowledge to enable you to offer Private Yoga sessions  to Wheelchair Yogis
  7. Learn how to utilize a wide variety of props to enhance the benefits and experience of Yoga for your Wheelchair Yogis
  8. Familiarize yourself with disability etiquette guidelines and language when working with Wheelchair Yogis
  9. Become familiar with various wheelchair configurations and related postural support issues
  10. Experience various breathing and pranayama practices that can assist your Wheelchair Yogis in their daily lives

Healthcare Professionals and Providers

Whether you are a caregiver for a Wheelchair user, or you work in a healthcare field that services this population, you will find this Program an additional resource to your professional training. 

Key Program Benefits:

  1. Expand your professional skills and services by including Yoga as a healing modality for Wheelchair users
  2. Learn safe and effective ways to help Wheelchair users feel better, stronger and more confident using a variety of Yogic tools
  3. Learn the anatomical and postural issues that result from long-term use of a wheelchair
  4. Gain a deep understanding of the physiological benefits that Yoga brings to the Wheelchair user
  5. Apply the principles of anatomy when choosing specific movements or exercises to offer to Wheelchair users
  6. Learn how to utilize a wide variety of props to enhance the benefits and experience of Yoga for Wheelchair users
  7. Familiarize yourself with disability etiquette guidelines and language when working with Wheelchair Yogis
  8. Become familiar with various wheelchair configurations and related postural support issues
  9. Experience various breathing and meditation practices that can assist Wheelchair users in their daily lives
  10. Become proficient in designing therapeutic movement sequences customized for an individual Wheelchair user

Training Materials

All Course materials included upon enrollment! Detailed and Illustrated Downloadable Training Manual includes:

100+ Page Full Color Training Manual in Downloadable PDF format.

  • Anatomy and Physiology of specific conditions and issues found in people who use a Wheelchair
  • Causes and Symptoms of each common Condition and Issue
  • Movement Guidelines (do’s and don’ts)
  • Comprehensive Wheelchair Yoga Pose Library: Recommended Yoga Poses/Sequences (with modifications)
  • Learning Lab Video Vignettes: Wheelchair Yoga Pose video vignettes of each Yoga pose in the specific module
  • Ongoing access to the Course material after graduation

Create Your Own Training Manual!

An Ongoing Resource you can Use Forever!

Wheelchair Yoga Teacher Team

My first introduction to teaching to Wheelchair Yogis was with my Mentor Teacher, Mary Cavanaugh. She taught at various assisted living and senior communities where, at 80 years old, she led a group of her peers through Yoga movements that helped build their strength and increased their mobility. I saw the changes in these students over months and years and saw how the power of Yoga can help anyone and everyone feel better.  And that is my goal… to meet each student where they are and to encourage them to move, breathe and feel the best they can. I have been teaching Wheelchair Yoga since 2011 and have many students that have been with me since the beginning. I do believe Yoga has kept them healthy and thriving.

I am the Ring leader of the 6 of us Wheelchair Yoga Teachers. I knew I could not do this Program alone, so I am eternally grateful for the many hours of dedication, service and creativity the Wheelchair Yoga Teacher Team gave to this project. Our collaboration across the seas… has brought you this unique and insightful Program.

Sherry Zak Morris, C-IAYT, E-RYT500

Gentle, Senior & Chair Yoga Teacher; Director and Co-Founder of the Yoga Vista Academy & Executive Producer of YogaJP and Founding Member of All Ability Yoga

Sherry Zak Morris has been coming to the Vista Knoll Specialized Care Facility since 2009. She teaches a Wheelchair Yoga class the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month for geriatric rehab patients. She teaches them every day strengthening skills to help them with their healing. She also shows them techniques to help improve their posture, flexibility, and to also stimulate their mind. Sherry interacts great with the patients and takes the time to get to know them on a more personal level. She engages well with even the most difficult patients. She made a personalized Wheelchair Yoga DVD for the facility that is geared specifically towards our types of patients. We are very grateful that she has been a part of our activities team for so many years. Thank you Sherry!

Marilyn Nehez

Activities Director, Vista Knoll Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Center

Tami Ridley

Quadriplegic, Wheelchair Advocate and Founding Member of All Ability Yoga

Nina Boswell Brown

Paraplegic and Yoga Vista Academy Chair Yoga Teacher,  Founder of SittingFitYoga.com

Sarah Frost

Physio-
therapist (MCSP),
Posture Care Specialist and Yoga Teacher

Pinush Chauhan

Registered Yoga Teacher, Founding Member of All Ability Yoga and creator of the “Creative Chair Yoga” DVD.

Sage Bova

Visionary Yoga Teacher and Founding Member of All Ability Yoga

A young man, who has a brain injury as a result of being knocked off his bike, joined my home classes just before the summer break and returned today. He has been having plenty of physio and continues to do so but has practised yoga in the past and is really enjoying getting back to it. In the few classes he did earlier in the summer he just came for half my class which we practise in our chairs but he was keen to stay for the full class once strong enough to manage the transfer onto the z-beds.. so today he did so and his assistant stayed and helped him with the transfer and a few times in positioning himself. It worked really well and he is keen to continue with the full class from now on. He is so motivated, it’s a pleasure to work with him. I really am so grateful Sherry for your part in starting me off on this course.

Nina Boswell Brown

Key Contributor to the Wheelchair Yoga Training Program, Sitting Fit Yoga

Testimonials

After taking this Program, my confidence level is 10. I am already working with a wheelchair user and feel ready to work with many many more in the years to come. This Program provides an understanding of the needs of a wheelchair user regarding yoga as well as ideas for group classes, anatomy, props, and sample classes.

Katie Brandes

Academy Certified Chair Yoga, Low Back Yoga and Wheelchair Yoga

By chance (are there coincidences? 😉) I finally found at yogavista what I was looking for at least 7 years: training for wheelchair yoga. A lot of information about possible clinical pictures of wheelchair users and what opportunities these students have to do yoga. A very important moment for me: wheelchair users can not only perform upper body and arm movements, but also partial leg movements! I’ve never thought of that. The training offers so much information in text form and the videos show an impression of how and what is possible in a wheelchair. If I had any questions, Sherry was always there for me with advice and help!

If you’re worried about wheelchair yoga: stop thinking! Book this training! You will never regret it! Although I wasn’t entirely convinced that I had the courage to really teach yoga classes for wheelchair users after completing my training, my certification teachback made me confident and happy. I found my dharma! Blessed love to Sherry and the team for this experience.

Edith Mildner

Academy Certified Chair & Gentle Yoga, Low Back Yoga, Corporate Yoga and Wheelchair Yoga

I didn’t know anything about the problems of being in a wheelchair. Everything from spasms, to lack of use of core and breathing muscles, problems with body heat. All of the ‘real world’ experiences of wheelchair users was extremely helpful and vital to teaching a class with differing disabilities.

Viki Boyko

Academy Certified Chair Yoga and Wheelchair Yoga