Chair and Senior Yoga, Gentle Yoga Therapy and Somatics With Sherry Zak Morris, C-IAYT; Paula Montalvo, RYT; Justine Shelton, C-IAYT and James Knight, E-RYT, C-HSE, Integrative Therapist and Somatics Educator
Educational Resource for Yoga Teacher and Practitioners. Over 300 pages and 500 Yoga photo poses and sequences, fully illustrated with contraindications and modifications
Table of Contents
This Workshop lays the foundation of our specialty areas for the 50+ Population: Chair and Gentle Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, Somatic Yoga and Senior Yoga. Each workshop presenter brings their passion and expertise so that you can learn how to teach Yoga confidently and safely.
- Introduction to Teaching Gentle Yoga with Sherry Zak Morris – We will identify the demographics of this student community, common injuries and physical limitations, and how and why modifications are needed for common yoga poses and sequences.
- Chair Yoga for Everyone with Sherry Zak Morris – Learn how to create a Chair Yoga class that can serve the needs of people in wheelchairs, at desks and workplace environments, with physical limitations, etc. Many poses and many variations will be presented and discussed.
- Senior Health Issues: Balance with Paula Montalvo – Learn how and why balance diminishes as we age, and how specific yoga poses can strengthen balance and reverse habitual patterns.
- Senior Health Issues: Osteo-Arthritis with Sherry Zak Morris – Learn where and how arthritis manifests in the body and what modifications are recommenced in specific yoga poses to encourage mobility and pain relief for all ages.
- Senior Chair Yoga with Paula Montalvo – Experiential class of a wide variety of standing and seated chair yoga poses. You will learn so many unique ideas and pose combinations to take into your Chair Yoga teaching.
- Introduction to the Philosophy of Viniyoga – Learn the basic fundamentals of Viniyoga, a therapeutic style of yoga that incorporates breath as the primacy of movement, adaptation of the form of asana to fit the practitioner, combination of repetition and stay to work with the biomechanics of movement and the art and science of sequencing. We will discuss preparation and compensation for poses, structural alignment and common ‘release valves’ seen in practitioners.
- Structural Anatomy – Form, Function, Dysfunction and Contraindications – Using anatomical models we will cover basic anatomy yoga teachers should know, less from a ‘naming the terms’ standpoint and more from an understanding of how the parts work together! Primary importance will be given to covering the structure of the spine and spinal curvatures. Also discussed will be the relationship between the axial and appendicular skeleton, major muscles, anatomy of the pelvic and shoulder girdles as well as knees and ankles.
- Body Reading: Philosophy and Tools for Self and Student Assessment – Body reading is an art that may take a lifetime to master….and what a fascinating journey! We will have an interactive discussion with practice looking at bodies to see what lies hidden in movement patterns and posture that may unlock the key to helping your students at a deeper level. This class will not only focus on teachers learning what to look for, but also provide tools to help our students in self discovery of their own bodies patterns.
- Gentle Yoga through Somatic Exploration with James Knight – Innovative Somatic theory, philosophy, and practice behind Gentle Yoga through Somatic Exploration TM and why they work. You will learn how to use these principles in combination with gentle yoga stretches. Through these fluid Somatic movements your students reverse old habitual patterns, come out of pain, and re-empower their muscle coordination.
- Gentle Yoga Therapy for Cancer Recovery with Justine Shelton – Key areas to consider when teaching this demographic. Topics covered will be yoga poses for calming the nervous system and reducing stress, boosting the immune system, the role of the lymphatic system, pain management and treatment side-effects. Contraindications for certain conditions will be covered. We will also discuss recommended reading, nutritional and alternative medicine suggestions, and holding space for your students. Key to recovery is also building a sense of community and giving students effective tools they can use to aid in their healing journey and gain self empowerment.
Here are some sample pages of this Manual so you can see the level of detail provided in each and every one of our Teacher Training Manuals. No need to take notes… we do that for you!
Study with Justine!
Justine Shelton, Certified Yoga Therapist, shares a wealth of information in her online Workshops and in her in-depth Certification Programs.
Study with Sherry!
Sherry Zak Morris, Certified Yoga Therapist, shares her passion for teaching to the 50+Population, especially our dear Seniors, in her online workshops and several deep dive Certification Programs.
Study with James!
James Knight, Creator of Gentle Somatic Yoga, offers a unique blend of Yoga, Somatics, Meditation and Visualization to help re-train the brain and body connection to relieve pain.
Gail Duncan, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA
Awesome on line course! Sherry has been so helpful – Great Hands on Guidance! I never expected Sherry to actually call me and walk me through the steps to get my Mac set up for the course! I truly felt welcomed and on my way to success! The video’s and written materials are spot on! Great resources to go back to again and again! I am grateful that my Yoga Journey has taken me down the Chair Yoga path. Thank you to everyone at Yoga Vista Academy. Keep up the great work! Namaste!
Carol Daly, Jackson Heights, New York, USA
Delving into the course material over the span of about five months helped me learn the importance of the “why” behind each movement and communicate that to the seniors I teach. As I continued through the course I applied what I learned in my classes which made them fresh and vibrant each time. I have significantly expanded my movement repertoire and confidence regardless of my audience size or level. I am better equipped to pull up whatever is needed to meet the group or person in front of me.
The course material is meticulous, well organized and infused with live vignettes and lots of subject matter experts in related fields. The handouts and multidimensional libraries of anatomy and poses are just wonderful! I think it’s a win win for all yoga teachers wherever you are in your practice and teaching.
Deb Mix, Wenonah, New Jersey, USA
I’ve had to expand my chair classes as they’ve been a huge success. Word has spread through neighboring studios and they send their Seniors my way. Just wanted to thank you for your updates and constant vigil. Very much appreciated. I see not only great strides in my students but a social bonding as well. They rarely miss a class. Which is a far different story from when I was just teaching mainstream Yoga. If I find I have medical questions I can usually refer back to my notes for the most part and send them in a good direction. I’ve incorporated a bit of humor from my own perspective and hopefully encouraged them to laugh in the face of aging. It has become a beautiful practice for all of us.
You continually offer interesting, informative & educational tips; videos for a wide range of health issues as well as the aging population. I bring something new to my classes every week 🙂 thank you.
Kim Stabbe, Fremont, Nebraska, USA
Thank you so much again for your wonderful Chair Yoga course!! I especially enjoyed the great review on Anatomy. I greatly appreciate that your resources will be my wonderful library of information to refer to when needed. The online setup worked great for me too. I also gave my feedback via Yoga Alliance.
Simone Price, Glenfield, NEW ZEALAND
I have thoroughly enjoyed this course and learnt so much. Information that I can use for my Chair Yoga Classes but also for my regular yoga practices as well. Everything was explained so simply and was easy to understand, its also great that I can keep going back over information and re watch the videos when I need to. I would not hesitate in recommending this course to anyone who is looking to teach chair yoga or yoga for seniors.
Anne Merrill, Naples, Florida, USA
I did love the program itself, I love all the information, chapters, etc., and how I was able to print out everything and make a large binder to keep forever for reference. Any time I had questions while going through the information, Sherry was just an email away with the answer, and always very prompt.
One of the biggest things I like about this program, is that I almost feel like I know you all, after watching videos, studying, phone calls and emails. That is very important to me!
Gerry Hurtig, Parrish, Florida, USA
WOW! I received so much personal growth from the Chair Yoga certification course. The teachers are knowledgeable, experienced and supportive which provided for a wonderful learning experience. Each of their unique backgrounds and approaches provided another dimension to the course. The materials were rich with information and well-written. There was so much more that I received from taking this class than I had ever thought possible. Thanks so much for all that you and your staff do to help teachers like me grow in our yogic lives.
Susan Rowan, Richmond Hill, Ontario, CANADA
I enjoyed the course material. Even though I took a long time to actually finish I started using the poses in my classes from the get-go. Every time I log into the course I find something fresh that I’d forgotten about. I loved the way you married the poses and conditions with the anatomy. My original YTT didn’t do that and it was a huge frustration. I do really love getting your little videos each week and have definitely lifted some of those vinyasas and used them.
Thanks so much for all the endless hours it must have taken to produce this course. I’m sure everyone one of us who have taken it has benefited tremendously from all your effort, experience and dedication.
Vicki Lynch, San Marcos, California, USA
I truly found the Chair Yoga Program to be beyond informative. You offer SO many resources to the student. I loved that a mentoring program was offered, studying at your own pace, yoga videos, modules, and “spot on” yoga lessons. I learned so much regarding anatomy and the aging of our bodies and how to correct and decrease pain. I liked the emphasis on how to cue and speaking loud and clearly. Honestly, I would highly recommend this training to any one that wants to incorporate these important subjects. For me personally, I have become a better version of myself.
Lucy Valente, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, USA
Yoga Vista Academy‘s Chair Yoga Certification Program provided a written PDF to accompany the video presentation which I found beneficial to the student to read and follow as well as a great reference source to keep. I have already referred back to the PDF notes several times. The library of postures is also a good reference source for poses and their unique names. I found the videos to be very helpful especially to see the students go through the asanas to the best of their ability with modifications provided to accommodate each body and level of ability.
Judith Fitzsimmons, Franklin, Tennessee, USA
I have to say that I am THOROUGHLY enjoying this course. As a technical writer and instructional designer for the past 25 years, I have to admit that I am a bit “snobbish” about participating in training programs as an attendee. The design of this course is fabulous. I love that you provide the options of auditory and visual means for learning (I happen to be visual).
The size of each module allows a person to successfully complete the modules even within the time constraints of their personal and professional lives. I particularly like having the PDF files (not only because I’m visual) but because I can print them and highlight things that warrant my personal attention further.
Tomme Fent, Gresham, Oregon, USA
I give the Yoga Vista Gentle and Chair Yoga courses my highest recommendation! Sherry and Justine have perfected the art of online teaching. The written materials are comprehensive, detailed, and some of the best reference sources in my entire yoga library. The many hours of videos are equally outstanding, offering a variety of teaching styles, methodologies, and information. I expected to receive outstanding instruction in Gentle and Chair Yoga. What I didn’t expect, but received in abundance, was these courses making me a better teacher overall, as well as a better teacher trainer. These courses truly have been a highlight of my ongoing yoga education!
Deborah Forsblom, Bexley, Ohio, USA
I enjoyed the Anatomy Module. I knew a lot of the basic anatomy already, but I really appreciated tying that to the problems that Seniors have and then showing why certain poses helped with these problems. It is great to have all of this in a coherent, organized form. I will refer back to these chapters when I plan my lessons. Thank you for the user-friendly curriculum. I look forward to the rest of the course.
Maria Zervas, Montgomery, Powys, Wales, UK
Sherry, Justine are such authentic, caring people reaching out to a worldwide community. I am just one of them, and so very grateful for all of the support they have given me. Having their manuals would be a fantastic asset to share with all of my Creative Yoga Motion students here in Wales, as we can’t fly weekly to attend your classes and workshops in Vista, CA.
Ana Polanco Hernando
What LOVE best about Yoga Vista Academy is the comprehensive detail to the online trainings and manuals. As on occupational therapist with over 20 years experience, I have never taken an anatomy and movement course specifically for geriatrics AND with the detail and care the information was presented. I am so happy I found this resource. I haven’t finished the Chair Yoga for Seniors course just yet but have incorporated what I have learned thus far with the geriatric patients I have on my caseload. Thank you!
Katie Brandes, Orlando, Florida, USA
Content… The amount of information in the course was unbelievable. It was well-delivered. The PDF documents were organized perfectly. And I appreciate the videos throughout. Applying different learning methods really helped it all come together for me. Testing… I actually felt like I got real feedback. This is so unusual this day and age and I feel like I am a better teacher for it. The course made me stop and think about who I am as a teacher.
Dana Thiele, Rabun Gap, Georgia, USA
I am so grateful to be a part of this yoga community! I have learned so much about anatomy, thanks to you and Justine. I really like the way the course is designed. Taking the a test after each section is brilliant! I have three notebooks full of information that you guys provided throughout the course. Wonderful to have to refer back to. Having access to the teaching videos is something that I take advantage of on a regular basis. A chair yoga teacher who attends my gentle yoga classes when in my area, is so impressed with what I have learned is going to take the chair yoga course you offer.
Lucie Blanchet, Quebec, CANADA
I bought videos, manuals and an online workshop from the Academy and each time I was amazed by the quality of the material. I like the information on the anatomy it helps me to understand more deeply the benefits of the posture. The illustrations are explicit and facilitate the learnings.
Please Excuse my writing I am a francophone and I do not get to write in English very often.
Jane Musgrave, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Great Stuff! The content is world class, and I loved the option to read and watch the video at the same time. Super organized and easy to follow. The sections build on one another nicely. Definitely felt like a good value. Super glad that I can go back and watch the videos whenever I want to. That is a huge selling point.
Lesley Levy, Canberra and Queanbeyan, AUSTRALIA
Thank you for providing such a comprehensive course. I found it so easy to work through the modules because of the way the course was designed. The information on how to sequence and to better understand the physiological issues, that seniors may present with, was invaluable. I felt fully supported throughout the course, and I will continue to refer to the course materials ongoing.
John Conroy, Ennis, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The first course I completed in the area of working with Seniors was through University of Limerick which gave me a good base and foundation but having completed both Chair and Gentle Courses along with online material , youtube clips, dvd sets, and so much more information from the video libraries it has given me the opportunity to continue exercising and pass on a wide range of knowledge and advice to my students in 17 weekly classes I have on a weekly basis, so huge thanks and blessing Sherry for continuing to pass on your invaluable knowledge and skills.
Cathy, San Diego, California, USA
I learned many new things and I especially liked the fact I didn’t have to take notes, I could sit and listen! I learn and retain information better by experiencing. The PDF handout is a gem.
Elisabeth Sherine Ahlby, Horten, NORWAY
Great program, videos and pdf-handouts. Important knowledge for all yoga teachers. Even as a former nurse and with a previous therapeutic yoga teacher background, I learned a lot from this program and would highly recommend it to others. I’m very happy that I found it, and signed up!
The downloadable handouts are very informative with a lot of detailed pictures. The videos and Justine’s teaching are great. She shares a lot of knowledge and is easy to follow. I also liked the quiz following each chapter, a good way to check your progress.
I wanted to learn more about yoga adapted to common back problems. I teach regular classes and smaller groups for people with different health problems. Back problems are very common, and something every teacher at some point will meet. Knowing what postures to choose and which ones to avoid, and individual adaption is the key to a safe yoga practise.
Suzi Mahler, Santa Cruz, California, USA
I am so happy to be a member of the Yoga Vista Academy graduates. You both are doing amazing work in teaching and inspiring people to teach yoga to seniors. I have recommended your training to many people.
The online format you use is simple to navigate, and easy to follow. There is so much wonderful information to glean from the videos and in the written portion. When I first began teaching chair yoga, I would make up routines to work the 8 bearing joints, some of which I still use today. Then I discovered your Youtube Yoga Vista videos and became so inspired by your passion I just knew I had found mine too. Sherry I feel like you are my yoga sister!
Marybeth Bastian, Parker, Colorado, USA
I really enjoyed going through the course at my own pace and found that I learned and re learned many things—using your manual. I totally appreciate all that you share and promote. I continually add and learn things from the newsletter and reviewing the manual. The quizzes were helpful.
Eva Montalvo, Delray Beach, Florida, USA
The chair yoga teacher training program was invaluable to hone and fine-tune my yoga education to serve the 55+ population I teach in South Florida. I found that during my 200 hour certification, anatomy was my weakest area because I just didn’t have much of an interest or understanding, but in this program it was so easy to follow that I found myself becoming an anatomy geek. It was general anatomy, yes, but also what happens to the body as it ages, or with various health conditions. I find myself incorporating many of the concepts and movements into my traditional hatha mat classes as well, and the class attendance has improved as a result. I was dubious about how well I would learn using video content, and was very pleasantly surprised to find out how effective it was. Not only did I feel as if I was there, but I have all of the content as reference materials too! I highly recommend this course, and all Yoga Vista Academy offerings. May we keep up this vital work that blesses so many!
Marybeth Bastian, Parker, Colorado, USA
Independent study using computer prepared manual, pictures, examples and videos gave me the feeling of being “in” a classroom. The quizzes helped me to know that I was on the right path. I was able to practice adaptations for Yoga in a chair and standing that I could recommend to students who were unable to manage asanas in the traditional Yoga way, or were not strong enough to manage Yoga on a mat. I found that during the time I was teaching these principles, the students were gaining confidence, strength, balance and flexibility at their own pace. The class gave me great respect for the effort the students were making and the increase of joy in their faces as time went on! It gives me a great feeling to assist seniors with the knowledge obtained from the class.
Linda Koewers, Gulfport, Mississippi, USA
It was such a blessing for me to come across the Yoga Vista Academy online program. It’s inexpensive and easy to work. I was able to recieve such detailed knowledge on the aging process and all the main issues that can contribute to pain. Learning about the anatomy was so helpful. I appreciated the information to print and videos to reinforce what you are learning. I loved Sherry’s style and she really inspired me to become the best chair yoga teacher I can be.
There are different types and styles of yoga and working with students on this program that brings such variety and benefits. All the teachers are dedicated and inspiring. You become a part of that community, with the ability to use the videos as often as you desire. I could go on and on about Yoga Vista Academy online program. I plan on continuing going through some more of the many workshops and programs, for there are many! I recommend it highly!
Angie Miller, Roanoke, Indiana, USA
The Yoga Vista Academy means many things to me and has completely transformed my yoga teaching skills. Although some aspects of yoga are too subtle to be learned from books or lectures, I had absolutely no trouble developing a deeper understanding through all the videos and tools online with a variety of methods for attaining goals. The Yoga Vista Academy accommodates a wide range of lifestyles and values. The Yoga Vista Academy has changed my skills for the better and continues to transform them every day. I highly recommend this program!
Judy Rycombel, Inverness, Illinois, USA
I do love the course materials, You Tubes, newsletters, etc. but somehow I became, in Corey’s nice word, “stalled.” A few days after Corey emailed me, I finished the section on the spine and took the tests. Thank you for creating the mentor/cheerleader position. I feel I’m not alone now.
Zoran V., CROATIA
It’s all going smooth and sweet so far. And such a great training! Really good work. Many practical advices, examples, testimonies, shared experiences, all knowledge good and precisely presented, easy to follow (nice handouts!) and very practice oriented. Well done indeed.
Anne G., Lexington, Kentucky, USA
I opened one of the manuals last week in preparation for my chair yoga class. Your content is amazing! There is so much useful information and I appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to creating this program.
B.N., New South Wales, Australia
I was brave and enrolled. I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying the course so far. I have only just started and it’s going to take a while as I work as well. But I can’t wait to get home at night and read or listen. Your knowledge is so inspiring. I just wanted to say thank you for running this course online. The videos and notes are amazing.
Jane Waterman, British Columbia, CANADA
It’s nice to come home to the library and know there’s so much expertise I can draw on as I reorient myself in this new year, and learn new tricks to care not only for my students but for me too. And everything looks smashing too!
Raquel Jex Forsgren, Chicago, Illinois, USA
What I loved about the Online Chair Yoga Program! 1. The written PDF’s that went with most of the Video’s. 2. I liked the exams throughout because it kept it very fresh. 3. The PDF’s are fantastic reference documents, so those are so nice to have. 4. The video – MOST all were very good. 5. Library of postures is great to have with the handout’s as well, because the names are different than we use in other yoga classes! 🙂 6. In the video’s themselves, one thing I really like was being able to see the seniors do it with you. It gave me an idea of what those postures look like for them because I find myself wanting to correct their form when it may be all they can do.
Amy Ritchie, Barrington, Illinois, USA
Loved the program and have been recommending it big time. I learned a lot from it and have brought many things I learned into my regular classes as well. I feel so much better about teaching seniors and chair yoga after taking this course. You probably were able to tell I have mastered the tea cup and finally figured out how to cue it. All my students love that one and many others. My feedback is all positive. Being able to do it on my time table was extremely helpful. I did everything! The videos were great as well as the anatomy PDFs.