Registration Link: Jan 2, 2021: History of Yoga & Yoga Therapy/Building Your Yoga Business Community Day & Professional Development (CE)

History of Yoga & Yoga Therapy
Faculty: Priya Saini Verma
Honoring the roots of yoga as coming from India, we strive to learn the historical and cultural setting that yoga and yoga therapy emerged from. Topics: How did yoga begin? How was it kept it alive? What were the major milestones and time periods? Who can we thank for protecting it over thousands of years? All yogis are welcome to attend this talk!

Building Business
Faculty: Amy Wheeler

Using the yamas and niyamas to be the foundation of building your ethical business. Practicing yamas and niyamas in marketing, advertising and student care are the keys to success. We will examine our own behavior and work through scenarios to determine right action and clear decision-making in business. We will also examine what worked from last year and where our business needs to transform for the upcoming year.  All yoga teachers and yoga therapists are encouraged to attend.

Registration Link: Feb 6, 2021 Purusha, Prakriti & Prana in Yoga Therapy/Yoga Therapy Scope of Practice Community Day & Professional Development (CE)

Purusha, Prakriti & Prana 8:30am-12:30pm
Faculty: Amy Wheeler
Lecture on the relationship between Purusha, Prakriti, & Prana and how to use this model for healing in the context of Yoga Therapy. Using the elements, the senses and types of mind, we’ll explore moving from illness to health, healing & beyond.

Scope of Practice Half Day 1:30pm-5:00pm
Faculty: Priya Saini Verma

Group discussions on the IAYT Scope of Practice in Yoga Therapy. Explore in detail how each part of the Scope of Practice must be grounded in Yoga Philosophy. We will also discuss the new IAYT policy for touch; providing clear instructions for waivers & practices around touch.

Registration Link: March 6, 2021: Cultural Appropriation & Yoga Therapy/Daily Practice & Mentoring Community Day & Professional Development (CE)

Cultural Appropriation & Yoga Therapy 8:30am-12:30pm
Faculty: Priya Saini Verma
Yoga arrived in the west in a different form than it had taken in India. The cultural context, the language, the oral tradition, the ritual and the ancient texts were stripped away. Are you the type of yoga teacher or yoga therapist that wants to make sure you are not practicing in cultural appropriation? Do you want to know the signs of cultural appropriation? Do you understand how you can do better? Are you confident in the historical knowledge of colonialism and want to understand why people are feeling sensitive about cultural appropriation? In this workshop we will explore how we can be true to Mother India and to the origins of yoga. We will give suggestions and discuss how to stay within the guidelines of the yamas with respect to cultural appropriation.

Daily Practice & Mentoring 1:30pm-5:00pm
Faculty: Amy Wheeler

The student-teacher relationship is sacred. We will have a discussion and group learning around the importance of self-care, daily reflection on actions, relationship with mentor, and using an outside source used to see yourself more clearly. We will also discuss how to help our clients have more compliance and adherence to their daily practices and lifestyle routines. Maintaining daily practice is essential to bring about change and healing. Are you curious how to get your clients to have better adherence in their daily practice and lifestyle modifications? Do you think that if your clients followed your guidelines, they would see more success and come back again and again, improving your business? Do you need motivation on how to make sure you do your own daily practice each day? Can you imagine having a modern mentor relationship with someone who is not a guru, but rather asks you the questions to help you see yourself more clearly?

Registration Link: April 3, 2021: Grief & Loss/Ethics in Yoga Therapy & Touch Policy Community Day & Professional Development (CE)

Grief & Loss in Yoga Therapy 8:30am-12:30pm
Faculty: Sarah Capua
It is inevitable that as a yoga therapist we will have clients experiencing grief and loss. This can be a delicate time and requires a sensitive approach. Do you feel confident in knowing how to be with someone who has just experienced loss? Do you know how to give empathy and hold space without solving a problem or placing your belief and values on the client? Are you comfortable with death and dying and acceptance? This workshop will provide an overview of how to work as a yoga therapist in the area of grief counselling. A hospice Chaplain and yoga therapist will walk us through what is helpful and unhelpful with respect to helping our students through their grief process. In this workshop we’ll focus on a case study, biomedical information, assessment and therapeutic plan for someone experiencing grief.

Ethics in Yoga Therapy & Touch Policy 1:30pm-5:00pm
Faculty: Amy Wheeler
Review the IAYT Code of Ethics, policies for forming a complaint and how to protect yourself and your business. Yoga Therapy has become a profession and this means that we now must adhere to professional ethics. Do you feel comfortable with knowing how to handle a client who has a crush on you? Do you know how to address a client who is projecting onto you? How do you end a client-therapist relationship ethically? What are the ethics around money and payment? What do you do when a colleague has said things about you that are not true? Do you find yourself participating in gossip about your colleagues or even clients? We will be discussing all this and more in this community day and how to handle these difficult situations. We will also discuss the Optimal State Code of Conduct and how to become curious when we get into ethical dilemmas in our life and business. It is this curiosity and willingness to shine a light on our behavior that helps us get to the other side and learn from our mistakes.

Registration Link: May 1, 2021: Samkhya Model/Creating Yoga Mind Community Day & Professional Development (CE)

Samkhya Model 8:30am-12:30pm
Faculty: Amy Wheeler

Sometimes the healing that occurs as a result of yoga therapy seems like magic. It is hard to explain the actual mechanism that seems to heal the nervous system and ultimately all the layers of the human system.

Do you ever wonder how you can explain it to yourself, other healthcare providers, or even your clients? Do you have a clear language around Samkhya Philosophy, the different types of mind, and how turning the senses inward promotes healing?

Sometimes you know a topic, but you have a hard time explaining or need visuals to solidify the concepts for yourself and others, That is exactly the goal of this workshop. We want to help you get more clarity around Why Yoga Therapy Works and for you to be able to share it with others! Curriculum handouts are provided for you to use with your clients.

Lecture on the Samkhya model, including the tanmatras, rajas, tamas and sattva guna. Explore the similarities and differences of sister schools; Samkhya Philosophy and yoga. We will also demonstrate how Samkhya is the foundation of the system of healing for both yoga and Ayurveda.


Creating Yoga Mind 1:30pm-5:00pm
Faculty: Priya Saini Verma

As healthcare providers, we often put ourselves last. We are too busy taking care of everyone else. And we don’t even notice when we have gotten out of balance. At Optimal State, we provide tools for yoga therapy assessment to help us have clarity about our physical, physiological, mental, emotional, and spiritual states according to the gunas. Most of the time, we can catch illness long before it manifests physically. We can see it coming on the subtle layers if we pay attention.

Would you like to have a system in place to bring more self-awareness about your state of mental and physical health? Are you ready to invest in yourself and make sure that you are a role model and staying healthy so you can serve your clients? Can you honestly say that you spend enough time and energy on YOU? Well, now is the time. Get ready to be honest with yourself and begin the journey towards health and healing again.

The healer cannot heal if they have not cultivated a sattvic mind over many years. Use the Optimal State model to evaluate your current lifestyle and patterns and understand what it would take to begin living in sattva more often. Take professional responsibility for self-care and staying in balance as a healthcare provider. Set self-care goals and move into a new dimension.

Registration Link: August 7, 2021: Non-Violent Communication (NVC) Satyam & Ahimsa/Assessment Samanam Sodhanam Community Day & Professional Development (CE)

Non-Violent Communication (NVC) Satyam & Ahimsa 8:30am-12:30pm
Faculty: Laurie Angress
Non-violent Communication as outlined by Marshall Rosenberg and friends is the heart of the Optimal State Yoga Therapy School. We cannot have trust without honestly. We each work to identify our own needs and make requests of others. We do this in our personal lives and professional lives. This workshop is for anyone that has trouble with boundaries, sensing their own needs and asking for help from others.

Assessment Samanam Sodhanam 1:30pm-5:00pm
Faculty: Amy Wheeler
Lecture on the definition of healing the symptoms vs. getting to the root cause of the suffering. There are times when the client is weak and we must first soothe and pacify the symptoms before they can work towards pulling up the roots of the problem. There are other times we must dive in and get to the cause immediately. The question is when do we work with symptoms vs. the causes? That is the topic of this day!

Registration Link: September 4, 2021: Finding Sattva/Building a Functional Group Community Day & Professional Development (CE)

Finding Sattva 8:30am-12:30pm
Faculty: Priya Saini Verma
Looking at sattva from a holistic perspective. Exploring the practices around the experience pertaining to sattva, states of mind leading to sattva, how to get there using yoga philosophy and what the experience of sattva feels like from the inside out. We will also tie in information about the parasympathetic nervous system, the Vagus Nerve, Heart Rate Variability and what modern science shows us about the sattvic state of being.

Building a Functional Group 1:30pm-5:00pm
Faculty: Amy Wheeler
Lecture and group discussion on group yoga therapy in a community setting. First we will differentiate yoga therapy from therapeutic yoga classes. We will demonstrate how to create and administer a personal assessment of each client in the small group, and track each person’s progress. We will also give examples of how to set up small functional yoga therapy groups, intake forms, waivers and everything you need to get started!

Registration Link: October 2, 2021: Panca Maya Assessment/Building Cultural Competency in Yoga Therapy Community Day & Professional Development (CE)

Panca Maya Assessment 8:30am-12:30pm
Faculty: Amy Wheeler
Lecture on the panch maya model as described in the Upanishads and also the secular version given by TKV Desikachar for more public settings like hospitals and public schools. We will be assessing ourselves and practicing on one another. We will also do group activities to demonstrate how balance and imbalance shows up on each of the 5 layers. Yoga Teachers and Yoga Therapists are welcome to join us.

Building Cultural Competency in Yoga Therapy 1:30pm-5:00pm
Faculty: Janessa Mondestin
Cultural competence in yoga therapy involves understanding and appropriately responding to the unique combination of cultural variables and the full range of dimensions of diversity that the professional and client/patient/family bring to interactions.  To understand CC we must become aware of factors, including but not limited to age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity (encompasses gender expression), national origin (encompasses related aspects e.g., ancestry, culture, language, dialect, citizenship, and immigration status), race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status. Developing cultural competence as a yoga therapist is a process requiring ongoing self-assessment and continuous expansion of one’s own biases.

Registration Link: November 6, 2021: Race Based Trauma Injury/The Bird Model from the Upanishads Community Day & Professional Development (CE)

Race Based Trauma Injury & Yoga Therapy 8:30am-12:30pm
Faculty: Janessa Mondestin
Race-based traumatic stress injury can be a consequence of emotional pain that a person may feel after encounters with racism, which can be understood in terms of racial harassment or hostility, racial discrimination or avoidance and/or discriminatory harassment, aversive hostility, and even unconscious racism, known and unknown personal prejudice. How encounters with racism are experienced depends on many factors associated with an individual’s background, health, and cognitive processing.  Yoga therapists need to understand their own biases and also be able to put themselves in the shoes of another, trying to understand the other’s unique experiences of daily living.

The Bird Model from the Upanishads 1:30pm-5:00pm
Faculty: Colleen Carroll
The ancient Upanishads give us a beautiful method for looking deeply into the 5 layers of the human system. The text asks us to reflect on the wings, head, tail and torso of the bird model and how they correspond to our human system. This model can become a deep object of meditation for all of us. This workshop will include experiential teachings that go beyond the head and into the heart.