Adaptive Yoga

Introduction to Adaptive Yoga

Adapting yoga is more than an exploration of learning to modify [a pose].
It is a journey in self-discovery, subtlety, practicality, and the underlying nature of ability and disability.
– Adaptive yoga pioneer Matthew Sanford

In just a day’s time, this active workshop builds the capacity of adaptive PE teachers, special education teachers, social workers, and occupational therapists—with or without prior yoga experience—to bring the benefits of yoga to students of differing physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral abilities.

In this active, highly experiential six-hour workshop, participants:

Engage in a gentle yoga practice designed to introduce them experientially to some of the key concepts of the day

Learn to translate their yoga experience, both physically and in their languaging, to offer their students a similar experience, whatever their abilities

Become conversant with some of the most portable and accessible tools of yoga – the breath, the gaze, and the positions of the hands (mudras)


Practice identifying the spinal and energetic essence of poses, so that they can bring virtually any pose to any body

Loosen their ideas that yoga is only for certain kinds of bodies or people but is truly for every body.


Participants demonstrate adaptive yoga teaching for the rest of the group and receive coaching from Sara. They build not only skills but confidence in adapting yoga for their students’ needs.

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Teachers are able to translate what they get from doing yoga into a sensibility accessible to their students.




I was able to utilize the tools learned yesterday with my students today. What a difference the breathing, gaze, and postures made! Many teachers have asked me to teach them some of the techniques for energizing, focusing, and calming positions. Wonderful presenter!










The best features of this activity were the scenarios of using yoga for our kids, handouts with visuals as a reference, time to problem-solve and find modifications for poses.bottom-quout-about

KinestheticTopper copyAdaptive Yoga II: Customizing for Diverse Learners: Strategies for Mobility, Muscle Tonicity, and Spatial and Social Awareness workshop


This one-day intermediate workshop allows professionals to deepen their understanding of and capacity to implement adaptive yoga. In Adaptive Yoga II: Customizing for Diverse Learners, participants:

1. Refine the selection process in matching specific yogic techniques with particular student needs.

2. Deepen skills in defining Pose Essences so as to bring the benefits of yoga to every body.

3. Employ the real tools yoga offers for helping students cultivate greater spatial and social sensitivities.

4. Practice offering poses and physical adjustments appropriate for students with limited mobility and/or muscle strength.

5. Share learning by putting into practice some of the strategies from Introduction to Adaptive Yoga I while finding out what creative adaptations peers have found.

6.Problem-solve in small peer support groups around specific student needs and set group and individual goals for your work with specific populations.

7. (If desired) Create an accountability plan for follow-up on yoga in the classroom and for peer networking around the use of yoga.


A graduate of Yale and NYU, Sara K. Schneider, Ph.D. became known throughout the schools of Chicagoland through her work as Associate Professor in the School of Advanced Professional Practice and Director of the Teacher Leadership Program in the National College of Education at National Louis University, Chicago.

Specializing in the professional development of working teachers as well as in arts in education, kinesthetic learning, and qualitative research methods, Sara brings her passion for building teachers’ capacity and confidence to her workshop participants, as well as her deep belief in the power of conscious physicality for promoting students’ readiness to learn, partnership with their teachers, and ability to self-soothe. 
She is the author of three books on the body and culture and offers workshops to health care professionals, law enforcement, and clergy, as well as educators, furthering how providers in the professions bring their self-awareness, kinesthetic experience, and cultural humility to caring more compassionately—and effectively—for the minds and bodies of others.

A certified yoga teacher, she has taught yoga to the public as well as to teachers since 2004. A member of the Socially Engaged Yoga Network, she directed the women’s yoga program and taught female inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago’s Loop from 2012 to 2014. (If interested, see Huffington Post interview with Sara at .) She trained in Adaptive Yoga methods with pioneer Matthew Sanford, author of Waking.

Sara also offers workshops for the general education teacher on the application of yoga to inclusive classrooms and on employing kinesthetic learning methods effectively.

Contact Sara to plan and schedule a workshop that meets your staff’s needs.


Brilliant! She offered something for teachers and every student.bottom-quout-about



I came with preconceived ideas of what I was going to learn and learned more.bottom-quout-about