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Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors

Seniors age 65 and older are the fastest growing sector of the U.S. population and are increasingly drawn to yoga as health benefits are recognized. This demographic requires specialized health care practices, so it is essential to help yoga instructors learn how to best serve older students.

Duke Integrative Medicine’s Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors is a pioneering eight-day program for registered yoga teachers that combines the best of evidenced-based medicine with the ancient wisdom of yoga.  While research into the effects of yoga on health is emerging there is currently a scarcity of scientifically-rigorous evaluation, especially for older adults. For this reason, yoga teachers of seniors are navigating uncharted territory and are frequently dealing with the unknown.  Structured on the foundation of the physiology of aging, this program offers scaffolding from which to integrate specific recommendations gleaned from what is known and to creatively adapt the practice in areas that are yet to be clarified.

The program will cover:

  • How to safely and effectively teach yoga to older adults
  • Health conditions common to seniors including osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, chronic pain and joint replacement
  • How specific health challenges may affect yoga practice
  • How commonly-used medications may affect yoga practice
  • Hands-on training in teaching skills specific to older practitioners with varied health concerns
  • Yoga practices to help relieve symptoms of common ailments
  • Yoga practices to help improve function and enhance balance
  • Practical strategies for adapting yoga practice to older bodies, minds and spirits

Program developers Kimberly Carson and Carol Krucoff have extensive experience teaching yoga to vulnerable populations and provide hands-on training in safely modifying postures for older adults, especially those new to yoga.   Faculty lecturers, including Duke physicians, exercise physiologists, physical therapists and health psychologists cover health conditions common to seniors, such as heart disease, arthritis and osteoporosis. We also explore special issues related to elderly students, including pain management, fall prevention, and palliative care. This program offers networking and group support, a certificate of completion, and continuing education credits from Yoga Alliance.

Application Process

Participation is by application only and registration in each course is limited.  Applicants must be Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructors.  Exceptions may be made for those with comparable experience.  There is no application fee.  To submit an application access the online application here. Please allow two weeks for review and notification of your acceptance decision. Accepted applicants will receive instructions on registering for the course.

Upcoming dates and deadlines

Instructors

Continuing Education Credits Available

Students who successfully complete this program will earn a Certificate of Completion from Duke Integrative Medicine and an opportunity to earn a total of 50 Yoga Alliance continuing education units.

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