200 hour training:

In July 2015 Marlysa Sullivan, Tra Kirkpatrick and Holle Black will be leading a 200 hour yoga teacher training at Decatur Yoga and Pilates. This training will be a unique experience through its focus on the therapeutic and meditative aspects of yoga. We will explore asana, pranayama, meditation, yoga lifestyle, philosophy and therapeutics. Through learning about the unique and multidimensional view of yoga and the integration into current scientific and biomedical concepts we will study how the path of yoga helps to create health, transformation and well-being. You will have the opportunity to learn how to create classes and how to modify and sequence for certain physical, mental and emotional conditions. You will also delve into the philosophy of yoga and how to incorporate the practice into your life to cultivate positive and healing change for yourself and your students

June 26-28
July 10-12
July 31-Aug2
Aug 22-24
Sept 11-13
Oct 3-5
Oct 22-24
Nov 21-23
Dec 4-6



500 Hour Yoga Therapy

Yoga therapy is a growing field which is gaining acceptance as a complementary healing modality. This program has been taught across the country and in Canada and has many graduates working in the field of yoga therapy. Our program is based on understanding, experiencing and learning ancient yoga philosophy and practices combined with the latest scientific research into the effects of yoga on health, transformation and well-being.

Yoga Therapy offers a unique and deeply transformative perspective on healing for the body, mind and spirit.

This 500 hour yoga therapy program is designed for yoga practitioners, teachers and health care providers who want to specialize in yoga’s therapeutic aspects.This program provides the following skills and training:

  • Training in common diseases and dysfunctions from both a western model and a Yoga model.
  • Integration of the Tantra Hatha Yoga tools of asana, pranayama and meditation into the treatment of musculoskeletal, medical and psychological conditions.
  • Become a trained yoga therapist capable of working in private or group settings.
  • Evaluating a client for musculoskeletal and psychological conditions and applying yoga techniques as treatment.
  • Developing plans of care based on evaluations.

The curriculum consists of the following core courses and teachers:

  • Functional Anatomy and Therapeutic Yoga (30 hours) with Marlysa Sullivan or Tra Kirkpatrick
  • Musculoskeletal Assessment (30 hours) with Marlysa Sullivan or Tra Kirkpatrick
  • The Yoga Way: Towards Psychological and Emotional Health and Well-being (30 hours) with Holle Black- main/ Stacie Smith or Marlysa co-lead
  • Yoga and Trauma: Healing with Tantra Hatha Yoga (20 hours)with Holle Black
  • Seeds of Change: Tantra Hatha Yoga for Discovery and Transformation (30 hours)with Tra Kirkpatrick
  • Tantra Hatha Yoga approach to Chronic Pain and Common Medical Conditons (20 hours)with Marlysa Sullivan
  • Meditation through the Yoga Tradition (30 hours)with Marlysa Sullivan
  • Bhagavad Gita (30 hours) with Matthew Falkowski
  • Internship (60 hours) with Tra Kirkpatrick
  • Electives- choose one:
    Myofasciae, Prana and the Bandhas: Merging Anatomy and Spirit with Jeffrey Shoaf
    Therapeutic Meditation Retreat: A Body Journey to Access your Inner Wisdom and Truth with Tracey Sondik and Marlysa Sullivan

Coming soon: Body Image with Anne Falkowski and modules on Therapeutic Assisting and sequencing


marlysa-training-5Here is a list of the individual trainings and their descriptions.

Functional Anatomy and Therapeutic Yoga

In this experiential course we will explore the major muscles and how they relate to yoga practice. Through observation, hands-on exercises, and practice of specific asanas, you will learn the location and function of the key anatomical regions of the body and understand how they relate to asana, as well as how asana can in turn affect the body. By employing these techniques, you will become proficient at understanding and identifying imbalances in your students’ practice.

Common stresses and injuries for each part of the body will be addressed. Learn how to apply asana therapeutically for specific injuries, as well as modifications (providing appropriate hands-on support and protection) to maximize the healing and strengthening that is possible from the practice of yoga.

Musculoskeletal Assessment

This course will deepen your understanding and knowledge of the function and location of the muscles and joints of the body. You will learn a functional, integrated approach to evaluation through looking at movement and asana as well as specific muscle testing techniques. You will learn techniques to help you “read” your students body through their asana practice. This course will give you a more functional understanding of what is going on in the body and how certain imbalances may lead to pain and dysfunction. The development of a personalized plan of care and personalized asana practice for your student based on this evaluation will be taught. After this course, you will be able to help students with musculoskeletal dysfunctions (for example: back pain, neck pain, arthritis, tendonitis) by finding their imbalances and helping them to find a yoga practice to restore balance as well as modify asanas as needed.

The Yoga Way: Toward Psychological Health and Emotional Well-being

From the experiences of our lives, we make stories about who we are. These manifest in how we hold our body, breathe, think, feel, and move in relationship to other and the environment. These stories have energy and create energy patterns, both healthy and unhealthy. If we can recognize our stories, our patterns, our underlying energies, we can change them. When these change, our lives change. This course gives a concentrated overview of the human condition from ancient yogic and modern psychological perspectives. We review yogic concepts related to understanding the mind, including koshas, kleshas, samskaras, and the gunas. We explore how these concepts fit together with western ideas of mind and how they may be useful in understanding and treating dysfunction. Students will learn Tantra Hatha yoga therapy methods for managing or assisting in healing psychological difficulties, including depression, anxiety, and traumatic stress responses.

Tantra Hatha Yoga Approach to Chronic Pain & Common Medical Conditions

Tantra Hatha yoga gives us much in the way of philosophy and practices to help us understand chronic pain and suffering. Through the philosophy of Tantra we can teach our students to understand themselves and their condition from a new perspective and to create a new relationship with their body and mind. Teaching our students this ancient philosophy can help them to find their way into a practice that can be both healing and transformative. Current findings in the field of pain science are showing how we can change our relationship with our body through the relationship with our mind and nervous system. We will look into the current findings of pain science and treatment of chronic pain and integrate the practices and philosophy of tantra hatha yoga. You will learn practices of asana, pranayama and meditation that will be beneficial for chronic pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s.

Therapeutic Meditation Retreat: A Body Journey To Access Your Inner Wisdom and Truth

Yoga therapists, yoga teachers, psychotherapists, and serious yoga and meditation students are encouraged to attend this retreat to explore one’s own inner wisdom and truth using the skillful methods of Tantric Hatha Yoga, Meditation, and Psycho-Spiritual Inquiry. Through this cultivation of inner wisdom and truth, yoga therapists and teachers and psychotherapists can develop a strong physical and psychological container which is essential in helping others on their own healing journey.

Over the four days, participants will be practicing yoga daily including the deeper practices of integrating asana, pranayama, mudra to raise energy and cultivate greater aliveness and sensitivity to their own inner world as well as the more contemplative traditions of Yin and Restorative Yoga, sitting meditations, body journeys and psycho-spiritual inquiry to identify and work through emotional obstacles that can block inner wisdom and intuition.

Yoga & Trauma: Healing with Tantra Hatha Yoga

This 20 hour module is for anyone interested in bringing yoga and mindfulness to at-risk populations: prisons, homeless shelters, veterans, hospitals, etc. You will learn:
* How trauma affects the mind and body.
* How to use Tantra Hatha Yoga to help heal the mind/body disconnect after trauma.
* How to work with clients to understand and heal from trauma through the practices of Tantra Hatha Yoga.
* What is a trauma informed yoga ? How is it different than a regular studio class.
* How to create and teach yoga classes to different populations and in different setting using modifications, and Tantra Hatha philosophy.

Myofasciae, Prana, and the Bandhas: Merging Anatomy and Spirit

In the introduction to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, under the sub-heading titled The real purpose of hatha yoga, there is the following reminder:
“Just to improve the physical health ( of a patient) is not enough. The mental health must also improve, the nature must change, the personality must change, the psychological and the psychic framework also has to change. You should not merely feel freedom from disease, but freedom from bondage and from the vagaries of the mind. Now, the time has come when teachers in every part of the world must understand and transmit the true nature of hatha yoga”.

Our bodies, minds, and spirits all represent form. As the Pradipika reminds us; these are not separate entities, but one form. All ‘systems’ must then, for optimal health, be communicating synchronistically, consistently, to function properly. As American Architect Louis Sullivan stated: form follows function, but to flip it around, function will inevitably, necessarily, be a byproduct of form as well…

Our myofascial network is our stand- alone matrix of channels and pathways in which all other of the body’s systems are suspended in, and rely upon,, a full representation of a micro-universe; the materials most anatomists have until recently discarded and/or ignored in dissection labs. One thing we need to remember first and foremost about fascia is that “It’s Alive”!

The objectives of this 20- hour module will be to:

  • explore the anatomy, physiology, and function of connective tissue( fascia) as a way of understanding how its health is integral to the function of our other “life” systems, including, but not limited to, our physical, emotional, energetic, and “communicative” self.
  • apply this knowledge experientially in our own yoga practice using asana, kriyas, pranayams, and bandhas to better support this flexible armor that creates the shape we’ve come to know.
  • provide for us as teachers, therapists, and bodyworkers new ways of body-reading; coming to better understand and support our work with both students and clients.

Seeds of Change: Tantra Hatha Yoga for Discovery & Transformation

Dating back 5000 years, yoga techniques practiced by Tantric sādhakas served as a framework through which the body-mind connection could be explored. Operating with the belief that the nature of reality is energy (Prana), ancient yogis intuitively knew what physics has discovered as of late: That all life is made up of energy; and energy has potential to transform into any number of manifestations or forms. Yogis learned that the way in which these energy patterns are constructed and interpreted reveal present moment reality.

For today’s practitioner, Tantra Hatha Yoga techniques serve as a powerful and tangible system for understanding energy in all layers of human experience (physical, mental, emotional, intuitive) and growing in awareness of our patterns and our relationship to them. As a continuous and dynamic path of Self-discovery, Tantra Hatha Yoga helps us realize that the way we treat ourselves and interact with the world will lead us to suffering and dis-ease or health and vibrancy.

Combining techniques of Tantra Hatha Yoga and empowerment coaching offers an insightful and tangible system for understanding the driving forces of behavior and integrating behavioral change. With yoga as a foundation, compelling and insightful coaching-inquiry helps clients understand the mechanics of behavior and how to access change through yoga practices. Likewise, as therapists we must discern our energies and behaviors in order to practice clear presence and support our clients in holistic, life-long change. This 30-hour session uses philosophies from the Bhagavad Gita, Tantra Hatha Yoga practices, and coaching dialogue techniques as agents for exploring behavior and change.