How Yoga Works: The Scientific Foundations

Online Course for Yoga Teachers, Yoga Therapists and Health Professionals

Taught by Julie K. Staples, Ph.D.and Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa, Ph.D.


As yoga teachers and therapists, we understand that yoga is beneficial. Knowledge of the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of yoga is helpful to advance our work.
In this course you will:
  • Learn to speak authoritatively on the research evidence when bringing yoga therapy or yoga programs into institutions such as hospitals, cancer centers, detox clinics, and schools.
  • Increase your confidence when discussing research on how yoga affects the various body systems and is beneficial for a wide variety of health conditions.
  • Become more effective in your teaching and outreach by understanding yoga research.
The course consists of four 1.5 hour previously recorded online sessions and two 30 minute pre-recorded sessions.  This course is offered as part of the International Kundalini Yoga Therapy Professional Training but it is applicable to all forms of yoga therapy and open to everyone.

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In these sessions we will cover the following topics:
Session 1
Postures, Yogic Breathing and Mantra

Neurophysiological mechanisms of yoga postures
Effects of yogic breathing on the nervous, respiratory, and immune systems
How the benefits of yogic breathing are maintained outside of practice sessions
The effect of mantra on breathing, brain waves, and blood pressure

Session 2
The Effect of Yoga and Meditation on the Nervous, Endocrine, and Immune Systems

Structural and functional brain changes as a result of meditation
The effect of yoga and meditation on the endocrine and immune systems

Session 3
The Benefits and Mechanisms of Yoga and Meditation for Mental Health Disorders

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Session 4
The Benefits and Mechanisms of Yoga and Meditation for Health Disorders

Lower back pain
Cardiovascular Disease
Respiratory Conditions

Plus two 30 minute pre-recorded sessions:
Session 1 is by Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur Khlasa explaining the applications of this course for yoga therapists and
Session 2 is by Dr. Julie Staples with practical tips for using the course material to market your yoga or yoga therapy programs.
Cost: $158

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Paypal or Credit Card Payments Accepted

Recorded from the course held October 2020

“Clinicians now feel confident referring their patients to my classes.”

Bringing the practice of yoga into the healthcare system is a challenging, but important, part of expanding options for people facing serious stress-related disorders like anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. As a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, I found Julie's courses to be crucial in helping me gain the skills and confidence to talk to physicians and scientists about the scientific evidence of yoga's benefits. Clinicians now feel confident referring their patients to my classes. Julie's presentations are always interesting and lively, and she is very helpful in answering questions.

Dan Coma, RYT, C-IAYT IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center Hershey, PA

“This course is a ‘must’ for anyone working or interested in the field of yoga therapy.”

As a seasoned yoga instructor, I have seen first-hand the benefits of bringing yoga into hospitals and mental health settings. Working in these environments, I often have questions from colleagues and yoga students about the technical aspects of yoga therapy and I wanted to have a summary of yoga research at my fingertips. This course provided a comprehensive overview of some of the most cutting-edge yoga research. It taught me many things including common flaws in yoga research design and what to look for when evaluating the efficacy of a study. Dr. Staples is a master in the field of yoga research and she makes the information interesting to learn. This course is a "must" for anyone working or interested in the field of yoga therapy.

Heather Good, MSW, RSW, C-IAYT Clinical Social Worker, Hypnotherapist, and IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist Calgary, Alberta, Canada

“It is empowering to know the yoga research.”

In order to bring yoga into public schools I need to be at ease communicating yoga research to administrators and school boards. Having limited time to look for these studies, I found Julie's course extremely helpful. It provided relevant results of the best studies. I am now confident and prepared to put together presentations going forward. Julie is an approachable, conscientious, and thoughtful teacher. I highly recommend her courses!

Sat Nam Kaur Khalsa, M.Ed. Educator, Yoga Teacher, and Founder of Learning from the Heart Millbury, MA

“My expectations for this course were exceeded.”

I took this course because I wanted to more directly introduce my knowledge of kundalini yoga and meditation as an adjunctive support to my psychotherapy clients. It is important to me that my practice be grounded in the evidence for efficacy. Dr. Staples was able to make the complex concepts understandable without oversimplifying. I was amazed to learn that there was evidence of the positive impact of simple yogic practices at the chromosomal level. I am very grateful to Dr. Staples for her thorough and balanced approach to sharing the data. My expectations for the course were exceeded.

Gurucharan S. Khalsa, Ph.D. Psychologist Claremont, CA

“I feel more confident talking with my students about scientific studies on yoga.”

Before taking this course I found it difficult to talk to my yoga students about the scientific evidence related to the yoga I was teaching in my classes. Because I learned about the research on yoga in this course, I now feel much more confident in talking to my students about these scientific studies. I believe this has made me a more effective teacher.

Grace Prior Kundalini Yoga Teacher Alberton, MT

“I am so grateful that these studies have been compiled and made comprehensible and accessible to a non-scientist!”

Although I am a certified yoga teacher and have kept up to date with continuing professional development, what I lacked was access to the latest scientific research to explain what is actually happening on a physiological level when we do yoga. For students and clients who were skeptical or just wanted a more complete explanation, I was not able to offer that before taking this course. I can now explain with greater confidence the scientific explanations behind why yoga and meditation are so effective. I am so grateful that these studies have been compiled and made comprehensible and accessible to a non-scientist!

Rachel Zelaya, MA Registered Psychotherapist and Kundalini Yoga Teacher Boulder/Longmont, CO

“This is the information I’ve been looking for!”

As a yoga teacher I want my students to experience what I know yoga has to offer: calmness, focus, a sense of peace, joy, and healing. However I have not had the scientific evidence that supports what yoga has taught for thousands of years. So it has been challenging for me to inspire students to delve into their personal journeys. Julie's course presents the scientific research that shows how yoga actually works. I now can confidently teach themed classes and workshops and reference the studies Julie presented. This is the information I've been looking for!

Judy Rosquete Yoga Instructor New York, NY