Teaching Yoga for Mental Health

28th February – 1st March 2020

The intention of yoga as described by the Yogasutras of Pantanjali is to develop the ability to regulate our minds and emotions in order to reduce suffering and restore our natural state of balance and ease.

With one in four people affected by mental health issues during their lives, this wisdom is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago, possibly more so.

Recent studies have shown that over 55% of people who take up yoga do so to manage anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

While these statistics highlight the relevance of yoga for mental health, they also give a misleading impression that all yoga is suitable to address such issues.


People generally walk out of a yoga class feeling better. However, to create lasting change there needs to be a deeper understanding of how to practice in a way that reduces symptoms and builds resilience to future stressors rather than only providing temporary relief.

The Yoga for Mental Health Program will provide you with this understanding.

By drawing on key concepts from the Yogasutras and introducing modern scientific understanding of mental health, the program will educate and empower you as a professional yoga teacher to provide lasting improvements to your student’s well being.

At some stage, you will surely have students in your class who are struggling with anxiety and depression. This Program will provide you with the knowledge, practical skills and confidence to attend to these students with sensitivity and heart.”

  You will gain a deeper understanding of:

The nature of the mind through the lens of yoga psychology & western psychology & science:

  • Role of the three gunas in determining mood & behavioural states & restoring balance
  • Important principles from the yoga sutras for managing mind & emotions
  • The principles of neuroscience & polyvagal theory
  • The mind – body connection

Yoga practices that enhance mental health:

  • Mindful movement
  • Breathing & pranayama
  • Meditation & yogic mindfulness
  • Sound & mantra
  • Rest & relaxation
  • Including guidelines and contraindications

Skills for delivering your classes with an awareness of mental health:

  • Designing & teaching specialised classes for people suffering with anxiety and/or depression
  • Understanding how to bring this awareness to your general group classes
  • Designing & teaching classes that maximise the calming and/or mood elevating effects of yoga
  • Honing your observation skills, knowing what to look for
  • Using verbal & body language that is inclusive and reassuring

Professional Guidelines:

  • A yoga teachers Scope of Practice
  • Knowing when and how to refer your students for additional or alternate help
  • Boundaries, ethics and code of conduct
  • Holding a safe and supportive space for your students dealing with mental health issues
  • How to respond to situations that may arise in a yoga setting – crying, panic etc.

 Program dates, location & pricing:


Friday 28th February – Monday 2nd March 2020
9.00am – 5.00pm daily


TBA (Central Auckland)


$950 – regular price
$805 – early bird


$200 deposit is payable on registration. This reserves your place in the program and is your commitment to attend therefore is non-refundable.

Early bird balance – $520 is due by 1st J February

Included in fees:

  • 28 hours training with certified & experienced yoga therapist
  • comprehensive manual
  • 28 CE hours with Yoga Alliance and Yoga Australia

Is this program for me?

This Teaching Yoga for Mental Health program is for you if:

  • You are a qualified yoga teacher (minimum 200 hours)
  • You have a genuine interest supporting students with mental health concerns in your yoga general classes
  • You have a basic understanding of yoga psychology (Yogasutras of Patanjali)
  • You are wanting to understanding more about therapeutic yoga
  • You understand that this is not a yoga therapist training program
  • You understand that while, similar principles are applied in this program, this is not a Trauma Sensitive Yoga training


Barbara Coley
Barbara Coley started practising yoga in 1992. At the time she held a senior position as a Financial Controller, and was instantly inspired by the way yoga helped her to maintain equilibrium in such a demanding role.

Over the years Barbara practiced and attended workshops in Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. However, her practice and understanding of yoga changed and deepened considerably when in 2006, she attended a 10-week training program in India with her teachers and mentors A. G. Mohan and Indra Mohan of Svastha Yoga & Ayurveda.

This was a very transformative period in Barbara’s life during which, she was struggling with low mood; this opportunity to commence her studies in yoga and in particular, yoga psychology, on a deeper level started her on a journey of self-discovery and healing. It was at this time that yoga became an integral part of her life and with the support and encouragement of Indra Mohan, she was inspired to the share the practice with others on her return to New Zealand.

Barbara commenced her studies in Yoga Therapy with the Mohans’ son, Dr Ganesh Mohan, in 2010. After completing her training and practicum Barbara was certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists in 2016. 

Barbara presents accredited Yoga Teacher Training and Professional Development Programs and also teaches the Svastha Yoga Therapy Program in New Zealand.

Barbara owned and managed a successful yoga studio in Auckland for 9 years however, in 2016, made the decision to give up teaching studio classes and now runs a private yoga therapy practice and teaches small general yoga & yoga therapy classes from her home studio in Grey Lynn. This enables her to focus her attention on the areas she is most passionate about – personalised yoga, yoga therapy & yoga education.

Barbara attends programs with the Mohans on an annual basis to further deepen her understanding of yoga and is forever grateful to have fallen into the lap of the most knowledgeable teachers and practitioners of yoga alive today.


Barbara’s yoga qualifications include:

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Teacher Training Professional Development Modules Teaching Yoga for Mental Health