Teaching Yoga For Mental Health

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.

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 Teaching 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 wellbeing. This program will provide you with the knowledge, practical skills and confidence to attend to students who are struggling with anxiety, depression & trauma.

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 and behavioural states and restoring balance
  • Important principles from the Yogasutras for managing mind and emotions
  • The principles of neuroscience and Polyvagal theory
  • The mind-body connection

Trauma Informed yoga practices that enhance mental health

  • Mindful movement
  • Breathing and pranayama
  • Meditation and yogic mindfulness
  • Sound and mantra
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Guidelines and contra-indications

Skills for delivering yoga classes with an awareness of mental health

  • Presenting trauma informed yoga classes
  • Designing and teaching classes for people suffering with anxiety and/or depression
  • Understanding how to bring this awareness to your general group classes
  • Designing and teaching classes that maximise the calming and/or mood-elevating effects of yoga
  • Honing your observation skills; knowing what to look for
  • Using verbal and 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.

Course Structure

1 x 3-day intensive (Friday – Sunday) 9.00am – 5.00pm daily

1 x 2-day intensive (Friday – Saturday) 9.00am – 5.00pm daily


Friday 8th – Sunday 10th October, 2021
9.00am – 5.00pm Friday & Saturday, 12.30pm – 6.00pm Sunday

Friday 15th – Saturday 17th October, 2021
9.00am – 5.00pm daily



Dunnottar Hall
175 Garnet Road


Regular Price – $950
Earlybird Price – $862.50 (payable 2 weeks before start date)


$250 deposit is payable on registration. This reserves your place in the program and is your commitment to attend therefore is non-refundable.


Included in fees:
  • 50 hours training with certified & experienced yoga therapist
  • comprehensive manual
  • 50 CE hours with Yoga Alliance and Yoga New Zealand

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 in supporting students with mental health concerns in your 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. 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. The opportunity to commence her studies in yoga and in particular, yoga psychology, started her on a journey of self-discovery and healing.

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. She continues to develop her knowledge and practice and attends programs with the Mohans as often as she can. She also continues to study with leading yoga therapists who specialise in particular areas of interest.


Barbara’s yoga qualifications include:

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Yoga Teacher Training – 150 hoursTeaching Yoga for Mental Health