class-twistVirtual Disability Yoga Class
plank-groupClausen House
d melissa slingTeacher Training

Piedmont Yoga Community sponsors annual Workshops in the Bay Area for Teachers & Caregivers – observe and practice teaching a yoga class with JoAnn’s students. Trainings are currently on hold, but please check back for future offerings.


How do you feel about teaching yoga to someone in a wheelchair, or as a caregiver, suggesting yoga to your client? What will you say when a potential student calls and says, “I have a broken leg / Multiple Sclerosis / Cerebral Palsy / (fill in the blank), can I come to your yoga class?” This workshop will not only help you answer that question, it will also offer you a different way of approaching your own practice and teaching.

JoAnn Lyons has been teaching yoga to the Bay Area disability community since 1996. She started her journey teaching one class at the Cerebral Palsy Center in Oakland, California. It quickly became apparent to her that this was an area of yoga teaching that had not been well explored and that each class required not just one teacher, but a team of teachers, assistants, and volunteers who were well trained in yoga and ready to meet the challenge of adapting yoga poses to the needs of students with different abilities. So began workshops on Teaching Yoga to People with Disabilities and Special Needs.

Today there are five classes at the Cerebral Palsy Center, and  PYC sponsors classes at Clausen House as well as public classes for people with disabilities and special needs at You and the Mat, Piedmont in Oakland.

Aging Baby Boomers with chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, disabled vets returning home – this work is becoming more important every day! Working with students with disabilities and hearing their stories will bring a new dimension to your teaching as well as prepare you to adjust your teaching to meet the special needs of everyone who walks or rolls into your yoga class. This workshop will open you to the possibilities of these students whom many see as people who “can’t” and help you see that, well, yes, they “can.” 


If you have attended a workshop in the past and were given a password, you can access to our  Teacher Training Videos

If you are interested in Scheduling A Workshop In Your Area, anywhere in the United States or beyond, contact JoAnn via email by clicking here .


We received a few comments after some recent teacher trainings.

Dear Friends in Yoga,

What would it be like to live one's life in a wheelchair without the ability to get out of the chair without help? What would it be like to need assistance for the simplest tasks of life such as moving a fork of food toward and then into one's mouth? What would it be like to experience a complete yoga practice with the abilities one has when most people would say it's impossible?

Sometimes the journey of yoga opens up unexpected pathways. Last weekend I had the privilege to attend a wonderful workshop, "Yoga For People With Disabilities" which was taught by my friend and mentor", JoAnn Lyons, from Oakland, California. Note that in the title of the workshop, the word "people" is placed before the word "disabilities" and consider the important and empowering shift that occurs.

Most of the weekend was about learning theory and practical technique. Then, for a few hours we had the opportunity to work with people from our community and practice our new skills. With curiosity and patience we helped each person do forward and backward bends, twists and side bends. We worked on using the breath to help move the body and arranging props to make all postures accessible to each person. We stretched and lengthened, opened tight spots and brought awareness to felt-sensations in the body and mind. And we all, instructors and students, laughed a lot and applauded our progress!

This beautiful practice of yoga, which many of us take for granted, can be enjoyed by people of all abilities. And it's about time! I feel honored to be a part of this work, to have met 4 brave souls who were willing to let us hone our new skills with them. And to take away the thought that we will someday be able to offer yoga to all people in our communities.


After this weekend, I definitely feel more comfortable working with students with disabilities. The observation and hands-on experiences were invaluable.


Absolutely will recommend to others. The combination of instruction, group exercises, reading materials, videos, and hands-on experiences was fantastic.


I loved getting to see and work with your students.


I appreciated the deep care of the teacher and the nourishing and non-judgmental space created. I learned how to think about poses and yoga in a more accessible way.


JoAnn is a wealth of knowledge, super approachable, and fostered such an open, easy learning environment.I would HIGHLY recommend this course.


I just wanted you to know how thankful I am to have had this experience.It was truly eye-opening what experience, determination,and the power of yoga can accomplish.


And another one from a workshop in Sidup, UK.

I feel so lucky that we had you come and teach us in such an intimate setting in March. Your teaching experience and ability to hold the space for the group is even more apparent now.

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