Online CPD: Therapeutic Yoga Skills for Depression and Anxiety - The Minded Institute

Online CPD: Therapeutic Yoga Skills for Depression and Anxiety


Wednesday, 17th July - Sunday, 21st July 2024

9am - 6pm (each day, UK time)

Embark on a transformative journey with the Minded Institute’s latest course, “Therapeutic Yoga Skills for Depression and Anxiety.” Discover the profound impact of yoga on mental health as you learn from leading experts in the field. Crafted specifically with yoga teachers and yoga professionals in mind, this course offers a unique blend of psycho-neurophysiology and therapeutic yoga practices, empowering you to bring healing and hope to those battling depression and anxiety.




Therapeutic Yoga Skills for Depression and Anxiety

“The search for improved treatments, including non-drug based, to meet the holistic needs of patients is of paramount importance and we call for more research into yoga as a global priority – if the promise of yoga on mental health was found in a drug, it would be the best selling medication world-wide.”

Dr. Doraiswamy Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

In 2017, anxiety and depression affected over 500 million people worldwide, with estimates suggesting this number increased by over 25% during the pandemic. A host of surveys reveal that presenting with anxiety and/or depression is a predictor of complementary health approaches like yoga. In fact, the average yoga class will have more people with mental health problems than a random subset of the same number of people in the population.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, research also consistently finds that yoga’s greatest health benefit is in improving depression and anxiety. The Minded Institute is internationally recognised as a leader in yoga for mental health. Over 15 years, we’ve investigated how therapeutic yoga can best help people with mental health conditions, developed various programs and tested their efficacy, and trained professionals to work with people that are suffering with their psychological health.  Given the breadth of the mental health crisis, the likelihood of people with mental health problems in your classes, and the transformative power of yoga, we have designed his training to equip all yoga teachers with the most effective and essential skills to improve the mental health of their students.

Join Heather Mason, the Founder of the Minded Institute, and Dr. Samantha Bottrill, senior clinical psychologist, yoga therapist, and long-standing Minded Institute lecturer, to understand how yoga can help clients with mental health problems, reduce their suffering, better manage their symptoms, and transform their lives.

This new comprehensive course gives yoga professionals:

  • A deep understanding of psycho-neurophysiology
  • The relationship between psycho-neurophysiology, anxiety, and depression
  • How yoga can influence the mind, body, and brain to improve mental health
  • What practices are most effective and why
  • How to teach effectively teach appropriate practices
  • Precautions and contra-indications
  • Basic psychotherapeutic skills

Upon completion, yoga professionals will be able to:

  • Support those with depression and anxiety in their regular classes
  • Offer specific yoga classes to target depression and anxiety
  • Safely and effectively offer one to one yoga sessions for clients with anxiety and depression

Read more on Yoga for Anxiety and Yoga for Depression.

Course Content

The following topics will be covered:


  1.     The Minded Model:
  • An overview of the Minded ethos of regulation and mindfulness techniques
  • How and why Minded combines neuroscience, yoga therapy, mindfulness, psychotherapeutic tools, and medical science to support best practice
  1.     The Autonomic Nervous System:
  • A deep dive into the anatomy and physiology of the ANS with a focus on the relaxation response, heart rate variability, and polyvagal theory
  1.     Stress and disease:
  • An overview of psychoneuroimmunology as it relates to yoga therapy
  • This includes a review of how cortisol influences tissues and cells, the relationship between the HPA axis and cytokines, and general inflammation and stress
  1.     The Koshas:
  • A lecture and embodied practice of the Minded Institute kosha assessment process
  • IYP uses a joint assessment process using the koshas and the chakras to teach students to create what is known as a “formulation” and so understanding our unique perspective is vital
  1.     Intro to psychotherapeutic principles:
  • A basic history of psychotherapy as it relates to the Minded Institute yoga therapy model
  • This is essential for understanding how Minded contextualises the psychotherapy diploma
  1.     The respiratory system:
  • A deep dive into the anatomy and physiology of breathing
  • This will include:
    • The influence of body position
    • Breath rate
    • Location of breath
    • Ratio of inhale to exhale
    • Intensity of breathing
    • How to conduct a breath assessment
  1.     Neurons and neuroplasticity:
  • An overview of how neurons send messages and how we might influence neurotransmission in yoga therapy
  • Mentions will be made of how talking also influences neuroplasticity, but this will mostly be covered in IYP
  • A discussion of the three main types of neuroplasticity and how to affect neural remodeling via yoga as based on theory and research
  1.     Anxiety:
  • How it presents psychologically and how it is perceived yogically
  • Research on yoga’s efficacy
  • How yoga can work as an adjunct and stand-alone treatment
  • Best practice of mindfulness and yoga therapy for the treatment and management of anxiety
  • How anxiety presents in the brain & how this informs yoga therapy
  1.     Professional boundaries:
  • Why boundaries are important in yoga therapy
  • Common therapeutic boundaries
  • How to manage boundary breaches from clients
  • Maintaining ethics
  1. The Central Nervous System Part I (hindbrain):
  • Spinal tracts and nerves
  • An overview of the structures and the functions of the hindbrain structures
  • Research on these structures that is relevant to yoga therapy and informs best practice
  1. Introduction to inquiry skills


  1. The CNS Part II:
  • The mid-brain, limbic system, and cerebral cortex
  • Research on core structures in these different brain areas that are relevant to yoga therapy and inform best practice
  • How distinct parts of the brain work together
  • Brain waves
  • Common neuroimaging techniques
  • The influence of neurotransmitters
  1. Clinical skill of mirroring:
  • How to paraphrase emphatically and lead meaningful conversations that inform yogic and mindfulness techniques best suited to the client
  1. Depression:
  • How it presents psychologically and how it is perceived yogically
  • Research on yoga’s efficacy
  • How yoga can work as an adjunct and stand-alone treatment
  • Best practice of mindfulness and yoga therapy
  • How depression presents in the brain and how this informs yoga therapy practice
  1. The somatic nervous system:
  • Distinct types of muscles
  • Fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibres
  • An overview of relevant brain structures and pathways
  • Introduction to proprioception, interoception, exteroception, with unique methods for enhancing each, especially for clients with PTSD, Eating Disorders, Chronic Pain, and other mental health conditions where body awareness is underdeveloped or suppressed
  • The influence of flowing postures, holding postures, stretching postures, and contracting postures on the brain and the mind. How to decide which to use with which clients at which times


Heather Mason – C-IAYT, RYT-500, BA, MA, MSc
Co-course Director, Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Advisory Board

Heather is the founder and director of The Minded Institute. The Minded Institute’s Yoga Therapy training is essentially the culmination of Heather’s journey and experiences with her own mental health and her extensive academic study. She spent three years living in Buddhist monasteries in
Southeast Asia learning and teaching meditation and Yoga. She holds two Master’s degrees in Buddhist Studies and Medical Physiology, and has taught at Harvard University and the Boston Trauma Center. Heather is the primary lecturer for the Yoga Therapy training course. Heather is also the director of the Yoga in Healthcare Alliance, an organisation providing research, training and campaigning for accessibility to yoga through public institutions like the NHS. Additionally, she is the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga in Society.

Dr. Samantha Bottrill – MYT, RYT-200, BSc, PGDip, DClinPsy
Senior Lecturer in Clinical Skills, Development Reviewer, Advisory Board

Sam is a Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Maudsley Hospital, specialising in Eating Disorders, a Yoga teacher and Yoga Therapist. Sam’s main teaching area is clinical skills and psychotherapeutic principles and helping other psychologists to integrate Yoga skills with their clinical practice.


We use Zoom to host these online trainings, for those who do not yet have an account, please visit and sign up for a free account. Please also test your computer audio and visual to ensure they are working prior to the training start time.

You will receive a zoom link and password in your confirmed booking email, which will come from:


At checkout, you will be able to pay for this course via credit/debit card or Paypal. If you have any issues purchasing the course, please reach out to
Pay via Instalments
In a drive to make our courses as accessible as possible, we can arrange payment for any of our courses to be made in monthly instalments.  Please contact if you would like to discuss payment via instalments for any of our courses. Please note that all balances must be paid in full seven days before the course begins and that once you begin a payment plan, refunds are not available outside of our usual refunds policy.

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