Embodied Relational Yoga Therapy 2yr Training



This two-year training aims to give you the skills and resources to work in a therapeutic capacity with a particular focus on working one-to-one. Drawing on insights and theories within yoga and body psychotherapy and working with the innate intelligence of the body, we will explore our own embodiment and how this impacts our capacity for relationship. These twin approaches form a broad base to explore the roots of many issues that a client might bring to a yoga therapy session.

From the beginning an emphasis is placed on the view that in order to work therapeutically we need to explore our own material to some depth first. When the emphasis is placed here the learning becomes entwined with our own unfolding as we develop awareness. When we do this together as a group the learning is rich and diverse.

In ERYT we consider no injury, issue, body or psyche to be the same but recognise both the body and psyche as a Complex Adaptive System responding to and being shaped by the environment. The therapeutic relationship becomes a good means to explore how ourselves and our clients experience the world through the lens of our own adaptive system. It is an approach based on four main principles: contact, information gathering, amplification and integration. When all four principles sit behind the work that we’re doing the focus moves away from any sense of fixing or reduced thinking. Instead processes open up which lead towards tipping points of restructuring and reconfiguring which emerge in service to the innate, developmental need for transformation and change.

By working initially with the body, exploring the physicality of muscles, bones, fascia, nerves, fluids etc. we become aware of our felt sense, our proprioception, a sense of self in flesh, our embodiment, our ground. This brings us directly to explore the challenges and joys of relationship, where themes of support and contact often become central.

Through the approach of ERYT it’s possible to explore both physical and psychological material simultaneously. For example, an exploration around chronic pain can bring forth both an awareness of complex joint compression as a result of a disconnection between local and global muscle groups and complex ‘psychological’ belief/value systems.

We can explore many spectrums of psyche/soma: by exploring tension in rigid musculature we may discover complementary patterns of thought and behavior; or for chaotic or overwhelmed clients who find integration difficult we might find that working with certain yoga poses or movements builds a crucial sense of containment. There are endless possibilities for gathering information in the many channels on offer. What manifests in one channel may be mirrored in another.

Following the principles and working with deep listening allows for more understanding of our client’s complex adaptive systems: how things have come to be. Our client’s issues begin to make sense when we can see how they have arisen as an adaptation or compensation, where the body/mind system has constructed the best response to a situation that it can so far. When we are able to offer the capacity to really watch and listen to our clients in a yoga session, the complex adaptive system begins to surface, manifesting in several ways. Rather than jumping in to try and fix or change our client’s tendencies, if we apply the principles and bring awareness to the situation, (as we unpack and dismantle ways of being), the creativity that has been used for adaptation can then be utilised for the purpose of growth and transformation. Exploring this creative push towards expansion and growth whilst simultaneously supporting the natural residence to change however is key in this approach.

Year one will focus on taking your own body through a process, exploring embodiment and relationship through intelligent inquiry. We will study how the body is a network of relationships in both local and global ways and how this becomes the foundation for working therapeutically. Emphasis will be placed on becoming very clear about what we are asking or inviting a body to do as well as listening to the body in its signals of where it wants to go. This year is about finding clarity and groundedness within your body in order to assist another to find it in themselves. In this year, we also challenge classical approaches to asana, emphasising the idea that when the physical work is in service to intelligence of the body way there is congruence with a felt sense of self. This fosters cohesion and amplifies embodiment.

In Year two we will focus on psychological process with particular attention upon how we organise our sense of self through the tissues of our body and vice versa. Emphasis will be placed on the relational aspect of working 1-2-1. With greater psychological insight, we can identify which approaches may be helpful, both physically and relationally and which ones are not. This year is about gaining clarity of your psychological material and how it manifests in your body and how it will manifest differently in another. Our capacity to see and listen will deepen.

Plenty of time throughout the training will be given to experiential exercises with space for processing and integration. Whilst there will be an underlying structure and significant content offered on the training, we will be a rich group with plenty to share and explore. Space and time will be given to explore what arises in the group, what attracts our interest. This will be another form to directly experience the themes and theory of ERYT as it happens and we will learn a lot from each other.


Year 1:

• What is asana? Understanding movement and alignment principles and how a movement or pose becomes therapeutic.
• Body reading in asana and movement exploring structural types, developmental movement patterns and our kinetic language.
• Imbalance and compensation, why are we doing what we’re doing?
• ERT principles: contact, information gathering, amplification, integration and how they can be applied to a yoga therapy session.
• The relationship between bone, muscles, fascia, nerves etc. Understanding different tissue types and how they affect our sense of embodiment and how this influences our approach.
• The relevance for soft tissue work, taking charge through the bones vs muscle or both and how this affects us relationally.
• Working in a person-centered way and using intuition
• Boundaries and ethics
• Breath – the interface between body and mind

Year 2:

• Character theory and each of the six character positions – Boundary, Oral, Control, Holding, Thrusting & Crisis. How to work with character material in a non-pathologising way and how to use it as a means to orientate and relate. We will explore our own character positions and how they influence our experience, movement and yoga practice.
• Psychotherapeutic ABC – transference, counter-transference, projection, projective identification and enactment and how they influence and shape the therapeutic relationship providing a useful source of information.
• Amplification as a means to invite process and the use and timing of intervention.
• Sharpening our skills of listening and exploring all of the various channels available.

• Finding resonance, intuition and following a process. How to explore and work with something that may be ‘trying to happen’ without necessarily knowing what it is that we’re working on. Where are we being led by our clients and what is the information that is being gathered, trying to say?
• How kinetic language relates to psychological functioning and the relevance of movement patterns/body types which relate to character.
• What do we mean by Yoga and how can we use it therapeutically? Where does yoga end and therapy begin? We’ll explore the psychosomatic in a yoga 1-2-1 and develop an understanding and framework for ways to work that feel safe and effective.
• How to apply this approach when working with trauma, dissociation, hyper and hypo arousal and the window of tolerance.
• Working at the edge
• Continuing to develop a distinct and cohesive connection to your own body which will enable you to pay great attention to the subtle movements, rhythms and non-verbal patterns that continually emerge in the client and therapist relationship.Explorations will be done through experiential exercises in pairs and small groups, working as therapists in supervised practicum sessions in pairs, and working in group process with the whole group. Each module in the second year will introduce a new character position.WHO IS THIS COURSE FOR?• Yoga teachers looking to dive deeper into their own psychological process and conditioning and using yoga a means of assisted self-discovery.

• Those who are working one-to-one or interested in developing this aspect of working and wish to explore bringing in the connection between body and mind in a therapeutic way.

• Those who may already have a good understanding of the principles behind Embodied Relational Yoga via some form of study or supervision with Kate and wish to take their understanding further.


Applicants are invited to apply for both years separately since there are less places on the second year (Just 12) and not everyone will want to continue into a deeper psychological process. Applicants must have been teaching yoga for a minimum of two years (students who are completing a 2 year teacher training will be considered). Applicants will need to complete the application form and will be then be invited to have an interview either on the phone or one in person. Since there will be space and time for psychological process throughout the two years (though this will be emphasised in the second year), students will need to have good self -awareness and be open to the challenges of growth work and personal development.



Module 1 – June 9/10th 2018
Module 2 – July 14/15th 2018
Module 3 – September 29/30th 2018
Module 4 – November 24/25th 2018
Module 5 – January 19/20 2019
Module 6 – TBC

YEAR 2 – module 1-6 dates TBC

Year 1 Course cost: £1200 // Payment options: A) Early registration discount: Full payment of £1120 payable upon registration available until 30th December 2017. B) Deposit only now of £300 (non-refundable) with full payment to follow in three installments of £300 on 15th January, 15th March and 15th May 2018.

Year 2 Course cost: £1400 also with a similar payment option. Please note that students will have to re-apply for the second year upon completion of the first year to ensure readiness for the material of the second year.

Location: The Crowhurst, Knoyle Road, Brighton, BN1 6RB

Please contact Kate via info@kateellisyoga.co.uk for an application form.

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