Mindful Yoga for Chronic Pain

Image courtesy of aestheticyoga.com

Level 1 Professional Training

September 10, 2017 - September 16, 2017

OHSU, Portland, OR

About Training

Mindful Yoga for Chronic Pain is a seven-day professional training program offered to registered yoga instructors, physical therapists, and other health professionals. Mindful Yoga, as applied in clinical trials of the "Yoga of Awareness" intervention (see Research), has been shown to help people experiencing persistent pain to minimize pain, fatigue and emotional distress while increasing vigor, acceptance, and relaxation. This professional training will introduce the skills needed to teach mindful yoga-based practices to persons who experience chronic pain. This training will also introduce participants to how the Yoga of Awareness Program unfolds.

Mindful Yoga elegantly and systematically integrates the deep essence of yoga with contemporary wisdom and research, instilling in students the value of a disciplined meditation practice, key principles of yoga philosophy, gentle posture and breathing practices, and community with other yoga practitioners. In the ancient yogic texts it is stated: "Physical sensations – cold and heat, pleasure and pain –are transient: they come and go; so bear them patiently." How does one really live this teaching? And how can we convey this wisdom in a practical, accessible way so that people with chronic pain can discover authentic relief? We believe that the deeper yogic teachings, including how to relate to difficult sensations, thoughts and emotions, are essential for yoga to be optimally effective for helping people to have fulfilling lives despite their pain.

This powerful and transformative training is a blend of instruction, practice and discussion. The training will focus on tailoring the program for people living with conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic low back pain, and other chronic illnesses that entail persistent pain. OHSU faculty will also provide expert presentations on important aspects of the chronic pain experience, such as exercise physiology and chronic pain, musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pai cancer-related pain, and physical therapy considerations.

During the Mindful Yoga Professional Training, we will explore: 

  • Evidence-based modules for persistent pain and related symptoms such as fatigue
  • Tailoring asana and pranayama to specific symptoms
  • Principles of Mindful Yoga
  • Contexting yogic principles for people from various faith traditions
  • Effective and clear ways of presenting models of stress
  • Appropriate guidance for working with the mind
  • Partnering with the medical community
  • Group facilitation skills

Upon completion of the training, participants will receive a certificate of completion from OHSU. This certificate is a step in the process of becoming a certified Mindful Yoga teacher. Further steps for becoming a certified Mindful Yoga teacher are outlined here.

Meet the Program Co-Directors

Jim and Kimberly Carson

Kimberly Carson, MPH, E-RYT

Kimberly Carson, MPH, is a health educator specializing in the use of mindfulness and yoga at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. She codirects Mindful Yoga professional trainings for Chronic Pain and Cancer as well as Yoga for Seniors teacher trainings at OHSU and Duke Integrative Medicine. Kimberly coauthored studies at Duke University Medical Center using yoga and meditation for patients with chronic low-back pain, metastatic breast cancer pain, and menopausal symptoms. She's also done studies at OHSU on fibromyalgia. She is currently a protocol consultant for a large clinical translation trial integrating mindfulness and yoga into coping skills programs for opioid dependent chronic pain patients at Kaiser Permanente. In addition, Kimberly has taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction since 1999. She is co-creator with Carol Krucoff of the DVD, Relax into Yoga (www.pranamaya.com) and a book of the same name to be published by New Harbinger in the fall of 2016. Visit her web site: www.mindfulyogaworks.com.

Jim Carson, PhD

Jim Carson, is an Associate Professor, Departments of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, and Psychiatry, at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). As a clinical psychologist, Jim is applying his expertise to the development and evaluation of meditation-based clinical treatments. While Jim was on faculty at Duke, he and Kimberly developed the Yoga of Awareness program and have completed research trials with metastatic breast cancer patients, with survivors of early stage breast cancer, and with fibromyalgia patients. Jim and Kimberly together developed the first mindfulness program for couples as well as the first lovingkindness meditation program for medical patients. He is a former yogic monk who has taught the practices and philosophy of yoga worldwide for over 25 years.

Program Cost

Students who sign up for the program by the early registration deadline of  August 14, 2017 will receive the special price of $1500. The regular cost for the program is $1700.


"This was perhaps the most complex and rich yoga and therapy program that I've ever taken. There was and remains! A tremendous amount of material to learn. The visiting faculty were all-stars and their willingness to participate in the program is a testament to their assessment of this program's quality. Their presentations were excellent and clear. The program manual is a treasure: bibliographic references, source quotes, asana language cues, pain descriptions from National Pain Foundation. It is a very helpful reference to have right on hand. The Foundations of Yoga Practice in this program are the best expression of yoga values that I know. They are expressed in neutral terms relative to all faith traditions. The asana sessions were simply delicious and melty. I always felt relaxed, stronger (physically and mentally) and more focused and alert afterwards. Meditations were also wonderful. The discussions of principles and practices were exhilarating and inspiring, as well. Personally, I am incorporating many of the practices into my own daily practice. Professionally, I've already started using these materials in my private and group classes." –Elizabeth Hansen, PhD, RYT , Massachusetts


"The directors have put together a fantastic course that supports the role of mindfulness and movement in treating people with chronic pain. Jim and Kim were absolutely fantastic in creating an atmosphere of learning and growth in understanding this material. They have created a program that teaches the science of anatomy, chronic pain, and movement in the yoga discipline that is supported by research and that has direct application to literally all the patients I see whether they have chronic pain or not. Movement awareness and mindfulness were concepts that were not new to me when I signed up for this class but by the end of this course I had a much deeper level of understanding and a greater appreciation of how I can use mindfulness in movement to improve out comes for my patients. I would highly recommend this course to PTs and yoga instructors, especially those who have a chronic pain focus or interest. This course will dramatically impact how I practice and I already had years of experience in chronic pain. And personally it has deepened my understanding of mindfulness in my daily life." –Nancy Durben, PT, Oregon


"I have been looking at many yoga therapy programs and now I feel that I've found my home for growing in knowledge and skill. Both Kimberly and Jim are so skillful modeling how to lead self- inquiry whether in movement or stillness. Their reliance on science, human nature, and the yogic tradition was so practical and illuminating. The program maintained a good balance of guest medical faculty speaking, group processing, and yoga practice. Truly, Kimberly and Jim are gifted at both sharing their knowledge and drawing out the insights of the participants. It's rare to see both happen. Also, all the medical doctors were as clear as their very complex subjects allowed. The program exceeded all expectations and I'm so energized to continue this good work." -Marie Blair, RYT, Alabama