Level 1 - Yoga for Children (Autism, Neurodiversity & Diverse Needs) October 2023

Gain the knowledge and confidence to teach yoga to children and teens with diverse needs!

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Registration Deadline- October 16th, 2023

The Level 1 - Yoga for Children - Autism, Neurodiversity and Diverse Needs course offers fun and effective strategies for teaching yoga and mindfulness to children with diverse brains, bodies and abilities.

Please note: Level 2 - 95-hour Children's Yoga Teacher Certification will be in November 2023 - Take both the Level 1 and Level 2 Trainings and Become a 95-hour Certified Children's Yoga Teacher with an Emphasis on Inclusion and Accessibility!

A combination of Online Learning and Virtual Connection to the Lead Trainer and Community of Participants.

Participants will begin the course starting October 18th. Curriculum will be available Monday, October 16th. We will meet 4 times via Zoom throughout the course. The rest of the time will be online videos, lectures, reading and homework assignments.

Dates: October 18th-29th, 2023


$550 USD if registered by October 2nd, $650 following - please note registration for the course is non-refundable for any and all reasons. By registering for and paying for the course you are acknowledging that there will be no refunds given. Should there be a conflict with timing you will have the option to transfer to a future course for a $50 rescheduling fee. Once you access the course curriculum, there will not be an option to reschedule.

Zoom Meetings

The Zoom meetings are an opportunity to connect as a community, review course content, ask questions and practice together.

You will receive the Zoom Meeting invites with the links once the course begins. Please arrange your schedule accordingly so you are able to be present and engaged during the meetings.

Attendance in the meetings is required for completion of the Level 1 Certificate. There is NO Exception to this

It is not an option to switch Zoom meeting groups. Your Zoom meeting group is based on your location.

Zoom Meetings

Group 1

October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 9:00am-12:00pm PST

Attendance in the meetings is required for completion of the Level 1 Certificate

Global Time Zones:

United States - October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 9:00am-12:00pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Please check the time for your time zone in the United States.


(Please double check the times for your time zone)

PDT - October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 9am-12pm

MDT - October 21, 22, 28 & 29- 10am-1pm

ADT - October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 1pm-4pm

EDT - October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 12pm-3pm

Mexico: October 21, 22, 28 & 29

CDT - 5:00pm-8:00pm


Greece: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 7pm-10pm

England: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 5pm-8pm

Ireland: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 5pm-8pm

Germany: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 6pm-9pm

Spain: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 6pm-9pm

Netherlands: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 6pm-9pm

Sweden: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 6pm-9pm

France: October 21, 22, 28 & 29- 6pm-9pm

India: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 9:30pm-12:30am

Israel: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 7:00pm-10:00pm

Poland: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 6:00pm-9:00pm

Italy: October 21, 22, 28 & 29- 6:00pm-9:00pm

Brazil: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 1:00pm-4:00pm

United Arab Emirates: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 8:00pm-11:00pm

Albania: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 6:00pm-9:00pm

Group 2

* Please note: Depending on registrations, Group 2 may mostly view the recorded zoom meetings from Group 1 instead of meeting for zoom sessions listed below. Please be prepared to meet for the scheduled meetings just in case.


Global Time Zones:

October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 3:00pm-6:00pm PST

Australia: (October 22, 23, 29 & 30 ) (Please double check your time zone)

ACDT - 9:30am -12:30pm

AEST - 8:00am-11:00am

AEDT - 9:00am-12:00pm

ACST - 7:30am - 10:30am

AWST - 6:00am - 9:00am

China: October 21, 22, 28 & 29 - 6am-9am

Japan: October 21, 22, 28 & 29, 7am-10am

Participants will learn tools to support children ages 5-17 with self-regulation, body awareness, interoception, social skills, expression of difficult emotions, language and communication, social skills, reducing anxiety and much much more!

Learn strategies, supports and modifications to teach yoga and mindfulness to children including Autism, ADD/ADHD, Down Syndrome, Prader Willi, Williams Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Sensory Integration difficulties, Language Processing difficulties, Developmental Delays, Limited Mobility, Learning difficulties Anxiety, Trauma, Behavioral Challenges and more!

  • Yoga Teachers
  • Pediatric Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech Therapists
  • Behavior Specialists
  • Mental Health Practitioners
  • Educators
  • School Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Therapists
  • Pediatric or School Nurses
  • Parents
  • A.P.E/P.E Teachers
  • Anyone who is passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga and mindfulness with children of all abilities!

Participants Receive:

  • Playful and compassionate connection with like-minded community.
  • Comprehensive Course Manual, Online Videos, Webinars, Resources and Group Meetings.
  • Hours packed full of Learning, Yoga Lesson Plans, Games, Songs, Mudras, Mantras, Chants, Stories and Activities.
  • Anatomy and Physiology, Precautions and Contraindications related to children with special needs.
  • Creative, Fun and Safe suggestions for Asanas (physical poses), Pranayama (breathing strategies) and relaxation and mindfulness activities.
  • Suggestions for Props, Modifications, Adaptations, Tools and Supports to meet the needs of diverse cognitive and physical abilities.
  • Chair Yoga for "yoga breaks" and for children with physical limitations.
  • Positive Behavior Strategies
  • Understanding the Nervous System, Fight/Flight/Freeze and the impact of unmanaged stress.
  • Strategies and tools to support social/emotional learning and improved mental and physical health and well-being.
  • Trauma Sensitive Approach.
  • Poses and Breathing Strategies to support Self-regulation, Sensory Processing and Expressing/Releasing Difficult Emotions.
  • Suggestions for how to structure classes and lesson plans for groups with diverse needs.

PLEASE NOTE: There is required reading for this course. Pre-order the book in this link prior to the start of the course. You have the option to order the paperback book or the Kindle version. Asanas for Autism and Special Needs - Yoga to Help Children with their Emotions, Self-regulation and Body Awareness

This course will be a combination of online self-paced learning and group learning and connection via Zoom meetings. Please Note: You will be required to attend the scheduled Zoom meetings. Please see scheduled times and dates along with dates and times for global locations above. PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE CONVERSION PRIOR TO REGISTERING.

Sample Course Curriculum - Once registered full Curriculum will be available by May 15th.

Lesson 1

Benefits of Yoga for Children with Diverse Needs

  • Common Challenges

Lesson 2

Sensory Processing and the 8 Senses

  • Vestibular System
  • Proprioceptive System
  • Interoception
  • Crossing the Midline
  • Self-regulation

Lesson 3

Body Awareness

  • Visuals
  • Tapping
  • Songs, Games & Activities
  • Right/Left

Lesson 4

Asanas/Yoga Poses

  • Categories of Poses and Contraindications
  • Calming Poses and Variations
  • Energizing Poses and Variations
  • Chair Poses
  • Poses for Vestibular Input
  • Poses for Proprioceptive Input
  • Poses for Crossing and Coming to the Midline
  • Poses for Core-Strengthening
  • Motor Planning and Bi-lateral Coordination - Accessing both sides of the body
  • Practice Teaching

Lesson 5

Supporting Complex Needs

  • Adaptations, Modifications and Contraindications for Specific Needs
  • Children with Cerebral Palsy
  • Children with Down Syndrome and Prader Willi
  • Children with Autism and ADHD
  • Hypermobility and Low/High Tone
  • Hyperactive/High Arousal
  • Motor Apraxia, Speech Apraxia and Dyspraxia

Lesson 6

Breathing Strategies and Visualization Strategies

  • Autonomic Nervous System - Fight/Flight/Freeze Response
  • Calming (down-regulating) Breathing Strategies
  • Energizing/Alerting (up-regulating) Breathing Strategies
  • Releasing Difficult Emotions through the Breath
  • Sensory/Self-Regulation
  • Digestion
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Core Activation
  • Cause/Effect Breathing Activities/Tools

Lesson 7

Guided Imagery, Visualization and Meditation for Children

  • Meditation/Concentration Activities
  • Chants and Sounds
  • Mudras

Lesson 8

Yoga Games and Activities

  • Developing Yoga Based Lesson Plans
  • Structuring Yoga Class by Age and Stage of Development
  • Yoga Games and Activities

Lesson 9

Behavior Management

  • Effective Strategies for Teaching and Reaching Children with Special Needs
  • Visual Charts

Zoom Meeting Agenda Sample

Day 1:

  • Introductions
  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Review Syllabus and Schedule
  • Review Expectations for Course
  • Review Lessons 1-3
  • Q&A
  • Closing

Day 2:

  • Journaling
  • Mediation & Mantra Work
  • Review Lesson 4 & 5
  • Break out Room for Practice Teaching
  • Closing

Day 3:

  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Group Practice Teaching
  • Closing

Day 4:

  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Review Lessons 6-9
  • Closing/Graduation

Course Curriculum

  Registration & Daily Zoom Meeting Requirements
Available in days
days after you enroll

Your Instructor

Shawnee Thornton Hardy
Shawnee Thornton Hardy

Shawnee is a C-IAYT -Certified Yoga Therapist, Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner, M.Ed., and Educational/Behavioral Specialist. She is the Founder of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs and the Founder/Director of Yoga Therapy for Youth Certification Program. Shawnee has worked with children and adults with and complex and diverse needs for 30 years. She has specialized in working with children and adults with neurodiverse needs, sensory processing challenges, communication differences, developmental disabilities, mental health challenges and trauma backgrounds. Shawnee works with private clients of all brains, bodies and abilities to facilitate health and healing. Her goal is to bring the experience of yoga to all individuals no matter their differences or challenges.

She wrote a published a book, Asanas for Autism and Special Needs – Yoga to Help Children with Their Emotions, Self-Regulation and Body Awareness and is the creator of the C.A.L.M.M Yoga Toolkit. Her second book - Yoga Therapy for Children and Teens.- Embodying a Somatosensory Approach to Mental, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing has just recently been published and is NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!

She has a Yoga School through Yoga Alliance in order to train others in yoga approaches to support children and adults with neurodiverse needs and children and adults with complex needs needs and travels globally to share her teachings. Shawnee is dedicated to helping support youth and adults in developing strategies to cope with stress in order to live happier, healthier more empowered lives.

Shawnee has experienced first hand the benefits yoga and somatic practices can provide to health and overall well-being as she is a survivor of childhood trauma as well as multiple significant traumas in her adulthood, resulting in a diagnosis of PTSD. She is also a cancer survivor. She has a unique combination of understanding neurodiversity, developmental disability, trauma and other complex needs and knowing how to support people of all ages in connecting to their authentic self and building more capacity and resilience in order to live life in a more embodied and empowered way.

Shawnee has led several workshops at major conferences both in the US and Internationally; including MISTY (Montreal International Symposium for Yoga Therapy) and IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) SYTAR Conference on Yoga for Sensory Processing and Self-Regulation for children with ASD, BOOST Conference (Best Out of School Time) on Yoga for Children with Special Needs , Yoga and Mindfulness for Youth and Yoga to Reduce Stress and Increase Relaxation for Educators. TRUST Conference (Teens Understanding and Reflecting Stigma Together) on Learning to Breath, Yoga and Mindfulness for Teens, including teens struggling with mental illness and UCSD Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference on Yoga and Mindfulness for Sensory Integration and Self-Regulation.

Shawnee has written for and has had her work featured in several magazines and online resources. See media features here.

Shawnee also offers private and small group therapeutic sessions for children and adults as well as yoga and somatic movement workshops and trainings through her company Embodied Wellness Yoga Therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course begins October 18th and ends October 29th.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for at least a year - across any and all devices you own.
Are refunds available?
This course is non-refundable for any and all reasons. Should you have a time conflict your course registration can be transferred to a future online course for a transfer fee of $50.00 if you cancel prior to the course curriculum publish date.
Will I have contact with the lead instructor and other participants for this course?
Yes, you will be expected to join daily Zoom meetings with the group arranged by the course instructor.
Will I receive a Certificate following this course?
Yes, once you have completed all of the requirements for the course you will receive a Certificate of Completion in 25-hours Training in Yoga for Children with Autism and Special Needs.
Do I need to be a yoga teacher or have yoga experience to take the course?
There are no pre-requisites to take this course. You'll come out of this course with a giant toolbox regardless of your knowledge or understanding of yoga!
Are there options for continued education courses with Shawnee?
Yes, Shawnee leads a Level 2 - 70 hour Training (combined with Level 1) to equal a 95-hour Children's Yoga Teacher Certification with an Emphasis on Making Yoga and Mindfulness Inclusive and Accessible to Children of Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds and a Level 3 - 100-hour Yoga Therapy for Youth Training. The combination of Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 courses with Shawnee equal a 200-hour Certification in Yoga and Mindfulness for Children and Youth with Complex Needs! Shawnee also offers individual coaching and mentorship. Contact Shawnee for more details!

Get started now!