Yoga for the Special Child®


Yoga for the Special Child®

Yoga for the Special Child™ training programs offer a unique learning environment for children and their parents, special education teachers, Yoga teachers, and health care professionals. Courses are taught by the internationally renowned Yoga therapist and author Sonia Sumar, whose innovative teaching methods have been improving the lives of children with special needs for more than 30 years.

Course descriptions and certifications

BASIC Part 1 with Sonia Sumar
• April 2−7, 2018
Monday−Saturday 9 a.m.−5 p.m.
Cost: $1080, Non-refundable deposit: $285.
Early bird discount: $100 if paid in full by February 1, 2018
Download Basic Part 1 Application

CE PROGRAM: Asanas – Adjustments and Sequences with Renata Sumar Gaertner
• July 7–9, 2018
Saturday–Monday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Prerequisite: to have attended a Yoga for the Special Child Program in the last 2 years
Cost: $530, Non-refundable deposit: $200
Download CE Program Application

CE PROGRAM: The Golden Keys of Yoga for the Special Child with Sonia Sumar
• July 10–13, 2018
Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Prerequisite: to have attended a Yoga for the Special Child Program in the last 2 years
Cost: $750, Non-refundable deposit: $200
Download CE Program Application

Teacher Bio

SoniaSumarSonia Sumar started teaching Yoga for children with special needs after the birth of her second daughter, Roberta, in 1970. Roberta was born with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by mental retardation and other developmental delays. The changes Sonia saw in Roberta led her to attend a Yoga teacher training program, and in 1972 she received her certification.

Sonia holds a bachelor’s degree in education and has taught at the elementary school level. She has conducted workshops and has addressed special education programs and symposia in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and India. In 1980 she founded the Integral Yoga Center of Belo Horizonte, in Brazil, which is now headed by her daughter Renata. In September 2001 Sonia opened the national headquarters for Yoga for the Special Child, at Satchidananda Yoga Center in Evanston, Illinois. She continues to teach children and adults and offers specialized training courses to Yoga teachers and other professionals who wish to learn her methods.

Sonia is a member of and recognized by Yoga Alliance; IYTA (Integral Yoga Teachers Association); YREC (Yoga Research Educational Center); and IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists).

RenataRenata Sumar Gaertner has been practicing and teaching Yoga to children and adults for over 25 years. She is the daughter of Sonia Sumar, who developed the Yoga for the Special Child Method®. From an early age, Renata saw the impact Yoga had on her sister, Roberta, who had Down Syndrome. At the age of 12, Renata completed her first Hatha Yoga Training Program through Brazil’s Federal University at Minas Gerais (UFMG) and began teaching Yoga at the age of 15. She continued her studies at UFMG and received a diploma in speech therapy where she completed her thesis “Yoga as a Method of Global Stimulation for Children with Down Syndrome”.  After having the opportunity to meet Swami Satchidananda, she decided to spend several months living at the Integral Yoga Ashram in Virginia to further her studies in Yoga under his guidance. Renata is currently the Director of the Integral Yoga Center in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and is Co-Director and Teacher Trainer of the Yoga for the Special Child® Method. She is a member of the Integral Yoga Teachers Association, International Association of Yoga Therapists, and Yoga Alliance, where she is a registered experienced Yoga teacher, E-RYT 500, E-RCYT, and Certified Yoga Therapist.


YSC Logo For Yoga for the Special Child training at Integral Yoga Institute in New York, please call 212-929-0585, ext. 16, or email

Download Basic Part 1 and CE Program Application
Download Basic Part 2 Application

Accommodations near IYI
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Learn more about Sonia Sumar (Sivakami) at or call 941-882-4833 or email


“An excellent ... program—clear, comprehensive, and compassionate. I was particularly impressed by the profound transformation in Sonia’s students, which came as a direct result of their practicing Yoga.”

—Dean Ornish, M.D., author of Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease
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