YOGA, Scoliosis and the Nervous System:
Sympathetic and Parasympathetic

JULY 17-20, 2020

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. Register by our Registration Deadline APRIL 17, 2020 and save $50).

This workshop will be held on beautiful Salt Spring Island on the West Coast of Canada. MAP

The scoliotic spine affects not only the bones and muscles, it also affects the nerves. The feedback from the right and left sides of the curves is not the same: one side is contracted and one side is overstretched. In the nervous system, this can create disorientation and a mix of inertia and tension in the scoliotic body, along with a building sense of anxiety, discomfort and an inability to rest.

In this workshop, you will learn techniques to practice building your energy with active poses which access numb unused areas, release overused overstretched muscles and allow your body to rest by finding release where muscles are over-contracted. Using prop setups and other stimuli which allow the nervous system to balance these extremes, the techniques in this workshop will help you to find a centre place where you can rest.

This retreat is for all levels, as well as for students with spinal fusions. Teachers who work with students who have scoliosis are also encouraged to attend.

Salt Spring Island is known as the largest and most popular of the many gulf islands on the west coast of Canada. With its spectacular coastal and pastoral scenery, the island offers many outdoor activities, as well as the opportunity to explore dozens of artist studios and artisanal farms and markets. The workshop will be held at the wonderful Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. Salt Spring Island is a quick float plane ride from Vancouver International Airport. Or you can arrive via a stunning ferry ride from Vancouver or Victoria.

Having practiced yoga for her own scoliosis since 1994, Deborah has found that alignment-based yoga can control back pain and arrest the progression of the curvature and twist. In January 2015, Deborah founded Samamkaya Yoga Back Care and Scoliosis Collective in New York City – the only Yoga Center specializing in back care and scoliosis operating as a workers’ cooperative in the world! Deborah’s yoga teaching is inspired by her mentors, Elise Browning Miller, Bobbie Fultz, Genny Kapuler, Karin Stephan and Donald Moyer, and by therapeutic practices observed at medical classes at The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India. Her understanding of the nervous system is supported by ongoing study of Experiential Anatomy with Genny Kapuler and through her work with teacher Rachel Lynch-John in Body-Mind Centering techniques, a study she loves as much as Yoga itself. Deborah Wolk is certified by IAYT.

Full Retreat Package Includes:

  • Daily yoga, movement, meditation, and relaxation classes with acclaimed yoga for scoliosis teacher, Deborah Wolk. Plus the assistance of wonderful skilled in-class assistants to help you with form and technique. You will get lots of individual attention and care!

  • Delicious vegetarian meals from the extensive gardens on the property, lovingly prepared by the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga - plus snacks!

  • A ride to / from the airport, ferry, or bus station on arrival and departure as needed.

  • Handouts with ideas, exercises, drawings, and descriptions to take home which will help you to create and continue your own practice moving forward.


  • Full Retreat Package - $975 CAD +tax
    (SAVE $50 on Full Retreat Package. Register by our deadline: April 17, 2020 for $925 CAD +tax (use coupon code: WOLK2020). See new Payment Policy below.)

  • Workshop Only - $495 CAD +tax

    Sliding scale available based on need.
    Single accommodation available for an additional cost.
    Camping available for a reduced cost.


Payment Policy: Registration & Deposit Deadline - 90 days Prior to Retreat As a non-profit, we need to know we have enough registrations required to fulfill our financial obligations to pay studios, accommodations, teachers, caterers, etc, by their deposit deadlines. Save $ when you register by the Registration Deadline. 30% deposit due at Registration; balance due 30 days prior to Retreat.

(Subject to Change)

Day One

  • Arrivals

  • 6pm-9pm Dinner & Introduction

Day Two

  • 8:45am – Breakfast

  • 9:30am - 12:30pm – Morning Session

  • 12:30pm - 1:30pm – Lunch

  • 1:30pm - 4:00pm – Break

  • 4:00pm - 6:00pm – Afternoon Session

  • 6:00pm - 9:00pm – Dinner & Lecture/Activity

Day Three

  • 8:45am – Breakfast

  • 9:30am - 12:30pm – Morning Session

  • 12:30pm - 1:30pm – Lunch

  • 1:30pm - 4:00pm – Break

  • 4:00pm - 6:00pm – Afternoon Session

  • 6:00pm - 9:00pm – Dinner & Lecture/Activity

Day Four

  • 8:45am - Breakfast

  • 9:30am - 12:30pm – Morning Session

  • 12:30pm - 1:30pm – Lunch

  • 1:30pm – Departures

Participants will stay on site at the lovely Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. Rooms are double or triple accommodation, with a very small number of private rooms available for an extra cost (first come, first serve).

Get to Salt Spring island by sea on BC Ferries, to either the Swartz Bay or Long Harbour ferry terminals. If you are arriving from Victoria (Vancouver Island), you will need to be on the Swartz Bay Ferry to Fulford Harbour route. If you are traveling from Vancouver, you will need to take the Tsawwassen Ferry to Long Harbour. You can also travel Vancouver Tsawwassen to Victoria Swartz Bay and then on to Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring. There are many different sailing choices, check BC Ferries for more info.

Get to Salt Spring island by air from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island (40 minutes). Harbour Air runs sea planes from Downtown Vancouver and from Vancouver Airport (YVR/South Vancouver) to Ganges Harbour on the island. Alternate airlines are Sea Air and Saltspring Air.

You will be picked up from your arrival spot on Salt Spring island - all we need to know are your flight or ferry details. Contact us or we will be in touch closer to the retreat. 


“Over the three years I have taken this workshop, my body has grown stronger and my pain has reduced. I feel empowered to build on my home practice and understand now how “anything is possible” when we give loving skillful attention to ourselves and our bodies with the support of kind guides.”

“I was admittedly a bit scared heading out to Salt Spring on my own, to a retreat by a group I had never heard of, with people I had yet to meet. But, it turned out better than I could have ever anticipated. Martha was, and is, LOVELY. Meeting us at the ferry, getting us tucked in at the retreat centre, and nurturing our experience from start to finish. Deborah was the BEST teacher I have ever learned from, and being a yoga teacher, I have learned from many. The centre reminded me of my dorm at university; clean, comfortable and just enough. The food was nourishing... so much so that I was full from the first bite, until we departed Sunday afternoon. I did crave both coffee and chocolate though, but found those delights at the market. Thanks heavens for small miracles! The women in attendance were strangers, and now friends. And, my heart could not have been happier for having said yes.”

“This experience has helped me understand and read my body’s communication. I am looking forward to going home and implementing these techniques.”

Please Note: We are still in process of establishing the final details surrounding this workshop, stay tuned for updates. Once Registration is open, an announcement will be sent out via our newsletter (subscribe on our home page!).

Cancellation Policy: 15% non-refundable up to 1 month prior to Retreat start date; 40% non-refundable within 4 weeks of Retreat start date.