Loading Events
« All Events

Innovative Exercises for the Sensitive Nervous System (level 3B): Live-Online – October 2021

October 23, 2021 - October 24, 2021
Registration Information
  • Register before
    September 11th, 2021
    for early bird pricing

  • Regular Course Price:
    after September 11th, 2021

Course Instructors:
Carolyn Vandyken

Guest Instructor: Amber Morphy, Certified Yin Yoga instructor

Amber Morphy began her yoga journey in 2002. In realizing the importance of yoga to prevent and recover from injuries, she has trained in a variety of styles of yoga and now specializes in YIN. Amber received her Fitness Theory course and Group Instructors through the YMCA, followed by a CPTN yoga certification. Amber then took her YIN Certification with Bernie Clark in 2009. She has continued her training in Ashtanga with Danny Paradise and Power Yoga with Eoin Finn and Caron Sheply. Amber has a loyal following of yogis where she teaches at Breathe Into Motion, Moksha, and the Waterloo Regional School Board. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to work at the Center for Pelvic Health; she has more recently begun to provide workshops to physiotherapists to bring awareness of the benefits of the YIN practice.

Please note:

To register for this course, please download the following registration forms in pdf format and email it to info@pelvichealthsolutions.ca or fax it to 888-653-4533

download the PDF
Innovative October 2021

This course will be run live online through zoom. You will need to have space around your computer that you can put a yoga mat down and be seen by the instructor to correct positions and offer suggestions.  This lab-based class will be highly interactive so you will need a quiet space (a closed room) or wireless headphones to listen while moving around. You will require the following yoga equipment: 

  • Yoga mat
  • 2 yoga blocks
  • Yoga bolster (if you have access to one)
  • Large blanket or towel

Course Description:

Have you ever been frustrated by muscle tension and pain that eases temporarily with treatment or exercise only to return quite quickly?  Persistent pain often changes the cortical mapping areas of the brain leading to sensory-motor dysregulation. Everything that we do is mapped in our brain for ease of movement and function.  But what happens when these maps have a pain neurotag (protective pain response) attached to them?  Our default strategies or maps become linked with protection and pain/tension becomes a never-ending cycle.  Novel and non-threatening exercises that engage the sensory-motor cortex are designed to address this very common problem.  Dr. Ben Wand and other researchers have demonstrated that sensory-motor dysregulation is a nearly universal problem in persistent LBP, shoulder pain, neck pain and knee pain.  The brand-new Fremantle Perineal Awareness Questionnaire (FrePAQ) created by Dr. Judith Thompson, Dr. Ben Wand and Carolyn Vandyken will be introduced. It is currently being validated but brings a new level of insight into the understanding of chronic tension in the pelvic floor muscles. This course is designed to help you develop a diverse toolbox of sensory-motor regulation exercises to reset muscle tension and pain to its normal, “unprotected” state.

This is a great course for kinesthetic learners – you will experience everything firsthand.

The second component to the Innovative Exercise class is to develop a yin yoga prescribing practice which has a dual purpose. Yin is excellent at teaching stillness, which is at the heart of evoking the relaxation response. From a tissue based perspective, yin yoga is an excellent tool for addressing connective tissue problems which are highly correlated with pelvic pain secondary to the viscero-somatic reflex. Instead of “skin rolling” the connective tissue, empower your patients to create healthy balance in these tissues again through an active, engaged, self-directed yin yoga program. Self-efficacy and empowerment should be at the heart of our treatment goals in persistent pain. Yin Yoga allows you to use an evidence-informed approach to build self-efficacy when managing connective tissue problems in pelvic pain.

A blend of visualization and sensory-based movement programs based on a combination of Feldenkrais and Franklin concepts forms the “remapping component” of this course. As therapists, most of us do not have the time, energy or resources to become certified practitioners in these specialized movement practices. This course takes the wisdom/techniques from each of these practices and puts it into a patient-centred, rehabilitation-focused format that is easy to teach, and enjoyable for your patients.

These exercises create excellent patient compliance because they are novel, enjoyable and effective, especially when there are documented changes in sensory-motor representation.

At the end of this course, participants will develop solid skills in order to confidently:

  • Assess body image using the Fremantle Questionnaires as it relates to changes in sensory-motor representation; you have to measure sensory-motor changes in order to treat them.
  • Prioritize which components of central pain mechanisms to address with individual persistent pain patients (review of SAD CLLIFSS). One size exercise prescription does NOT fit all.
  • Understand how changes in sensory-motor representation within a sensitized nervous system require us to move beyond typical therapeutic stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Develop therapeutic skills for addressing sensory-motor changes including novel movement strategies for all of the major joints in the body.
  • Teach your patients to create ease of movement using novel movement approaches.
  • Apply the principles of yin yoga to address connective tissue dysfunction in lumbopelvic pain
  • Increase your patient’s variability of movement using a functional approach to exercise

Audience: This course is open to all health care professionals – licensed physiotherapists, physiotherapy students, physiotherapy assistants, occupational therapists, chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, registered kinesiologists, medical doctors, nurses and midwives.

Hours: 10:00am-6:00pm ET (Toronto) both days

Please note: This is a stand-alone course and can be taken by any health care professional. There are no prerequisites for this course and you are welcome to take this course if you have not completed 3A, but it is strongly recommended by the instructor to complete 3A first.

Resource Materials

The resources listed below are included in the cost of the course, and will be provided to each participant in electronic, PDF format upon successful completion of the course.


  • Ball and imagery exercises for the shoulders
  • Body mapping exercises for coordinating the trunk extensors
  • Body mapping exercises for coordinating the trunk flexors
  • Body mapping exercises for the feet
  • Body mapping exercises in flexion and extension
  • Body mapping exercises in spinal rotation
  • Body mapping exercises summary
  • Body mapping exercises to improve hip flexion
  • Body mapping exercises to train the pelvic floor to move the trunk
  • Building better movement introduction and body scan
  • Internal trigger point release-self-treatment principles
  • Normalization of the curves of the spine
  • Objectives for yoga progressions in physiotherapy practice
  • Principles of yin yoga
  • Retraining squatting
  • Rolling like a barrel
  • Pain biology education

Innovative Exercises for the Sensitive Nervous System has been one of the most impactful courses for my pelvic health practice to date. There was a wonderful blend of a variety of practical, hands-on strategies with the theory and science supporting each of them. I certainly came away with a fuller picture of what happens at the level of the tissues and within the nervous system when Central Sensitization processes occur. Beyond identifying these processes, the practical strategies provided me with so many novel approaches to start working with them more effectively and bring about meaningful change with my clients. I highly recommend this course!

– Lara D

My experience with this course has been extremely positive. Carolyn and Amber were engaging lecturers with a great amount of passion! This course was a large catalyst in a new perspective and outlook that I have developed with respect to assessing and treating a sensitive nervous system. The days were structured very well and incorporated various methods of student engagement such as papers, presentations, videos and stimulating class discussion. This is one of my favourite courses I have taken at Pelvic Health Solutions – the skills that I learned in this class has allowed me to better support my patients for an improved quality of life. Thank you Carolyn and Amber!

Michiko C

A few years in to my career focusing on pelvic physiotherapy, I have taken many of the amazing courses through Pelvic Health Solutions. There are 4 so far that have been instrumental in changing the way I think and treat as a physiotherapist in general: Clinical Skills for Treating Pain; Cultural Implications of Sex, Shame & Vulnerability; Cultural Competencies in Pelvic Health and Innovative Exercises For The Sensitive Nervous System.  When I went to school for physiotherapy there was never a focus on the difference in treatment between patients with an acute injury, and those who have had symptoms for longer than a few months. There is a difference… and it is our duty as physiotherapists to assess for these differences and administer the proper avenue to help enhance quality of life. Most of our clients have had long-standing pain and functional changes, so even if your focus isn’t on pelvic health I highly recommend these courses early in your career!

– Jill M

Treating clients with persistent pain is exceedingly challenging. This course has changed my practice and has provided me with an arsenal of tools and solutions to retrain the brain and the nervous system. The training tools draw on leading movement methods such as Eric Franklin, Feldenkrais and Yin Yoga. By paying close attention to how the bones move we learn how to refresh body maps and move without tension. The actual experience and practice of these techniques in my own body has aided me in effectively teaching and cueing my clients. I have seen that these techniques, in conjunction with pain education, can effectively change the client’s perception and outcomes. Flow sheets and case studies provided gave a framework for selecting the most appropriate treatment tool for the presenting scenario. It is the only course I am aware of that takes what we know about pain science and provides practical real life treatment tools for the clinical setting. It should be considered mandatory for all physiotherapists.

– Karen T

The Innovative Exercises for the Sensitive Nervous System course helped me develop more skills for treating the sensitive nervous system. I love the exercise sheets that you have in the lab manual! Here is a great example of how easy it was to integrate these exercises that teach the brain to move again with less protection.

Meet my mother-in-law:

She visits about once a year from Australia for 3-5 weeks which gives us time to do some treatment. This visit she had medial scapular pain that she had for about a year. She saw a physio in Perth, Australia, where she lives for about 9 sessions. The physio would release the tight muscle and joints each session and give her some temporary relief. I checked her shoulder, neck, and thoracic spine range of motion which was all a bit limited. Left cervical rotation produced her typical pain. I did not touch the sore spot since she had already had a lot of manual release of the muscles and the joints in this area without much long term improvement. I had her lie down and rotate her head from side to side to confirm that this movement was the movement that her brain was guarding. Then we did the body map segment for neck rotation with the eye and jaw movements. She was laughing along the way. These exercises were novel, interesting and fun, which we learned are key factors when developing exercises for treating the sensitive nervous system. After a short session she had improved her cervcial rotation range significantly and no longer had pain when turning her head. Of course, she asked why?? This gave me the opportunity to explain the body map and the sensitized nervous system concepts to her. She recently had her step father in the hospital for quite a while before he passed away. I am sending her the body map audio as well which has been a great resource from the course. Simple, effective and engaging. The exercises from this course help me to not only talk the talk of a sensitive nervous system, but walk the walk!!

Great to see the strategy work outside of the pelvis!

Thanks for teaching it to me!

– Michelle D