Embodying Safety: A Certificate for Integrating Yoga, Qigong & Polyvagal Theory™

By drawing from her deep knowledge of ancient healing traditions and her lifelong practice of meditation, Amelia shares with us powerful and transformative practices for regulating health, growth and restoration. These practices help our nervous system shift from states of defense into states of safety and interconnection.

Amelia provides practical tools to help us monitor and regulate our biobehavioral states to optimize navigating through the challenges of life. As she leads us on this journey, we gain a greater appreciation of humanity, both of who we are and whom we may become.

– Stephen Porges, PhD

Live-Online July 2 to August 27, 2023

Amelia Barili, PhD
Stephen W. Porges, PhD

Course Overview

9-week course meets live weekly on Zoom on every Sunday in July and August 2023 for two hours at 1 pm ET (US & Canada)

Over 3,000 years the wisdom healing traditions of Classical Yoga and Qigong developed a map of our vital energy and nervous system, and taught techniques to generate good health and experience our highest human potential. Many of these teachings were passed from teacher to student in small groups of disciples so only a small part of the population is acquainted with them. Dr. Barili studied directly with those teachers and is a pioneer at integrating the teachings of both wisdom traditions.

In this polyvagal-informed certificate course, Dr. Barili shows us how Polyvagal Theory (PVT) provides us with a map that perfectly fits the maps of the continuum of body, mind and spirit developed by these ancient wisdom healing traditions. It gives us a language to relate those wisdom teachings to our daily life, so that we can navigate the challenges we meet. By integrating this ancient knowledge and PVT you will learn to reset your body/mind complex to optimize your human experience.

In this course, you will learn how these three maps—from Yoga, Qigong and Polyvagal Theory—complement and enrich each other. These maps will help you understand your own specific terrain: your autonomic nervous system (ANS), its vulnerabilities and potential. You will learn how to bring balance into your ANS and how to access your unconscious mind by working with 3 major centers of energy recognized in all ancient healing traditions, and especially in Yoga and Qigong. You will find new pathways back to regulation as you learn and practice the skills taught by the sages of these ancient wisdom traditions, integrated with the insights by PVT.

Dr. Barili teaches you how to engage your nervous system’s natural pathways and your body’s regulating circuits to regain a sense of safety and connection, and to gently shape your nervous system in new ways. You will more easily be able to monitor what is going on in your body and mind, notice when you are getting triggered or stuck and use the ancient techniques learned in this course to come back into balance. They integrate breath, contemplative states, touch, gentle moves, brief guided meditations, mudras and other centering, releasing and supporting practices. Practiced every day, these techniques will develop in you a stronger and more flexible ANS, a platform of greater ease and regulation, with emergent characteristics of openness to new opportunities, resilience, and compassion.

This 25-hours certificate course prepares anyone interested in developing a strong and flexible nervous system to easily come back into homeostatic balance, and to assist others in experiencing states of safety, flow and co-regulation. These techniques are easy to learn and safe to practice. Learn them for yourself and share them with clients and loved ones.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

1. Explain in your own words what Polyvagal Theory (PVT) is and what PVT teaches us about how our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) shapes our human experience.
2. Discuss what Classical Yoga is and what it teaches us about how to use our ANS for integral healing and developing our highest potential.
3. Discuss what Qigong is and what it teaches us about how to use our ANS for integral healing and developing our highest potential.
4. Describe ways the ANS responds to cues of safety and danger.
5. List the 3 Basic States or platforms of the ANS from PVT and the corresponding neurological platforms from Classical Yoga and Qigong.
6. Describe vulnerabilities and potential that accompany those 3 basic ANS platforms.
7. Compare the correspondences between the Classical Yoga and Qigong maps of your vital energy and ANS, and the map of the ANS provided by PVT.
8. Create a map of your autonomic nervous system, integrating PVT, Classical Yoga and Qigong. Identify your own cues of safety and danger in relation to yourself, others and the environment.
9. Utilize practices from Yoga, Qigong and PVT that bring a return to autonomic regulation. 10. Utilize skills to engage the nervous system’s natural pathways to regulation from Yoga, Qigong and PVT.
11. Discuss the opportunities and promise of optimizing the human experience in integrating Yoga, Qigong and PVT in your daily life.

Students will have access to the course for 180 days from the date of purchase.


This course offers experiential instruction in integrating Yoga, Qigong and Polyvagal Theory™ to support healing, achieve your highest human potential and bring forth personal, professional and community transformation:

  • Nine 120-minute live weekly Zoom classes every Sunday, from July 2 to August 27,
    starting at 10am PT / 1pm ET (US & Canada)
  • 9 hours of self-paced lectures by Dr. Amelia Barili
  • Recorded conversations between Dr. Amelia Barili and Dr. Stephen Porges
  • Live Discussion with Dr. Stephen Porges, on Sunday August 20

Module 1: An ancient and new invitation. Understanding Your Potential (I): from a Polyvagal Lens. How to befriend your nervous system with PVT
Module 2: Understanding Your Potential (II): From a Yoga lens, how to befriend your nervous system with Classical Yoga
Module 3: Understanding Your Potential (III): From a Qigong lens, how to befriend your nervous system with Qigong
Module 4: Developing Your Potential (I): Monitoring and Regulating Your Dorsal Vagus with Ancient Techniques
Module 5: Developing Your Potential (II): Monitoring and Regulating Sympathetic Activation with Ancient Techniques
Module 6: Developing Your Potential (III) Ancient Techniques to Strengthen and Stabilize Your Ventral Vagal state
Module 7: Developing Your Potential (IV) Signaling Safety and Connection. Ancient Techniques to Consciously Activate the Social Engagement System
Module 8: Live Discussion with Dr. Porges and Dr. Barili
Module 9: Going Deeper and Conclusion

Recommended Audience

The teachings offered in this course are suitable for the general public, as well as parents, coaches, counselors, educators, body-based teachers, meditators, healthcare professionals, and human resources trainers. In a nutshell, yes, it is for everyone!

About the Instructors

Amelia Barili, Ph.D. studied with old teachers of the healing traditions of India and China and has taught Yoga, Qigong and Meditation for over 40 years. A survivor of deep trauma herself, in this course, Amelia shares with us a distillation of her lifelong dedication to learn from sources of knowledge that contain the foundational principles to enhance health and optimize human experience.

Dr. Barili is a pioneer at integrating the ancient wisdom healing traditions of Classical Yoga and Qigong, which she knows deeply not only from her passionate dedication to learn them and teach them, but also from her own journey of discovering healing and inner guidance. In the seventies, Amelia studied and graduated from Kaivalyadhama Yoga School in India. Founded by Swami Kuvalayanda in 1924, Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute was the first ever to research with scientific methods the application of yoga therapy to manage chronic diseases. Dr. Barili participated in some of the experiments conducted at the Yoga Therapy hospital adjacent to the institute.

That experience profoundly imprinted in her the transformational power of working with the energy body by applying ancient yoga practices. Inspired by those discoveries, Dr. Barili set out to learn what the other great pillar of ancient wisdom, China, taught about the energy body. She apprenticed with Qigong masters and healers among them several from the lineage of Grandmaster Yang, Mei Jun, the 27th generation inheritor of the Taoist Medical Qigong system developed in the sacred Kunlun Mountains in China.

Seeing the parallels in the understanding of the continuum of body, mind and spirit in the wisdom healing traditions of both India and China, Dr Barili developed through persistent practice and teaching a unique way of integrating the knowledge of Classical Yoga, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Qigong. She teaches her health, healing and awakening approach in this PVI course and to broad audiences worldwide.

Dr. Barili is emerita professor from UC Berkeley and faculty at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes in Berkeley and Irvine, and at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. She teaches youth and older adults a systematic approach to personal and community transformation. A strong advocate for experiential learning and universities becoming centers of transformation, she integrates contemplative techniques and volunteering in her courses as tools to assist students in experiencing safety and connection. Currently she teaches “Meditation, Volunteering and Positive Neuroplasticity” at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of California, Berkeley, and “Wellness and Wisdom,” a series of Self-Care courses based on ancient wisdom techniques seeing from a polyvagal perspective, at OLLI UC Irvine.

In recognition for her innovative courses and her work with the community, Dr. Barili received the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Award for Public Service. She is the founder of “Integrating Yoga and Qigong” ™ approach which now has extended to “Integrating Yoga, Qigong and Polyvagal Theory” ™, a practical transformative approach to integral health and transformation at an individual, community and global level.

To find out more about Dr. Barili’s work, see the documentary “Building Nurturing Communities” and “The Embodied Mind” on YouTube, or visit her website ameliabarili.com

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He is the originator of the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral, mental, and health problems related to traumatic experiences. He is the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol ™ , which currently is used by approximately 3,000 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, and to improve language processing, state regulation, and spontaneous social engagement. Dr. Porges is a founder of the Polyvagal Institute.