Guest Teacher Workshop

Matthew Sanford

What Our Bodies Can Teach Us About Accepting Change

A Multi-Disciplinary Workshop with Matthew Sanford

June 13 – 16, 2014

A collaboration between the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York, the Rubin Museum of Art, and Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine Program

Schedule | Pricing | Participants | Register


The Iyengar Yoga Institute is hosting a 4-day workshop led by Matthew Sanford, an Iyengar yoga teacher who uses yoga practice to address the short and long-term effects of traumatic loss and disability.  In his memoir, Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, Sanford chronicles a car accident that rendered him paraplegic and led him to the study of philosophy and yoga. Sanford teaches traditional students and is a pioneer in adapting yoga for people living with disabilities.  “We all live on a continuum of abilities and disabilities,” he says. “The principles of yoga apply to all people, to all bodies.”

Sanford will be joined by Cornell neuroscience researcher Dr. Barbara Ganzel as well as Lynn Sara Lawrence and Matt von Unwerth, graduates of Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine program.

Each module is designed to explore ideas about mind/body integration and how the tenets of ancient philosophy and yoga practice can be applied in the context of modern health and wellness. We hope the workshop will be of special interest to yoga and meditation teachers, physical, massage and psychotherapists, physicians and nurses, acupuncturists, nutritionists, chiropractors and body workers – as well as those seeking ways to inhabit their lives fully despite grievous loss and change.

Join us for this groundbreaking weekend as we explore consciousness, healing stories and the relationship between mind and body!


Individual sessions are available for purchase online. To take advantage of special package pricing, please visit the Institute or call 212-691-9642.

Click here to print a workshop flyer!

Writer and Institute faculty member, Richard Jones, interviewed Matthew Sanford for an issue of Yoga Samachar. Read the interview here!

Check out the recent YogaCity NYC interview Sanford about his upcoming visit here.

Weekend Schedule

Friday, June 13
7:30-9:00pm   Evening Talk Matthew Sanford discusses “The Invisible Aspects of Self:  A Mind-Body Approach to Realization”

Saturday, June 14
10:30a–12:30pm  Iyengar Yoga Class (All Levels) taught by Matthew Sanford
2:00–4:00pm   Writing Workshop facilitated by graduates of Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine Program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York
5:00–6:00pm   Donor Reception including admission to the exhibit “Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine” at the Rubin Museum of Art
6:00–7:30pm   Conversation “Mind-Body Flux: Where Does Healing Happen?” with Matthew Sanford and neuroscientist Dr. Barbara Ganzel at the Rubin Museum of Art

Sunday, June 15
10:30a–1:30pm   Iyengar Yoga Class (Level 3 & Up) taught by Matthew Sanford
3:00–5:00pm   Iyengar Yoga Class (Level 3 & Up) taught by Matthew Sanford

Monday, June 16
2:00-3:00pm*   Certified Teacher Instruction Session for Adaptive Yoga Class*
3:00–5:00pm   Adaptive Yoga Class – For amputees, those with specific needs and those seeking alternatives for pain management (Certified Teachers assisting)

* Only open to Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers, Space Limited


IYAGNY Member Price
Full Price
Friday - Lecture$25$30
Saturday - General Class (All Levels)$35$45
Saturday - Writing WorkshopOnly included with the purchase of a package - pre-registration required
Saturday - Donor Reception + Exhibition + Conversation$125
Saturday - Conversation at the RubinSingle tickets only available for purchase through the Rubin Museum of Art
Sunday - AM Class (Level 3 & Up)$40$50
Sunday - PM Class (Level 3 & Up)$35$45
Monday - Adaptive Yoga Class$25$30
Monday - Adaptive Yoga Class - Teacher Instruction Session *Included with teacher package or individual Adapative Yoga class purchase, for certified Iyengar yoga teachers only - pre-registration required
Package Price
Package 1: Lecture + Sat Class + Writing Workshop + Conversation$115
Package 2: Lecture + Conversation + Sun Classes AM & PM$140
Teacher Package: FULL WORKSHOP - All Sessions (4 Days) *$190
* Open only to Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers

To take advantage of special package pricing, please visit the Institute or call 212-691-9642 to purchase or for more information.

For more information or to find out how to support the event as a sponsoring donor, please contact: Kelsea Norris, Development Associate, 212-691-9642,



Matthew Sanford teaches at national yoga conferences, studios and institutions around the country. He teaches traditional students and is a pioneer in adapting yoga for people living with disabilities. The fact that he teaches people in both demographics tells you something not only about Matthew, but also about yoga. “We all live on a continuum of abilities and disabilities,” he says. “The principles of yoga apply to all people, to all bodies.”

Matthew is the author of Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, which chronicles his journey from the intensive care unit to becoming a paralyzed yoga teacher.  Today, Sanford is an in-demand spokesperson for mind-body awareness, an advocate for revolutionary new models of physical rehabilitation, founder of a non-profit organization Mind Body Solutions and a Certified Iyengar Yoga instructor. “The Iyengar emphasis on alignment and precision is the beginning of realizing the energetic connection between mind and body,” explains Sanford.

Barbara Ganzel has been doing neuro-imaging research at Cornell University for the past ten years. Ganzel studies the embedding of stress in the brain and body, and how this in turn impacts health and behavior across the lifespan. This interest stems from her prior work with trauma-exposed children and adults in clinical, academic, and research settings. Ganzel is currently engaged in clinical training in end-of-life care, to extend this work to the study of psychological trauma in hospice and palliative care populations.

James Murphy began practicing yoga in 1988 and has taught since 1990. He has made ten extended trips to India to study with B.K.S. Iyengar and Prashant and Geeta Iyengar.  Describing his experiences in classes in India, James says, “Besides gaining invaluable insights into the physical aspects of yoga, I observed how Mr. Iyengar works on a psychological level to challenge students to go beyond their limits.”

Currently the Director of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York, James teaches a full range of classes, including a class for those living with HIV/AIDS. He also does mentoring and training in the Institute’s Teacher Training program.

Lynn Lawrence, MS, MSW is a graduate of Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine Program. A psychotherapist in private practice in New York City, she specializes in the emotional sequelae of medical illness. She is on the faculty of the New York School for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She has read her poetry at the 92nd St Y, presented at numerous psychotherapy conferences, at The Examined Life Conference in Iowa, and the International Conference of Narrative Medicine in London, 2013.

Matthew von Unwerth is director of the Abraham A. Brill Library of The New York Psychoanalytic Institute & Society, and a coordinator of the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination. He is a candidate in psychoanalytic training in New York City.  Von Unwerth is the author of Freud’s Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk in which he examines the links that Freud made between art and memory.