The Spirit of Learning® Teacher Training Program


 The Spirit of Learning®

A Teacher Training Program
for Massage, Somatic & Healthcare Educators


Created by Carey Smith
Taught by Carol Verner, Karen Delahunty and Melinda Hunt
at Southwind Retreat Center, Siler City, North Carolina


The 2020 program was canceled due to the pandemic.
The next training will begin on March 19, 2021.
Applications are now being accepted.


spirit of learning classroomINTRODUCTION
The Spirit of Learning® provides a solid foundation in the core competencies required for effective teaching – while exploring the dynamic relationship between philosophy and methodology in an embodied learning environment. The program embraces and integrates the cognitive, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of the educational process.

Offered annually since 1998, The Spirit of Learning® has remained one of the only comprehensive teacher training programs designed for the touch therapy profession. Through an innovative curriculum, the Faculty of the Center for Embodied Education unite the passionate, life-giving nature of the spirit with the art and craft of teaching.

Complete and submit the request form on the sidebar to access
the free catalog and application for The Spirit of Learning®


This program consists of 100 contact hours presented in a series of five 3-day training sessions over a period of eight months. Each session includes: lectures on educational philosophy, teaching methods, student presentations, somatic practices, observation and assessment exercises, group discussions, opportunities for quiet reflection in nature, and conversation among colleagues.

In The Spirit of Learning® you will: develop a confident and embodied teaching presence that will result in more successful learning outcomes; be able to lead your students to access their inner and outer resources to achieve their professional goals; and create ongoing experiences that sustain and enrich you as a teacher.

The program is grounded in universal archetypes and themes that facilitate greater self-awareness, compassion and understanding of the diversity of others. The specific teaching methods and professional strategies you will develop include:

  • Embodied presentation skillsspirit of learning student faye
  • Managing classroom dynamics
  • Curriculum and lesson plan design
  • Communication skills and team building
  • Techniques for observation and assessment
  • Delivering feedback and evaluations
  • Addressing the needs of a diverse student population
  • Learning styles and multiple intelligences
  • Handling ethical challenges
  • Creating an inspiring learning environment


This program has a broad range of application in educational, clinical and business settings that deal with touch and movement therapies. Those who have taken The Spirit of Learning® have included massage school, movement and yoga teachers, program directors and owners, continuing education presenters, healthcare educators and life coaches — as well as therapists who want to bring more of an educational component to their clinical practices. The program is designed to accommodate participants with a broad range of professional experience.

Admission to this program is by application only. Enrollment is limited, so early application is advised. Get immediate access to the program catalog and application form by completing the Request Form on the right side of this page. Note that you can view the catalog online, or download a PDF version to your desktop or device for later viewing.

Tuition for The Spirit of Learning® is $2500. A $25 fee is paid along with the submission of your application, and a $200 tuition deposit is required once you are accepted into the program. Affordable installment payment plans are available.

Applications are now being accepted for the next program,
which will be offered on these dates in 2021:

March 19-21, May 21-23, July 23-25, September 17-19 and November 12-14

Note that the program catalog still lists the 2020 schedule. Refer to the dates here, and all other content in the catalog remains the same.

A Certificate of Completion will be awarded by BTI and the Center for Embodied Education to those who attend all class sessions and complete all required work, both in and outside the classroom. While national standards are still being developed for teacher education, some state regulatory boards and accrediting commissions require that instructors in massage schools have been trained to teach. This Certificate will demonstrate that you have met those requirements.

FACULTY (refer to the catalog for complete bios)

  • Carol Verner, BA, LMBT is a senior trainer for the Center, was Lead Instructor at BTI for Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology & Pathology for 23 years, and has achieved the designation Master Somatic Coach from Strozzi Institute.
  • Karen Delahunty, MA, LMBT is a senior trainer for the Center, was a Lead Instructor at BTI for Therapist Self-Development, as well as Hydrotherapy & Spa Modalities for 12 years, and has achieved the designation Certified Somatic Coach from Strozzi Institute.
  • Melinda Hunt, BA, LMBT is a trainer for the Center, is a Lead Instructor of Self-care for Carolina Massage Institute, former teaching assistant for BTI, and owner of Durham Bodywork.

Here are quotes from people who have graduated from The Spirit of Learning:

The Spirit of Learning helped me remember why I teach, and what it is that I have to share. I have remembered how much fun it is to be challenged by students, and to have the freedom for us to learn together in the classroom. Thank you for helping me to rediscover my creativity and my passion for teaching.
Sheila Cook, Massage Therapy Educator
Birmingham, Alabama

In testament to The Spirit of Learning’s long-term impact, it has been six years since my training — yet daily I continue to draw from those methods and practices to shape my classes. The program is definitely the learning experience that keeps on teaching!
Phil Comstock
Educator and Massage Therapist, Cincinnati, Ohio

The program has broadened the teaching experience for me, and helped me to see things in my students that I was missing before. I took The Spirit of Learning because of problems I was having in the classroom. It helped me solve those, but more, it opened my eyes to the possibilities of teaching as a true calling. If you take the craft of teaching seriously, this is a course you should take.
Eric Munn, Past Program Director and Lead Instructor at Fortis Institute
Wayne, New Jersey

It’s big what can occur when one is held in a safe learning container. Something in you can find expression and it changes one’s world — forever. A part of you is free, no longer hidden. This was my experience in The Spirit of Learning. I say, don’t consider… just step into the program. I promise you will experience transformation. These women are amazing.
Roxanne Hollander, Chiropractor and Educator

Pittsboro, North Carolina

Complete and submit the request form on the sidebar to access
the free catalog and application for The Spirit of Learning®