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Experience a whole-person approach to positive psychology and optimal well-being in a course developed by one of the leading experts in the field, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, with immersions held at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, a world leader in mind-body education.

This year-long online and onsite course offers an in-depth, integrated exploration of the science and direct application of positive psychology—the study of individual and societal flourishing—in all aspects and stages of life.

Apply the whole-person approach personally and professionally in leadership, counseling, coaching, parenting, or teaching in order to:

  • Bring about lasting change in individuals and organizations
  • Create healthy personal and professional relationships
  • Build positive emotions and the resilience to deal with painful ones
  • Develop self-regard and grounded optimism.

Graduates leave with the tools, practices, and research to support an increased capacity for health, strengthened resilience, deeper mindfulness, and greater levels of overall well-being.

  • Runs October 19, 2015 to September 30, 2016
  • Consists of 10 modules, including 2 onsite immersions, each 5 days in length, and 8 online modules of 6 weeks each.
  • Immersions held at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox Massachusetts on December 6-11, 2015 and September 25-30, 2016 .
  • The online lessons combine pre-recorded video lectures by Dr. Tal Ben- Shahar, live question-and-answer sessions via conference call with rotating faculty, reading assignments, forum discussions, homework, and small-group work.
  • Download the full syllabus with reading list.


A Whole Body Experience

The course extends the dimensions of positive psychology with a rare whole-person approach. Rather than a cognitive-only perspective to the science of well-being, students follow the SPIRE methodology, which considers:

Spiritual Well-being

Focusing on what gives you purpose and meaning and knowing the values that drive your actions.

Physical Well-being

Cultivating positive regard for the body, treating it well, and being aware of the innate ability of the body to affect the mind.

Intellectual Well-being

Exploring the ways you stretch, grow, and challenge the mind by cultivating creativity, imagination, and a love of learning.

Relational Well-being

Contributing to and benefiting from the people around you. No less important, cultivating ways in which you foster a healthy relationship with yourself.

Emotional Well-being

Building positive emotions and cultivating resilience to deal with painful emotions. In doing so, developing positive self-regard and grounded optimism.

From the SPIRE model, students will be introduced to tools that support an embodied experience along with intellectual understanding, such as breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation.


Program Dates

Download the full syllabus with reading list.

Module 1 (online) Introduction to Positive Psychology October 19 – November 20, 2015
Break November 23 – December 4, 2015
Module 2 On-Site Residential Immersion December 6 – 11, 2015
Module 3 (online): What Is Happiness? (first week) December 14 – 18, 2015
Break December 21 – January 1, 2016
Module 3 (online): What Is Happiness? January 4 – 29, 2016
Module 4 (online): Realizing Dreams February 1 – March 4, 2016
Module 5 (online): Change March 7 – April 8, 2016
Break April 11 – 15, 2016
Module 6 (online): Mind-Body Connection April 18 – May 20, 2016
Module 7 (online): Relationships May 23 – June 24, 2016
Break June 27 – July 1, 2016
Module 8 (online): Coaching July 4 – August 5, 2016
Break August 8 – 12, 2016
Module 9 (online): Choice and Co-creating Our Reality (last three weeks) August 15 – September 16, 2016
Break September 19 – 23, 2016
Module 10 On-site Residential Immersion September 25 – 30, 2016



The course content meets three specific criteria: 1. Evidence-based: rigorous research is behind each lesson. 2. Relevant: ivory tower research must be relevant to main street challenges. 3. Applicable: along with being relevant, the research must be able to be applied in everyday life.

The course consists of ten modules—two onsite and eight online.

The online lessons are a combination of pre-recorded video lectures by Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, live question-and-answer sessions via conference call with rotating faculty, reading assignments, forum discussions, homework, and small group work.

There is no special technology needed to join the online modules—access to the Internet is all that is required. The virtual classroom is a password-protected website that can only be accessed by course participants. It’s the place to go for your homework, video lessons, reading assignments, and to read or post in the discussion group.

The live question-and-answer sessions are repeated twice for each module. If you miss a call or want to participate again, the recordings are posted in the virtual classroom 24–48 hours after the live event ends.

To complete the course, you’ll return onsite for the final immersion, where you’ll present your final project.

Final Project

The final project is a 20-minute presentation on any topic within positive psychology. The topic can be one that we covered in class, but it doesn’t have to be. Whatever interests you the most—meaning, success, well-being in the workplace, happiness, relationships, humor, creativity, spirituality, and so on.

Your presentation is an opportunity for you to synthesize between rigor and fun, between research and accessibility. It should refer to empirical work from refereed journals, articles mentioned or recommended in class, as well as others.

About Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health


The largest and most established yoga and holistic retreat and educational center in North America, Kripalu is located on 150 acres in a rural location in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Epitomizing the whole person approach, the food is largely vegetarian, organic, and local. Yoga and movement classes are offered three times daily, and the grounds overlook a lake and offer many opportunities to walk in nature.


Program Faculty


Tal Ben ShaharTal Ben-Shahar, PhD, has lectured at Harvard University, where his course in positive psychology was the most popular at the school. He’s the author of the international best-sellers Happier, Being Happy, and Choose the Life You Want, and he lectures and consults worldwide. He holds a doctorate in organizational behavior and is the co-founder of Wholebeing Institute. More »

Megan McDonoughMegan McDonough, CEO and co-founder of Wholebeing Institute, is the award-winning author of Infinity in a Box: Using Yoga to Live with Ease and A Minute for Me: Learning to Savor Sixty Seconds. With a degree in nuclear medicine and two decades of experience as a yoga teacher and practitioner, Megan combines intellectual understanding and an embodied approach to teaching and leading. More »

Maria SiroisDr. Maria Sirois, PsyD, has been teaching at the forefront of wellness, psychology, and spirituality for more than two decades. Her expertise brings the bounty of positive psychology and mind/body medicine to families and children facing terminal illness, and to the staff who care for them. She’s the author of Every Day Counts, and holds a doctorate in psychology. More »

Megha Nancy ButtenheimMegha Nancy Buttenheim, MA, E-RYT, is the founding director of Let Your Yoga Dance® LLC. She works closely with the National Parkinson Foundation, offering Let Your Yoga Dance® for Parkinsons at many conferences around the USA and Canada. She is a master teacher-trainer at Kripalu and a faculty member at Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. Megha’s CDs include Moontides and Power and Grace. More »


Because of the unique emphasis on the mind-body connection, positive psychology at Kripalu exemplifies an integrated approach to well-being. Kripalu is the only place in the United States to offer a Certificate in Positive Psychology with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar.

Watch these videos and see what the students say about the experience.

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