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Play Zone Pro: A Polyvagal-Informed Certificate for Wellness & Performance Coaches

Play Zone Pro: A Polyvagal-Informed Certificate for Wellness & Performance Coaches




Cost: $


CE's Available:


Michael Allison

Stephen W. Porges, PhD

"Michael Allison's warmth and caring, and his ability to connect through this material is a testament to him embodying what he teaches. The teaching style was excellent, clear and engaging and there were just the right amount of repetition, reinforcement and interactive exercises to have this material sink in on a deep level. This class has been transformative to me and the way I practice, and I hope to the patients/clients with whom I work."
--Beth Kurland, Ph.D.

Course Overview

Live Zoom sessions meet every other Thursday from 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Time. 

September 5

September 19

October 3

October 17

You may enroll in this course at any time, begin learning right away, progress at your own pace, and then jump into the next series of live training sessions.


Polyvagal Theory describes the science of how our autonomic nervous system continually scans the internal, external and relational environments for risk and safety, and adaptively shifts physiological state (i.e. neural regulation of visceral organs, bodily systems, heart rate, breathing, etc.) depending on whether the current conditions are subconsciously evaluated as safe, dangerous or overwhelming (i.e. life-threatening). These reflexive bodily reactions (i.e. changes in heart rate, breathing, tone of voice, facial expressions, etc.) impact every aspect of our health, wellness and performance, as well as influence how we interact with others and experience the world.

More than our subjective experience, when we feel safe, our body is in a physiological state supporting health, growth and restoration (i.e. homeostasis). Whereas, when we feel unsafe, our body is interrupting homeostasis and either expending resources to attack, defend or escape, or conserving what’s left and shutting things down in a last ditch effort to survive.

These are adaptive survival responses triggered autonomically that follow a predictable pattern paralleling evolution in reverse versus being consciously planned, thinking-brain decisions. It is only when we feel safe in our body that we are optimizing our metabolic resources, internal bodily systems, and our patterns of responses, behaviors, and how we relate to others, in ways that promote our health, resilience and overall quality of life.

Therefore, as a Polyvagal-informed Coach we have three fundamental goals that we hold for ourselves and for our clients:

Meet the body where it is. We recognize whether we feel safe or unsafe, and respect that our bodily feelings have an underlying neurophysiology regulated by our autonomic nervous system.

Help the body to find, feel and absorb what’s safe to the body. In addition to threat, we have the capacity to detect cues of safety in the surrounding environment, within our own body, and through our interactions with others. We help ourselves to get better at seeing, hearing and feeling the features available to us that soothe, calm and reassure our body that we’re ok.

Build strategies, inner resources, habits, daily practices and relationships that promote feelings of safety and connection in the body. We intentionally cultivate these spaces, places, actions and interactions that match our body’s biological needs for safety to counteract the competitive, evaluative, dynamically changing and uncertain climates of today.

At the heart of Polyvagal-informed Coaching, metaphorically and neurophysiologically, is how we relate with our clients. The secret to our evolutionary success as social mammals resides in our face-heart connection, the neuroanatomical link between the vagal regulation of our heart and the neural regulation of the muscles in our face and head that enables communication, cooperation and sociality to function as a neural modulator (i.e. cranial nerves 5,7,9,10 & 11). We exchange clues about our physiological state, whether friend or foe, through our facial expressions, prosody of our voice, how we breathe, the sounds we hear, and our body language (i.e. postures, movements, gestures, etc.).

This understanding of our heart-face connection, meeting the body where it is, and our shared biological journey to feel safe, become the foundation for how we show up, what we do, and why we do it. Through self awareness, self care and compassion we become authentic, accessible and reliably present. This is the pathway to health, wellness and performance for ourselves and our clients. This is the essence of becoming a Polyvagal-informed Coach and optimizing our human experience.

Whether you are a Health or Life Coach, Sports Coach, Wellness Practitioner, Fitness Trainer, Executive Coach, Physical Therapist, Performing Artist, Yoga or Pilates Instructor - anyone leading others to better health, performance and wellbeing - through this Polyvagal-Informed Certificate Course, you will:

• Develop a deep understanding of PVT that you can apply directly to your work, how you show up, what you do, and how you are received so that you can optimize the growth and development of those you are working with.

• Construct a comprehensive framework grounded in PVT that will support and organize all of the other tools and strategies you implement in your work.

• Cultivate resources, tools, practices and strategies aligned directly with your unique discipline that you can employ on-demand for yourself and those you are leading.

• Become part of an integrated community of other coaches, leaders, wellness practitioners, performers and enthusiasts who are Polyvagal-aligned and continue to evolve, share ideas and collaborate on your professional journey.

• Gain wisdom, experience and an embodied understanding so that you can feel confident in applying Polyvagal Theory and the methodology of The Play Zone in all aspects of your work.

• Learn how to regain control of your physiology to optimize your wellness, performance, longevity, adaptability and improve the quality of your relationships in every role that you play.

• Build daily habits, lifestyle practices, inner resources and relationships that help you become an effective co-regulator.

• Join our interactive app of polyvagal-informed coaches and health practitioners to continue sharing resources and expanding your learning, practices and applications.

“The Play Zone is a truly remarkable and game changing course. Not only does Michael distill and teach the complexities and nuances of PVT in a readily understandable fashion, he also applies the concepts in a novel domain. His application of the theory in the realm of human performance is a groundbreaking paradigm that sets the foundation for all of us to perform our best in any and all domains of life.” -Darin Davidson, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon

Certificate from Polyvagal Institute: Polyvagal-Informed Certificate for Wellness & Performance Coaches CEs: 18 (see below)

3 month payment plan option available at registration.

Students will have access to the course for 300 days from the date of purchase.


Hybrid course of live (6 hours) and self-paced (20 hours) instruction, plus case studies and exam: • the four live 90-minute sessions are (mostly) every other week over an 8-week period, with self-paced assignments in between • live sessions are held (mostly) every other Thursday 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM Eastern Time; all sessions are recorded and available if missed • Module 1: self-paced • Module 2: live Zoom meeting on September 5 • Module 3: self-paced • Module 4: live Zoom meeting on September 19 • Module 5: self-paced • Module 6: live Zoom meeting on October 3 • Module 7: self-paced • Module 8: live Zoom meeting on October 17



Recommended Audience

body-based teachers, clinicians, coaches, teachers, parents, athletes, personal trainers

CE's and/or Certificate of Completion Available

18 CEs provided by the National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches (NBHWC). Polyvagal-Informed Certificate upon completion of the course. Polyvagal-Informed Certificate courses offer a deeper level of training including: • 20+ hours of curriculum • Live interaction with instructor • Application exercises and embodiment practices • Group discussion and individual reflection • Assessment(s) to demonstrate understanding • Polyvagal-Informed Certificate Please note: because we are not an accrediting agency, neither the Certificate of Completion nor the Polyvagal-Informed Certificate offers licensure or certification of any kind. We do not measure nor endorse one’s ability to teach Polyvagal Theory or use the term “PVI certified.” However, the Polyvagal Institute affirms that certificate training results in a polyvagal-informed level of knowledge and application.
  • What is the attendance policy for a course?
    Live/Hybrid courses: While specific course policies may vary, we typically allow one absence for a live or hybrid course and require watching the recording and sometimes submitting a reflection for the missed session. If a participant is absent for more than the permissible number of live sessions, they may not be eligible for a certificate. Self-paced courses: In short, not applicable. Attendance does not apply to self-paced as they are designed to be consumed when the student is willing and able to take the course. All material is pre-recorded content, reading, or individual assignments.
  • How are live sessions held?
    Live sessions are held via Zoom. Zoom links are available inside the course content and in email reminders sent to enrollees.
  • What if I am unable to attend a live session?
    We upload recordings of our live sessions within 72 hours. (Please see the attendance policy above.)
  • How can I tell what time the live session will be in my local time zone?
    We typically provide live session start times in the four time zones of the continental United States. To convert live session times to your local timezone, please visit
  • Where can I find the course material?
    Thinkific is our learning management system. Upon enrolling in a course, you will receive an invite email to the course in Thinkific, where you can find all of the course materials and links.
  • Is this course accredited?
    The course page will list any continuing education credits (CEs) or other professional benefits that might be available for the course (and any applicable restrictions). If none are listed, then none are available.
  • How do I reset my password to Thinkific?
    You can reset your password by going to and clicking “Forgot Password?” link below the password field. You will then enter the email address you used when creating your account to receive a one-time password reset link. Use the instructions in that email to complete your password reset. If you have any other technical questions, feel free to reach out to us at
  • Is there closed captioning?
    Yes. Most pre-recorded content is hosted in Vimeo, which has closed captioning. If you come across a video that does not have closed captioning, please send us a message at
  • In which currency are your prices listed in?
    Our prices are listed in USD (United States Dollars). Your credit card or bank statement will likely reflect the price in your local currency.
  • Will I be charged sales tax?
    If you are located in the US or Canada, you will be charged sales tax on the cost of your course.
  • Are there scholarships available?
    Yes, PVI offers scholarships for all of our courses on a rolling basis. You can apply for a scholarship at
  • Are there group discounts?
    Yes. For groups of five or more participants, a 15% discount is available for each participant.
  • What is your refund policy?
    30 day money back guarantee for all of our courses (from date of purchase for self-paced courses and from date of first live session for live courses). Please reach out to us at if you'd like to inquire about a refund.
  • Can I purchase a gift certificate for PVI courses?
    Give the gift of learning! Yes, Polyvagal Institute offers digital gift certificates that arrive by email, and can be used towards any of our courses. Gift certificates are a simple way to share polyvagal insight and knowledge that stems from a better understanding of the human experience. Purchase a gift certificate now!


Michael Allison

Michael Allison has partnered with Polyvagal Institute in developing education and coaching around his unique application of Polyvagal Theory to performance. The Play Zone provides a paradigm shifting methodology to optimize control of our performance through skillful and conscious control of our physiology, and is endorsed by Polyvagal Institute and Dr. Porges. Michael consults with professional, collegiate and high performing coaches, teams, organizations, athletes and performers in a variety of disciplines, as well as executive coaches, business leaders and corporate teams. He is a Health & Performance Coach, Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist, Post Rehab Specialist and Certified Oxygen Advantage Breathwork Instructor. He is the author of SMARTER Coaching, a certificated behavior change course accredited by the American Council on Exercise. In addition, Michael is a certificated ILS Safe & Sound Provider / Remote Provider and Focus System Training Provider. With more than 25 years of experience in the fitness & wellness industry, he is the founder (1999) and co-owner of Physical Focus Inc. in Santa Barbara, California and leads a team of personal trainers, fitness instructors, health coaches, nutritionists and bodyworkers. Most importantly, Michael is a husband of 22+ years to his wife Jamie, a teacher-librarian, and father of two beautiful daughters, Kate (21) and Samantha (17).
Meet Michael in this video:

Michael Allison

Stephen W. Porges, PhD

Stephen W. Porges, PhD

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 4,000 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.


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