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Polyvagal Mindfulness: An Embodied Perspective on Life as Interaction

Course Status:


Polyvagal Mindfulness: An Embodied Perspective on Life as Interaction




Cost: $


CE's Available:


Serge Prengel, LMHC

This is an experiential, first-person exploration to find your own way to integrate mindfulness, meaning and purpose in the context of experiencing life as interaction.

Course Overview

Four 90-minute live sessions meet every other week on Mondays at 9:00am PT / 12:00pm ET (US and Canada): October 2, 2023 October 16, 2023 October 30, 2023 November 13, 2023 3 month payment plan is available on the registration page. We invite you to watch the introductory webinar recording. This course is an invitation to spend time with yourself and with kindred spirits to explore mindfulness in light of Polyvagal Theory. This is an experiential, first-person exploration to find your own way to integrate mindfulness, meaning and purpose in the context of experiencing life as interaction. Beyond traditional mindfulness It’s not that mindfulness is new to you. Even if you don’t have a regular mindfulness practice, such as yoga, meditation, therapy, or playing golf, you have a sense of what it’s like to be mindful rather than mindless. You are not just trying to allocate more time to mindfulness practices. You are curious about what it would be like to live in a way that is more mindful while active and spontaneous. You know something about Polyvagal Theory (PVT). Maybe, you know a lot about it: for instance, you’re a therapist whose work is based on it. Maybe, you only have a vague sense of it having to do with our nervous system and the different ways we react to the interactions of life. This course is suitable for all levels of PVT experience: experts as well as beginners. It is not about technical expertise in PVT. It is about developing an experiential understanding of how PVT profoundly impacts how you think about mindfulness and how this affects your life. A paradigm shift The traditional perspective on the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is that it controls the automatic functions of our body as it connects the brain to most of our internal organs. Polyvagal Theory adds that the ANS operates within the context of interaction. It is not just that the ANS regulates our heartbeat, for instance, and our heartbeat is faster as the Sympathetic system is engaged when we are in danger. Generally speaking, how the ANS modulates the function of our internal organs depends on its assessment of how safe or dangerous our situation is. Our senses are continuously scanning the environment to detect potential threats. A vital function of the ANS is to process this sensory information about the environment and assess risk. Dr. Stephen Porges coined the term neuroception to describe how our nervous system does it automatically (i.e., at the nervous system level, without conscious perception). Hence, PVT puts mindfulness within a broader context: how we manage interaction. Moment by moment, we implicitly assess our situation. Neuroception takes place below awareness, as much of our functioning does. But it is possible to develop our capacity for mindful awareness of what we sense through neuroception. Inner connection & interconnection This perspective is very different from the notion of mindfulness as something that requires removing ourselves from the hustle and bustle of life, at least temporarily. For instance, when we meditate, we usually face a wall or close our eyes, look inside, and find some distance from life. In contrast, PVT opens up new perspectives on combining inner connection and interconnection. Another key consideration is that much of what happens in interaction is implicit rather than explicit. The relational implicit is difficult, and often impossible, to fully express in logical language. So, mindful awareness is not the same as making explicit what is implicit, and it involves finding different ways of relating to our experience. Dancing at the edge of experience Culturally, we have a bias toward explaining what we experience, which is reducing it to familiar concepts. We need to resist the urge to explain what we experience and instead spend more time exploring it. We practice dancing at the edge of experience. Polyvagal Theory provides a logical, scientific framework for making sense of life as an interaction. However, to put this framework into practice, we must shift from a logical thinking mode to a sensing and feeling mode. As we enter this territory, we discover that self-awareness, artistic exploration, and mindful practices blend into an embodied philosophy of life that we experience freshly, moment by moment. I invite you to explore how it may open new directions in your practice and life. Students have access to the course for 180 days from the date of purchase.


Much of the learning is experiential. Live classes will include group discussions and breakout rooms. In between live classes, students will meet in dyads or small groups to practice. There are four 90-minute live classes covering the following topics: (1) An embodied & relational perspective on mindfulness (2) Neuroception: Sensing threat, safety & connection (3) Applied neuroception: Action-oriented contemplation (4) Everyday mindfulness: an embodied philosophy of life as interaction Starting October 2, class will meet every other week on Mondays, 9:00am PT / 12:00pm ET (US and Canada). October 2, 2023 October 16, 2023 October 30, 2023 November 13, 2023 The course includes conceptual learning and pre-recorded discussions with Steve Porges. In between the four live classes, you're invited to practice the mindfulness listening partnership you'll learn with a classmate/partner. There is a natural progression that gives you a space to explore and formulate what mindfulness means to you based on Polyvagal Theory. This is not mindfulness as a separate compartment in your life. This is not philosophy as the pursuit of abstraction. We’re talking about an embodied sense of what it means to you to lead your life in a mindful way, connected to an organic sense of meaning and purpose. A personal, experiential integration of meaning into practical life.



Recommended Audience

People who see an opportunity to redefine mindfulness based on PVT, including therapists who use PVT, people who currently have a mindfulness practice, and people who would like to apply PVT toward leading a more mindful life.

CE's and/or Certificate of Completion Available

Certificate of Completion upon course completion. There are no CEs for this course.
  • 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!


Serge Prengel, LMHC

Serge Prengel is a therapist in private practice and a co-founder of the Integrative Focusing Therapy training program. He is certified in Focusing, Core Energetics, and Somatic Experiencing. He is known for facilitating safe and stimulating environments that foster creative insights. He is co-editor of Defining Moments For Therapists and author of Bedtime Stories For Your Inner Child and The Proactive Twelve Steps: A Mindful Program For Lasting Change. Serge has been exploring creative approaches to mindfulness in therapy and in life. See

Serge Prengel, LMHC


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