What is Yoga Therapy?

Yoga therapy is the professional application of the principles and practices of yoga to promote health and well-being within a therapeutic relationship that includes personalized assessment, goal setting, lifestyle management, and yoga practices for individuals and small groups.”

– International Association of Yoga Therapists


How is Yoga Therapy Different from Yoga?

Level of Training

Yoga Therapists have five times the amount of education compared to yoga teachers, with an education comparable to a Master’s level. They are trained to work with clients with specific or persistent health conditions, as part of an integrative team.

Assessment Component

Whether in a one-on-one setting or small patient groups, yoga therapists conduct intake and assessment, identifying areas of imbalance, as well as opportunities for growth.

Therapeutic Plan

From the assessment, the yoga therapist develops a safe and effective practice that is uniquely customized to meet the needs of the individual or appropriate for a group setting in which the group shares a similar problem or symptoms.

What Tools Are Used in Yoga Therapy?

Yoga therapists are trained to develop customized therapeutic plans to meet the needs of the individual and assist them in achieving their health and wellness related goals. Clients will receive a practice that could be comprised of any of the following tools:

Asana (postures)

Contraindications, ability, age and stage of life are taken into consideration.

Pranayama (breathwork)

Breathwork practices can be adapted for both calming, energizing and stabilizing affects.

Dhyanam (meditation)

Receive customized meditation practices to focus the mind, while imbuing the mind with specific qualities.

Bhavana (visualization)

Cultivate the ability to visualize and manifest a better outcome, whether health, career or lifestyle.

Vihara Niyama (lifestyle practice)

Learn to upgrade your daily routines to sustain energy and improve relationships.

Indriya Cikitsa (therapy for senses)

What we take in through the senses impacts the quality of the mind. Utilize sensory therapy practices to improve wellbeing.


International Association of Yoga Therapists

Yoga in its original form is therapy. For thousands of years the practice of Yoga was taught on a one-to-one, teacher-student ratio. If the goal of Yoga is to cultivate a calm, stable mind to perceive the world clearly; then it is imperative that each student has a competent teacher to highlight misperception that the student is unable to see for themselves. It is only through this intimate relationship that the teacher can clearly see the student and assess areas for potential growth.

Larry Payne PhD and Richard Miller PhD founded the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) in 1989 to delineate the field of yoga therapy as a highly specialized healing modality from a more generalized approach found in a group class model. Click here for complete IAYT history…

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