What is a Yoga Therapist? Everything You Need to Know About This Growing Field

Everything You Need To Know About Yoga Therapists Role In Patient Care

If you are curious about what a yoga therapist is, this is for you! If you have been wanting to understand how yoga therapists connect with their clients on a deeper and more personalized level by treating physical, spiritual, and emotional obstacles, you’re in the right place. If you've been wondering, what is a yoga therapist, really? Keep reading.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the growing field of therapeutic yoga. We will get into what yoga therapists do, who can become a yoga therapist, the educational requirements of a yoga therapist certification, and more.

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What is a yoga therapist and what do they do?

A medical yoga therapist is a health professional who uses yoga as a tool to help their patients healing process.  Yoga therapists work with patients of all ages and backgrounds, but they often specialize in working with certain populations. For example, some yoga therapists work with people with chronic pain, anxiety, depression, or insomnia, while others work with pregnant women, cancer patients, or even prison inmates. Using yoga for trauma relief is another common way yoga therapists work with their clients.

You can think of a certified yoga therapist being a person who is qualified to work in clinical settings using therapeutic applications of yoga. A yoga therapist draws from various lineages of yoga teachings to bring their patients back into a more harmonious and balanced state.

Yoga therapists use a variety of yoga techniques to help their patients. These can include postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation, and relaxation techniques. Yoga therapists also often teach their patients about yoga philosophy and how to incorporate yoga into their daily lives.

A yoga therapist’s intention is to treat the person who is suffering holistically using many different components of yoga versus treating their diagnosis.

What is the difference between a yoga teacher and a yoga therapist?

A yoga therapist who is a C-IYAT (Certified- International Association of Yoga Therapists) is different than a yoga teacher who is a RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher). The two organizations that issue these certifications, the International Association of Yoga Therapists and Yoga Alliance are not affiliated with one another. To work as a C-IYAT yoga therapists need to attend yoga therapy training that goes far beyond the standard 200-hr yoga teacher training.

The IAYT has set the expectations high for entry into yoga therapy training programs. Yoga therapy trainees must be certified yoga teachers at the 200-hr level (or higher) to apply for the program, and the IAYT program is an 800 hour program in itself.

Yoga teachers and yoga therapists both use yoga to improve their students' health and lives, but there are some key differences between the two professions. Yoga teachers typically lead group classes, while yoga therapists often work with patients one-on-one or in small groups. A yoga therapist may also even open their own private practice.

What are the different types of therapy that a yoga therapist may offer?

There are many different types of beneficial yoga therapy treatments that a yoga therapist may offer. Some common therapies include:

  • Physical: In the form of creating an asana practice or routine that addresses clients’ issues such as chronic pain management.
  • Mental: In the form of infusing yogic spirituality practices and teachings as part of the overall treatment plan of clients. This is known as yoga therapy for mental health.
  • Emotional: In the form of prescribing meditation and/or breathing techniques into the treatment protocol.

How much does it cost to work with a yoga therapist?

The price of yoga therapy sessions may vary dramatically based on location, rural or city, for example. A yoga therapy client may expect to pay a similar fee to see a yoga therapist to that of an Acupuncturist or other holistic practitioner.

Pursuing yoga therapy online may be another option that clients can reap the benefits of yoga therapy for a lower cost per session.

What is the International Association of Yoga Therapists?

The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) is a professional organization that offers registration and certification for yoga therapists. To become certified through the IAYT, you'll need to complete a yoga therapy training program, pass an exam, and meet all other registration requirements before submitting your application for registration.

As you can see, yoga therapy is actually much different than the conventional kind of yoga classes yogis attend. Learn more about the differences between a yoga teacher and a yoga therapist, while further delving into this fascinating field.

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Heather is the visionary behind The Yogatique - her passion project. Heather is CYT-200 (with Aligned Yoga), a practicing yogi of more than 15 years, a global citizen, a life optimizer, and a lifelong learner. She created The Yogatique to assist yogis in finding premium online yoga teacher trainings & classes that are affordable and accessible to all.

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