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

If you are curious about what a yoga therapist is, this is for you! If you want 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, how they work with their patient's to improve their well-being, 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 patients in their healing process using an integrative mind-body practice approach.

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.

A certified yoga therapist is a person who is qualified to work in clinical settings using therapeutic applications of yoga to approach healing from a holistic angle.

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 yoga and yoga therapy?

Yoga and yoga therapy both use yoga to improve their students' health and lives, but there are some key differences.

Yoga is a physical practice that focuses on breathing, movement, and meditation. It's been around for thousands of years and is practiced by millions of people worldwide. The goal of yoga is to improve flexibility, strength, balance, and mindfulness.

On the other hand, yoga therapy, like trauma-informed yoga, is a more specialized form of yoga that is used to treat specific health conditions. It's a way to use the principles of yoga to help people with physical, mental, or emotional issues. Yoga therapists work with clients to develop customized practices that address their specific needs.

So, what's the difference between the two? Well, think of it this way: yoga is like going to the gym for your mind and body, while yoga therapy is like going to a specialist for a specific health issue.

Let's say you have back pain. Yoga could help by strengthening your core and improving your posture.

However, if your back pain is caused by a specific condition like herniated discs, you might benefit from working with a yoga therapist who can create a customized practice to address your specific needs.

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 yoga therapy

In the form of creating an asana practice or routine that addresses clients’ issues such as chronic pain management.

Mental yoga therapy

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 yoga therapy

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.

Yoga therapy online offers a lower cost per session.

Yoga therapy certification

The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) is a professional organization that offers registration and certification for yoga therapists. 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.

To become certified through the IAYT, students must complete a yoga therapy training program, pass an exam, and meet all other registration requirements before submitting their application for registration.

The IAYT has set 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.

Does Yoga Alliance issue yoga therapy certifications?

Yoga Alliance is the largest association of yoga teachers however, they do not issue certifications for Yoga therapists. Yoga therapy certification and registration are done with IAYT as described above.

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.

Takeaway on what is a yoga therapist

I hope this article has answered your question – what is a yoga therapist, and you are walking away with knowledge gained! 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.

FAQ about yoga therapy

What is the role of a yoga therapist?

Yoga therapists create tailored protocols and prescribe specific regimens of postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques to suit their patients' needs.

What does yoga therapy include?

Yoga therapy is a type of holistic therapy that incorporates asanas or yoga postures, pranayama or breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery to improve a person's overall health and feelings of well-being.

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Heather is a Certified Yoga Teacher the visionary behind The Yogatique, her passion project. She created The Yogatique to help yogis & other growth-oriented individuals discover premium high quality trainings and classes in the yoga & wellness space. Heather is a RYT-200 and a practicing yogi of more than 15 years. She is also a global citizen who has been living abroad for 10 years. Her passions include health & fitness, studying healthspan & longevity, exploring the road less traveled, & SEO. Heather can be reached at heatherj@theyogatique.com, or you can connect with Heather on LinkedIn.

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