The Six Stages of Disease
Development/evolution of disease (samprapti [pathogenisis]), including but not limited to direction, intensity, onset, and duration and their influence on the ease or difficulty of healing and disease
Setting priorities: symptoms/pacification (shamana [short term]) and purification/strengthening
(shodhana [long term])
Anatomy and Physiology
Knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, including all major systems of the body and their interrelationships, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.
Knowledge of biomechanics and movement as they relate to the practice of yoga and the work of a yoga therapist.
Knowledge of common pathologies and disorders of all the major systems, including symptoms, management, illness trajectories, and contraindications, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.
Medical TerminologyFamiliarity with commonly used drugs and surgical procedures, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.
Familiarity with common medical terminology.
Knowledge of how to reference current healthcare information relevant to the work of a yoga therapist, including pathologies, disorders, drugs, and surgical procedures, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.
Psychology and Mental HealthKnowledge of commonly occurring mental health conditions—from psychological distress to psychiatric conditions—their symptoms, and common approaches/interventions, as they relate to the work of a yoga therapist.
Knowledge of psychological concepts and terminology, including mood, cognition, behaviour, and personality, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.
Social and Cultural influences affecting healthFamiliarity with models of human development, including developmental stages, lifecycles, and personality, and their importance to medical and psychological health and well-being.
Familiarity with the influence of familial, social, cultural, and religious conditioning on mental and medical perspectives of health and healing.
Body and Mind IntegrationKnowledge of the interaction of the body, breath, mind, intellect, and emotions in health and well-being.
Yoga Therapy ToolsIn-depth knowledge of the application of yama and niyama in the context of yoga therapy.
In-depth knowledge of the range of yoga practices and their potential therapeutic effects for common conditions. Practices may include, but are not limited to,
pranayama (regulated breathing)
meditation and relaxation techniques such as bhavana (visualization), mantra (recitation) and ritualized activities such as nyasa and mudra
vihara (lifestyle modifications) including basic yogic dietary concepts.
In-depth knowledge of contraindications of yoga practices for specific conditions and circumstances
Principles of the Therapeutic RelationshipIn-depth knowledge of, and observed capacity for, well-developed communication skills: listening presence, directive and non-directive dialogue
Demonstrated ability to recognize, adjust, and adapt to specific client/student needs in the evolving therapeutic/professional relationship
Demonstrated ability to recognize and manage the subtle dynamics inherent in the therapist/client relationship
In-depth knowledge of the scope of practice of yoga therapy and how to assess the need for referral to other professional services
Principles and Skills for Educating Clients/StudentsIn-depth knowledge of and demonstrated ability to implement effective teaching methods, adapt to unique styles of learning, provide supportive and effective feedback, acknowledge the client's/student's progress, and cope with unique difficulties/successes
In-depth knowledge of and demonstrated ability to transmit the value of self-awareness and self- responsibility throughout the therapeutic process.
In-depth knowledge of and demonstrated ability to develop and adjust appropriate practice strategies to the client/student.
Principles and Skills for Working with GroupsBasic knowledge of and demonstrated ability to design, implement, and evaluate group programs
Familiarity with group dynamics and techniques, including communication skills, time management, and the establishment of priorities and boundaries, as well as techniques to address the specific needs of individual participants, to the degree possible in a group setting
Demonstrated ability to conduct intake and assess the client/student.
Taking a history of the client and his/her condition(s);
Assessing the current condition using the tools relevant to the yoga therapist, including an evaluation of the physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of well-being.
Demonstrated ability to elicit the goals, expectations, and aspirations of the client/student.
Demonstrated ability to integrate information from the intake, evaluation, and observation to develop a working assessment of the client's condition, limitations, and possibilities.
Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of how to determine which aspects of the client/student’s conditions, goals, and aspirations might be addressed through yoga therapy.
Demonstrated ability to identify priorities and set both long- and short-term goals with the client/student.
Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of pacification, purification, and strengthening strategies.
Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of strategies that address common disorders and pathologies of the major human systems and common mental health conditions, as well as other goals and aspirations of the student as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist.
Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of how to combine intake, evaluation, observations, and working assessment to develop an appropriate practice or session strategy for individual clients/students as well as group classes, taking into consideration the holistic nature of the individual.
Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of how to choose and prioritize the use of yoga tools and techniques, including selecting, sequencing, adapting, and modifying yoga practices appropriate to the needs of clients.
Demonstrated ability to teach or deliver the appropriate practices for individuals as well as groups, taking into consideration the assessment of their conditions, limitations, possibilities, and the overall practice strategy.
Demonstrated ability to facilitate the client/student's experience of the practice, including providing instruction, demonstration, education of the client/student using multimodal strategies of education such as auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning tools.
Providing supportive strategies for the client/student to actively participate in his/her practice such as a means to remember his/her practice (e.g., auditory and visual tools).
Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain therapeutic relationships including fostering trust by establishing an appropriate therapeutic environment through privacy, confidentiality, and safety; and practicing effective, client/student-centered communication based upon a respect for, and sensitivity to, individual, familial, cultural, social, ethnic, and religious factors.
Demonstrated ability to provide follow up and re-planning, including gathering feedback, re-assess, and refine the practice and to determine short-term and long-term
goals and priorities; addressing new and changing conditions, goals, aspirations, and priorities of the student/client and to provide appropriate support; and providing appropriate closure for the therapy sessions.
Ethical PrinciplesIn-depth knowledge of yoga practices and methods for self-inquiry related to establishing, practicing, and maintaining ethical principles.
In-depth knowledge of generally accepted ethical principles of health care codes of conduct and yoga’s ethical principles.
Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge of generally accepted ethical principles and related concepts from the yoga tradition to professional interactions and relationships.
In-depth knowledge of the scope of practice of yoga therapy, resulting in the demonstrated ability to discern the need for referral to other modalities.
Knowledge of the extent of one’s own individual training, skills, and evolving experience in yoga therapy, and knowledge of the importance of practicing within such parameters.
Legal, Regulatory, and Business Issues Pertaining to Yoga TherapyKnowledge of current relevant local, state, and national laws and regulations impacting the work of a yoga therapist.
Basic knowledge of business practices relevant to the work of a yoga therapist, including record keeping, planning, and financial management.
Relationships with Peers, Mentors, Clinicians, and OrganizationsBasic knowledge of other healthcare fields and their potential role in and relevance to the work of a yoga therapist.
Basic knowledge of how to establish, maintain, and utilize a referral network of peers and related healthcare practitioners and organizations.
Basic knowledge of how to develop and maintain ongoing collaborative relationships.
Personal and Professional Development and Continuing EducationKnowledge of the fundamental value of ongoing personal practice, long-term mentorship, and skills maintenance/development through continuing education.
Knowledge of when and how to seek advice and support for case consultation, educational advancement, and personal practice.
Minimum Admission Requirements
To ensure that students have a basic foundation in yoga teaching, the minimum admission requirement for a yoga therapy training program is a 200-hour teacher training, such as a Yoga Alliance 200-hour registered school (RYS 200) or its equivalent.
In addition to minimum yoga teacher training, students must have completed the following, which can be accomplished concurrently:
one year of teaching experience, with specifics to be determined by the school;
one year of personal practice, with specifics to be determined by the school.
Length of Program
An entry-level yoga therapy training program must be at least 800 hours total and taught over a minimum of two years. The 800 hours does not include the admission requirements.