From Treatment Centers, Hospitals to Medical Practices ~ ARE YOGA THERAPISTS a much needed KEY members of a multi-disciplinary team ?

The answer – YES YES YES – as a CERTIFIED YOGA THERAPIST with a strong background in health care , trauma healing, education and safe physical movement – our role in health care facilities varies but is CRUCIAL !!!

 Think ~ YOGA THERAPY =PHYSICAL THERAPY & TALK THERAPY  with a twist of  HOLISTIC Methods, Ancient Yogic Philosophy and Traditional Yogic Practice.

WHAT TYPE OF DEGREE or EDUCATION DOES A YOGA THERAPIST HAVE ? Holistic Methods? Psychology? Counseling ? Nutrition? Massage Therapy ? Yoga?  Mindfulness? Meditation?  Nursing ? Education ? Mental Health ? Special education? 

ANSWER:  Any or ALL of the above ! 

The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) oversees and certifies YOGA THERAPISTS – C-IAYTs (Certified Yoga Therapist) . There is a set of core STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE for all  Yoga Therapists.

However, each yoga therapist brings his/her own background skill set which may further add to the ability of the therapist to assist in healing in a variety of settings !

A holistic approach to healing and recovery should be mainstream in any comprehensive program. The Yoga Therapist can be a member of the treatment team. A typical team consists of the director, psychiatrist, MD, counselor, social worker, recreation specialistt, house or floor managers, physical therapists and YOGA THERAPIST!  The C-IAYT brings complimentary modalities to assist the team.
A primary goal of yoga therapy is to cultivate facilitate healing, help develop healthy coping skills and introduce alternative modalities For a strong platform of a sustainable recovery from cardiac rehab to knee surgery to depression, substance use disorder and beyond ! 


Yoga asana poses- – Asana is one of the more popular Yoga Therapy disciplines. In asana, poses are steady and comfortable and support increased awareness of the client’s body, mind, and surroundings.

Yogic breathing techniques
Exercises for stretching and relaxing

Yoga Therapy benefits clients by helping increase:

Physical health* Positive Moods* Deep calm* Self care* Positive risk taking* A fun, memorable experience 

Treatment Goals:

  • * Increased sense of calm and focus
  • * Connecting the body, mind and heart
  • * Revitalize of whole self
  • * Making meaningful connections with peers
  • * To promote pleasure, laughter, and serenity during the healing process

Meditation in Motion

It’s not clear why yoga was created, or even what it was designed to do when it was cre ated. It is clear, however, that people have been practicing yoga for a very,Gerry  long time. During that time, some teachers have emphasized specific parts of yoga, while others have added their own spin on the ancient practice, emphasizing the portions they thought were important. These tiny changes, passed down and expanded upon by the next generation of teachers, grew larger and larger. Now, there are well over a hundred different schools of yoga, each with their own emphasis

Consistency/ Safe Space through Yoga 

Yoga practice encourage students to perform a series of movements while they breathe deeply. The breath serves to focus the mind, and students who perfect these breaths are able to move their bodies in ways they would have never thought possible previously. Yoga is often referred to as “meditation in motion,” as students are encouraged to stay in the moment, emptying their minds of all concerns and cares, as they move their bodies through these movements. This is very grounding and creates a sense of safety and predictability. 


Many REHAB and PHYSICAL THERAPY programs include exercise. After years of abusing THE BODY , weight issues may need to be addressed simply moving the muscles may helps to relax and feel stronger. Both of these sensations could be useful as another method to  learn how to live without unhealthy habits . People who believe in the power of yoga believe that the practice has benefits that move beyond the physical. Yoga can help learn more about living in the present, and this could helps to control destructive urges


 Yoga practitioners attempt to learn more about mindfulness. The idea is to learn how to stay in the moment with a calm, observant mind. Instead of reacting to situations with fear or emotion, a yogi learns how to see a situation as a temporary, fleeting moment that is neither good nor bad. It simply is. A mindfulness stance allows yogis to take on postures they might avoid through fear, but it can also help yogis to begin to approach the world as a peaceful place to be endured, rather than judged. 

It is this ability of yoga to bring about peace and mindfulness that makes it an attractive part of ANY treatment program. To be able to  simply look at a situation impassively without reacting with emotion or reflex, maybe might be able to avoid relapses to OLD UNHEALTHY WAYS OF LIVING !


Am overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety – both real and perceived might also feel significantly lower amounts of stress, and this could also be helpful in the HEALING  process. Stress can lead to the desire to numb the mind with food, gambling, or substances. Yoga techniques might help to solvstress without substances. 


The mental health benefits of yoga have been documented in several studies. For example, a study published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry found that yoga was superior to other treatments for both depression and anxiety.
Similarly, a study published in the journal Evaluation and Program Planning found that women in substance abuse treatment programs were able to increase their coping responses and lower their stress levels through yoga. 

As these studies suggest, people might be able to learn more about meditation and natural ways to reduce stress through yoga, and these lessons could help them have an improved sense of overall mental health. 

It’s easy to see why people intent upon improving their lifestyles and health would find this so appealing.

As the patient / Client moves forward to in treatment, they may learn new poses and feel thw body getting stronger, increase self worth as they feel better and might find the challenges of yoga classes inspiring. 

Individuals may enjoy the yoga therapeutics classes themselves, which might encourage them to  enroll in a healing program instead of dropping out of the program altogether. These are very personal benefits that might never show up in a study, but they could be incredibly important to the healing mind body and spirit !

A sense of COMMUNITY Continuing With Yoga as a part of a HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE 

When a program ends from cardiac rehab to cancer support etc. participation in a yoga program and a connection to a yogic community (a sangha or yogic family)  is another opportunity  to feel that sense if belonging EEK OUT CERTIFIED YOGA THERAPISTS Interernational Association of YOGA THERAPISTS



Written by : Bonni-Lynne Sandler, MS ED, BS Health & Wellness , Certified Yoga Therapist, Registered Yoga Teacher and Yoga Teacher Educator, Reiki Master Teacher, Holistic Healer, Bodyworker and Licensed Teacher


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