Yoga therapy profession reaches new level in the US.
In an announcement that demonstrates the growing reach and professionalism of the field of Yoga Therapy, the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) announced the first set of 12 accredited yoga therapy training programs on June 7, 2014, in Austin, Texas, at it’s annual conference, the Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research (SYTAR),
Although the definition of yoga therapy has been debated for many years the board of directors of IAYT collectively decided on the following, “Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress towards improved health and well being through the teachings and practice of Yoga,” said John Kepner, Executive Director of IAYT. The full version of the definition can be found the IAYT website as part of the Educational Standards for the Training of Yoga Therapists.
Schools around the world are represented in the first round of accreditation acceptance: Canada, New Zealand,, and the US. The list includes: Ajna Yoga Centre (Victoria, British Columbia), Ananda School of Yoga and Meditation (Nevada City, California), American Viniyoga Institute (Oakland, California), Essential Yoga Therapy (Falls City, Washington), Inner Peace Yoga Therapy (Durango, Colorado), Wellpark College of Natural Therapies (New Zealand), YATNA-Yoga as Therapy North America (San Francisco, California), YogaLife Institute (Devon, Pennsylvania), Yoga North International Soma Yoga Institute (Duluth, Minnesota), Yoga Qigong Academy (Toronto, Canada) Yoga Therapy RX LMU (Los Angeles, California), Yoga Therapy International (Vancouver, British Columbia). [your location description was not at all consistent.]
The IAYT is the only international professional yoga therapy organization granting accreditation in the emerging field of yoga therapy. This milestone, is a key step in the development of yoga as a recognized and respective therapy in integrative medicine. was the result of five years of sustained work and the coming together of many schools and traditions throughout the yoga therapy community.
In the press release distributed by IAYT, Kepner notes, “Our goal was to develop a system that was credible to both to those steeped in the yoga tradition and the many health care fields we work with – or, in other words, accountability with soul.”
IAYT received 36 applications since they began accepting them in 2013-2014. While twelve have been approved thus far, the others are currently in various states of the application and approval process. Schools had extensive paperwork to submit related to standards and curriculum. “While schools were free to teach principles consistent with their own yoga tradition, they were required to demonstrate that they taught, and assessed, all the competencies in the standards, and have qualified faculty to teach their curriculum,” said Hansa Knox, Chair of the Accreditation Committee, “Schools also had to show that they met modern standards for sound business practices for professional training programs.”
“Yoga therapy is here to stay”, said Dilip Sarkar, MD, president of the IAYT board of directors. “It’s already a part of many integrative and lifestyle medicine programs around the world. It’s safe and effective, and supported by growing body of conventional research”
The IAYT will begin accepting new applications for accreditation on October 15, 2014.
Moving forward, IAYT will follow a two-pillar regulation system. The accreditation of certain programs is the first pillar while the second will be certification of individual yoga therapists. Guidelines for what is expected of individual teachers – both new and previously certified – are in progress, and the estimated earliest release date is in 2015.
The entire list of programs that received accreditation and accreditation requirements can be found on the IAYT website at: iayt.org