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Students practising Iyengar Yoga in Pune. Photo Credit: Connie Hörler


Yoga therapy is a type of therapy that uses yoga postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery to improve mental and physical health. The holistic focus of yoga therapy encourages the integration of mind, body, and spirit. Modern yoga therapy covers a broad range of therapeutic modalities, incorporating elements from both physical therapy and psychotherapy.

The founding phase of Yoga Therapy

Yoga therapy is practised in a wide range of formats. Physical therapists, for example, often implement yoga techniques in their delivery of massage and other treatments. Yoga therapy practice can resemble physical therapy, rehabilitative therapy, and/or psychotherapy. Unlike a standard yoga class, yoga therapy sessions are typically conducted in one-on-one or small group settings. Yoga therapy can be provided as an adjunct therapy to complement other forms of treatment, or it can be used to directly treat a specific issue. Yoga techniques range from simple to advanced and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Yoga therapy is rooted in the ancient practice of yoga, which originated thousands of years ago in India. Yoga made its way to the United States in the late 1800s, but yoga therapy emerged in a formal manner in the 1980s as the result of a study conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish. The study illustrated how the implementation of a healthy lifestyle program could reverse heart disease. Ornish’s program included therapeutic yoga and was the first of its kind to highlight the benefits of using yoga in this way. This program for treating heart disease was approved for insurance coverage in 1990 and it marked the beginning of the medical field’s acceptance of yoga as a treatment option. In 1983, the Biomedical Yoga Trust was founded to further develop and standardize the field of yoga therapy. The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) was founded in 1989 and has since hosted yoga conferences, published the Journal of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and contributed to the creation of yoga therapy training standards. Both organizations have facilitated research to explore the extent of yoga therapy’s potential.

The process and the method

During a Yoga therapy session, the therapist will first conduct an initial assessment. This assessment is designed to identify health problems, assess lifestyle and physical capability, discuss reasons for seeking therapy and create a course of treatment. Once the treatment plan is established in this first consultation, the frequency of sessions is agreed upon and sessions are scheduled.

The assessment is followed by breathing exercises where the therapist will guide the person in therapy through a series of breathing exercises ranging from energizing breaths to balancing breath which is followed by physical postures (Asanas) and meditation that involves relaxation and mindfulness combined with yoga poses. Meditation is followed by guided imagery where the yoga therapist attempts to calm the body and mind by providing a guided visualization intended to bring inner peace.

Rather than focusing on yoga methods and practices, yoga therapists fundamentally focus on their clients’ needs. Their job is to understand why their clients have come to see them and determine what they can do to support them. To help them in their work, therapists are trained to assess clients through listening, questioning, observing, and appropriately touching. Therapists look for ways to help their clients reduce or manage their symptoms, improve their function, and help them with their attitude in relation to their health conditions. After assessing clients, therapists establish appropriate goals, develop a practice intervention, and then teach clients to practice that intervention. In this sense, therapists choose yoga techniques in relation to how they will specifically benefit individual clients.

Classes in Yoga Therapy

While India is the birthplace of Yoga and the country is brimming with countless yoga centers, some among the deserve mention due to their unique contributions to the field of Yoga While standard yoga classes provide a more generalized approach to movement, and sometimes to meditation, yoga therapy adapts the practice of yoga to the needs of people with specific or persistent health problems not usually addressed in a group class.

Yoga therapy is based on a view of the individual as wholeness. For true health to occur, all aspects of a person must be addressed as a whole. Many forms of yoga therapy, such as Integrative Yoga Therapy, use the ancient Vedic model of the Five Koshas as a framework for creating holistic healing and transformation.

Basically, yoga therapy uses the ancient science of yoga to enhance health and wellness at all levels of the person: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Yoga therapy focuses on the path of yoga as a healing journey that brings balance to all aspects of life through an experiential awakening of our essential nature. Yoga therapy is useful both for people who seek relief for specific health challenges, as well as for people who want to enjoy good health, prevent disease, and slow the progression of ageing.

Yoga Therapy teaching courses in India


Asana Andiappan College of Yoga & Research Centre

No.16, 21st Main Road,Anna Nagar, West, Chennai -600 040. Tamil Nadu, India

Ph# : +91 44  4551 3701

AbhjinaSchol of Yoga

Vrindavanam, Kurakkani, Varkala, Thiruvanathapuram District, Kerala 695141


The Yoga Institute

Shri Yogendra Marg, Prabhat Colony, Santacruz East, Mumbai – 400055, India.


Tel: +91-22-26122185/+91-22-26110506

Anandkunj Naturopathy Yoga Asharam

Anandkunj Rd, Karanjfen, Maharashtra 416215

Phone: 094230 41265


AYM Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh

Upper Tapovan, Baba Balaknath Temple Street, Tapovan, Near LaxmanJhulla, TehriGarwal, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand 249192

Mob: +91 – 7500277709

Jivan Chakra Foundation

Ram Jhula Rd, Near Geeta Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand 249304

Phone: 089790 38113



234, Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Thakur Pukur, Kolkata, West Bengal 700063

Phone: 098303 39339

Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute

PO Belur Math, Dist Howrah 711202, West Bengal, India

Phone: (033) 2654-9999; Fax: (033) 2654-4640

Vritika lives in India where she immersed herself in authentic principles of Yoga and meditation through intense study, reference reading and oral teaching. Having learned and taught the benefits of meditation in modern life, she aims to bring peace and well being to people in innumerable ways demonstrated by Yogic wisdom. To read more of her writing visit her blog 


It is that time of the year when the Yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh gets ready to host an event that celebrates Yoga in its truest sense. The International Yoga Festival 2018, organised by Parmarth Niketan Ashram in association with the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board & GMVN, will be held from 1-7th March at the Parmarth Rishikesh Ashram, Rishikesh.

Each year the International Yoga Festival (IYF) grows and expands, embracing more and more people from more and more countries around the world. In 2017 the festival saw nearly 2000 participants from 101 countries! The IYF is a great opportunity for you to connect with like-minded, conscious yogis and paradigm-shifters from every part of the world.

During the 7-day immersion and celebration, you have the opportunity to embrace every major style of yoga and learn from enlightened Spiritual Leaders, Master Yoga Teachers, Evolutionary Thought Leaders, and Wellness Specialists from around the world.

The programme offers an extensive schedule of possibility, starting with Kundalini Sadhana at 4 a.m. for the intensely committed and ending at 9:30 pm with traditional cultural song and dance, Kirtan and enlightened entertainment on the banks of Ganga. You can customize each day as per your personal needs. There will be Divine Satsang, Ganga Aarti, cultural performances and more all held on the beautiful ashram grounds.

For more information about the festival, do visit their website.

Click here for the IYF 2018’s schedule.



Indian Visa for Yogis, is now an easy process. Image Credit: Pixabay


As the International Day of Yoga approached us in 2016, the Indian Government made an announcement on the 2nd of June that made every yogi crack a smile.

Foreigners can now apply for e-Visa not only for sightseeing, recreational and visiting purposes but also for short-term yoga courses and for taking short-term medical treatment under Indian systems like Ayurveda. This move has made coming to India to learn yoga a hassle-free affair. Now, the students need not visit the Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO) at the city police headquarters. To know more about registration details, click here. Read the rest of this entry »

Paramahansa Yogananda. Photo Source –


Religion and spirituality hold a significant place in Indian culture and the nation is almost brimming with mystics, sages and ascetics. Some are fraudulent but some have been known to benefit humanity in their unique way of imparting spiritual wisdom. Through these gurus, people all over the world connect with the supreme power within which leads to a healthier and happier life. Below is a list of 6 prominent Indian spiritualists who have contributed to the well-being of people and society as a whole. Read the rest of this entry »

Main Lecture Hall of the Yogshala


Set in the Yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh Yogis Yogshala has it’s heart set on spreading the message of authentic Yoga. The founders of the shala, Uttam and Sushant met while teaching Yoga at Ananda in the Himalayas. After a few conversations about the lack of authentic Yoga schools in India, the duo decided to open their own Yogshala in their hometown Rishikesh. Read the rest of this entry »

Meditation your gateway to calm. Picture Credit: Conie Hörler


The word ‘Yoga’ radiates peace and tranquility which is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ that means to join or unite. This union means to unite the individual self with Cosmic Consciousness or the Universal Spirit. India is the birthplace of Yoga, has always been a popular destination to grow spiritually and achieve tranquility of spirit. Between the craziness of home, work, and life, sometimes we all need a little me-time. From city hideaways to escapes in the hills, these spiritual centers are perfect for some serious head-clearing and soul-searching. Read the rest of this entry »

H. H. Ma Yoga Shakti Saraswati photo source:


The YogaShakti Mission is a Hindu organization founded in 1979 by Maha Mandaleshwar Ma Yoga Shakti Saraswati, an Indian female guru whose philosophy is “Life is given to explore the Ultimate Reality, whatever it may be; besides learning the skills of survival”.

After migrating to the U.S. in 1977, she established ashrams in Ozone Park, New York, and Palm Bay and Deer-field Beach, Florida. She has also organized four ashrams in India; Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Gondia. The ashrams teach to maintain a balance between all forms of yoga; Hatha, Raja, Bhakti, and Karma. Devotional services, classes and retreats are held at all centres. Read the rest of this entry »

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