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Monthly Archives March 2023

Beginner Yoga Teacher Resume Tips

A new yoga teacher leading their first class after getting a job with a beginner yoga teacher resume
A new yoga teacher leading their first class after getting a job with a beginner yoga teacher resume

Every yoga teacher has to start somewhere, but how can you get a job if you have no experience? What do you put on a resume for your objective, work history, and skills? How do you stand out from the crowd and find a good fit? I’m here to answer these questions and more with my beginner yoga teacher resume tips.

I’m Anna Passalacqua, a Co-Founder, Director, and Teacher at Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy. I am a certified yoga teacher and yoga therapist myself and I regularly work with yoga teachers who are training to become yoga therapists.

Keep reading to find my advice for writing a great yoga teacher resume, no experience needed. I’ve also included a yoga teacher resume sample and tips for furthering your career. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents:

What Should a Yoga Teacher Put on a Resume?

Even a beginner yoga teacher’s resume can include many of the same things as an experience yoga teacher’s resume, including:

  • Name
  • Contact information
  • An objective statement
  • Work history or experience
  • Education and certifications
  • Skills
  • Accomplishments and activities

In addition to these more concrete items, I recommend trying to describe yourself and your personality to help you find the right job. If you’ve been to enough yoga classes, you’ll know that there are some you’d like to join and others that aren’t a good fit. It’s the same for both the students and the teachers!

For example, don’t be afraid to mention your age as a descriptor of yourself or include a photo. Some studios are looking for more youthful energy to teach a fast-paced, athletic crowd. Others need someone who can be more patient, understanding, or approachable to vibe well with their audience. Just be sure that if you do include a photo, it’s a high-quality shot that shows what you look like in action when you’re teaching—not a headshot or a selfie.

Finding the best possible match between yoga teacher, students, and studio is critical. Most yoga teachers are paid based on the number of students they teach. The better the match, the more likely you are to attract and retain students while also enjoying your work.

How Do You Make a Beginner Yoga Teacher Resume with No Experience?

Writing a yoga teacher resume can feel daunting if you haven’t gotten a job as a yoga instructor yet. Some of the most important things to include are the style of yoga you want to teach (whether or not you have job experience teaching it yet) and the audience you want to serve. You can also highlight the training you’ve received so studios know what you’ve learned and where you’ve trained.

Learn more about how to create an impressive beginner yoga teacher resume with no experience below.

Describe the Yoga Style You Want to Teach

Yoga studios need to understand what kind of yoga class you’d be interested in teaching. If there is a specific style of yoga you’d like to teach, such as Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, or hot yoga, be sure to name it. If you have any specialized knowledge in something specific like chair yoga, toe yoga, or face yoga, you can share that as well.

You should also describe what the yoga classes you teach are like (or what you want them to be like if you haven’t taught yet). You can discuss the yoga style, target audience, and key techniques. For example:

  • “I teach a slow-paced Vinyasa style that’s good for most people, incorporates a lot of breathwork, and I always teach meditations at the end of classes.”
  • “My favorite classes to teach are upbeat, fast-paced sessions where the goal is strength and fitness. I enjoy teaching introductory courses but my biggest passion is working with more advanced, practiced students.”
  • “I teach a slow-paced class designed for students who are older or have mobility issues, utilizing chair yoga for accessibility.”

Identify Who You Want to Teach and Why

As mentioned above, focus on identifying who you want to teach, help, and serve. What would be a fun class for them (and for you)? What would a useful class look like? What draws you to want to serve this population? For example:

  • “As a former athlete myself, I understand the unique needs of their training routines and how yoga can help.”
  • “I’d like to teach the elderly because I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it can be to perform basic movements as they age, and I know the importance of staying active for their physical and mental health.”
  • “I’m a young woman who’d like to teach yoga to other young women like myself, giving them guidance in a way that’s relatable.”
  • “I have a youthful spirit and love teaching yoga to kids!”

Emphasize Training You’ve Received

You may think a beginner yoga teacher resume has no experience on it, but job experience isn’t the only thing that matters. Training is another kind of experience, and employers like to see what you know and that you’re eager to learn.

Be sure to list any relevant training you’ve received on your resume, such as 200-hour or 500-hour yoga teacher training. If you’ve completed a lot of training, be sure to highlight this as well.

In general, the yoga training you’ve received will be more important than any college education, yoga credentials, or yoga certifications. Employers want to know where you’ve trained, what you’ve learned, and who you want to work with. Getting a bachelor’s or master’s in yoga is far from the norm, though you should include it if you have it.

Avoid Personal Philosophy on Yoga

As a new yoga instructor, you’re stepping into a field with countless established yoga philosophies already. It’s more important to show that you’ve learned from others than that you’ve formed your own yoga pedagogy.

This isn’t to say that you can’t have your own ideas and beliefs about yoga, but when you’re just starting out, being one in a million isn’t as important as showing you’re someone who is eager to learn and willing to work hard. Generally, employers like someone who is humble enough to acknowledge that they still have more to learn and are willing to do so.

What Do You Put in the Objective of a Yoga Teacher Resume?

Posing in Warrior Pose, an example of an action shot to include on a yoga teacher resume with no experience

One of the key components of a resume is the objective section. It’s a short summary of the professional goals you’re looking to achieve in a new position, as well as the relevant experiences and skills you’ve developed toward those goals that make you a good candidate for the role you’re applying for. Appearing at the top of a resume, it’s an important introduction of yourself and what you’re looking for.

While not every resume has an objective, for a yoga teacher resume with no experience it’s a great opportunity to describe yourself and the reasons why you’d like to become a yoga teacher. Why do you want to teach a certain style or specific audience? What kind of yoga classes do you teach or do you want to teach? What makes you qualified to do so?

A yoga teacher resume objective will change a little depending on the job you’re applying to, but the key facts you should include are:

  • What type of job position you want
  • What you want to achieve in that position
  • 2–3 relevant skills (such as leadership, people skills, or relevant yoga training)

What Yoga Teacher Resume Skills Should You Include?

When writing a beginner yoga teacher resume, deciding which skills to include can be intimidating. What types of skills should a yoga teacher have? What types of skills should you highlight over others?

A good tip for helping you think about your skills is to make a list of hard skills and one of soft skills.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are specific, measurable technical skills. These are most often learned on the job or through formal education or training. They tend to be directly related to a person’s ability to perform a particular job effectively.

For yoga teacher resumes, hard skills are incredibly important. Examples include:

  • Working in specific styles of yoga
  • Experience with restorative yoga techniques
  • Experience with pranayama (breath work)
  • Experience with yoga nidra or prana nidra
  • Experience with chanting
  • Experience with singing bowls
  • Familiarity with different yoga equipment

This section is your chance to display any and all hard skills. Only the most important ones should be named in your objective or expanded on in a cover letter, while your skills section allows you to give a full list of your yoga teacher skills on a resume.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are interpersonal skills related to dealing with people or situations more generally. While they can be just as important to your job performance, they are less specific to a particular job and instead can apply to many different jobs.

People don’t just go to yoga instructors to learn specific yoga styles or techniques, but also for their presence in classes and their teaching style too. While the general opinion on whether or not to include soft skills varies, for beginner yoga teacher resumes, soft skills may help indicate the type of teacher you’ll be.

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Adaptability
  • Decision making
  • Time management
  • Organization

Many people may think they have a yoga teacher resume with no experience, but they’re overlooking job experiences they’ve had outside of yoga. While these won’t speak to your hard skills as a yoga teacher, they can help show the soft skills you’ve developed.

Talking about any previous customer service jobs you enjoyed or how much you like helping people are good options to help round out a beginner yoga teacher resume. Even just showing that you like people and enjoy working with them can do wonders in a job search.

Yoga Teacher Resume Sample

Below you’ll find a yoga teacher resume sample for someone at the start of their yoga career. Feel free to use this example to help jump start your own resume!

Our yoga teacher resume sample for a fictional yoga teacher with no experience

How to Advance Your Career with Yoga Therapy

If you’re looking to expand your skills, become a more desirable job candidate, and gain techniques to help people use yoga for specific physical and mental health conditions, then yoga therapy may be right for you. Yoga therapy is a steadily growing and specialized career path within the field that offers a wide range of job and career opportunities.

Although yoga in general can be restorative and healing, yoga therapy is especially fulfilling as you apply different yoga techniques (including asanas, pranayama, or meditation) to help clients heal from specific health issues. If there is a specific population that you want to serve, becoming a yoga therapist can give you the additional knowledge, skills, and techniques to provide specialized help.

In addition to running your own private practice, as a yoga therapist you could find work in a variety of other settings, such as:

  • Hospital programs
  • Mental health departments
  • Addiction centers
  • Chiropractors’ offices
  • Wellness centers
  • School districts

Not only does yoga therapy allow for a range of specializations and job opportunities, but a range in salary too. Like many careers, a yoga therapist’s salary depends on a multitude of factors, including experience, skill level, specialization, location, hours, and what kind of job you get.

If you’re interested in becoming a yoga therapist, you’ve already taken the first step by becoming a yoga teacher! The yoga teacher training you’ve already received will give you an important foundation in yoga and fulfill a common prerequisite for yoga therapy training.

Apply to Our Yoga Therapy Training Program

Looking for yoga therapy training? At Breathing Deeply, we provide yoga therapy training that can be completed in as little as 1 year or less. Our online lessons and coursework can be done around your schedule, and we also offer flexible payment options to meet our students’ needs. More importantly, we offer plenty of opportunities to learn from certified yoga therapists with live Q&A sessions, retreats, and a private online forum for our teachers and students.

Apply today to start training as a yoga therapist. New classes are starting soon!

How to balance the conscious mind with chanting & Philosophy

how to balance the conscious mind
how to balance the conscious mind

Welcome to episode 53 of The Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy and Meditation podcast.

Today we’re going to be looking at the mental body. The mental body is the conscious and, also known as the Manomaya kosha.

This is one of the more important layers of our being. The way we think makes up so much of how we think about ourselves. This has a big impact on our everyday life. 

This is also the kosha we use to perceive our experiences and therefore having a balanced conscious mind is extremely important in terms of living a full life. 

In this episode,, Brandt shares two ways we can feed the conscious mind to bring it into balance and peace and how we can use these ways to balance the mind as a practice.

You will also learn a simple grounding chanting practice that will condition the mind to turn inwards and find deep balance.

This episode was taken as an excerpt from our free 6-week course the Radically Balanced Yogi! Learn how to balance all other layers of yourself and receive the philosophy readings, poems and sutras to contemplate alongside the chanting practice, sign up now for free! https://bit.ly/2WX1HGc

This episode covers: 

  • What is the Manomaya kosha and how it works
  • Jnana yoga and the yoga sutras
  • How to feed the conscious mind
  • Philosophy and poetry
  • Chanting
  • Grounding chanting practice – Om Aim Hreem Kreem Namaha

Breathing Deeply is a Yoga Therapy and Meditation School, founded by lead teacher Brand Passalacqua in 2014. We hold online and in-person Yoga Therapy Foundations and IAYT accredited Advanced Programs and retreats along with Meditation Programs, including online meditation teacher training and certification and holistic weight loss with Being At Peace with Food.

Breathing Deeply is made up of an active and thriving community of yogis, caregivers, therapists, teachers, medical professionals, parents & children with the same intention—to serve others, lessen suffering, and co-create a new paradigm in wellness.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Yoga Therapist?

Someone studying ancient yogic texts while in the grass outside, showing how long it takes to become a yoga therapist
Someone studying ancient yogic texts while in the grass outside, showing how long it takes to become a yoga therapist

If you’re considering a career in yoga therapy, one of your first questions might be, “How long does it take to become a yoga therapist?” The answer will depend on your goals and past experience, but many of our students become a yoga therapist in just 1 year.

The practice of yoga therapy is very broad in its scope, and it is important for any yoga therapist to have solid training so they can be prepared to help their clients as efficiently and professionally as possible. Keep reading for more detailed information about how long it takes to become a yoga therapist based on your circumstances, what our yoga therapy training offers, and answers to other frequently asked questions.

Table of Contents:

How Long Does It Take to Become a Yoga Therapist?

How long it takes to become a yoga therapist will depend on the training you choose, its flexibility, and how quickly you are able to complete it. There may also be state laws where you choose to practice that dictate when you can call yourself a yoga therapist.

Generally, you can become a yoga therapist in about 1 year. If you choose to do more advanced training and become certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), which is the highest level of yoga therapy certification, it will probably take you at least 2 years in total.

Next, I’ll outline in more detail what it’s like and how long it takes to become a yoga therapist through Breathing Deeply’s programs.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Yoga Therapist with Breathing Deeply?

Our Fastest Route

Brandt, the founder and director of Breathing Deeply, helps a student position another person on a yoga mat while training to become a yoga therapist

The fastest route to becoming a yoga therapist with Breathing Deeply is to complete our Foundations Program. This program is designed to be completed in 1 year.

However, because the coursework is available online 24/7 and can be completed at your own pace, a highly motivated student could complete the program in 8 months or even less. Or, if a student needs more time to juggle other responsibilities with their training, they could work at their own pace and take over 1 year to finish.

Our students must meet the following 4 requirements for Breathing Deeply yoga therapy certification:

  1. Complete all 50 online lectures and coursework
  2. Attend 3 weekend retreats remotely or in person
  3. Write 2 papers outlining case studies
  4. Pass 1 oral and written exam

Before getting started, there are a few prerequisites to this program:

  • Students must be at least 18 years old.
  • Students must have a high school diploma or equivalent certificate.
  • Students must have completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training or equivalent.

You can learn more about the Foundations Program here. If you’re starting from scratch without a 200-hour yoga teacher training, keep reading to learn how you can combine our 200-hour training with the Foundations Program below.

Starting from Scratch

yoga class

If you’re completely new to yoga, you’ll need to complete yoga teacher training before you can progress to yoga therapy training. At Breathing Deeply, we offer a 200-hour yoga teacher training that can be combined with our Foundations Program at a discounted rate.

Students can complete our 200-hour yoga teacher training in 6 months. As mentioned above, our Foundations Program is designed to be completed in 1 year, but you could work faster to finish it in 8 months or even less.

Most of our students take 1.5 years total to become a yoga therapist in the combined program, but you could become a yoga therapist in 14 months or less. If you need more time to complete your training while juggling work or other commitments, our flexible pacing allows you to take the time that you need.

Our 200-hour yoga teacher training includes:

  1. 1 6-week personal practice course
  2. 1 asana and breath module
  3. 5 home study modules with coursework
  4. 6 live online monthly seminars with the lead teacher

While most yoga teacher training focuses solely on preparing you to teach group classes, ours is made specifically for students who want to go on to become yoga therapists. The 6-week personal practice course in our program introduces you to the core principles of yoga therapy and what you’ll need to know for your own practice.

You can learn more about our yoga teacher training here.

Advanced Training and Certification

Brandt leading a group of students in meditation as part of their training to become yoga therapists

Those who wish to deepen their knowledge, learn more about specific health conditions, and become IAYT certified should complete our Advanced Yoga Therapy Program. Students can take our Foundations and Advanced Programs concurrently, allowing them to become a certified yoga therapist in as little as 2 years, though most students complete the process in 2.5 years.

Our Advanced Program is comprised of 3 parts:

  1. The Foundations Program
  2. 8 week-long retreat modules remotely or in person
  3. A practicum (practice hours) to complete in your community

After completing our training, you will be eligible to become IAYT certified. You will need to join IAYT, pass the IAYT Certification Exam, and pass their Ethics and Scope of Practice Quizzes.

Our students also have the benefit of lifetime access to continued mentorship in our community of your Breathing Deeply colleagues and teachers. As you work with clients and build your yoga therapy practice, you will still have a space to ask questions, learn, and receive guidance from experienced yoga therapists.

You can learn more about the Advanced Program here.

What Is the Difference Between a Yoga Instructor and a Yoga Therapist?

Depending on your familiarity and experience with yoga, you might still be a little confused about what the difference is between a yoga instructor and a yoga therapist. You aren’t alone!

A yoga teacher can teach yoga to others. Most often, yoga teachers will provide yoga classes to groups of students. Many of these yoga classes focus on practicing asanas (poses) in a particular style of yoga, such as hot yoga, Yin Yoga, or Vinyasa Yoga.

A yoga therapist can apply yoga techniques to specific physical and mental health conditions. This is why yoga therapists must complete more training than yoga teachers. Yoga therapists tend to work one-on-one with clients, using asanas (poses), pranayama (breath), meditation, or other techniques to provide healing and relief.

To learn more, read about the difference between a yoga teacher and yoga therapist here.

Is It Worth It to Become a Yoga Therapist?

A Breathing Deeply student practices healing through asanas as part of her training to become a yoga therapist.

Deciding whether or not it’s worth it to become a yoga therapist will depend on your goals, aspirations, and timeline.

It will likely be worth it to become a yoga therapist if:

  • You want to help clients with specific physical or mental health conditions
  • You want to apply asanas, pranayama, meditation, and other techniques as needed
  • You want to work one-on-one with clients, rather than in groups
  • You want to work in a private practice, hospital, addiction center, mental health facility, chiropractor’s office, wellness center, or school district
  • You want to be able to do more than just teach yoga
  • You are interested in a deeper study of yoga

It may not be worth it to become a yoga therapist if:

  • You want to mainly teach yoga poses
  • You want to teach a particular style of yoga, such as hot yoga
  • You want to work with multiple clients at once in group settings
  • You want to work at a yoga studio
  • You want to start your career in yoga faster

Completing your 200-hour yoga teacher training is the first step to becoming either a yoga teacher or a yoga therapist. Those who are anxious to start working with yoga can always begin teaching while training to be a yoga therapist.

Is There a Demand for Yoga Therapists?

In my experience, the demand for yoga therapists only continues to grow! More and more people are asking about yoga therapy as a treatment option, more public institutions and centers are hiring yoga therapists, and more studies are being conducted on the effectiveness of yoga to treat physical and mental health conditions.

The most common career path for a yoga therapist is to run a private practice part time while also working as a yoga therapist in one or more other part-time positions. I’ve seen yoga therapy jobs at:

  • Hospitals
  • Addiction centers
  • Mental health facilities
  • Chiropractors’ offices
  • Wellness centers
  • School districts

For more information, read about yoga therapist jobs here.

How Much Does a Yoga Therapist Earn in the U.S.?

The national average yoga therapist salary is $70,000, according to data from ZipRecruiter. But how much you’ll actually earn as a yoga therapist in the U.S. depends on a number of different factors, including:

  • Your location
  • Your experience
  • Your skills or specializations
  • Whether you work in private practice or a public institution
  • How many hours you work

For more data and information, read about yoga therapist salaries here.

Start Your Yoga Journey with Experienced Yoga Therapists

I’m Brandt Passalacqua, the Founder, Director, and Lead Teacher at Breathing Deeply. I’ve taught hundreds of students and helped thousands of clients, and our training programs are built upon my 20 years of clinical experience. They are designed to get students the most efficient and effective information, tools, and techniques for the most profound results with their future clients.

These practices take time to integrate and embody, and we encourage all of our prospective students to have a steady and grounded personal practice that their work with yoga therapy can grow out of. Many students choose to join our Meditation Program to support their personal yoga practice and teaching.

I hope that you will join us and become a yoga therapist to serve and support your community. You can apply to one of our programs today.


Yoga Therapy for Muscular Dystrophy: Benefits, How to, and More

A yoga therapist helps a man stretch on the floor, using yoga therapy for muscular dystrophy clients.

A yoga therapist helps a man stretch on the floor, using yoga therapy for muscular dystrophy clients.

Yoga therapy can be an effective way to heal or find relief from mental and physical health issues, including muscular dystrophy. While muscular dystrophy can cause physical weakness, mobility issues, and respiratory problems, yoga therapy can help improve strength and endurance, breathing and cardiovascular function, body awareness and posture, stress management and self-awareness, and more.

There is no cure for muscular dystrophy, but there are treatments that can help improve quality of life. I’ve worked firsthand with clients who have muscular dystrophy and report improvement from our yoga therapy.

Whether you have muscular dystrophy yourself and you’re looking for relief, or you’re a yoga teacher or yoga therapist who has a client with muscular dystrophy who you’d like to help, I’ll share my knowledge and experience regarding the benefits and techniques of yoga for muscular dystrophy below, as well as how to get in touch for professional yoga therapy sessions or training.

Table of Contents:

Is Yoga Safe for People with Muscular Dystrophy?

A physical therapist who is also certified in yoga therapy helps a patient stretch, demonstrating the benefits of both yoga and physical therapy.

Yoga is often safe for people with muscular dystrophy, but it’s important to talk to a doctor first and take any precautions necessary. There are over 30 different types of muscular dystrophy, which can range in severity, progression, and the muscles that are affected. These differences will impact what treatments are relevant and safe for each individual.

I recommend that people with muscular dystrophy seek out an experienced yoga therapist who can help them adapt different poses to accommodate their level of mobility and avoid any harm when using yoga for muscular dystrophy. Chair yoga can be a great way to practice yoga for someone who has balance issues or uses a walker or a wheelchair for mobility, for example. A yoga therapist can also introduce other techniques, such as Prana Nidra and breath work, to assist with more than just movement.

What Exercise Is Best for Muscular Dystrophy?

Exercising can help improve overall muscle tone and fitness levels for some people who have muscular dystrophy, while others cannot exercise safely. It’s important to consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. As muscular dystrophy can affect people differently, any exercise regimen should be personalized to your unique circumstances.

For those who can safely exercise, aerobic exercises, strength exercises, and stretches may be beneficial, as recommended by the Muscular Dystrophy Association:

  1. Aerobic Exercises: Low-impact exercises such as walking, running, cycling, or swimming can help increase endurance and conditioning.
  2. Strength Exercises: Weight lifting with light weights and light resistance exercises, such as with resistance bands, can help increase muscle mass and strength.
  3. Stretches: Gentle stretching can help reduce stiffness and maintain or increase flexibility.

There are yoga asanas for muscular dystrophy patients to address each of these areas, while also gaining other benefits such as improving balance, reducing stress and anxiety, supporting proper breathing, and more.

What Are the Benefits of Using Yoga for Muscular Dystrophy?

1. Yoga Can Help with Muscle Weakness and Stiffness

Yoga can help combat the muscle weakness and stiffness often caused by muscular dystrophy. Slowing muscle loss is one of the greatest benefits of using yoga for muscular dystrophy. Yoga can help to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce stiffness and pain. It also often has fewer side effects than medications.

2. Yoga Can Improve Mobility and Balance

A systematic review published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy found that there is moderate evidence to indicate that yoga can improve balance and reduce the risk of falling for older adults and adults with neuromuscular impairment. Yoga can also improve mobility and posture control. As mentioned above, yoga can often be adapted to an individual’s level of mobility with seated asanas and chair yoga poses for muscular dystrophy patients.

3. Yoga Can Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Yoga promotes relaxation by stimulating the parasympathetic system, which helps to increase blood flow and lower your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and cortisol levels. In addition to these physical effects, yoga can improve your mood, confidence, self-esteem, and well-being, all of which help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

4. Yoga Can Support Cardiac and Respiratory Functions

A mental health professional trained in yoga therapy helps a client with physical movements and poses

Muscular dystrophy can cause heart and breathing problems as the muscles that support these functions weaken. A recent study shows that physiotherapy and yoga are beneficial in maintaining heart rate variability for children who have Duchene muscular dystrophy, a type of muscular dystrophy that nearly always results in some amount of cardiomyopathy by adulthood.

Another study, though the participants were healthy, inactive, middle-aged people, showed that yoga can improve respiratory function. Asanas (yoga poses) improved respiratory function, and adding in pranayamas (breathing exercises) improved the strength of inspiratory muscles, which are responsible for inhalation. It may also be possible to use yoga for muscular dystrophy patients who want to improve respiratory function.

5. Yoga Can Enhance Posture and Awareness

On the physical side of things, yoga can improve posture in a number of ways, including stretching and strengthening:

  • Core muscles, which support movement in your torso and help stabilize your spine and pelvis
  • Hip flexors, knees, and ankles, which support alignment throughout your legs
  • Trunk muscles, which keep your posture erect by extending your vertebral column

Through the incorporation of breathing techniques and mindfulness, yoga can also help to increase awareness and strengthen the body-mind connection, allowing for better control and stabilization of the body.

6. Yoga Can Be Integrated Into Other Treatment Regimens

Yoga can easily be integrated into other treatment regimens to create a more holistic treatment of muscular dystrophy.

  • Physical function: Yoga therapy can work alongside physical therapy or occupational therapy to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and promote good posture and balance.
  • Pain management: Yoga has been shown effective at reducing pain and stress, making it a valuable addition to pain management strategies. It can be used in conjunction with physical therapy or medication, and it can support rehabilitation after surgery.
  • Mental health: Yoga can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while also improving mood and sense of well-being, allowing it to work effectively alongside psychotherapy or medication.
  • Overall health and quality of life: Yoga therapy can support overall health and quality of life for those in palliative care by improving mood, lowering stress, enhancing sleep quality, and more. This can be used in conjunction with physical therapy, occupational therapy, medication, psychotherapy, and other strategies.

Yoga therapists are often used to working with physical therapists, occupational therapists, doctors, surgeons, mental health professionals, and other health professionals to provide holistic care for their clients. Especially when Western medicine offers limited help or relief, yoga therapy can be an effective option to complement other treatments for muscular dystrophy.

Chair Yoga Poses for Muscular Dystrophy

A woman in Warrior Pose demonstrating how to use chair yoga poses for muscular dystrophy.

Chair yoga can be a great way to practice yoga asanas if you have muscular dystrophy and require a walker or wheelchair for mobility. As its name implies, chair yoga refers to yoga poses that can be adapted so they are performed while sitting on a chair. This helps to make yoga poses accessible to those who cannot stand, have difficulty standing, experience balancing issues, or have difficulty moving between standing, seated, and supine poses.

Yoga therapy should be tailored to each individual, which is why I recommend working one-on-one with a yoga therapist to determine the best yoga techniques to suit your individual needs. If you’re curious about using chair yoga for muscular dystrophy, these are a few poses that could be adapted for use in a chair, though they may or may not be a good fit for you:

  • Cat Pose
  • Cow Pose
  • Forward Bend
  • Upward Salute
  • Eagle Pose
  • Extended Side Angle Pose
  • Warrior 1 Pose
  • Warrior 2 Pose

The biggest benefit of using chair yoga poses for muscular dystrophy is to prevent muscle loss and preserve some balance. The biggest concern is making sure that you figure out how to exercise safely.

Depending on your mobility, you may also be able to incorporate some yoga poses performed lying down, sitting, or kneeling on a yoga mat without having to worry about falling from a standing position. If you’re fairly mobile, you may also be able to practice yoga poses for muscular dystrophy yourself, giving you more agency over your treatment.

Prana Nidra Yoga Technique for Muscular Dystrophy

​​A woman using Prana Nidra as a yoga technique for muscular dystrophy

Prana Nidra is a kind of Yoga Nidra. As with Yoga Nidra, Prana Nidra allows you to enter a restful and relaxed state, sleep-like yet still fully aware. What makes Prana Nidra different is its focus on your energy and bodily systems, such as breathing, digestion, blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature.

People with muscular dystrophy may find it helpful to use Prana Nidra to get more prana flowing, which may help them feel better or provide some relief. A yoga therapist who is experienced with Prana Nidra can help guide clients through the process.

In general, you would likely lie down and perform visualizations and breathing techniques throughout your limbs to stimulate prana flow. You might imagine yourself breathing through one of your hands, then crossing your chest, moving through the other hand, and eventually going through the entire body this way.

The main advantage of Prana Nidra as a yoga technique for muscular dystrophy is that it puts your mind in contact with different body awarenesses. It can help to keep your brain in touch with your body and not ignore any parts of the body.

Breath Work for Muscular Dystrophy

Breath work, or pranayama, is a form of breathing in a yoga framework. It involves using specific breathing patterns and techniques to control the breath and the flow of energy throughout the body. Both inhalation and exhalation can be controlled in a rhythmic manner.

Inhales and retentions may be especially beneficial for people with muscular dystrophy. This type of breath work can help people to feel better, have more energy, experience less pain, and increase breathing capacity. It can produce a Brahmana effect, promoting more energy through higher prana flow in the body.

Can You Reverse Muscular Dystrophy?

Unfortunately, you cannot reverse muscular dystrophy. As of this time, there is no cure for any type of muscular dystrophy. However, there are treatments available that can help to manage this condition and prolong a person’s muscle strength, mobility, and well-being. There are new treatment options being tested as well.

Can You Rebuild Muscle with Muscular Dystrophy?

Eventually, muscular dystrophy will cause weakening in the muscles. However, it is possible to improve muscle tone with exercise in the meantime. It is important to talk to your doctor about the specific movements you’d like to practice in order to make sure that you exercise or use yoga for muscular dystrophy safely.

There are also medications for muscular dystrophy that have been shown to increase muscle strength, prolong muscle function, and delay muscle weakening for months or even years. Researchers are also looking into gene therapy, stem cell treatments, and other strategies to potentially protect and rebuild muscle for those with muscular dystrophy.

Contact Us for Yoga Therapy Sessions or Training

Yoga therapy can be a powerful tool for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. I believe in making yoga therapy more accessible to those who need it, and I think it is especially rewarding to work with people who are facing challenging conditions.

If you have muscular dystrophy: I would be honored if you would consider our one-on-one yoga therapy sessions. These sessions are offered privately with myself or one of our handpicked, certified graduates. We conduct these sessions over Zoom, which means you do not need to travel for your appointment, but you do need enough mobility or in-person assistance to receive yoga therapy online. Learn more and get in touch with us today to see if we can help.

If you are interested in yoga therapy training: We proudly offer yoga therapy training for any stage in your journey, whether you’re already a yoga teacher or you’re just getting started. Even after you become a yoga therapist, you’ll have lifetime access to our community which includes myself, others who have trained you, and your peers to help tackle any challenges you may face and stay on top of the latest developments in our field. Learn more and apply today for one of our programs.

Yoga Therapy Training for Mental Health Professionals

A yoga therapist who has completed yoga therapy training for mental health professionals sits with a client in their private practice
A yoga therapist who has completed yoga therapy training for mental health professionals sits with a client in their private practice

Mental health professionals are always looking for new and effective ways to help their clients. Yoga is an ancient practice that is becoming increasingly popular as a way to improve mental health. Before turning to yoga therapy training for mental health professionals, however, you may have questions you want answered.

I’m Brandt Passalacqua, founder and director of Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy. My mission is to make quality, ethical, practical yoga therapy more accessible to others. In this piece, I’ll explain the principles and techniques of using yoga therapy for mental health conditions, how mental health professionals and their clients benefit from using yoga therapy, and how to get started with yoga therapy training.

Table of Contents:

What Is Yoga Therapy for Mental Health?

Using yoga therapy for mental health is similar to using yoga therapy to address physical conditions in many ways. It involves using yoga techniques, such as asanas (yoga poses), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation.

These techniques are applied strategically in order to promote healing and relief from a specific mental health condition. You can use yoga therapy for many mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, and PTSD.

Understanding Yoga Therapy Principles

A mental health professional trained in yoga therapy helps a client with physical movements and poses

To better understand how to use yoga therapy for mental health, consider some of the principles of yoga therapy:

  • Educating, empowering, and enabling clients to take an active role in their health and wellness.
  • Using yoga techniques and Ayurveda traditions in combination with Western medicine research and perspective.
  • Applying yoga techniques to specific health conditions.
  • Integrating yoga practices into client sessions.
  • Focusing on the clinical and therapeutic applications of yoga and related practices.
  • Using thorough intake procedures and personalized assessment for individuals.
  • Bridging the gap between yoga and conventional medical systems.
  • Understanding the body and the full spectrum of therapeutic yoga modalities.

With this framework, yoga therapists can provide more individualized treatment, ongoing assessment, and different mind-body techniques to use.

Understanding a Mind-Body Approach

The mind-body approach within yoga therapy is an integrated approach to health and wellness that seeks to address the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of a person. It recognizes the interconnectedness of the mind and body, as well as how physical or mental conditions can be disruptive to a person holistically. Through this approach, yoga therapy works to bring balance and harmony to these different aspects of a client, helping to alleviate any physical or mental health issues.

Yoga therapy can enable clients to recognize the power of the body and its connection to the mind. Through physical movement, breath work, and meditation, clients can learn to access and control their own bodies and minds. This can help them to manage stress, regulate emotions, and heal from trauma. Additionally, yoga therapy can help to strengthen the body and increase resilience to further support a person’s journey through their mental health issues.

Benefits of Using Yoga Therapy for Mental Health Conditions

The benefits of using yoga therapy to treat mental health conditions are numerous and varied. A few of the top advantages include:

  • Numerous studies indicate that yoga can reduce stress and improve mental health. As the American Psychological Association reports, “With a growing body of research supporting yoga’s mental health benefits, psychologists are weaving the practice into their work with clients.”
  • Yoga therapy gives you mind-body techniques to use when talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy aren’t producing the desired results on their own. In my experience, many clients find yoga therapy techniques more effective for trauma or anxiety. With so much research on its effectiveness, it’s usually not a hard sell to clients—in fact, many are already asking for it.
  • Clients can learn to regulate their emotional states and nervous systems themselves, rather than relying on another person or a piece of equipment. This builds their agency, empowerment, and self-reliance.

Moreover, yoga therapy offers a holistic, cost-effective approach that can be integrated into current treatments for a variety of mental health conditions. It is a promising tool for jointly addressing the physical, mental, and emotional needs of clients. With the right yoga therapy mental health training and knowledge, yoga therapists can provide personalized support and healing for their clients.

Watch my video below to hear how we leverage the benefits of yoga therapy to treat mental health conditions more effectively.

Breathing Deeply | Yoga for Mental Health

How Yoga Therapy Training Advances Mental Health Careers

Yoga therapy training can open up a wide range of opportunities for clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals, allowing them to better serve their clients while also becoming more profitable.

As mentioned previously, yoga therapy training gives mental health practitioners more strategies and tools to use, making you more effective. Being better equipped to help clients, while also getting to do more varied work throughout the day, can also be instrumental in helping to prevent burn out for those in the mental health field.

Not only that, but mental health professionals who also provide yoga therapy can increase their income. You can provide both services to clients and charge for both, rather than only one. In addition, you open yourself up to more clientele when you can treat clients who want mental health services, clients who want yoga therapy, and clients who want both.

In my experience, I’ve seen numerous of my yoga therapy students take this approach with great success. Some work at an organization providing mental health services and run a private yoga therapy practice, while others have their own private practice for both mental health and yoga therapy. In either case, they are able to earn more while also better serving clients, which for many is the ultimate goal.

To learn more about the value of yoga therapy training for mental health professionals, read about yoga therapist jobs and career opportunities.

Yoga Therapy Techniques for Mental Health

A trained yoga therapist guides a client in chair yoga.

It’s important to understand that yoga therapy must be personalized to each client’s needs. Therefore, any yoga techniques used for mental health should be chosen on a case by case basis. For any clients who have experienced trauma, it’s also critical to use invitational language that maintains their agency at all times and with every choice.

When choosing the way clients practice yoga, we use yoga therapy models rather than a set of yoga poses. For example:

  • One client might do moving and breathing in and out of poses to reduce anxiety. This generally involves lengthening their exhales. The client might practice standing poses to start, then progress to floor work, and then rest. This model can be adapted to chair yoga as well, which can help to make it more accessible to people who cannot stand or experience mobility issues.
  • Another client might be given a specific breath practice for depression. This could involve extending their inhalation, using more energizing breath practices, or both. Often, it may be followed by anxiety-lessening breath work to leave the client feeling calm and balanced.
  • Another client may learn meditation techniques to improve neuroplasticity and encourage proper sleep patterns. Meditation can be useful for some mental health issues, but it can also be contraindicated, meaning it could potentially prove harmful to some. This is very individual, which is why a well-trained yoga therapist is so important. A yoga therapist will usually assess the client and assign movement and breath practices first before considering if meditation is the right fit.

Yoga Therapy Training for Mental Health Professionals

Interested in yoga therapy training for mental health professionals? Check out some of the frequently asked questions we receive below for more information. If you’re ready to look for a training program, I would be honored if you would consider Breathing Deeply’s yoga therapy training or contact us for more information.

What Is the Difference Between a Yoga Instructor and a Yoga Therapist?

Yoga instructors and yoga therapists are two distinct roles that are often confused. While both have a baseline of knowledge and skills related to yoga, there are significant differences between the two.

Yoga instructors typically have 200–500 hours of yoga teacher training. They are trained to lead their students through different yoga poses aimed at improving their general health and well-being. Yoga teacher training does not cover how to apply yoga techniques therapeutically to address specific physical or mental health conditions.

Yoga therapists, on the other hand, must have 1,000 hours of training (800 from a yoga therapy program plus the requisite 200 from yoga teacher training). Certified yoga therapists are trained to provide yoga in a therapeutic manner for a variety of conditions. They may choose to specialize in a select few conditions or keep their practice more general.

Ultimately, knowing the differences between yoga instructors and yoga therapists is important to ensure that the most appropriate practices are being used to meet the client’s needs. A yoga teacher who is not trained in yoga therapy could unintentionally cause harm if they try to treat a specific condition. To learn more, read about the difference between a yoga teacher and yoga therapist.

What Is the Highest Degree in Yoga?

The highest degree in yoga is a PhD, though there are very few PhD programs in yoga. For this reason, many consider a master’s in yoga therapy or yoga studies to be a terminal degree.

However, it is not often that a master’s in yoga is required. In most cases, a yoga therapist can gain the necessary knowledge and skills for their career at a far lower cost by completing a yoga therapy training program and becoming a certified yoga therapist. To learn more, read about whether you need a master’s in yoga therapy.

What Is the Highest Level of Yoga Certification?

The highest level of yoga certification is yoga therapy certification through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT). This recognizes you as a trusted, ethical, and knowledgeable yoga therapist, allowing you to work in the field of yoga therapy.

How Do I Become an IAYT Yoga Therapist?

In order to obtain C-IAYT certification, you must complete your 200-hour yoga teacher training, complete your 800-hour yoga therapy training with an IAYT-accredited program, pass your IAYT Certification Exam, and pass your IAYT Ethics and Scope of Practice Quizzes.

Get Yoga Therapy Training from Breathing Deeply

At Breathing Deeply, we offer a comprehensive yoga therapy training program that equips mental health professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively utilize yoga therapy to help their clients.

We provide online lessons and self-paced coursework to fit your schedule, alongside live Q&As with myself, retreats, and an engaged community of students and graduates. In as little as two years, you can become a certified yoga therapist who is able to confidently use yoga therapy as a tool to help your clients heal and achieve greater well-being.A new class will be starting soon! Learn more about our yoga therapy program and apply to join us today.

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