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

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.

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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.


Info Session

Brandt talks about common questions applicants have about the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Program. Tune in to get the full program details.