How to become a Yoga Therapist
Yoga Therapy: A healing system to identify imbalances within the body and mind and a series of techniques to bring those aspects into balance. Movement or asana – what you would be familiar with from attending a yoga class at your local studio, breath work (pranayama), chanting, philosophy or point of view, and meditation are some of the tools in a yoga therapists’ toolbox.
Yoga therapy is an emerging and growing field as more and more people seek holistic approaches to healing. Solutions without side effects and benefits that extend beyond simple body wellbeing. Why yoga? There are great reasons for seeking out a yogic approach to healing with the help of a yoga therapist.
The five primary ways that guide the way a Yoga Therapist provides therapeutic yoga in client work.
1) Head To Toe Thinking – whole person treatment, not just the symptoms
2) Time – give big personalized attention, not constrained by short sessions
3) Education Not Dependence – foster empowerment and education in healing
4) Commitment To Relationship – yoga is relationship, to self and with others
5) One Stop Shopping – facilitate healing in the mind, heart and body
Yoga therapy is easily integrated with other healing modalities, used in conjunction with western medical practices, and practiced as a stand-alone therapy.
Once you have completed your yoga therapy training you are prepared to meet your client where they are and support their individual healing and wellness needs regardless of age, gender, condition, health history, physical and mental ability.
Yoga Therapists can treat any number of physical conditions utilizing yoga for back pain, arthritis, shoulder injury, sciatica, pelvic floor dysfunction, and plantar fasciitis. They also have therapeutic practices to address anxiety disorders, PTSD, insomnia, depression, autoimmune diseases, addiction, obesity, cancer support, and more.
Graduates of Breathing Deeply’s professional yoga therapy certification will successfully work as a general practitioner helping clients with a wide variety of health challenges or as an effective specialist working with specific conditions and populations.
Two paths to becoming a Yoga Therapist through the Breathing Deeply Program
1. 875 Hour Advanced Yoga Therapy Program
If you have a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification or equivalent, at least one year of personal yoga practice, and wish to receive the highest standard of yoga therapy certifications, become a Breathing Deeply IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT). Submit an application here.
Holders of an International Association of Yoga Therapists or IAYT Certification are instantly recognizable to the public as a Yoga Therapist who has trained for years to receive the gold standard of yoga therapy education.
The Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Advanced Program is comprised of the following three portions:
1. The Online Foundations Program
The Foundations Program provides students with a yoga therapy model and framework for becoming a skilled Yoga Therapist. Students in the Foundations Program are part of a bigger vision in shifting the wellness paradigm. When they transition directly into working as a Yoga Therapist upon completion of this comprehensive course, they often decide to concurrently continue with the Advanced Program. Advanced Program students broaden their skillset through hours of condition specific mini courses in a residential setting (7 8-day residential learning retreats) and by delivering a 215 hour mentored practicum, working with clients in their community.
2. Seven weeks of residential learning in New York
The bulk of the 875 hour Advanced Program is made up of 7 8-day residential retreats.
During these in-person modules students cover a wide variety of topics spanning the breadth of yoga therapy including assessment protocols, physical complaints such as back care and rehab, mental health conditions, chronic disease, grief and end of life, eating disorders, trauma, as well as whole-system issues such as pain syndromes and suffering and autoimmune diseases.
Students spend their time during the residential modules studying western perspectives of these conditions in addition to yoga therapy’s perspective on these conditions, and most importantly, leave the retreats with a clear understanding on how to work with clients on multiple levels to provide better outcomes.
Residential hours also provide time for spiritual practice and personal evolution which is essential for being an effective Yoga Therapist.
Where the foundations program provides a complete set of tools and knowledge to begin working as a Yoga Therapist, graduates of the Advanced Program are fully equipped to work in private practice as well as institutional settings such as hospitals and integrative healthcare centers.
3. A practicum to be done in your community
The 215 hrs of practicum work is just like the other aspects of the Breathing Deeply Programs: students get full mentorship and support. Students train directly with Brandt, to work in an open-minded, humble, solid, educated, compassionate way and from this place of service, are creating ripple effects of healing in their communities, throughout the world. Once students have reached this phase of their education, they work with clients with all sorts of needs, and are not only capable but are effectively working on multiple levels using our holistic model.
Breathing Deeply Advanced students are able to utilize the full spectrum of yoga therapy tools and techniques with their clients. Some current examples of clients that students are working with for their practicum include:
- People in nursing homes using pranayama and meditation to lessen pain
- People who have never done yoga before lessening their suffering from PTSD using protocols which include meditation, asana, and pranayama
- Sexual trauma survivors who have co-occurring conditions such as physical issues and/or autoimmune diseases experiencing relief from mental and physical conditions
- People with cancer lessening side effects of treatment
- People with mental health concerns using yoga therapy with psychotherapy techniques to speed their progress
We are seeing our practicum community, those working towards C-IAYT, getting referrals from doctors, therapists, and even insurance case managers! Breathing Deeply is changing how people address their conditions, find healing and even integrate yoga therapy models into their existing western models. As Yoga Therapists, those working on their practicum are often the only ones in their community that have these skills to share.
Certification and Lifetime Access
Once all of these pieces are finished, we collaborate with students on completing their education with a final exam. Comprised of both oral and written components, a pass confirms the highest level of yoga therapy training (C-IAYT) has been granted—a huge milestone after a long journey!
Breathing Deeply Advanced Program graduates not only hold the highest level of yoga therapy certification in the world, but they also adhere to the code of ethics and responsibilities offering the highest quality of integrative and holistic yoga therapy.
A unique benefit of training with Breathing Deeply is Yoga Therapist graduates always have a home with us, receiving continued mentorship while working in the field.
As our certified graduates provide therapeutic yoga and integrative yoga therapy offering specialties such as yoga for back pain relief, yoga for mental health, yoga for migraine, yoga for sciatica, addressing upper cross syndrome – they always have the option to consult with the community of care providers developed among the students and instructors at Breathing Deeply.
As mentioned above, Breathing Deeply believes that having continued access to your yoga therapy community and teachers is key in being an ethical and effective Yoga Therapist. This offering of colleguel connection and lead-teacher (Founder, Brandt Passalacqua) mentorship is also what makes our yoga therapy program stand out.
Being able to help clients with complex issues with the guidance of seasoned Yoga Therapists and experts to infuse and inspire your yoga therapy practice is an integral part of clinical success and longevity.
There are amazing people like you looking to integrate yoga therapy into their work, transition out of a career into one that is more meaningful, or desire more knowledge in their yoga life. If you are looking to support those that are suffering around you using this unique approach, and Breathing Deeply’s vision and programs resonate with what you are seeking, we look forward to hearing from you and knowing you more.
Is becoming a Yoga Therapist the next step on your path? Get started here.
If you’re looking for a shorter time and financial commitment while still wanting to work with clients as a Yoga Therapist, check out our comprehensive online Foundations Program as a stand-alone course.
2. Yoga Therapy Foundations Program
Successful graduates of the Foundations Program will be Breathing Deeply Certified Yoga Therapists.
Anyone with a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification may begin by submitting an application to join our family of aspiring Yoga Therapists from all over the globe.
A diverse and welcoming group from all traditions of yoga training, many of whom have had previous careers in a variety of different fields outside of yoga as well.
Our primary instructor and founder Brandt was once in a touring band before a health crisis turned him towards the healing powers of yoga.
We are united by a respect for the positive difference that yoga can make in people’s lives, and a desire to help people discover this difference for themselves.
There is the distinct possibility that you don’t have a 200-hour yoga teacher certification however, you desire the opportunity to offer yoga therapy to those that are suffering in your community. We are happy to offer a 200-hour yoga teacher training in combination with our yoga therapy training as way to gain the skills and prerequisites you need in order to train as a Yoga Therapist. Start your training with us by gaining an understanding of anatomy and the foundational principles of yoga with the Breathing Deeply 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training. This in-tandem double certification allows for students to receive single stream learning, gain the knowledge they need as a cohesive educational experience while meeting their career goals. With this preparation, you’ll also be one leg up as you move into the Foundations Program. You may even decide to continue your education with the Advanced Program, which these programs will provide you the pre-requistes for!
Once you’ve been accepted into the program, you gain full access and can begin to consume course materials. The course has been designed so that students can learn at their own pace.
There are 50 online lectures accessible 24/7 (lifetime access). Night owls or early birds, fast-paced and immersive or measured and steady – the course format works for everyone because students choose when and how to consume the content.
There’s also plenty of support and guidance with weekly live Q&A’s – sample a snippet from one for insight into Brandt’s in-depth style.
What makes for a standout learning experience?
Mentoring and supportive learning – it’s what makes our school unique. Brandt is available in three live Q&A’s every week (offered Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday).
Students are able to draw from his therapeutic resources all throughout their journey as a student.
All that’s required to join the Q&A’s is an internet or phone connection – It’s possible to participate from just about anywhere.
We all come together in the virtual classroom. Here’s Brandt crystalizing a foundational understanding for any Yoga Therapist: How to Help Clients Localize Pain from a previous Q&A session.
Coursework submissions are important for the learning process of students and the integrity of the certification and are a part of the program of study.
More details on the various aspects of the program can be found in the FAQ’s.
We all get by with a little help from our friends…
A community support network is an important piece of your success.
Our students draw encouragement from each other and create a net of resources and expertise through our information-rich online forum.
Posting, responding, and participating in our online community is a course requirement.
We are richer through the sharing of questions experiences and knowledge. Each student brings their unique stories and insights to this yoga program online.
Together we become a community of learners that continues past graduation and continually supports and strengthens each other.
Read what else our students and graduates appreciate about the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Program on our testimonial page.
Immersive Learning Retreats
Knowledge and community connection is deepened further through immersive learning retreats.
For the Foundations Program, there are three required and all are offered each year.
Students can attend residential weekend retreats in person at the Won Dharma Center in Claverack, New York.
For those who need a distance learning option, we offer a remote option, a live broadcast video seminar with interactive attendance, also all 3 offered each year.
Students may fulfill this requirement by attending all three residentially, remotely, or a combination of the two.
To demonstrate proficiency in the application of their skills, students must complete and submit two case studies while being mentored.
We require students to share one of their case studies by presenting it to the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy community.
This provides additional learning opportunities and further community building.
Case studies could include yoga for mental health, yoga for arthritis, yoga for migraine, yoga for sciatica, yoga for high blood pressure, yoga for anxiety and depression, yoga therapy for trauma, yoga therapy for addiction. yoga for autoimmune disorders plantar fasciitis yoga therapy
We are at our best when we are learning from a diverse group with multiple perspectives.
These are common conditions people are searching for help with using yoga – potentially in a classroom setting. A therapeutic approach is far more effective for the treatment of chronic and ongoing issues.
For how integrative yoga therapy differs from what a yoga teacher offers read this post.
Test Your Mettle
After students have completed all the lessons, coursework and case studies, they are ready to take the final oral exam. Students will demonstrate their ability to work with conditions, understand the theory and application of the foundational concepts.
Graduating proficient and quality yoga therapists who can spread the healing ripple out into the world is our goal: students are encouraged to use Q&A time to ensure they are prepared and must never be afraid to ask for clarification.
Get additional details about our program here.
Lessons complete? ✔
Coursework completed and approved? ✔
Case studies submitted and approved? ✔
Learning retreats complete? ✔
Passed final exam? ✔
Woo Hoo, you’ve done it!
Receive Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Certification and serve as a Yoga Therapist and help those that are suffering.
Lifetime Connection and Access
All that mentorship and community building that we talk about so much?… It doesn’t end when you graduate.
Continued mentorship is always available.
Breathing Deeply believes that having continued access to your yoga therapy community and teachers is key in being an ethical Yoga Therapist. This offering of indefinite connection and mentorship is also what makes our yoga therapy program unique.
Being able to help clients with complex issues with the guidance of seasoned Yoga Therapists and experts to infuse and galvanize your practice is an integral part of clinical success and longevity.