The Heartwood Yoga Therapy Certification is an 800 hour training course for RYT-200 or above yoga teachers with at least one year of practice & teaching experience, wishing to expand their credentials and skill set to become competent yoga therapists. Yoga therapy demands a comprehensive understanding of the 8 limbs of classic yoga training which become the tools for healing for those suffering from physical, emotional or spiritual challenges. Unlike a physical therapist that works primarily with the body, or a psychologist, who works primarily with the mind, the yoga therapist draws from a variety of yoga practices and disciplines to integrate the mind, body and spirit for balanced health. Respect to physical wellness, mental and emotional stability, and an awareness of how to forge greater spiritual connections with self, others and the world at large is key to yoga therapy as a viable source of support for those on a healing journey. This demands a broad range of coursework designed to prepare the future yoga therapist for full utilization of yoga’s great potential to awaken the spirit and make an individual feel balanced, whole, and purposeful. A qualified yoga therapist is not only versed in classic yoga theory and practice, but understands the ethical and professional standards of the yoga therapy profession and is trained to work harmoniously with other medical and health professionals to provide clients positive pathways and practices for ongoing health and wellness.
Below is a list of the subject matter addressed in the 800 hour yoga therapy program to explain the course of studies, followed by specific program information to help students understand how the Heartwood program is structured.
Heartwood Retreat Center has been a member school of IAYT since 2012. The director, Ginny Shaddock is a C-IAYT. The field of yoga therapy has been undergoing great changes as the IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) continues to define and establish standards for credentialing yoga therapy programs. We support IAYT’s educational standards for yoga therapy and are in the process of IAYT accreditation and all that entails. We have been developing this program for several years, and have submitted all required documents and adjusted the program to meet the professional criteria and standards of IAYT. As one of the pending schools under review, we are awaiting final approval, (response expected in early Feb.)
A comprehensive understanding of asana as a healing practice demands deeper knowledge in anatomy and physiology, accessible yoga practices, teaching skills (trauma sensitive language, effective cuing, appropriate adjustments, etc.) and the study of the symptoms and treatment of common physical issues that clients may suffer from (hip and knee replacements, sciatica, MS, joint deterioration & injuries, HB, etc.). In our foundational studies, styles of yoga & differing techniques are explored to provide future therapists an asana practice skill set that will be appropriate and supportive to individuals dealing with emotional and/or physical discomfort. This includes restorative, yin, and chair practices as well as specific modifications for seniors and those with limited mobility.
Students will study a Western view of mind, body and spirit ailments and how clients are being treated, symptoms and common approaches to healing (such as how patients are dealing today with cancer, depression, or Parkinson's) so that yoga therapy is understood as a complimentary practice for pain management and living our best life now even when addressing health challenges. Each student does a yoga therapy research project to learn how to address groups to introduce yoga therapy and to teach the therapists how to research and prepare in cases where new or unique issues present themselves with clients.
Adherence to the teachings of the Yoga Sutra, Buddhism, Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads supports deeper understanding of the goals and processes of yoga for enhanced spirituality which is vital for counseling clients and creating a treatment plan with respect to yoga’s foundational teachings. Several approaches to healing both physical and mental issues require a deeper understanding of yoga’s philosophical teachings, as well as helping the future therapist learn how to communicate these teachings to others and/or adapt them to life today. Our yoga therapy program includes 4 Philosophy courses.
The yoga therapy trainee must develop a broad based understanding of the 8 limbs of yoga, yoga practices and pathology, then learn to assess illnesses on a variety of levels, form a treatment plan, and determine how to employ the variety of approaches to energetic, physical, and spiritual healing studied in this program. This involves learning to do assessments, develop a treatment plan or program, instilling responsibility in the student and understanding the legal, ethical and logistical demands of mentoring a group or private treatment session as a professional.
Ayurveda is vital as the yoga therapy trainee must develop a broad based understanding of the 8 limbs of yoga, yoga practices, Koshas, Ayurveda and pathology, then learn to assess illnesses on a variety of levels, form a treatment plan, and determine how to employ the variety of approaches to energetic, physical, and spiritual healing. After developing advanced yoga skills and forging a deeper understanding of yoga therapy, students must next consider Ayurvedic pathways to enhance the treatment plan.
Students must learn to keep records, work with other health professionals, understand the scope of practice and be familiar with professional standards, IAYT, and current legislation that pertains to yoga therapy. After finishing the coursework, students must do an internship/ practicum working in the field with clients under the supervision of a mentor. They will document the work and submit findings and results to mentors for review.
Before making a commitment to this, or any, school, we advise students to have a realistic understanding of what is involved with earnest yoga studies and to consider their long term goals, personal learning style, and resources of time and budget to make the best choice possible regarding their yoga education. We go out of our way to make our students feel respected, safe, and a part of a dynamic learning collective. Our student guidelines and policies are defined to uphold the integrity of the school and to keep the atmosphere positive, productive and progressive! Our hope is that by offering comprehensive information here, students will know up front if Heartwood will be a good fit as a school for their goals and expectations. Check our guidelines to understand your educational commitment, learn about tuition payment plans and more.