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Joint Statement from Yoga Alliance and the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT)

November 18, 2021


In 2016, Yoga Alliance published a Yoga Therapy Policy that activated a list of restricted words to define the role of Registered Yoga Teachers (RYTs) and Registered Yoga Schools (RYSs), including responsibilities, limitations, and boundaries to protect members and the practitioners they serve. These guidelines are now clearly outlined in the Yoga Alliance Ethical Commitment and Scope of Practice.

This initial Yoga Therapy Policy caused confusion among yoga therapists, who felt unable to accurately describe their training and services. With input from its members, the broader yoga community, and the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), Yoga Alliance updated its Yoga Therapy Policy to better articulate shared principles that foster safe and respectful guidelines for RYTs and RYSs. These guidelines no longer restrict the use of certain words, but instead focus on a thorough understanding of and adherence to its Ethical Commitment and Scope of Practice. Yoga Alliance acknowledges and embraces the therapeutic benefits inherent to the practice of yoga and supports members who hold any credential that advances their growth on the path to professionalization.

As a leader in the growing field of yoga therapy, IAYT is also committed to advancing education about yoga therapy, which it considers to be the “professional application of the principles and practices of yoga to promote health and well-being within a therapeutic relationship that includes personalized assessment, goal setting, lifestyle management, and yoga practices for individuals or small groups.” You can find IAYT’s full definition of yoga therapy here.

To support ongoing learning and the important conversations it engenders, we will be co-hosting a series of online workshops exploring yoga and yoga therapy starting in December 2021.

Together, Yoga Alliance and IAYT are committed to unifying members of the yoga community to create greater access to the practice of yoga and validating its benefits within various disciplines, including healthcare. We are pleased to be working alongside one another to further the multitude of avenues for professional and personal growth in the field of yoga.

For questions about Yoga Alliance’s updated Yoga Therapy Policy, contact Yoga Alliance Member Support at info@yogaalliance.org.


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