- Use yoga to help clients address specific health and wellbeing issues
- Most yoga therapists are self-employed and may combine therapy with teaching yoga classes
- You'll need excellent yoga knowledge and a good understanding of medical and wellbeing issues
As a yoga therapist you might work with people with a range of physical problems like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or back pain - or with mental health issues like stress, anxiety or depression.
- Start a therapy session with a consultation, taking note of the client's physical condition, medical history and any related lifestyle factors.
- Decide on a programme of therapy.
- Teach a range of yoga postures from simple moves to more complex ones.
- Teach breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and visualisation exercises
- Give advice on how to maintain good health and a sense of inner peace and relaxation.
- You'll tailor the yoga to a patient's specific situation, with the aim of helping ease the symptoms and preventing further problems.
You might work part-time and have another job in a related role, like teaching other yoga and fitness classes. You'll usually set your own working hours, which may include evenings and weekends to meet the needs of your clients. You could work at several centres, like sports centres or health clinics, which would involve local travel.
You might work with clients on a one-to-one basis or in group classes. Most yoga therapists are self-employed, so you'll normally have to pay for things like equipment and room hire out of your earnings.
Yoga therapists need communication and listening skills, empathy and a caring nature, the ability to motivate individuals and groups, the ability to understand medical terms and information, and awareness of when to refer a client to another medical practitioner.
To become qualified you can take a course in yoga therapy approved by the British Council for Yoga Therapy. To gain a place on these courses you'll normally need a yoga teaching qualification, to have done a minimum of 120 hours of teaching yoga over one year, and to have been regularly practising yoga for a minimum of 3 years.
The British Council for Yoga Therapy (BCYT) has more information on training providers and courses that meet the occupational standards needed to join their register as a yoga therapy practitioner.
If you want to work with children or other vulnerable groups you'll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
You could teach yoga, as well as practising as a self-employed therapist.