Certification Background and Future
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The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) supports research and education in yoga and serves as a professional organization for yoga teachers and yoga therapists worldwide. The IAYT mission is to establish yoga as a recognized and respected therapy. Founded in 1989, IAYT has consistently championed yoga as a healing art and science. Membership is open to yoga practitioners, yoga teachers, yoga therapists, health care practitioners who use yoga in their practice, and yoga researchers.

IAYT is committed to a certification of individual yoga therapists (C-IAYT) that is internationally recognized and respected - by yoga therapy practitioners and educators steeped in the yoga tradition, and by practitioners from other healthcare fields with whom yoga therapists work in partnership.

IAYT certification provides recognition to yoga therapists that meet or exceed an established set of standards. It is a quality control mechanism whereby through a credible, objective, peer-review process a public stamp of approval is given to highly trained yoga therapists. Additionally, the requirements for ongoing certification help the wider community have confidence as IAYT certified yoga therapists (C-IAYT) make a professional contribution to health, healing and integrative healthcare environments.

IAYT Certification Background

Certification is a pillar of the comprehensive self-regulatory initiative that began in 2007 with the development of educational standards for the training of yoga therapists and accrediting training programs that meet these standards beginning in 2014.  The certification process for credentialing individual yoga therapists who meet IAYT’s standards began in 2016.  

From May 2016-June 2017 a period of “grandparenting” provided an opportunity for seasoned yoga therapists and earlier graduates of yoga therapy training programs with client experience to apply for certification.  Grandparenting refers to a process in which someone with the specified experience and expertise in a particular profession is granted certification along different pathways than others entering the profession. The grandparenting process usually begins just after a profession starts to certify practitioners and is limited to a prescribed period of time. As a field first develops certification criteria, grandparenting is typically addressed in a generous way, respecting original training, continuing education, and experience. The IAYT grandparenting process was similar to that of other emerging complementary and alternative medicine professions.  Grandparenting as a route to IAYT Certification ended in June 2017 and will not re-open.

Current IAYT Certification Status and Plans 

IAYT also began certifying individual yoga therapists who graduate from an 800 hour (or greater) IAYT Accredited Training Program in 2016.  Currently, upon completion of an accredited program, all graduates are eligible to apply for IAYT Certification.  We encourage all yoga therapists to acquire the full competencies of the Educational Standards by completing an IAYT Accredited Program.

Creating an exam is the next step in the maturation of Yoga Therapy as a recognized and respected profession. We have partnered with Kryterion, a test development firm, to design and initiate the IAYT Certification Exam.  IAYT member subject matter expert (SME) volunteers will be engaged in the process to ensure that the exam represents the appropriate body of knowledge and is a reliable and defensible measure.  We expect the exam to be available in 2021.  Once established, the exam will be required of all new C-IAYT applicants. 

Certification Portfolio & Evaluation (PR&E)

Until the certification exam is available a Certification Portfolio Review & Evaluation (PR&E) process will consider candidates for C-IAYT.  The Certification Portfolio Review & Evaluation (PR&E) process is intended to facilitate certification for candidates who are actively practicing, have significant yoga therapy education and extensive yoga therapy practice experience, are not candidates for an accredited program, and qualify under a rigorous system for certification.  The educational standards for completion of an accredited program represent the profile of a well-trained generalist yoga therapist.  Successful applicants for certification through the Portfolio Review process will meet or exceed these requirements.

It is not uncommon in the process of profession’s maturation to maintain a narrow pathway to certification for alternate education and experience.

The initial Portfolio Review & Evaluation is a pilot project that will remain open for 6 months (November 2019 - April 2020).  We will then close for new applications while the process is reviewed with a probable re-opening of a refined PR&E process. The concurrent development of the IAYT Certification Exam is expected to be completed in 2021 and will be part of the PR&E process once available.

Additional information and registration will be available for PR&E beginning in late October 2019. 

If you are already a member of IAYT, thank you for your support of your profession. If you are not yet a member, we encourage you to join your professional community!  Join Here to stay up to date on IAYT activities.