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.
Purpose of Certification
Certification is the latest pillar of the comprehensive self-regulatory initiative that IAYT began in 2007. This initiative has included developing educational standards for the training of yoga therapists, accrediting training programs that meet these standards beginning in 2014, and now a certification process for credentialing individual yoga therapists who meet IAYT’s standards.
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 currently certifies individual yoga therapists who graduate from an 800 (or greater) IAYT Accredited Training Program. This follows a 13 month period of “grandparenting” that provided an opportunity for seasoned yoga therapists and earlier graduates of yoga therapy training programs with client experience to apply for certification. The grandparenting period ended in June 2017.
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 develops standards, 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.
Beginning in 2014, following the first accreditation of training programs, IAYT begin communicating with our members about the upcoming certification and grandparenting process. We solicited feedback on the Guidelines and the application process over a 2 year period and raised awareness through our website, emails, FaceBook and LinkedIn pages, as well as conferences and other publications.
Now that Grandparenting is closed, we encourage all yoga therapists to acquire all the competencies of the Educational Standards by completing an IAYT Accredited Program. We will also continue our efforts to evaluate how best to serve our members, support the profession, and raise awareness and the integrity of the C-IAYT credential. This includes investigating the future possibility of a IAYT Certification that recognizes yoga therapists through a portfolio review of extensive client experience and successful passing of an IAYT Certification Exam. Increased Continuing Education/Professional Development requirements will also be considered for those recertifying after the initial cycle. IAYT members will receive regular emails and updates regarding certification and all IAYT activities.
Our Next Focus
With IAYT certification now well-underway, IAYT is now turning to focus on raising the profile of Yoga therapy in integrative health environments and supporting yoga therapists who want to work in that area. We are also actively working to identify and support quality continuing education and professional development courses. Last, but certainly not least, it is time to focus on educating the public on what IS yoga therapy, how it is different from Yoga, (at least in our contemporary environment) and especially, why someone might want to consider seeing an IAYT certified Yoga therapist. This is a key effort for the field.
If you are already a member of IAYT, thank you for your support of your profession. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining your colleagues! Join Here to stay up to date on IAYT activities.