Yoga Therapy Certificate Program

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"Although all yoga is potentially therapeutic and healing, yoga therapy is the specific application of yogic tools - postures/exercises, breathwork, meditation techniques, and more - to address an individuals' physical, mental, and emotional needs."

-International Association of Yoga Therapists

SCHYS Yoga Therapy

We are on the cusp of an emerging field - Yoga Therapy is a holistic health modality focused on healing an individual using the innate capacities of our body, mind, and spirit to optimize well-being. Using the tools of movement, breath, meditation, visualization, chanting, and lifestyle changes, Yoga Therapists help individuals find healing from within. Unlike other health modalities, the Yoga Therapist walks with their client on the path of healing rather than showing them the way.

As a graduate of the SCHYS Yoga Therapy Certificate Program you will be prepared to provide the tools of Yoga Therapy to different populations safely, successfully, and compassionately in a variety of settings. Our program uniquely preserves the wisdom of the ancient traditions while adapting them to meet the needs of our contemporary society and busy lifestyles. 

This three-year program is built on the standards set by the International Association of Yoga Therapists and is an IAYT Accredited Yoga Therapy Training Program. Students must complete all three-years of the program to graduate. We do not accept transfer credit.

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This program is designed for teachers who have a RYT-200 from the Yoga Alliance (or equivalent) and logged at least 100-teaching hours or have one-year of teaching experience.

Our Faculty

The integrity and depth of our program is strengthened by the diverse background of our Faculty. Every Faculty member brings insight from the different yoga styles and traditions they have studied as well as the teachings of the T. Krishnamacharya lineage. 

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Program Goals

Throughout this Program, students will gain:

  • A comprehensive understanding of Yoga philosophy and the philosophical foundations of Yoga Therapy as taught by the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, India (KYM).

  • An extensive knowledge of the subtle anatomy, with a detailed understanding of the Cakra system as a bio-psycho-social model of humanity.

  • Practical skills to work with individual clients, including client intake, assessment, and building a practice to meet the specific needs of the client.

  • An understanding of Yoga as a healing modality.

Throughout the Program, students work closely with their Faculty-Mentor and engage with individual clients.

Program Requirements

Program Modules - attend 11 weekend program modules per year - generally meeting once per month over a Saturday and Sunday.

Online Classes - These classes are set-up on Schoology-a web-based platform where students will listen to an audio file or watch a video and then make a comment on the discussion board and respond to a colleagues comment. Faculty will read, comment and grade all discussion board posts.

Required Reading - Each year in the program there is a book-list for students to read and post on the Discussion Board on Schoology comments about the book and respond to colleagues statements about the book. Faculty read, comment and grade all discussion board posts. Required reading list (.pdf).

Practicum - Take part in the practical application of acquired knowledge by engaging with a Faculty-Mentor, observe Faculty-Mentors, and enjoy private sessions with Faculty-Mentors for personal growth, and have time to ask questions about the program. As well, put what you’ve learned into practice by completing the externship (working on your own as a yoga therapist).

Retreat - Join your sanga at a SCHYS approved retreat for each program year

Homework - For each year in the program you’ll complete the Study Guide/Workbook, take online open-book quizzes, submit a 5-7 page research paper, and complete the open-book final exam.


We are now accepting applications for the program to be held at SCHYS's Orange, VA location - program starts March 2019! Email for more information and to apply (.docx). Learn more about the admission process here. Your application must include a non-refundable $80 application fee.

We are now accepting applications for Step 1 programs in Virginia (March 2019) and Chicago-area (March 2020), and the upcoming Step 2 program in Chicago-area starting March 2019.

topics in our 3-year yoga therapy curriculum

Each year of our three-year program consists of 336-hours for a total of 1008 hours of study. Each year involves approximately eleven program modules (one weekend per month) of hands-on study with faculty, online classes, practicum (internship with faculty and externship or teaching on your own), private sessions with faculty for self-study and improvement, and administrative sessions with faculty for questions and answer sessions, and you’ll enjoy one five-day retreat per year with JJ Gormley.

Step 1 (Year 1) Topics Covered:

  • Yoga Foundations: Introduction to T. Krishnamachary tradition, Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita, Relating to Arjuna’s despondence, Introduction to the Yoga Sutras, Introduction to kleshas and antarayas, Relating kleshas to practice, States of mind (ahamkara-citta-buddhi-pratyaya-sattva), Introduction to the Upanishads, The pancha maya model, The pancha vayu model, Introduction to mudras, mantras, nadis, marmas, Introduction to ayurveda, The chakra model, The guna model, prakriti/vikriti, ama/agni, prakopas, The vyuha model for healing, Chakra model as bio-psycho-social-spiritual model, Comparison (Western vs Eastern) of models.

  • Teaching Methodology & Skills: The Ashramas (life cycles), Vinyasa krama for course planning, Upayam of yoga, Brahmana, langhana, & samana in Course Planning, Time management, Developing a pranayama practice, Teaching mantra, The role of pratyhara in our practice, Establishing boundaries and priorities, Teaching meditation, Teaching a therapeutic-based workshop, Characteristics of a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, Teaching pranayama to students, Yamas & niyamas for Students, Developing relationship skills.

  • Bio-Psycho-Social Foundations: General anatomy, Anatomy of the spinal column, Anatomy and alignment of the lower body, Anatomy and alignment of the upper body, Women’s issues, Anatomy of the diaphragms, Endocrine system, Contraindications for common issues, Anatomy of stress and the HPA-axis, Anatomy of the energetic body, Anatomy of bandhas, Introduction to mental health, Anatomy of anxiety & depression, Anatomy of grief and the multidimensional human being.

  • Application of Skills: Applying assessment skills to group settings, Developing lesson plans, Demonstrations and verbal instruction, Communication and inclusive language in practice, Helping those with back pain, scoliosis and other spinal issues, Adjustments and modifications for asana and pranayama, Developing a practice toward bandhas, Integrating body, mind & spirit, Integrating the physical and the energetic bodies, Case studies, Asking appropriate questions, Practicing skills learned, Selecting appropriate upayam, Shamanam & shodanam, Application of yoga therapy tools, Grief counseling for emotional balance.

  • Professional Development: Svadhyaya for teachers, Ethical standards from the Bhagavad Gita, Issues for professional development, Establishing your business: insurance, taxes, and more.

  • In addition to the above curriculum in the Program Modules, students will also enjoy Practicum under faculty guidance (externship and internship), online classes to supplement the material learned in the program modules, one retreat per year in the program, and much more.

Step 2 (Year 2) Topics Covered:

  • Yoga Foundations: Key concepts of yoga therapy, Healing vs curing, Moving from vyutthana to nirodha,Yoga Sutras: Role of duhkham, Yamas & niyamas in yoga therapy, Definitions of Disease & health, Parinama of samskara, Western medicine with ayurveda & yoga

  • Teaching Methodology & Skills:Teaching methodology for working with clients, Designing the client’s first practice, Increasing range of motion for structural issues, Assessing a client, Body language during intake, Increasing range of motion vs strength, learning to ask appropriate questions, Upayam of Yoga Therapy, The intake process, Teaching bandhas & mudras, Understanding the energy of bandhas & mudras, Reading body language, Teaching meditation and mantra as therapy, Understanding mental health: common conditions, symptoms, and interventions.

  • Bio-Psycho-Social Foundations: Orientation & organization of the human body, Ailments of the structure & joints of the body, Ahara & vihara for the healthy client, Cell structure and genetic regulation, Enzymes, energy & metabolism, The nervous system, Endocrine system, Anatomy of the mind, Anatomy of depression, Psychological concepts & terminology, Common medical & surgical terminology, Healthcare and medical reference resources.

  • Application of Skills: Practice with clients: increasing range of motion, Teaching concepts for calming the mind, Practicing shamanam & shodanam, Practicing the intake process, Sequencing for the client’s current capacity, Therapeutic application of the pancha vayu model, Assessing clients, Practice asking appropriate questions to draw a client out, Using ayurveda’s tools, Choosing appropriate upayam for the client, Practice teaching bandhas 7 mudras, Developing an all-encompassing care plan.

  • Professional Development: Scope of practice and when to refer out, Self-care & protecting your energy, Ethics & morals for yoga therapists, Networking with the healthcare fields, Financial management for the yoga therapist, Professional development discussions, Managing paperwork and files for clients.

  • In addition to the above curriculum in the Program Modules, students will also enjoy Practicum under faculty guidance (externship and internship), online classes to supplement the material learned in the program modules, one retreat per year in the program, and much more.

Step 3 (Year 3) Topics Covered:

  • Yoga Foundations: Yoga Sutras, The Bhagavad Gita.

  • Bio-Psycho-Social Foundations: The body’s need for rest, Regulation of metabolism, Samprapti of metabolic syndrome, Circulatory system, Respiratory system, Common medical & surgical terminology, Healthcare & medical reference resources, Digestive system, Electrolytes, The acid-base balance, Lymphatic system, Age-related issues, Reproductive system, Infertility issues, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Neurological issues, Psychological conditions: mood, cognition, behavior, and personality disorders, Trauma healing, Anxiety & depression, Common pharmacology, Autoimmune issues.

  • Application of Skills: Working with clients, Case studies of clients, Case presentations of clients.

  • Professional Development: Professional development discussions, Insurance taxes and financial management for the yoga therapist, Svadhyaya for yoga therapists, Designing a mission statement for a yoga therapy business.

  • In addition to the above curriculum in the Program Modules, students will also enjoy Practicum under faculty guidance (externship and internship), online classes to supplement the material learned in the program modules, one retreat per year in the program, and much more.

Steps for Enrollment

This 3-year Yoga Therapy Certificate Program has the following fees and steps for enrollment for each year in the program:

  1. Download an application (.docx). Your application must include a non-refundable $80 application fee.

  2. You will receive written notification informing you of your acceptance or declining your enrollment. If accepted, you will receive an Enrollment Agreement to be submitted with your initial payment or non-refundable deposit of $1,008.

  3. Click here to see tuition options.

  4. Once SCHYS receives your Enrollment Agreement with payment, you’ll receive an official Welcome letter with more information about the program and how to access materials and the online classes. This will include the access code to the class on All students will need to register on with their own username and password. From this point forward, all communication to students will be through Schoology.

Tuition is required for each year of the SCHYS Yoga Therapy Program, which takes 3-years to complete. The first Step is equivalent to our 300-Hour Advanced Training Program, then Steps 2 and 3 are required for graduation as a Yoga Therapist. Graduates are Certified Yoga Therapists and may apply for C-IAYT status with the IAYT.

Program Locations

331 N Madison Rd  Orange, VA 22960

331 N Madison Rd

Orange, VA 22960

Faculty: JJ Gormley

New training program begins April 2019 in Orange, VA . Email for more information and to apply (.docx). 

4949 Forest Ave  Downers Grove, IL 60515

4949 Forest Ave

Downers Grove, IL 60515

Faculty: JJ Gormley & Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy

New training program begins March 2020 - email for more information!

Location of training will be announced, but likely at Yoga Among Friends in Downers Grove or Yoga & Ayurveda in Lombard, IL.