Yoga Therapy Certificate Program

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Yoga therapy is the process of guiding individuals to progress toward improved health and wellbeing through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga. Yoga therapy begins with an assessment process, incorporates an individualized therapeutic plan based on the yoga tradition and the client’s needs, and evaluates the plan's efficacy in a continual process aimed at achieving optimal health.

SCHYS Yoga Therapy Certificate Program Overview

You are about to embark on an exciting journey to learn deeper aspects and concepts of yoga. Whether you choose this journey for your own personal growth and knowledge or you have the desired goal to teach and help others on this path we call yoga, we believe our programs are of the best in the country if not globally. We love to share the gifts of yoga and we are only too happy to have others interested in this great journey as we are. Should you have any questions, please just ask. All SCHYS faculty are multi-tradition trained, this means our curriculum does not adhere to any particular lineage. We are heavily influenced by the therapeutic teachings that come from the Krishnamacharya to Desikachar lineage, and bring in teachings from other styles and teachings that our faculty have acquired in their years of study. We believe this makes our programs well-rounded and accessible to all as we take the best from every style, tradition, and lineage, especially where there is overlap among them. All programs are directed by JJ Gormley, one of the premier leaders in the field, beginning her journey in 1979. JJ ensures that she teaches the majority of the curriculum at all locations. SCHYS was among the first Schools to register with the Yoga Alliance (in 1999) and also with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), (program accredited in 2017) and is the premier Yoga Therapy Training Program in Virginia and Chicago, IL.

All SCHYS programs meet via a weekend module format.  Each program meets approximately one weekend per month for eleven months.  We believe immersing oneself in the curriculum for little bits at a time (a weekend’s worth of new information), then taking time to assimilate and digest the information before bringing in another little bit is the best way to learn—bite off little bits at a time, and take the time to digest. In addition to the weekend program modules, there are online classes, practicum, quizzes, exams, and other outside study.  The online discussion posts (for the online classes, and reading assignments) keep the students and faculty engaged with each other during the time between modules.

SCHYS uses an online website,, to organize each program. All students will be required to have access to a computer with appropriate software and current operating system to utilize The ability to play audio and video media is required for the online classes.  Some online classes are audio recordings, most are video recordings, therefore students must have technological capabilities to take these classes--we can assist students who have less technological aptitude.  All course information, materials, online classes, quizzes and exams for each program are set up on  Quizzes and exams are all open-book.

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International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT)

SCHYS is a member school of the IAYT, and SCHYS 900-Hour Program is an accredited program with the IAYT. Graduates of this program may apply to IAYT for their C-IAYT.

SCHYS Yoga Therapy program: Step 1, step 2, & step 3

This three-year yoga Therapy Certificate Program is built on the standards set by the International Association of Yoga Therapists and is an IAYT Accredited Yoga Therapy Training Program. Students who complete this three-year, three-step program 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 body, mind, and spirit to optimize well-being. Students will learn how to use the tools of movement, breath, meditation, visualization, chanting, and lifestyle changes to become a Yoga Therapist who can begin to help individuals find healing from within. Unlike other health modalities where a treatment is often done on or to the client, the Yoga Therapist walks with their client as a guide on the path of healing.

As a graduate of the SCHYS Yoga Therapy Certificate Program you will be prepared to utilize the tools of Yoga Therapy and apply 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. Students must complete all three-years of the program to graduate. Sorry, we do not accept transfer credit.

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  • RYT-200 from the Yoga Alliance (or equivalent)

  • Teaching experience of at least 40-yoga teaching hours

  • Completed the Bridge Program Pre-Requisite. Students who have completed SCHYS 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program recently will have already completed this pre-requisite. Those who completed SCHYS 200-hour Program in the past may have to complete some of the bridge program at a reduced fee.

  • At least one year of yoga practice.

The Yoga Therapy Certificate Program is a 900-Hour Accredited program, therefore students must begin at Step 1 with SCHYS and complete all 900-hours for graduation. Graduates of other 300-hour programs or those with an RYT500, or even an ERYT500 must still complete Step 1 with SCHYS. Our Step 1 Program teaches information on mudras, bandhas, philosophy and more that we have found other programs do not cover. We teach a solid foundation of these techniques and teachings in our 300-Hour/Step 1 Program, therefore that is where you should begin even if you have already completed your 300-Hour Yoga Teacher Training some place else. We would like to honor these students for their continued desire to learn, and the deeper background they often bring to the program, therefore, we offer students entering our Step 1 who have a 300-Hour RYT from elsewhere a $150 discount (use code RYT300 when you make your first tuition payment) and use the specific application for those with an RYT300. We appreciate your continued growth and work to obtain more knowledge of yoga and to learn SCHYS approach which may be different from other training programs.

Program Goals

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Throughout this Program, students will gain:

  • A comprehensive understanding of Yoga philosophy and the philosophical foundations of Yoga Therapy as inspired 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.

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 inspiration from the teachings of the T. Krishnamacharya lineage through Mr. TKV Desikachar and Dr. Kausthub Desikachar. 

Program Requirements

Program Modules - attend 11 weekend program modules per year, for each of three years. Generally these program modules meet once per month on Saturday and Sunday for 15.5 hours.

Online Classes - These classes are set-up on Schoology, a web-based platform where students will listen/watch an audio or video and then engage in online discussions with faculty and peers. Faculty read and comment on all discussion board posts.

Required Reading - For each year in the program there is a list of required books. Students are required to read and engage in online discussion with faculty and peers on Schoology. Faculty read and comment on all discussion board posts. Required reading list (.pdf).

Practicum - Internship: Part of your practicum internship involves working directly with Faculty-Mentors in the following three capacities: Observing and Assisting, enjoying Private Yoga Therapy Sessions, and checking your progress with time to ask questions in Administrative Reviews. Externship: As well, you’ll apply what you’ve learned by completing the externship (working on your own as a yoga therapist).

Retreat - Join in sanga at a SCHYS approved retreat with JJ Gormley (Required and included in the tuition for Year 1/Step 1).

Homework - For each year in the program you will complete a Study Guide/Workbook, take open-book quizzes, submit a 5-7 page research paper, and complete the open-book final exam. We prepare our students well for these and everyone does fabulous. Throughout the three-year program students will receive five publications (Asana Reference Manual, Holistic Healing with Yoga Therapy, Study Guide/Workbook-Step 1, Study Guide/Workbook-Step 2, Study Guide/Workbook-Step 3.

Format of Training

Each of the three 300-Hour Steps is a self-contained training program with a beginning and an end which takes place in approximately eleven months. Students will meet as a group once-per-month for a Program Module which is hands-on study with faculty. Most locations are scheduled to meet one weekend per month of 15.5 hours over a Saturday and Sunday and if the eleven months are not run consecutively, the program may take twelve or more months to complete. However, some programs have scheduled one or more four-day weekends to cover two Program Modules from Thursday through Sunday and may finish the program in less than eleven months. Please see the individual training program schedules. Simultaneously, students will go through the online classes at their own pace, watching approximately one hour-long class per week. Making comments and responding to colleague’s posts keeps the group actively participating with each other and with faculty throughout the training and between the weekend Program Modules. For the Practicum portions required with faculty, students need to individually arrange their practicum with faculty (observing/assisting faculty, meeting for admin. review, and meeting for a private yoga therapy session). These hours should begin immediately and be paced and spread-out over the training program. Students should also allow approximately 5-10 hours per week for outside homework, reading, and study.


We accept applications approximately six-months before the start date of the program. Plan ahead by beginning the Bridge Program

Application for 300-Hour/Step 1

Application for Step 1 (Have an RYT300)

Application for Steps 2 and 3

Email for more information. For information or help with the admissions process, please contact Barb Pishock, Director of Admission or to apply (.docx). Learn more about the admission process here.

Step 1•Year 1

(If you don’t know the Sanskrit terms given below, don’t worry, you will by the end of the Program.)

  • Yoga Foundations: Introduction to T. Krishnamacharya 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, and marmas; introduction to Ayurveda; the guna model; prakriti/vikriti, ama/agni, and prakopas; the vyuha model for healing; the chakra model as bio-psycho-social-spiritual model; and comparison (Western vs Eastern) of the 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; understanding mudras and bandhas, 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/clients; yamas & niyamas for students/clients; and 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; and 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; and grief counseling for emotional balance.

  • Professional Development: Svadhyaya for teachers; ethical standards from the Bhagavad Gita; issues for professional development; and establishing your business: insurance, taxes, and more.

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


Program Modules - 170.5 Hours in eleven weekend modules

Online Classes - 38 Hours

Practicum - 67.5 Hours: Internship (with faculty) is 18 hours, Externship is 49.5 hours

Retreat - 24 Hours

Total - 300 Hours

300-Hour / Step 1 Programs:

Step 2 • Year 2

  • 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; and 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; and understanding mental health: common conditions, symptoms, and interventions.

  • Bio-Psycho-Social Foundations: Orientation & organization of the human body; ailments of the 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; and 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 & mudras; and 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; and managing paperwork and files for clients.

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

Step 2-Requirements

Program Modules - 170.5 Hours in eleven weekend modules

Online Classes - 38 Hours

Practicum - 91.5 Hours: Internship (with faculty) is 24 hours, Externship is 67.5 hours

Total - 300 Hours

Step 2 programs:

Step 3 • Year 3

  • Yoga Foundations: Yoga Sutras; and the Bhagavad Gita.

  • Bio-Psycho-Social Foundations: The body’s need for rest; regulation of metabolism; samprapti of metabolic syndrome; samprapti of circulatory system; samprapti of respiratory system; common medical & surgical terminology; healthcare & medical reference resources; samprapti of digestive system; electrolytes; the acid-base balance; samprapti of lymphatic system; , samprapti of autoimmune issues; age-related issues; samprapti of reproductive system: infertility issues and more; osteoarthritis; osteoporosis; samprapti of neurological issues; psychological conditions: mood, cognition, behavior, and personality disorders; trauma healing; anxiety & depression; and common pharmacology.

  • Application of Skills: Working with clients; case studies of clients; and case presentations of clients.

  • Professional Development: Professional development discussions; insurance taxes and financial management for the yoga therapist; svadhyaya for yoga therapists; and designing a mission statement for a yoga therapy business.

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

Step 3-Requirements

Program Modules - 170.5 Hours in eleven weekend modules

Online Classes - 34 Hours

Practicum - 95.5 Hours: Internship (with faculty) is 18 hours, Externship is 77.5 hours

Total - 300 Hours

Step 3 Programs:


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. Pre-Requisites: Ensure pre-requisites have been met before applying.

  2. Apply to Step 1: Download an application (.docx). Your application may be sent via an attachment in an email to:  Applications must include a non-refundable $80 application fee. Please allow up to 4 weeks for processing your application. You will receive written notification informing you of your acceptance or declining your enrollment.

  3. Enroll: If accepted, you will be notified via email and will receive an Enrollment Agreement. Please select your tuition payment option on the Enrollment Agreement and return along with your initial payment and non-refundable deposit of $1,008.

    Click here to see tuition options.

  4. Welcome: 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. All students will need to register on with their own username and password (free service). From this point forward, all program updates and materials will be delivered 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.

Please note SCHYS only accepts ten students in Steps 2 and 3 due to the nature of the program, to keep the integrity of the teachings, and to maximize student learning with a low student-to-teacher ratio.

What you can expect as your journey begins

Once you have been accepted into the program, you’ll receive an access code to join the program on the website platform called schoology ( This is where SCHYS has all that you’ll need along your journey to become a yoga therapist.

The Online Classes that are required as part of the Bridge Program may be started at any time—before the first weekend module. As part of the Program Requirements, there are additional Online Classes. To start these online classes, once your are a member of Schoology, you’ll have access to begin these.

These are the main two components: attending the weekend program modules and completing the online classes. You will also have Practicum requirements. We divide the practicum in to Internship and Externship.

Internship is time with a Faculty Mentor and includes three main types: 1.) Observe/Assist Faculty—in their sessions with clients/students. 2.) Administrative Mentor Meetings—to keep abreast of the requirements, have a chance to ask questions, go over materials, go over your progress chart, etc., and 3.) Private Mentoring Sessions—for your own personal growth, enjoy a session with faculty to boost your own practice, delve deeper into pranayama, meditation, mantra, or more.

Externship is practicum where you teach on your own to clients as you practice becoming a Yoga Therapist.

We believe we’ve set these programs up to bring you quite a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time. JJ Gormley has spent hundreds of hours running training programs since 1994 which has allowed these programs to be streamlined to bring the best of both in-person hours with faculty and allow home-study using the online classes. We hope you’ll enjoy our programs at SCHYS as much as we enjoy sharing the wonderful knowledge of yoga.