By Denyse Peterson | 07/16/2018

19 Conditions that Benefit from Yoga Therapy

19 Conditions that Benefit from Yoga Therapy

19 Conditions that Benefit from Yoga Therapy

I am a yoga teacher. Sometimes I teach a hot vinyasa class which means the temperature is around 90 degrees in the studio and we flow from one pose to another moving with the breath, the sequencing can feel like a moving meditation or your interpretation of movement.  Other times I teach a hatha yoga class, where you can simmer in each pose and explore sensations and emotions as they come up, using your breath to keep you steady.  My favorite classes to teach are restorative yoga and yin yoga, which are mostly done sitting or lying down on the mat, using blocks, blankets and bolsters while we stay in the pose for a few minutes.  Whether you go to a yoga class that is either a challenging workout or a relaxing and stretching session, you may feel that it was therapeutic.  And it was, but please don’t confuse that with a yoga therapy session.     

            I am a yoga therapist. I have continued my education further than a yoga teacher’s minimum 200-hour requirement.  To receive my title of Certified Yoga Therapist, I have had at least 800 additional hours over two years, from an accredited IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) training program.  I took it a step further, receiving a Master of Science degree in Yoga Therapy from Maryland University of Integrative Health.  My curriculum consisted of the classical and theoretical foundations of the field of Yoga Therapy, as well as extensive education of biomedical systems from an integrative and holistic perspective, plus 150 hours of supervised clinic practicum. My certification also requires me to complete continuing educational requirements and successfully passing a certification exam. 


The IAYT competencies/curriculum includes:

  • Yoga teachings and philosophy
  • Yoga and the mind
  • Framework for Health and Disease
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Additional Biomedical knowledge
  • Psychology and mental health
  • Body and Mind integration
  • Yoga therapy tools 
  • Therapeutic relationship
  • Principles and skills for educating clients/students
  • Principles and skills for working with groups
  • Practicum – Providing yoga therapy
  • Ethical principles
  • Legal, Regulatory and business issues pertaining to yoga therapy, Relationship with Peers, Mentors, Clinicians and organizations, Personal and Professional Development


What can you expect from a yoga therapy session?

When you come to a session with a yoga therapist, you will fill out a detailed intake form which takes about 20 minutes.  We will take the time to listen to what you have to say, review your form together and discuss your goals before we assess you.  Yoga therapy is a safe way to optimize your physical, emotional and mental well-being.  We use yoga postures to assess any weaknesses and muscular imbalances, we assess your posture and your breath and develop a plan of care designed specifically for your current state.  Using postures and exercises, breathwork, meditation techniques and other yoga modalities we can help with a wide range of concerns.


Who can benefit from a yoga therapy session?

Any one suffering from pain

  •  Musculoskeletal (Back pain, neck pain, sciatica…)
  •  Arthritis
  •  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia

Any one suffering from neurological issues

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

Any one with imbalances in their mental health

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • PTSD
  • Stress

Anyone experiencing major illnesses

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease

Anyone concerned with healthy aging

  • Osteoporosis
  • Loss of balance
  • Maintaining functional movement

Anyone who wants to increase their well-being and overall health.



            While, a general yoga class can certainly ease your pain and improve your mood, a yoga therapy session is designed just for you. Like the difference of a group exercise class and going to a certified personal trainer.  In fact, I was a personal trainer and I wanted to be able to offer so much more to my clients.  Incorporating mindfulness, awareness, breath and mind body connection truly gives you amazing results.  Yoga therapy can also complement physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy and more.  We do not diagnose or treat diseases, but because of our extensive training we are able to effectively interact with your healthcare team to empower you towards healing. You can find yoga therapists working in private practice, in clinics and in hospitals.  If you are interested in finding a Certified Yoga Therapist in your area, (check out our Wellness Hub directory) or for more information on yoga therapy please visit


Denyse Peterson, MS, C-IAYT, ERYT500, YACEP.  Adjunct Faculty Member and Clinic Coordinator and Supervisor (Yoga Therapy Department) at Maryland University of Integrative Health.  As the owner of Virginia Yoga Therapy, she provides private sessions and corporate stress management series.  She is the creator of the Zen Zone Yoga Teacher Training Program which provides relief from chronic pain and stress related conditions using the tools of yoga therapy.  She has over 30 years of experience as a certified fitness professional with numerous certifications.  Denyse has experienced relief from chronic pain and stress with her practice and witnessed amazing results with her students and clients.  She loves sharing her passion of yoga and healthy lifestyle.


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