Yoga Therapist

The Job and What's Involved

Yoga therapists use yoga to help people with physical and emotional issues, ranging from asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and back pain to stress, anxiety and depression.

As a yoga therapist, you would start with a consultation, taking note of the client's physical condition and any related lifestyle factors.

You would then:

  • Decide on an appropriate programme of therapy, which could involve either one-to-one sessions or classes.
  • Teach a combination of simple movements and postures, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.
  • Give advice on how to maintain good health and a sense of inner peace and relaxation.

You would usually set your own working hours, which may include evenings and weekends to meet the needs of your clients.

You could work at several centres, such as sports centres or health clinics, which would involve local travel.

You would need very little equipment, other than a non-slip mat for safety.

A new practitioner may earn around £11,000 a year.
With experience this could rise to between £25,000 and £30,000.

However, most yoga therapists are self-employed and incomes can vary considerably. Most charge either a sessional or hourly rate, which could range from £20 to £60 an hour.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Organisations from a variety of complementary therapies, including yoga therapy, have worked to create a single (voluntary) regulatory body, known as the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

The aim of the CNHC is to protect the public by registering practitioners, monitoring standards for safe practice and providing a means of redress if things go wrong.

It is anticipated that health professionals and the public will use the CNHC register to check if a therapist is of sufficient standard, so it may help your reputation and business if you are registered.

Education and Training

The CNHC website includes a list of training providers and courses that meet the occupational standards (skill and competence level) necessary to join their register as a yoga therapy practitioner.

Approved course providers include:

- Birthlight
- Centre for Yoga Studies, Bristol
- Yoga Therapy and Training Centre
- Dru (UK)
- Krishnamacharya Healing & Yoga Foundation

You should check with individual course providers for details of entry requirements. However, in general, a good preparation for an approved yoga therapy course is a qualification and around two-years' experience as a yoga teacher (see the Yoga Teacher job guide).

You may also find that a background in anatomy and physiology will be useful and you will need to be able to prove that you can cope with the academic content of the course, which is regarded as postgraduate level.

You can apply to join the CNHC through your training institution (if this is on the approved list), through a relevant professional body or directly through the CNHC website.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

As a yoga therapist you would need to keep up to date with developments in this field throughout your career.

As a member of one of the professional bodies, such as the British Council for Yoga Therapy, you may be able to access continuing professional development opportunities.

Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A yoga therapist needs:

  • Skill as a yoga practitioner.
  • Good communication and listening skills.
  • The ability to understand medical terms and information.
  • A logical approach to problem solving.
  • A good level of physical fitness.

Your Long Term Prospects

If you run your own business your career prospects would be dictated by demand for the therapy, as well as your ability to generate business and establish a good reputation, either alone or with partners.

You could also teach as well as practising as a therapist.

Get Further Information

British Wheel of Yoga (BWY),
25 Jermyn Street, Sleaford,
Lincolnshire NG34 7RU
Tel: 01529 306851
Website: www.bwy.org.uk

Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC),
83 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0HW
Tel: 0203 178 2199
Website: www.cnhc.org.uk

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