Home » Blog » Yoga Therapy On The Rise

Yoga Therapy On The Rise

Midweek Mental Greening

(Yes, it’s Thursday.)

“Since the days of Freud, research into the mind-body relationship has come a long way. Studies show that not only are your mental health and mood dependent in large part on physical factors like exercise, but also unchecked stress, anxiety and depression can affect physical health, increasing blood pressure, heart disease and even risk of death. So it was perhaps inevitable that patients would start bringing their yoga mats into therapy.”

I’d planned on writing about something completely different today, but when I ran into this Time article on psychotherapy and yoga, I couldn’t resist rearranging the schedule – especially as we just talked about yoga last week.

According to the article, yoga-therapy – which “is to allow yoga to empower people while priming them to access their deepest emotions” – is gaining popularity among professionals in both the mental health and yoga fields. There are nearly 50 schools of yoga here in America, and the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) has tripled its membership since 2003.

One of the ideas behind yoga therapy is that while yoga brings about many emotions, actual yoga classes aren’t really set up to allow people to effectively deal with them.

“Emotional memories are stored in your body,” Visceglia says. “A group yoga class, is not structured to enable you to process that. Ideally one would want to work with someone who is paying attention to both the physical and emotional experiences.”

So, some therapists and yoga specialists are working to make each of their respective environments more conducive to both the mental and physical benefits of yoga.

Naturally, yoga therapy is raising some eyebrows, mostly because people want to make sure therapists are actually trained to “teach” yoga. Understandable. Of course, I’d also like to think yoga teachers who subscribe to yoga therapy are also getting some training in helping people “access their deepest emotions.” Seems like a two-way street, to me.

The Time article mentions the Phoenix Rising Center in West Stockbridge, Mass., and there are numerous other similar centers throughout the nation, including the Phoenix Rising Center in Bristol, Vt.; Mukunda’s Yoga Therapy Center in Holyoke, Mass.; and The Center for Yoga Therapeutics in Scottsdale, Ariz.

And, if you’re not near any of those places, the IAYT website offers a search tool to find yoga practitioners, teachers, therapists, and health professionals who utilize yoga in your area.

Yoga Therapy On The Rise

Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor and the creator of, where she blogs to help new freelance writers get their quills in the pot, so to speak. Among animal rights, music, and physical wellness, her passions include mental health and advocacy. Here at Psych Central she works as Syndication Editor as well as authors Your Body, Your Mind and World of Psychology's weekly "Psychology Around the Net."

11 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment
APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2018). Yoga Therapy On The Rise. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 16 Apr 2009)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.