Difference Between Yoga Therapy and Yoga Class

Yoga Alliance Standards for Yoga Teacher Training

Although yoga as a practice is therapeutic, there are significant differences between yoga classes and yoga therapy classes. Clarifying these differences is helpful for teachers/therapists and students/clients.

We will look at this distinction from the perspective of yoga students, yoga therapy clients, yoga teachers, yoga therapists, yoga classes, and yoga therapy classes.

Who is a Yoga Student

There are many reasons why students take yoga classes or seek private yoga coaching. In order to make the right decision, it is best for students to have a deep understanding of their intent in seeking yoga education, yoga instruction, or yoga therapy.

Yoga provides tools for the process of self-exploration and self-development and ultimately guides the practitioner towards self-realization. However, the public still regards yoga as an exercise system. Students often go to a like-minded community to participate in yoga classes.

Those who understand that yoga is more than exercise can seek guidance to explore other aspects of it, such as pranayama or meditation. Regardless of the intention, there are some benefits to learning and practicing yoga.

Who is a Yoga Therapy Seeker

When a client seeks a yoga therapist or treatment group, they usually do not come to learn yoga, but to seek help or relieve symptoms or health conditions related to them.

In most cases, teaching focuses on their condition and how yoga techniques can help them feel better or improve their functions, rather than yoga techniques or practice methods.

Who is a Yoga Teacher

There are big differences between yoga teaching styles. Some teachers mainly focus on teaching, guiding students through exercises, and helping them to practice correctly. The teaching range can range from asanas to pranayama to meditation, but fundamentally speaking, teachers who use this style will guide students in their practice.

Other teachers try to educate their students on how to practice, rather than directing the exercise itself, or in the process of directing the exercise. This style of teaching allows students to guide their own experience, whether it is an individual practice or group practice.

In any case, excellent teachers can choose the practice that suits the students’ interests and abilities. Regardless of whether their style is educational or educational, yoga teachers focus on teaching various yoga methods in the correct and appropriate way.

Who is a Yoga Therapist

Yoga therapists focus mainly on the needs of the client, rather than focusing on yoga methods and exercises. The job is to understand why your customers come to see you and determine what you can do to help them.

To assist them in their work, therapists are trained to evaluate clients through listening, questioning, observation, and appropriate touch. The therapist finds ways to help their clients reduce or control their symptoms, improve their functions, and help them change their attitudes towards health conditions.

After evaluating the client, the therapist sets appropriate goals, develops a practical intervention, and then teaches the client to practice the intervention. In this regard, therapists choose yoga techniques based on how they will particularly benefit individual clients.

What is a Yoga Class

Yoga teachers can provide a variety of yoga courses, including courses for individuals or groups with specific conditions. Common examples include yoga for pregnant women, yoga for heart patients, and yoga for cancer survivors.

In these courses, a good yoga teacher must learn the contraindications of working with people with these conditions and respect these contraindications when teaching students proper yoga. The purpose of such courses is to teach these students to practice yoga while respecting their health.

What is a Yoga Therapy Session

For individuals or groups with specific conditions, the intent of yoga therapy courses will change. After proper intake and evaluation, the therapist usually pays attention to the specific symptoms that the client is concerned about and determines ways to help them manage these symptoms.

Examples include helping clients deal with pain, fatigue, or insomnia. In addition, the role of the therapist is to enable clients to play a more active role in their self-care.

The job of the therapist is not to teach yoga techniques, but to help clients overcome challenges and gain independence. Therefore, the work of a therapist represents different methods, different types of education, and different skill sets.


Normally, no matter what type of class they take, students will get huge and even therapeutic benefits from their yoga classes. This occurs due to the inherent healing potential of yoga, but it should not obscure the difference between yoga classes and yoga therapy classes.

Although the distinction may seem subtle, it is important for yoga students and yoga therapy clients to be clear about their intentions when looking for a yoga professional. It is also very important that yoga professionals, whether they are teachers or therapists, are clear about the intention and direction of their work, treat their training and understanding levels honestly, and be realistic about their abilities.

Although yoga teaching and yoga therapy are both effective and valuable occupations, they are different. As a yoga community, we must be aware of these differences, which is very important.

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