Yoga Therapy Certification

When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents

the service you are giving to the world. -B.K.S. Iyengar

Heartwood Retreat Center has been a member school of IAYT since 2012. The director, Ginny Shaddock is a certified yoga therapist with this organization. The field of yoga therapy has been undergoing great changes as the IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) continues to define and establish standards for credentialing yoga therapy programs. We support IAYT’s educational standards for yoga therapy and are in the process of IAYT accreditation and all that entails.
Note that as standards are established, this program will adjust to reflect those changes and students will be provided opportunity to attend any new components required by the organization. Following is an overview of our program.

800 hour Yoga Therapy Certification Course

Prerequisite : Students must have completed an RYT-200 certification to enroll. 


The Heartwood Yoga Therapy Certification is an 800 hour training course for RYT-200 or above yoga teachers wishing to expand their credentials and skill set to become competent yoga therapists. Yoga therapy demands a comprehensive understanding of the 8 limbs of classic yoga training, which become the tools for healing for those suffering from physical, emotional or spiritual challenges. Unlike a physical therapist that works primarily with the body, or a psychologist, who works primarily with the mind, the yoga therapist draws from a variety of yoga practices and disciplines to integrate the mind, body and spirit for balanced health. Respect to physical wellness, mental and emotional stability, and an awareness of how to forge greater spiritual connections with self, others and the world at large is key to yoga therapy as a viable source of support for those on a healing journey. This demands a broad range of coursework designed to prepare the future yoga therapist for full utilization of yoga’s great potential to awaken the spirit and make an individual feel balanced, whole, and purposeful. A qualified yoga therapist is not only versed in classic yoga theory and practice, but understands the ethical and professional standards of the yoga therapy profession and is trained to work harmoniously with other medical and health professionals to provide clients positive pathways and practices for ongoing health and wellness.  
Studies include:

Asana: A comprehensive understanding of asana as a healing practice demands deeper knowledge in anatomy and physiology, accessible yoga practices, teaching skills (trauma sensitive language, effective cuing, appropriate adjustments, etc.) and the study of the symptoms and treatment of common physical issues that clients may suffer from (hip and knee replacements, sciatica, MS, joint deterioration & injuries, HB, etc.) In our foundational studies, styles of yoga & differing techniques are explored to provide future therapists with choices for asana practice that will be appropriate and supportive to individuals dealing with emotional and/or physical discomfort. This includes restorative, yin, and chair practices as well as specific modifications for seniors and those with limited mobility.

Energetic studies: Integration of mind, body and spirit begins with embracing the koshas and energetic body as key to holistic wellness. An ayurvedic approach to health, subtle body healing, and other prana nurturing practices will be developed while also understanding how individual doshas and the effect of seasons, situations, and mindset affect our health and wellbeing. 


Pathologies, Anatomy, and Science of healing, Case Studies

Students will study a Western view of mind, body and spirit ailments and how clients are being treated, symptoms and common approaches to healing (such as how patients are dealing today with cancer, depression, or parkinson's) so that yoga therapy is understood as a complimentary practice for pain management and living our best life now even when addressing health challenges. Each student does a yoga therapy research project to learn how to address groups to introduce yoga therapy and to teach the therapists how to research and prepare in cases when new or unique issues present themselves with clients.

Philosophy: Adherence to the teachings of the Yoga Sutra, Buddhism, Bhagavid Gita and Upanishads supports deeper understanding of the goals and processes of yoga for enhanced spirituality which is vital for counseling clients and creating a treatment plan with respect to yoga’s foundational teachings.  Several approaches to healing both physical and mental issues require a deeper understanding of yoga’s philosophical teachings, as well as helping the future therapist learn how to communicate these teachings to others and/or adapt them to life today.

Therapy Procedures: The yoga therapy trainee must develop a broad based understanding of the 8 limbs of yoga,   yoga practices, Koshas, Ayurveda and pathologies, then learn to assess illnesses on a variety of levels, form a treatment plan, and determine how to employ the variety of approaches to energetic, physical, and spiritual healing studied in this program. After developing advanced yoga skills and forging a deeper understanding of yoga therapy, students must next learning how to develop a treatment plan or program, the best way to implement it, and consider the legal, ethical and logistical demands of mentoring a group or private treatment sessions as a professional.

Practicum: After finishing the coursework, students must do an internship or practicum utilizing what has been learned with clients. They will document the work and submit a final review with their mentors. 

Transfer Credits: The Heartwood RYT-300 program serves as foundational training for the yoga therapy program at Heartwood.  This means, students who have earned a 300 certification at this facility can transfer credit from these modules towards their yoga therapy certification. Please note that our 300 hour program has evolved, and some modules have been added to the Heartwood 500 yoga therapy certification after 2017 in accordance with yoga therapy changing standards, so students who took their 300 at Heartwood prior to 2018 may need to attend those newer modules that were not a part of their academic program. There is no fee to take these new portions of the 300 training, but the modules are required for the yoga therapy certification so they must be attended.

Click here for a list of all the coursework required for the Yoga Therapy Certification.

Click here for information on tuition and residency schedules.


17507 Waterline Rd. Bradenton FL. 34212

Registered yoga teacher trainings