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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Local Studio Hosts World-Renowned Comprehensive Yoga Therapy Training Program

Jun 28, 2014 04:31AM

When Comprehensive Yoga Therapy founder, Dr. Bob Butera began his Ph.D., work in yoga therapy more than 20 years ago at the California Institute of Integral Studies, he had a vision that one day its scope and practice would be as common here in the west, as it was where he studied at the Yoga Institute of Mumbai in India.

During that same time frame, Butera was fortunate enough to meet and join forces with other like-minded yoga folks who had formed the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). Over the last 25 years, what started as a well-intentioned group of 20 people has grown into a 3000-plus strong member community that reaches around the world. Butera recently served as the vice president of the board of directors, which brought his connection with IAYT full circle.

As the leading organization in the field, IAYT is committed to advancing yoga therapy education, training and research. While training programs in yoga therapy have become more popular in the west, the IAYT accreditation committee has been hard at work developing standards for schools, in order to establish a high level of quality for associated trainings. This effort will ensure that this burgeoning field of study and practice continues to have a voice as a respected healing modality in the larger modern forum. The current standards are the result of more than three years of concentrated work and measured consideration, and this past June at the annual SYTAR conference, the Comprehensive Yoga Therapy training at the YogaLife Institute was announced as one of the first 12 programs in the world to be officially certified by IAYT. 

Comprehensive Yoga Therapy (CYT) training has been offered in only three locations, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Ontario. Starting in September, a fourth CYT program location will be offered at the East Meets West Yoga Studio in Vienna, Virginia, to reach the District of Columbia metro area.

Butera’s vision is one of a Comprehensive Yoga Lifestyle approach—using ancient healing methods to balance a person from within. The conveniences of modern living paradoxically unfolded a new burden generally referred to as stress. Imbalance within any area of a person’s life may be termed stress. Children, the elderly, as well as busy professionals, all share this modern common, yet invisible ailment of stress.

The role of the yoga therapist is to use diagnostic tools based on yoga philosophy and psychology, to assess and understand the whole person and guide them to embrace the many different and interrelated levels on which healing can occur. While a human being may not always be able to control pain or the outcome of the healing process, yoga teaches that each individual may overcome the resistance to pain or suffering. Through sophisticated mechanisms of awareness, yoga therapy can empower people physically, psychologically and spiritually. Yoga’s holistic approach to living opens up a potential paradigm shift that can transform an individual’s experience of stress.

This concept of yoga therapy intends to shift the current cultural healthcare perspective, from the passive patient model, to a more active model where the patient is a student of their own processes and becomes empowered to be a proactive participant in their own healing. It does not intend to make the yoga therapist into a doctor, psychologist, physical therapist or other professional who deals with acute disease conditions. In this model, the yoga therapist works with other medical and healing professionals as a supporting expert who offers clients highly personalized lifestyle and stress management plans. Each aspect of the human experience is seen as having the potential to be a source of healing and inspiration, and healing can be explored on the physical, energetic, mental/emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels, as needed by the practitioner. Yoga practices are put to use in daily life and, over time, become an integrated part of an overall approach to living a healthy lifestyle.


East Meets West Yoga Studio will host the 10-month, Level One Comprehensive Yoga Therapy program training in Vienna, VA, beginning in September, the first program IAYT Accredited program in the D.C. area. For more information or to register for the training, call Dawn Curtis at 703-356-964, or email [email protected]


Dawn Curtis has been leading yoga teacher trainings since 2010 and is the owner of East Meets West Yoga Center. She has been blessed with the privilege to participate in many teaching-training intensives, workshops and weekend retreats, by amazing yogis with decades of experience teaching. She has been recently certified as an Ayurvedia Yoga Specialist through the Himalayan Institute.


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