The Difference Between 

Yoga &

Yoga Therapy 

Many people want to know how a Yoga Therapy session and a regular Yoga session are different, and which will perfectly match their needs.

Yoga Therapy follows the path of the ancient science of Yoga and works towards the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being of a person.

Yoga Therapy is beneficial for those who want to maintain a healthy body and those who are looking for relief from the health issues. A Yoga Therapy session includes various Yoga techniques and tools to reconnect an individual back to his or her mind, body and soul. Although a Yoga Therapy session and Yoga have a few things in common, there are certain ways in which they are different.

Firstly, lets take a look at the two disciplines:

What is Yoga?

Whenever we hear about the word Yoga, an image of a yogi in a mountain pose comes to our mind immediately. Yoga has been an ancient Hindu discipline, a science of life, a practice, a gateway to god, a method for self-improvement, and furthermore explanations. Yoga teachers use various things. There are hundreds of reasons for doing yoga, and the main reason is it improves your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. There are many scientific pieces of evidence which state that a few minutes of yoga can do wonders to your health.

What is Yoga Therapy?

As all kind of Yoga forms could be therapeutic, it gave rise to yet another branch called, “Yoga Therapy”. Yoga Therapy was first introduced by Swami Kuvalyanada in the 1920s. He found that it is possible for us now to figure out and assess the physical and physiological changes that occur during Yoga practice. His ideas created new ways of thinking and helped to study the impact of yoga on various medical conditions and ailments.

Yoga Therapy helps people to calm their minds, feel stress-free, pain-free, more emotional balance, and become connected with their inner soul. No matter what difficulty you are going through, Yoga Therapy will help you achieve positivity and gives you tools to expand your physical and emotional happiness.

Yoga Therapy is classified into three broad categories which are related to each other. 

  1. The first aspect of Yoga Therapy is similar to physical therapy which uses basic movements known as asanas to get relief from pain, recover injury, or gain vital energy.
  2. The Second form of Yoga Therapy is quite similar to psychotherapy that is performed by using mental and emotional yoga practices to cater to change, loss, indecision, depression and other internal struggles.
  3. The third aspect of Yoga Therapy is associated with psycho-neuroimmunology. It is a branch of psychology that deals with the study of relations between the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. It illustrates some of the fine facts of psychosomatic medicine and how the body exhibits our internal state of thought and feeling.

Although yoga is a therapeutic practice, there are significant distinctions between a yoga therapy session and yoga. Clarity about these distinctions is helpful for the teacher/therapist, as well as for the student/client.

Let’s Get Started

What is the distinction between a Yoga Therapy Session and a regular Yoga session?

Yoga Therapy works while keeping your goal in mind!

Yoga Therapy follows the two-fold approach whereas Yoga follows a one-size-fits-all kind approach. A yoga Therapy session is performed while keeping your needs in mind. A yoga Therapy session for relieving neck pain, for instance, will be different from a Yoga Therapy session that targets depression.

So, whether you want to get relief from chronic pain, recover from injury, improve flexibility, reduce stress, or achieve overall wellbeing, the Yoga Therapists will design the session as per your needs.

Yoga Therapy modifies the Yoga poses as per your body’s requirements

During a Yoga Therapy Session, the therapist will first understand your needs and then modify the Yoga poses that best suit your body by utilizing modifications, alignment and adjustment. It’s the duty of the therapist to understand the client’s requirements and tailor the best therapy session to help them. Yoga Therapists make sure that you will get the maximum benefits from each Yoga posture.

Whereas, a yoga class just targets only Yoga methods or techniques and does not focus on how these methods and targets can help people avail more benefits and feel better after attending the class.

The Applications of Yoga Therapy and Yoga

There is a huge difference between the applications of Yoga therapy and Yoga. Normally, Yoga is taught to people in groups, with few Yoga postures and a certain time is set by the teacher for meditation to cater to the needs of the group.

While on the other hand, Yoga therapy follows an individualized approach. As the Yoga Therapist concentrate more on individual disease or medical ailment of a person. Yoga Therapy sessions are mainly designed keeping the illness of each client in mind.

How to become a Yoga Therapist?

To become a Yoga Therapist requires lots of training compared to becoming a yoga teacher. A Yoga Therapist requires a minimum of 500 hours Yoga Training preferably even more. Besides, in some cases, yoga therapy sessions are well supported by medical experts such as psychologists, neurologists, etc. Under the guidance of these experts helps the students to get well versed with the effects of medicine, physical therapy, and mental health. On the other hand, a Yoga class does not have such a setup. A yoga class just has a yoga teacher explaining and teaching various yoga postures.

Thus, the role of a Yoga Therapist is based on a various skill set, focus, and type of learning. Also in some cases, the Yoga Therapist can be a Yoga teacher. Both these roles are specific and are not interchangeable always. A Yoga class is focused on teaching methodology while a Yoga Therapy session is focused more on healing, as well as treatment of different kind of ailments.

Yoga is becoming more popular day by day because it is good for your health. That’s why everyone should do it, but not every pose if for everybody. As you reach a certain age, it’s wise to be concerned and mindful about your life condition. In any case, if you’re imagining that yoga isn’t for you since you may hurt your back, knees or shoulders; please reconsider. Yoga  therapy might just be the answer.


For a more therapeutic approach to Yoga teaching take your skills to the next level with Mahi Yoga Schools Advanced Yoga Teacher Training Courses at








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