Yoga therapy is a relatively recent innovation; while texts on the therapeutic applications of yoga exist, yoga was traditionally taught to promote optimal stages of spiritual attunement. The field has grown remarkably in the past decade, informed by recent advances in medicine and spurred on by increasing consumer demand for complementary and alternative treatment modalities. If you are an interested yoga practitioner, yoga therapist or instructor, or simply curious, two upcoming conferences will help you learn more about the exciting frontiers in yoga’s evolving role in the US healthcare system and the scientific community.
The Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research (SYTAR), Sept. 1-4, 2011 at Asilomar Retreat Center in Monterey, CA, is a 3-day conference chock-full of experiential sessions with renowned yoga therapy professionals and scientists, discussions about setting professional standards, presentations on yoga research and community-based initiatives being undertaken by yoga therapists across the country, and multiple options for morning practices.
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The Symposium on Yoga Research (SYR), Sept. 23-25, 2011 at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, was launched last year in response to the increasing demand for a community and forum for yoga researchers and interested individuals to collaborate and share findings. This groundbreaking meeting is the first US symposium to exclusively focus on the scientific research of yoga. Last year’s conference was a great success; John Kepner, IAYT’s President, shares that while they projected only 40 would attend, the conference maxed at at over 200 attendees. This year promises to be equally exciting with keynotes from luminaries in the emerging field of yoga research.
As the field evolves and the potential for yoga therapists to effectively interface with medical professionals and insurance companies grows ever stronger, the need for high and credible professional standards is paramount, and an area at which the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) has proven at the forefront.
Increasing the scientific knowledge base of yoga’s benefits (and contraindications) is also greatly needed; with scientific validation and understanding of its benefits, yoga would prove an even greater accepted treatment modality and enjoy reimbursement by insurance companies, similar to well-validated programs such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.