Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research

Lisa teaching Urdhva Dhanurasana with a chair

In June Lisa Walford represented Iyengar yoga at the Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research "SYTAR" conference in Newport Beach. Lori McIntosh assisted in the presentation which consisted of a beginner's practice for the Sinking Mind (major depression); a powerpoint on research and mechanisms behind the practice, and a demonstration of a sequence for a Stormy Mind (anxiety driven depression). The sessions were well attended, and students/teachers left with practical material they could apply in their sessions.  Lisa has presented in two former conferences, Patanjali's stages of Transformation in healing HIV Infection (2007); as has Beth Sternlieb on Yoga for Breast Cancer survivors, and Eric Small on MS in 2007, 2008; Marla Apt on the Use of Props for Therapeutic purposes in Iyengar Yoga (2007) and Yoga for Women's life cycles and panel discussion (2009) and David Shapiro on Basic Research on Yoga; the mechanism relevant to therapy (2007 & 2009).

Lisa believes that It is important for Iyengar yoga teachers to stay current on research in yoga therapy. While much of current research is done in Iyengar Yoga, she says, there are many studies using other yoga systems that are proving effective as well. While yoga is a big field in America, yoga therapy is evolving. This organization, IAYT, is helping to shape and support this emerging field by creating high professional standards that will be applied to all yoga therapists, she says.

John Kepner, Executive Director of IAYT with 
Lisa Walford

Lisa attended a special pre-conference Meeting of Schools where progress reports on the grandparenting process for registration as yoga therapists and accreditation for schools wishing to build a curriculum that will meet the standards established by IAYT were explained. Forms will be available in early 2017 to apply as a yoga therapist through the grandparenting process. This opportunity will be available for one year only, and Lisa strongly suggests that Iyengar Yoga teachers consider registering. IAYT is positioning itself as the organization that can help to self-regulate yoga therapists; and prove a high standard of professional development.

From the IAYT website: International Association of Yoga Therapists "IAYT" supports research and education in yoga and serves as professional organization for yoga teachers and yoga therapists worldwide. Our mission is to establish yoga as a recognized and respected therapy.

Larry Payne, Julie Carmen, Lisa Walford, Lori McIntosh, Phil Goldberg

Founded in 1989, IAYT has consistently championed yoga as a healing art and science. Membership is open to all yoga practitioners, yoga teacher, health care practitioners who use yoga in their practice, and yoga researchers.

As of 2014, IAYT has over 3,400 individual members from 48 countries and over 130 member schools.