Vancouver School of Healing Arts has been green-lit to run an advanced 500-hour Yoga Therapy Program starting in February 2019. The program, which has been approved by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, is one of the only 500-hour yoga therapy trainings offered in BC and gives VSOHA the ability to offer 800 hours of yoga therapy training, when combined with the 300-hour Foundations of Yoga Therapy Program.
Chelsea Lee, Program Director of Yoga Therapy at the Vancouver School of Healing Arts, said “There is a need and a desire to have more highly trained yoga teachers. It’s exciting because it allows our students to take the next step in their careers and work more cohesively with people in the western medicine field.”
What sets VSOHA’s 500-hour yoga therapy program apart from others is it’s strong grounding in the western biomedical model, allowing students to join the conversation with other health practitioners, including chiropractors, physiotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.
“Our program teaches students to look at and assess all aspects of the person. We work to determine the root cause of the imbalance and empower individuals by giving them the tools to find their own healing or way back to balance,” Chelsea said.
The program teaches a physiotherapy-based form of assessment & treatment called the Integrated Systems Model, created by physiotherapist Diane Lee. This whole-person approach to therapy is combined with yoga techniques including breathwork, asana and meditation to address physical, mental and emotional issues or imbalances.
Another unique aspect of the program is the self–directed study where students choose an individual, condition or population to work with that they are particularly interested in. Over the course of eight documented yoga therapy sessions and through secondary research & participant feedback, they gather information to qualify the effectiveness of offering yoga as therapy.
“Because yoga therapy is so broad in its application, I wanted to allow the students the freedom to get really clear on the avenue they want to work in, similar to post-graduate degree programs.” Chelsea said.
Graduates of VSOHA’s 300-hour program are already applying their knowledge and skills in diverse industries. Some of their career paths include working as the Yoga Therapy Program Director at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health & Addiction, offering trauma informed yoga for veterans and first responders, at an integrated naturopathic clinic with other healthcare practitioners, starting their own private practice and pairing yoga therapy with continued studies in other wellness practices.
Chelsea said, “I’m so excited to watch our students grow and evolve further in their teaching and see our diverse and incredible faculty come together to offer education from their fields of expertise. The pinnacle will be the case study project – seeing how much value our students and graduates are going to add to our society and the yoga therapy industry. I can’t wait!”
The 500-hour Advanced Yoga Therapy Program will be offered every two years, starting in February 2019. The 15 month training will delve deeply into all of the elements required to offer personalised Yoga Therapy sessions for both groups and individuals.