Yoga therapy is rooted in the ancient practice of yoga, which originated thousands of years ago in India. In the west Yoga therapy emerged in a formal manner in the 1980s as a result of the study conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish. The study illustrated how the implementation of a healthy lifestyle program could reverse heart disease and other forms of related illness. Ornish’s program included therapeutic yoga and was the first of its kind to highlight the benefits of using yoga in this way. This program for treating heart disease was approved for insurance coverage in 1990 and it marked the beginning of yoga as a treatment option. In 1983, the Biomedical Yoga Trust was founded to further develop and standardize the field of yoga therapy.
In the year 2003, The International Yoga Academy (IYA) was founded by Dr. Yogananth Andiappan, in Hong Kong. Guruji Dr. Asana Andiappan and Late Guruma Sugatha Kumari were the founding presidents of this organization. Through the organization, over 2500 yoga teacher training graduates have been professionally trained and are currently teaching in over 50 countries. This organization has help bridge the eastern and western philosophy. IYA and its member organization’s support research and education in yoga and serve as a professional organization for yoga teachers of all traditions and lineages.