SYTAR 2021: What happens at an online yoga therapy conference?

Last month the International Association of Yoga Therapists hosted its annual Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research. Known as SYTAR, the 3-day event was held online for the first time in the conference’s history. Attendees from around the world tuned in for presentations, panels, practice sessions, and more.

Presentations with breadth and depth

Marsha Banks-Harold, C-IAYT, at SYTAR in 2018

This year’s SYTAR brought together medical doctors, healthcare professionals, researchers, psychologists, yoga therapists, and those interested in deepening their knowledge of yoga therapy. People tuned in to learn about the most recent advances in yoga therapy practice and research, including talks on nada yoga therapy (the yoga therapy of sound), current biomedical research on mind-body practices, and how modern healthcare can benefit from yogic wisdom to support health and well-being. 

Here are just a few of the conference’s unique highlights: Keynote speaker Stephen Porges, PhD, discussed the groundbreaking research behind polyvagal theory* and its close links to the ancient wisdom of yoga. Longtime yoga teacher De Jur Jones, C-IAYT, shared her story of bringing yoga programming into communities that often lack access to these transformational tools. Marsha Banks-Harold, C-IAYT, offered insights into the importance of self-care for leaders and trailblazers so that one can not only manage but thrive amid difficulties.

Diving deep into experiential learning

SYTAR practice sessions guide participants through yoga therapy techniques

Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, attending yoga classes online may feel familiar for many. SYTAR’s morning and evening practice sessions featured teachers from various backgrounds guiding specialized classes geared toward specific wellness goals. Practices included pain care yoga, yoga therapy for stroke survivors, yoga for burnout, aging into vitality, and therapeutic yoga for the neck and shoulders. Not only does the incorporation of practice sessions set SYTAR apart from most conferences; this feature also speaks to the value yoga therapy places on experiential learning. 

Panels, presentations, and practice sessions alike offered attendees multiple ways to dive deep into the positive effects yoga therapy can have on health and well-being.

SYTAR On Demand: Access symposium recordings today

If you missed the live conference you can still access recorded sessions! Tune in on your own time with full access for the next year through SYTAR On Demand.


*Polyvagal theory emphasizes the importance of the nervous system and physiology in social behavior and psychological functioning.