The program at Cleveland Clinic, created by Judi Bar, is one of the first Yoga Programs within a major medical institution. She is a Yoga Therapist, certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). With over 40 years of practice, she is an experienced Yoga Therapist. She practiced in the community in her own studio for 10 years before coming into this academic setting.

Judi came to yoga after her own chronic back pain led her to adapt yoga for her self-recovery and care. She brought her approach to Cleveland Clinic and co-wrote a curriculum for a chronic disease reversal program, Lifestyle 180. That comprehensive lifestyle medicine program laid the groundwork for many other programs currently offered at Cleveland Clinic Center for Wellness and Preventive Medicine. She has developed programs for caregivers, families and patients. Judi calls her approach Heart Centered yoga, an inclusive practice that is accessible to everyone, including those who are not comfortable/capable of a traditional yoga class.

Judi’s vision for the yoga program has been to bring yoga to diverse populations. Currently, her yoga team participates in patient care programs including SMA classes for- Eating Well, Brain Wellness, Long COVID and Employee Yoga. She has bought yoga to care of hospitalized lung transplant patients and into the community in the form of free Community Yoga classes in underserved neighborhoods. Yoga Therapists have an outpatient clinic for both physician- and self-referred patients, and an in-person class for chronic pain patients. The yoga group participates in research studies with Employee Health, Neurology, and collaborative studies with Boston University.

Judi is recognized nationally. She has been a featured speaker at the International Association of Yoga Therapists, Integrative Medicine and at Women’s Health Conferences. Judi has been featured in Yoga Journal, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, and Yoga Therapy today. She is an expert participant in the panel that created criteria for Yoga Therapy testing credentials and is on the advisory board for Yoga Therapy Today and She has released two yoga DVDS (“Come As You Are Yoga” and “Come As You Are Yoga: in Nature”).

She continues to grow yoga programs to meet the changing and growing needs of complex patients and the caretakers who work and care for them at Cleveland Clinic.