Eighteen years ago Yoga Alliance created standards to preserve the quality of yoga education and practice. The prevailing ideology at the time was that Yoga Alliance could assure the public that a registered yoga teacher met an appropriate level of safety and quality, while the community itself could self-govern to ensure diversity in the teaching of yoga. Of course, the world has changed a lot since 1999. Yoga teachers now serve a global community of millions of individuals in dozens of countries. New research and understandings in human physiology, inclusivity, accessibility, trauma sensitivity, cultural issues, yoga’s history, and yoga’s relationship to the healthcare and wellness communities have brought us to a point where the standards need a thorough review.
The Standards Review Project brings together thought and field leaders, wisdom holders, not-for-profit and for-profit business leaders, Yoga Alliance members and non-members, yoga teachers, and yoga practitioners from around the world in a comprehensive and inclusive process. We need your voice.
The Standards Review Project explores questions and topics within eight key areas of inquiry:
A Scope of Practice is necessary to protect the public and clarify the role of yoga teachers in contemporary society. What is a yoga teacher trained to do, exactly? What do they do in practice? How is it different in the many environments in which they work? This working group will collaborate to address these questions.
A Code of Conduct will lay the foundation for safe yoga education. As educators and practitioners we know that non-harming, honesty, and inclusiveness are prerequisites for student safety. We believe that the gifts of yoga are better served when supported with a solid ethical foundation.
Yoga is for everybody. Taking proactive steps to promote inclusion in yoga, this area of inquiry aims to remove barriers to entry, leverage cultural differences, and foster safety in all areas of yoga. This includes examining how inclusive practices can be introduced in teacher training programs.
What content, if any, needs to be standardized? Does yoga need a “common core”? What basic knowledge should every yoga teacher share (examples could be Anatomy and Physiology, Seva, Yoga history, Culture and Philosophy, Ethics and Scope of Practice, trauma sensitivity)?
Experience and knowledge play an important role in teaching yoga. What prerequisites, if any, should exist for taking a teacher training? Is the current 200hr/500hr system sufficient? Should the “hours” system be scrapped? What skills and competencies should exist in a yoga teacher?
Perhaps the most influential people in yoga are those who train teachers. Is the current requirement of E-RYT 200 the correct standard to take on this task? Do teacher trainers need a different type of education specifically geared toward training teachers?
If an hours-based credential model moves toward a competencies-based model, how should the integrity of standards be ensured? Should there be a national or international exam? If so, who would design and administer it? Who should take it? Who and how would it be administered, and how frequently? Should yoga schools be required to administer a practicum exam?
What aspects of yoga teacher training translate easily into the online sphere and what aspects don’t? What sort of quality controls must be in place to offer quality online education? What sort of best practices must be maintained to use online education wisely? This Working Group will explore the appropriate role of online education in yoga.