Yoga Alliance has identified eight key areas of inquiry for this Standards Review: Scope of Practice, Code of Conduct, Integrity, Inclusion, Teacher Qualifications, Core Curriculum, Teacher Trainer Qualifications, and Online Learning. Throughout the year, each of these areas of inquiry will serve as a theme for a month of community conversation and engagement.
In addition to direct feedback from members and non-members, YA has formed working groups of 10–15 subject-matter experts from within and outside yoga for each of these areas of inquiry. Each working group will work through a series of moderated video conference calls over a 6–12 week timeframe during 2018, where they will address specific questions on their respective topics; review and submit feedback to a Yoga Alliance liaison; and assemble a report of recommendations, which will be submitted to Yoga Alliance on the working group’s behalf.
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 yoga teacher trainers need a different type of education specifically geared toward training teachers (e.g., curriculum design, teaching methodologies, etc.)?
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.