What an interesting moment we are experiencing. Accusations of Russian interference in U.S. elections. Natural disasters in Bangladesh, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Sierra Leone. Refugees fleeing from Burma and Syria. Saber rattling around North Korea. And everyday interactions driven by an often toxic and hateful culture of online outrage that threatens to overshadow the humanity of every individual who strives to remain positive, optimistic and aspirational about our collective future.

Standing in the center of these global and local tempests is a fellowship of peace activists, doing their part on a daily basis to offer sanctuary and antidote to what is happening in the external world. They are yoga teachers who share the gifts of yoga with anyone willing and able to seek a better way forward. In a world that can feel overwhelming for many, yoga teachers offer hope, balance, and a pathway to health, happiness and freedom. Maybe it sounds unrealistic given the enormity of the challenge, but we believe that yoga teachers are making a difference. Every yoga class, every offering, every retreat, every training, every OM and every teacher contributes to our ability to create a better world for our children and all future generations.

We understand that the yoga community has its own challenges and conflicts. That is why at Yoga Alliance we believe that yoga teachers, studios and schools deserve a better support system than what you have had in the past. We believe that skillful yoga teachers can motivate and inspire entire cultures to be more tolerant, more patient and kind. And we believe that the yoga community, as a whole, needs to join together to step into a role of global leadership when we are most needed, now more than ever.

Toward that end, Yoga Alliance is changing. As a first step, today we introduce the Standards Review Project through the attached video and website. It is merely the first of many efforts by Yoga Alliance to demonstrate a new level of support for yoga teachers and students. Our efforts will be imperfect, and at times may feel less than adequate, but we believe that any worthy journey starts with a new beginning. We hope that this new start will lead to more yoga, more compassion, more love, more connection, more collaboration, more inclusion and more peace in our community and in the wider world.

Carefully reviewing yoga standards together with you will help us determine how best to cultivate yoga’s future, and guide us into a natural and non-harming evolution that serves teacher, student and society. It will allow Yoga Alliance to grow fully into its role as a member association that supports yoga teachers and students, and will evolve and enforce standards that will uplift the profession and promote meaningful service for the betterment of humanity.

In yoga,
David and Shannon