That’s not MY yoga alliance…

This is a slight meandering from my blog ‘Choosing a Yoga Instructor’; read this one in conjunction with that one 🙂  …  {updated 2020}

YOU HAVE GOT TO get past the ‘veneers’ folks; false advertising, fraud/fake gurus abound registered or otherwise and do not be mistaken, no gov’t authority currently requires registration or certification at this point in time.

IF WE ARE NOT ALL VERY CAREFUL and a whole lot more discerning there may be a risk that these registries will create a more fundamental global problem for us all as their modus operandi contributes to the malfunction already occurring, one that many never conceived when they embarked on ‘investing’ in their Yoga journey. These registries may even slope through such a crisis ‘teflon stylie’ (they’re so good at politics).   Just look at the numbers of places that have a YA or similar registry symbol attached to their yoga studio whereby they have registered themselves as a Yoga Teacher AND/OR a Yoga Teacher Training Course.  Once you’ve got their logo you can then set about selling yourself as something ‘vaguely more’ by having it.  It is ridiculously easy to do/exploit this.  There is even a snobbery distraction that goes along with being registered with particular registries; it is indeed a difficult choice to make, ‘what kind of snob value’ each one has that might appeal to you and if you choose to not register with one or all they are very good at shunting your ‘non choice/Yoga community’ into a lower order (as defined by them) and to discredit anyone who chooses not to be a part of their club and they have a whole team of paid up members who will also do that same work for them.

I think they have hyped themselves ‘up’ and ‘in’ over their heads. They do things like attempt to give themselves a moral high ground by saying grand things like “The impetus to establish YAUK came from two main sources: the first was the declining standards in teacher training and the second was to stand up to the attempted hijacking of yoga by the fitness industry.”  The fitness sector hijacking Yoga into gyms etc. is nonsense in this day and age! that cat is sooooo long escaped from the bag (decades ago)… no YA is going to be able to check that! it is what it is. More worryingly! unless ‘they’ change there is a case to be made about them actually expediting, expanding, exploding the declining standards in teacher training themselves in the last few decades!

PRACTITIONERS SHOULD DEFINITELY NOTE these jumped up registries have not been recognized by any government as a particular authority with regards to Yoga ALTHO’ they desperately WANT people to believe that and probably through pestering they may achieve it eventually because, let’s face it, what does gov’t know about policing of Yoga? they may at some point concede to the YAs of the world.  Sadly, if there ever is a government interference in the regulation of Yoga they will probably liaise with ‘these’ groups because ‘they all speaka da same language’ (politics wise) and gov’t certainly will be no expert in Yoga speak; can you imagine them knuckling down to try and comprehend the Yamas and Niyamas? I don’t think so; they will navigate towards what is easier and familiar to them (language and structure wise) and who has probably keenly approached them in the first instance; ‘the corporate registry’. Maybe because of gov’t ignorance of our sphere we will all be forced to take part in paying another organization money for doing very little.

THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF YOGA. There is no govt requirement for registration or certification at this point in time.  A Yoga ‘registry’ is different to a ‘Yoga authority’ (which as mentioned doesn’t exist even ‘tho there are pretenders to the title).  MANY ‘registry’s use language to make themselves seem more important, established, recognized, essential; they are expert at using language to associate themselves with the idea of authority.

Through the mere passage of time they have acquired a ‘history’ for themselves, seeming more established through ‘age’ and their membership numbers have crept slowly up over a long time which at a glance can seem impressive and compelling (but I believe is more testimony to the excellent brainwashing of the ever increasing numbers of YA 200hr ttc trained younger instructors); all that in itself lending an air of credibility to their ‘apparent’ purpose as defined by their own words. I expect every teacher training course that signs up to their registry in turn promotes the YA to the trainee teachers as a ‘must have membership’ and that then propogates etc… etc… etc… yawn.  They have also created a ‘corporate governance’ for their own organizations (that has nothing whatsoever to do with policing Yoga schools or teacher trainings!) e.g. they have: ‘board of directors’ ‘by laws’ ‘committees’… that is corporate governance for their own organization to police themselves which I suppose can make them seem even more trustworthy. Sounds good that they at least know how to operate as a business and set a standard for their own ‘day to day’ operation but what is the point if there is just no way they can infiltrate the day to day of the Yoga businesses they say they accredit.  All this can be {be}dazzling to the young new to Yoga wannabee ‘professional’ (in all likelihood who doesn’t know what it is all about and has noone to help them interpret) and appear to add substance for them, but to the eye that has been watching this unfold over decades, all merely demonstrating there is much money to be made in that performance and what they do so it is very much worth investing in (for them) and establishing a veneer of corporate governance for themselves. They seem so much more ‘robust’ (now THERE is a word that can be mis/overused!).  A registry may be ‘officially’ established. What does that mean? YM is ‘officially’ established; but. I don’t think we are particularly ‘important’ or ‘essential’… (well ~ maybe essential 🙂 … but not ‘compulsory’ 😉 )? we are just fulfilling local requirements in order to be able to conduct our classes. As you do.

THEIR MOTIVES ARE MIXED. The desire to ‘be the boss’ can be overpowering for some.  I have no doubt there will be people within them with the very BEST of intentions/ideals but ~there is money to be made~ and, mostly from my view, it all boils down to a money and power grab.  YA America I believe is the largest Yoga instructor ‘registry’ on the planet.  The Yoga registries of the world (every country seems to have one) WANT you to believe they are the answer.  They WANT to be the governing body so they call themselves ‘the governing body’. They ‘say’ they represent our sector but anyone can say anything if there isn’t a chance that Trading Standards has them on their radar (outside their comprehension and they have so much more to deal with). They are expert in creating a veneer of respectability and authority.  Registries are vying with each other to be top dog and the ones that get a lead in each country then embark on a global quest to find similar in other countries that they can merge with to maybe become THE world authority.  They are not my governing body.

IF one wants to be part of such a group then so be it.  Some new to Yoga instructors may feel it somehow ‘validates’ what they do; they want to point at a ‘registry’ logo to somehow give themselves substance. They may be misled or they may KNOW whats really happening and not feel misled; just want to be part of the group (their choice) OR just want to use the veneer to build or reflect their own veneer off. But please don’t point at the ones who consciously choose NOT to be part of what they deem to be another hollow or nugatory organization.

IT IS TRUE THAT Yes many yoga teacher training courses could definitely do with inspection but those choosing to register with the YAs of the world may only be randomly inspected but I very much doubt each and every single one of them is experiencing an annual unannounced ‘in person inspection’ and thus there is no real impetus to uphold standards for fear of inspection or closure. As mentioned before, you are either that person with standards or you are not and I know there are enough shoddy/mediocre ‘teacher training course’ money grabs in the world that are supposedly meeting {what they call} their registry ‘accreditation’ standards to prove to me that these registries serve no purpose or benefit to the general public or yoga community.

HOW DO YOU SHOW YOUR STUDENTS YOU CARE ABOUT THEM IN WAYS THEY DIDN’T KNOW THEIR YOGA TEACHER/STUDIO SHOULD BE CARING ABOUT THEM? You do not need a YA in order to have standards or police yourself.  You don’t need YA to know how to take care of your students; if you care about them you will take care of them. You either care or you don’t. No amount of signing up with a registry is going to make you that person. If one is a Tamasic teacher running a studio or TTC, no tickbox or checklist is going to identify/capture that! (If one is Tamasic and has the will to deceive or harm then one will do so regardless of a YA).  If one is just plain ‘not suitable’, careless, sloppy, inappropriate, not mindful, not enough experience) even without a particular ‘ill will’ (as in Tamasic), again, no tickbox or checklist is going to capture that and get it ‘up to standard’.

IF ONE NEEDS TO BE TOLD how to take care of your students, the starting point is any yoga teacher training course attended should be guiding you on ‘how to take care of students’! (and I don’t mean by telling you to ‘register on a registry’!).

REMEMBER! whatever you do (registry or otherwise) your chosen field of ‘Yoga teaching’ is not exempt from the other things that keep up the standards in business or anything to do with business: Health & Safety, Consumer Protection Laws, Codes of Practice, Best Practice, Local Authority requirements, Local Laws, ‘local business registrations/compliance’, Insurances, tax, rates etc…


So I would say to be a ‘Professional’ in this sphere you should study, you should gain at least one certification as a start point and you should absolutely do CPD (continuing professional development)! You should constantly refresh on the Yoga basics and stay on top of Raja Yoga practice.  IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT YOU DEMONSTRATE AND FOLLOW AND ABIDE BY YOGA ETHICS AND ALL LOCAL REQUIREMENTS; LEGISLATIONS, INSURANCES. THAT IS HOW YOU KEEP YOURSELF IN CHECK. Important too that you have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) (as well as any other insurances required for you, your instruction, your premises and/or business).  If you care about your students THIS is where to put your extra overhead money, not some registry. Crazy Gods forbid that something should ever happen (and I believe it to be rare in the Yoga world) but if your student ever needs to avail of that PII insurance, if it is in place everyone concerned will sleep a lot better at night. What if something ‘unexpected’ like the Pandemic crops up ~ what do you do? You mitigate. How do you know how to mitigate? YOU DO THE WORK TO FIND OUT! RESEARCH! days and days of it to get it right. BECAUSE YOU CARE about your students. I certainly wouldn’t be waiting for a YA/registry to tell me how to take care of my people and they have never been a port of call for me. Being with a YA does not auto make you a better person, better teacher or a professional.  You are that person or you are not.  They use the word ‘standards’ (as in setting them) but seriously do you not have the basic standards needed to be the Yoga instructor you want to be already (and that does not require experience)?

WE certainly don’t need a YA to organize us. Maybe it’s a good ‘idea’ but they have a long way to go yet to prove themselves.  In the meantime ‘we’ NEED to all follow the fundamental Yoga Ethics that so many pretend to align with. Yoga students need to be more discerning and do their homework on their chosen Yoga instructor/school.   AFTER ALL! RAJA YOGA IS OUR PRACTICE! Yamas & Niyamas (Observances & Restraints) and compliance with any local legislation regarding health and safety re students and premises: THAT is the minimum standard that all should meet. Anyone embarking on a Yoga journey needs to become acquainted with them and judge (if necessary) their chosen school/teacher is right for them; THE STUDENT NEEDS TO BE MORE DISCERNING; the teachers need to teach their students to be more discerning. THAT will keep the standards up!

Om Om Om Don’t Believe The Hype


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