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State Regulation of Yoga in Texas

State Regulation and Licensing of Yoga Instruction in Texas

Janaki
janaki108@live.com
October 10, 2010

In January of this year, a number of yoga teacher training programs in Texas received letters from
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The letters politely informed the program directors
that they might be operating career schools as defined by Chapter 132 of the Texas Education
Code. The letters requested that the studios or schools apply for an exemption or become licensed
vocational schools. You can read the code at:
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.132.htm

The Texas Education Code has been in effect since 1972. Representatives of the TWC have
informed the yoga community that any program of instruction offered to the public, for which a fee
is charged, must obtain a Certificate of Approval or be determined exempt from regulation. The
TWC has only approached those that offer teacher training or continuing education programs. This
is not a tax, (yoga teachers and businesses pay taxes just like everyone else). This is not an attempt
to license yoga teachers (unless they train others to teach). Some argue, though, that submitting to
licensing of training programs is the first step towards state licensing of yoga teachers.

Yoga teacher training programs have grown in popularity along with yoga, and the programs have
also become more formal, due in part to the formation of the Yoga Alliance, which set voluntary
guidelines for such programs starting in 1997. Many states have been pursuing licensing of such
programs, with different results and reactions from the yoga community. Many argue that teaching
yoga is not a career, or that their programs are intended for personal enrichment.

Programs in Texas were licensed as early as 2006, and there are currently 10 licensed programs in
Texas. Many other programs in Texas have received exemptions from regulation by modifying
their programs and demonstrating that they are avocational.

Under the TWC’ s interpretation of the code, those who offer yoga instruction must either:

  1. Demonstrate that their classes and programs are exempt
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Approval (become licensed career schools)

You are not exempt unless the TWC grants the exemption. Individuals and businesses that offer
yoga programs should read the code and seek advice from the TWC or an attorney to ensure that
they are in compliance.

How will this affect the quality, cost and availability of yoga instruction and teacher training
programs in Texas? Should the yoga community submit to the licensing of training programs as
career schools? Should we seek more rigorous standards or work together to fight any type of
regulation? Yoga practitioners, teachers, and organizations, as well as all businesses that offer yoga
instruction, should join the conversation.

The International Association of Yoga Therapists Yoga Therapy Today December 2009 issue
contained articles by Patricia Kearney and Leslie Kaminoff discussing state licensing.

Visit http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/texas-yoga/ to read and consider signing a petition against
regulation.

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