The Yoga Alliance is fighting to keep other organizations from regulating yoga teacher trainings around the country.
This may seem like a noble fight because it’s inevitably going to cost teacher training programs even more money to run if they need to meet standards outside of what the Yoga Alliance already requires. And the groups interested in regulating yoga programs are usually part of state-wide licensing organizations that have no association, interest or experience with yoga, so how could they effectively improve curriculums?
But the bottom line is— Yoga Alliance has a stake in this fight only because it could affect how much money is going into their pocket. They want to maintain their monopoly on yoga schools and are simply threatened by other organizations’ proposals. Yoga Alliance may require that schools devote a certain amount of teaching hours to philosophy, asana, practice teaching, etc., but they have no way of measuring the quality of the teaching or actual curriculum being offered.
I believe that the teacher training that I co-teach is exceptional. Our graduates are more than prepared to teach a class when they are launched out into the world, and our emphasis on furthering their education beyond a mere 200-hours is strong. But when I practice with new teachers from other schools, very often they are entirely unprepared.
The Yoga Alliance is not concerned with what kind of teachers are being produced. They are interested in having control over these schools, programs and graduates so that they make as much money as possible.
What’s the solution? Most teachers today are opting not to register with the Yoga Alliance. But if a teacher wants to teach a Yoga Alliance approved teacher training program, they must register.
What if every yoga school boycotted the organization? If we all, collectively, stopped paying our RYS and RYT dues, having YA certification would no longer hold value (not like it holds an incredible amount of value currently), and perhaps new, more thoughtful standards would eventually take shape.
I think a lot of students searching for teacher training programs are looking for Yoga Alliance registered trainings because they don’t know any better. That’s what they were told to do and they think it makes the training more credible, which just isn’t true anymore, if it ever was. So another big component of this shift involves reaching out to aspiring teachers and informing them about the politics of yoga education before they make a choice.
Yoga is a multibillion dollar industry and we have a responsibility as students and teachers of yoga to make mindful choices about how our money is spent. Making the Yoga Alliance richer is not an intelligent way to spend our money.
~ Anonymous Yoga Teacher