Yoga Alliance USA have finally had to acknowledge that their standards for teacher trainers are woefully inadequate. They have succumbed to increasing pressure from both a section of their own members and more significantly to the lead set by Yoga Alliance Professionals, a UK not for profit based company which has crusaded for the past 12 years to save yoga teaching from mediocrity and indifference. As the industry leader in promoting the importance of higher standards, Yoga Alliance Professionals are excited to see this shift, but is it good enough?
YA USA’s suggestion to raise their own standards sounds like a stop gap measure to delay the inevitable conclusion that they have been hugely responsible for the downward spiral of yoga teaching standards.
Currently Yoga Alliance USA only require two years of experience for a teacher to set up a training school. By doing this they have been able to make the point of entry extremely easy.
This allowed YA to sign up over 7000 trainers and 80,000 teachers (recurring revenue of over $5,000,000). While this was a great business strategy, the impact it has left on Yoga and the ‘Traditional path’ as a whole has been borderline disastrous. As in all respected professions, experience is a highly valued asset, and one that cannot be bought or hurried. Training good yoga teachers requires time, wisdom and knowledge, and that can only be attained through experience. We call this the ‘Traditional path’. By shifting away from the Traditional Path, yoga has become increasingly superficial; no longer is knowledge and experience a critical part of what it takes to become a yoga teacher. The path to inner discovery can only be attained by being guided by someone who has acquired enough experience and knowledge over a significant time.
This is why our non-profit accreditation organisation was founded. Back in 2006 we decided to set uncompromisingly high standards. We increased the minimum standard by 400%, meaning that anyone wanting to train teachers needed a minimum of 8 years and 4000 hours of teaching experience, and we’re finally seeing the fruits of our labour.
By doing this we understood only a fraction of trainers would meet these standards. This would limit the number of trainers and teachers that could join our organisation. But a non-profit is not motivated by profits, which allows us to stay focused on our mission and values to raise standards for yoga globally.
We’re certainly excited to see our hard work paying off. The world’s largest accreditation body has finally admitted there is an issue with the model they have created. While they are halfway there, this is no time to celebrate. They are suggesting a new standard which requires a lead trainer to have 4 years and 2000 hours teaching experience. This is still only half of what we have set for the minimum standard. It is noteworthy that YA USA are increasingly using the adjective ‘professional’. It seems like a weak attempt to give the appearance of supporting professional yoga teaching without any substance.
And we believe increasing standards is only part of the battle. There is a dire need for a massive education campaign across the world addressing the crises yoga is currently facing. Our team has been hard at work putting the pieces in place and making this happen.
Even though we have a fraction of the members, we’ve invested heavily in new features and products that help teachers and trainers who meet the highest standards stand out from the crowd.
If you are a yoga teacher or trainer and share the same concerns, and would like to contribute, please click here to learn more about how you can get involved.