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2020 End of Year Standards Update

Last Updated: July 18, 2023

Throughout the challenges of 2020, our member teachers and schools adapted to yoga’s ever-changing landscape to safely and successfully share its benefits with their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic rocked individual, communal, and economic health, bringing real-world impacts on how you are able to serve and teach in your communities.  As your Yoga Alliance, we recognize our responsibility to adapt our work to best serve your needs.

Though we recognize this challenging chapter is ongoing, new research and progress in the global health crisis response is bringing a post-pandemic future slowly into focus. Therefore, we are looking closely at our existing Standards as they serve our members today, with a strategic eye on what’s to come.

Today, we acknowledge the following: now is not the time to ask you to make more changes than 2020 has already asked of you.

In the year ahead, we will practice our commitment to up-leveled Standards by continuing to learn from members’ experience using the Online Teaching Exemption, listening to and communicating with members to understand their evolving needs, and using credible global health resources to predict what may be soon needed by the yoga community. We will also take this time to pause some previously planned Standards initiatives (as detailed below).

Though we do not know what the exact adjusted timelines for these will look like, we remain steadfast in our commitment to modernized Standards that promote high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable yoga teaching, and promise to give you enough time to understand and meet any updated deadlines once they are established. This likely will not be before your 2023 renewal date.

Find updates on the following Standards items and how they apply to you and your credential below.

Members impacted:

  • RYS 200s
  • E-RYT 200 Lead Trainers

What we said and when: In June 2019, we announced that all RYS 200s must up-level to the new Elevated Standards at their next renewal date or no later than February 2022.

What has changed: Due to COVID-19 impacts, the up-level deadlines for current RYS 200 members have been put on pause. Through what we've learned from the Online Teaching Exemption we will be continuing with Distance Learning in perpetuity, with the requirement that trainings be 15% synchronous (AKA live) format. Members can anticipate timeline specifics arriving prior to their 2023 renewal date and with ample time to meet up-leveling requirements.

Members impacted:

  • RYS 200s
  • E-RYT 200 Lead Trainers

What we said and when: As part of the Elevated RYS 200 Standards June 2019 announcement, we communicated that all Lead Trainers of an RYS 200 must up-level to an E-RYT 500 by February 2022.

What has changed: This date has been extended and we will communicate the exact date shortly. Please rest assured that once we make an official announcement, we will provide everyone with plenty of time to meet the Up-Level Standard requirements.

Members Impacted:

  • RYS 300
  • RYS 500

What we said and when: In June 2019, along with the Elevated RYS 200 Standards, we announced that in one year we would be up-leveling the 300 and 500 Standards.

What has changed: We had finalized our updates to these Standards and were preparing to announce them in June 2020. However, in order to evaluate whether the impacts of COVID-19 will require any updates to our work, we have put this announcement on pause. Throughout 2021, we will consider how to best incorporate the learnings from the Distance Learning Teaching.

This initiative is designed to recognize the depth of wisdom held by long-experienced teachers through our E-RYT 500 credential, regardless of whether their formal training categorically fits into our RYT 200, 300, or 500 “boxes.” This initiative marries Yoga Alliance’s original mission of “many paths, one alliance” with our current mission of serving high quality and equitable yoga teachings. Look for more information on this pathway here.

What we said and when: In a November 6, 2019 newsletter,  our President and CEO Shannon Roche described the creation of the Intermediary Status Provision, which was intended to run from August 2020 through July 2021 for E-RYT 200 Lead Trainers who have led RYS programs for three or more years. It allowed for those who applied and qualified to continue to use their existing E-RYT 200 credentials in concert with their significant experience to remain as LTs without the need to upgrade to an E-RYT 500 credential. This pathway was created to support existing Lead Trainers who face considerable barriers to up-leveling, includingthe lack of time to up-level, financial constraints, robust experience, and access to trainings due to geographical location.

What has changed: This provision is now a moot point, as more options have evolved for Lead Trainers in terms of the four major areas of concerns.

  • Concerns due to timeline: Lead Trainer requirements will now correspond with the updated RYS 200 Standards deadlines, which are currently on pause.
  • Concerns due to financial constraints: New survey information shows that nearly half of directory-listed RYS 300 and RYS 500 accounts offer work-trade or scholarship opportunities. Soon, these school members will have the capability to include this information in their directory listing for Lead Trainers to easily identify as they seek out teacher training programs with financial support.
  • Concerns due to ample experience: The addition of the Experienced Teacher Pathway will serve those members who believe they would not benefit from completing a program with an RYS 300 due to their existing experience.
  • Concerns about access to training due to location: The addition of the 2021 Online Teaching Exemption allows more RYS 300 programs to become accessible via Distance Learning. Many Lead Trainers who did not previously have geographical access to an RYS 300 will now be able to use our directory to find programs being taught virtually. To help Lead Trainers easily identify participating schools, RYS programs included in this exemption will have a delineating badge within the YA Directory.

What we said and when: At the beginning of COVID-19, Yoga Alliance allowed online teaching exemptions for limited timeframes for RYS programs to account for the onset of social distancing restrictions and public health safety guidelines.

What has changed: In July 2023, we announced that the Distance Learning Standards would permanently allow RYS to host their trainings in an online, live, or hybrid format. The training must have 15% synchronous (real-time) content for teachers and students to interact.

This decision was made in the best interest of public health and safety due to the extended need for physical distancing in many locations and, as a result, in overwhelming response to membership feedback.

Members Impacted: All RYS members have until December 31, 2021 to apply.

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