A Letter From Erin
Dear Yoga Alliance Member,
As a follow up to Shannon’s letter yesterday, we are pleased to share greater detail about how the member-wide Ethical Commitment, the enhanced standards underlying the foundational-level Registered Yoga School (RYS) 200 credential, and the strengthened application and review process—all first announced in June 2019—will impact you, our membership. These enhancements will strengthen our voluntary community’s ability to have a greater shared accountability upheld in integrity, and none of this would have been possible without the work of you and the broader yoga community that participated through surveys, phone calls, emails, and many other ways. In particular, we want to acknowledge the contributions of our many working group and task force members who spent countless hours helping shape what you see today. Thank you.
With our goal being to support and foster the high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable teaching of yoga, we did not take this evolution lightly. The journey to these enhancements was long, intentional, and measured. From this 18-month, community-led Standards Review Project (SRP), three major themes emerged:
- Our credentials must identify and support our members as experts and professionals who stand for quality, safety, accessibility, and equity in yoga;
- For this to be credible, we—Yoga Alliance—must be able to uphold the credentials with integrity through enhanced standards and a strengthened application and review process; and
- We need to better support our membership via continued advocacy, the expansion of our educational resources and member benefits, and community-wide dialogues in support of the field’s challenges, such as equity in yoga and power and empowerment, so that our practice can continue to evolve alongside the cultures in which it is found.
Taking all of the above into consideration and to task, last summer, we created this now-shared Ethical Commitment, the up-leveled RYS 200 standards, and the strengthened application and review process as a first step of many towards these three clear imperatives raised by the community. Collectively, this will give us far more visibility into how our member schools and teachers are training the next generation of teachers and teaching the current and future generation of practitioners with the goal of operating our professions with appropriate safeguards for those participating.
The Member Ethical Commitment
The Ethical Commitment resulted from a clear call from Yoga Alliance membership and the broader yoga community asking for greater clarity on how to effectively welcome and support all who wish to practice yoga. It is intended to offer safe and respectful guidelines for the profession of yoga teaching for our membership and to clarify for the practicing public that Yoga Alliance credentials can be viewed as indicators of yoga teaching that has taken quality, safety, accessibility, and equity into consideration. It is comprised of three parts:
- an enhanced Code of Conduct, cited as “very important” by 91% of yoga professionals and 88% of yoga practitioners in the SRP survey;
- a new Scope of Practice, identified as “somewhat to very important” by 86% of yoga professionals in the SRP survey; and
- a shared responsibility to increase equity and representation in yoga, as highlighted by the SRP Inclusion working group and expanded upon in Yoga Alliance’s position on equity in yoga.
How does this impact you as a current member?
Each of these components represents the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing dialogue with and amongst our community around these topics, deserving far more attention than I can give them here. We will begin by hosting several online discussions, the first of which will be on March 17, March 31, and April 14, on these various components. We also welcome suggestions about other ways we can and should be supporting and engaging with the membership around these important changes. Visit our Events page for an up-to-date schedule with descriptions of the topics to be discussed, and, as always, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated Yoga Alliance Policies
To maintain and manage our membership’s shared accountability and support our goal of promoting and upholding the high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable teaching of yoga, we regularly revisit and improve existing policies and/or create new policies as deemed necessary. As such, we would like to notify you of two new policies—an Anti-Harassment Policy and the above Scope of Practice—as well as improvements made to our standing Grievance and Sexual Misconduct policies and the above mentioned Code of Conduct.
We have also audited and updated our internal processes as necessary in order to best support you in respect to these policies under which our voluntary membership operates.
Up-leveled Standards Underlying the RYS 200 Credential
Aspiring yoga teacher training programs began applying under the up-leveled RYS 200 standards yesterday, which evolved from an hours-based Educational Category model to an hours+competencies-based Core Curriculum model. In addition to an emphasis on learning objectives transparently tied to instructional hours, the new RYS 200 standards require all of the minimally required 200 hours of this foundational-level credential to be classroom hours, 40 of which may be delivered via an online classroom setting, under certain Educational Categories. For more information, please see this infographic.
How does this impact you as a current member?
If you currently operate an RYS 200 program, you have until January 14, 2022 to begin your application ensuring that you up-level to the new standards by the required deadline; however, you may up-level at any time between now and then. All current RYS 200 programs will operate under the new standards by February 26, 2022.
Strengthened Application & Review Process for All New RYSs
To provide for greater shared accountability across our membership and to ensure RYSs meet or exceed the new standards, new applicants for any RYS will now apply under the strengthened application and review process. The enhanced application will help us gain a deeper understanding of all RYS applicants by requiring the submission of new comprehensive application elements, such as schedules, curriculum, assessment methods, training manual(s) and other materials. In addition, all new RYS programs will be required to have their own policies that they uphold and make available to their students, such as a Code of Conduct, an Anti-Harassment Policy, and a Refund Policy, etc.
To accompany this strengthened application, we are implementing an academic-style peer review to ensure a fair, consistent, and thorough process. In addition, all RYSs will be required to re-credential every three years to ensure they continue to meet or exceed the YA standards.
How does this impact you as a member?
If you are applying for a new credential for a yoga teacher training program that is not currently registered, you will follow this strengthened application and review process. If you are an existing RYS 200 member, you will be following this new application and review process at the time of your school’s up-level. If you are simply renewing a current RYS, this enhanced system will not impact you until you up-level to the new standards underlying your RYS credential(s).
Click here to learn more about the strengthened application and review process as well as to access the Guidebook to RYS Application with various resources to support you through this new system.
We realize it may take time to fully digest the details and intricacies of these developments fully, and we are here to support you. Please know our intention is for this transition to be as easy as possible with minimum disruption to your yoga profession.
To ask questions regarding the shared Ethical Commitment for all members, the standards underlying the foundational RYS 200, or the enhanced RYS application and review, please reach out to Member Support Monday through Thursday from 10am until 6pm ET and Friday from 10am until 5pm ET at 1-888-921-YOGA (9642) or via email at email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support while we utilized the space and time necessary to listen to your feedback, address your needs, and implement changes accordingly. We know this is just one step forward of many and look forward to continuing the positive evolution of yoga teaching alongside you—our membership—for the betterment of yoga everywhere.