Yoga Alliance Statement on Sexual Misconduct in Our Community
Published: December 5, 2017
Given the well-publicized history of yoga readily visible via internet search, it should come as no surprise that, just as in other communities, there is a pattern of troubling sexual misconduct within some parts of the yoga community. As an organization dedicated to serving yoga teachers and students, it is important that we openly acknowledge this reality even as many reported incidents were allegedly perpetrated by people who are not members of Yoga Alliance – and simultaneously commit to definitively turning the page on that history.
Acts of sexual harassment, assault or criminal activity of any kind by any yoga teacher are unethical and illegal and will not be tolerated by Yoga Alliance. We condemn the physical, mental, emotional, financial or spiritual abuse of any yoga student.
This fall, Yoga Alliance launched a comprehensive and inclusive Standards Review Project to re-evaluate and update our teaching standards. A key pillar of this effort is creating an Ethical Code of Conduct to define what is and is not appropriate. It is our aim to help protect public safety and to create a robust educational and reporting platform from which we can elevate the profession of yoga teaching.
We believe we benefit from the input of a diverse spectrum of expert advisory voices as we undertake this critical effort and will be relying on many qualified resources to help us develop our new policies and procedures. We are especially pleased to have RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) consulting with us as we work over the next several months to evolve to new standards of professional ethics and understanding of a yoga teacher’s appropriate scope of practice.
As we work through our Standards Review Project, we are committed to tackling issues of sexual misconduct in our community head on. As it may take a bit of time to develop useful and robust policies and educational resources, and as Yoga Alliance is not a law enforcement or judicial body itself, it is important to remember that Yoga Alliance recommends that all victims of sexual misconduct or other crimes immediately seek any necessary assistance, including contacting the police, a victims’ rights advocate, and/or a lawyer.
Very simply, every human being has the right to practice yoga free from abuse, harassment, and manipulation.