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Frequently Asked Questions About the New Standards

Find answers to common questions about the significantly enhanced RYS standards in these FAQs and on the New RYS Standards page.


Changes for School

When do I need to update my syllabus to meet the new 200-hour standards?

If you are currently an active RYS, you have one year from your 2020 renewal date to submit your updated syllabus, or curriculum. For example, if your renewal date is May 1, you may renew under current RYS 200 standards in 2020 but must update your curriculum to the new standards by May 1, 2021.

If you are a former RYS 200, currently inactive, first you must renew your registration, and then you will have one year from your 2020 renewal date to submit your updated curriculum.

Schools applying for the RYS 200 credential after February 1, 2020 will apply under the new RYS 200 standards. View the Overall Implementation Timeline here.


By what date does a new school or track for the RYS 200 credential need to apply under the updated standards?

Schools applying for RYS 200 status for the first time will need to apply under the new standards beginning February 1, 2020. View the Overall Implementation Timeline here.


What happens if I don’t submit my syllabus by my next renewal date in 2020?

If you do not submit your syllabus by your next renewal date in 2020, you will not be able to renew your school in 2021. Then, your school will no longer hold the Yoga Alliance credential, and your trainees will not be able to register with Yoga Alliance after completing your training.


Did the Lead Trainer, Teacher Trainer, and Other Faculty requirements change with the new standards?

Yes. As of February 1, 2022, a Lead Trainer of any RYS 200 will need to hold the E-RYT 500 credential. You may view the requirements to become an E-RYT 500 here. Before this date, the current Lead Trainer requirements hold true. Currently, there are no changes to Teacher Trainer and Other Faculty requirements.

In addition to Lead Trainers having to hold a higher credential, 75% of an RYS 200’s classroom hours will need to be taught by a Lead Trainer(s) beginning in February 2022. This means that the Lead Trainer(s) will need to teach 150 of the classroom hours in a 200-hour training. The remaining 25% of classroom hours may be taught by Other Faculty members. You can learn more about this requirement here.


Will Yoga Alliance now require re-credentialing as part of its new RYS 200 standards?

Yes. Re-credentialing will occur every three years after a school first applies for RYS 200 status under the new credentials. For example, if a new school applies February 1, 2020 and is accepted April 30, 2020, it will go through a re-credentialing process three years later, between February and April 2023. We will contact our schools to share information about the re-credentialing process in the future.

Is there a fee to submit the updates to my syllabus?

No – there is no fee to submit your updated syllabus.

Are there any changes to the registration fees or membership dues with the updated standards?

While there are no changes to the cost of the application (a US$400 fee) or the annual credential dues (US$240), there are some changes to the process for submitting these fees and dues.

Effective July 15, 2019, schools will only be able to renew for one year at a time, and the renewal payment may be submitted no more than three months prior to the school’s renewal date. For example, if a renewal payment is due on November 15, 2019, the payment may be submitted as early as August 15, 2019, and the school will be renewed until November 15, 2020.

Beginning February 1, 2020, and when applying or renewing under the new RYS 200 standards, schools will pay separate application and credential fees. A school will pay an application fee at the time of application, and when approved, the school may choose to join Yoga Alliance by paying a credential fee. Once the credential fee is paid, the school may proudly display its Yoga Alliance RYS credential and access the benefits of Yoga Alliance membership.

View costs for schools here.

Why do I need to submit updates to my syllabus?

The changes to our standards align with the feedback we received from the Yoga Alliance membership and the broader yoga community through the Standards Review Project. We heard from the community that it wants us to uphold the value and integrity of our credentials, to foster the development of skillful yoga teachers, to support accountability and public safety in the teaching of yoga, among other things.

The evolution of our standards is a step towards fulfilling this expectation. So, too, is instituting re-credentialing process after three years so that we review updates to RYS programs to ensure that standards are continuously being met. We look forward to continuing to listen to and learn from our membership. If you have any questions about the changes, contact our Member Support team at info@yogaalliance.org or 1-888-921-9642.

Do these changes really up-level the RYS 200?

Yes! The elimination of non-contact hours significantly increases the time trainees spend in the classroom, either in-person or online – from 180 hours for some schools (current standards) to 200 hours for all schools moving forward (new standards). The adoption of a common core curriculum across all RYS 200s, which includes four categories and thirteen competencies, ensures a shared understanding of foundational yoga concepts while enabling schools to teach across the vast lineages, styles, and methodologies that we love and practice, free from external government regulation. The requirement that lead trainers teach 75% of the RYS 200 curriculum and all be holders of the E-RYT 500 credential by February 2022 provides that experienced, tenured teachers train the teachers of tomorrow.

In addition, the accountability measures – from the requirement of an assessment to the expanded application process to the new Code of Conduct – will foster a larger, stronger yoga community that agrees to principles of voluntary, self-regulation.

Are accountability measures in place to ensure that all schools comply to the updated standards?

Yes. Yoga Alliance is continuously updating the way in which it holds schools accountable within a voluntary, self-regulating community. We are dedicated to ensuring that schools that choose to be Yoga Alliance schools comply to our shared standards across the membership. Steps we have taken include enhancing the application process to include a 20-point checklist as well as an academic-style peer review panel and updating our policies regularly to encourage accountability and to monitor compliance through a grievance policy.

In addition, under the new RYS 200 standards, each RYS owner will be required to agree to and uphold a Yoga Alliance Code of Conduct and will have to share with Yoga Alliance their own school policies for grievances, sexual misconduct, code of conduct and refunds, among others. Anti-harassment and non-retaliation clauses may be included in these policies. In addition, each school will properly assess its trainees for knowledge, skills, and experience across 13 competencies to ensure that graduates have the foundational knowledge to lead quality and safe yoga classes.

I don’t have time to submit an updated syllabus.

We understand that these changes may be significant for many of our schools and that they impact time and other resources. We took this into consideration when we created our timelines as we purposefully wanted to up-level our schools at a measured pace, giving members time to acclimate and change. All current RYSs will have one year from their 2020 renewal date to up-level to the new standards. For example, if your renewal date is May 1, you may renew under current RYS 200 standards in 2020 but must update your curriculum to the new standards by May 1, 2021. If you have any questions about the changes or need assistance, contact our Member Support team at info@yogaalliance.org or 1-888-921-9642.

The change from 180 contact hours to 200 classroom hours will increase expenses for my business.

We understand that these changes may be significant for many of our schools and that they impact costs and other resources. Our goal is not to upset any school’s livelihood, so we took this into consideration when we created our timelines to allow members time to acclimate and plan for the changes. All current RYSs will have one year from their 2020 renewal date to up-level to the new standards. For example, if your renewal date is May 1, you may renew under current RYS 200 standards in 2020 but must update your curriculum to the new standards by May 1, 2021. With the updates to the standards, an RYS can now offer 40 of the classroom hours online (20 hours in Anatomy & Physiology and another 20 hours in Yoga Humanities), which might provide an opportunity to optimize costs.

Did the educational categories change with the updates?

Yes. The updated RYS 200 standards moved from five educational categories to four categories with thirteen competencies defined within. The requirements for Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle, & Ethics is now termed Yoga Humanities, and Teaching Methodology and Practicum are both under Professional Essentials.

How many hours are required for each new category and competency?

Techniques, Training, Practice requires 75 hours; Professional Essentials requires 50 hours; and Anatomy & Physiology and Yoga Humanities require 30 hours each. In addition, another 15 hours can be Elective and spread across any of the 4 categories. Each RYS has flexibility within these 4 categories with respect to how to allocate hours across each competency underneath. The required assessment of each of the 12 competencies is included in the overarching category hours. View the Common Core Curriculum here.

Can my syllabus include topics outside of the categories and competencies of the core curriculum?

Yes, and we encourage our RYSs to add any incremental topics as desired to support the lineage, style, and methodology that they teach. In fact, many foundational-level teacher training schools, those operating under the RYS 200 credential, include as many as 250 classroom hours. However, these additional topics are outside of the 200 hours of the core curriculum as outlined in the updated RYS 200 standards and therefore are incremental hours.

Do the new RYS 200 standards include contact and non-contact hours?

No. The updated RYS 200 standards no longer use the nomenclature of contact and non-contact hours. Rather, the new RYS 200 standards use the term classroom hours, of which all 200 required hours must be. The majority of these classroom hours must be taught in-person (a minimum of 160 hours) while up to 40 may be taught online (20 hours maximum in Anatomy & Physiology and 20 hours maximum in Yoga Humanities). Each of these categories requires 30 total classroom hours, so a minimum of 10 hours in each must be taught via in-person classroom hours.

Hours that trainees spend completing projects, writing reports, doing homework, and attending yoga classes are not included as classroom hours in the new RYS 200 standards. However, Yoga Alliance encourages RYSs to still include these components in their syllabi and curricula to reinforce the learnings of the overall program.

Do the updates include readings from required texts?

No. Yoga Alliance is not mandating any particular reading from any required text. However, traditional and modern texts that ladder up to the core curriculum and/or that relate to yoga concepts in support of your school’s lineage, style, and methodology should be considered. When your school upgrades to the new RYS 200 standards, you will be asked to provide an updated syllabus as well as a list of texts that you are requiring of your trainees along with rationale for what you are using and why.

Can I include topics outside of the new standards in my syllabus, such as Reiki, Ayurveda, etc.?

Yes. However, these topics would be outside of the minimally required 200 hours in support of the core curriculum. The new RYS 200 standards center on an hours + competencies model centered around a core curriculum that covers foundational yoga teacher training concepts. You can certainly include supplemental hours in your syllabus to cover these outside concepts in support of your school’s lineage, style, and methodology.

May I offer a survey of different lineages and styles of yoga in my syllabus?

To support trainees in their learning of a consistent approach to teaching yoga, a syllabus must include content that pertains to one yoga lineage, style, or methodology rather than a survey of different approaches. That said, Yoga Humanities includes the history of yoga in the ancient and modern world, which can include a survey of different lineages and styles of yoga.

I understand that Yoga Alliance will be requiring an assessment. Is there a standard core competencies assessment test?

Under the new RYS 200 standards, Yoga Alliance will require that all RYSs assess their trainees across all four categories and thirteen competencies prior to graduation. Yoga Alliance itself will not be creating or conducting this assessment. We expect that each school will develop its own method for assessing knowledge, skills, and experience of each. The school will still be the entity to graduate their trainees. The completion certificate that the school issues can be used for as part of a graduate’s registration with Yoga Alliance for RYT status.

Do the new standards include a mentorship requirement?

Right now, the new standards do not include a mentorship requirement. However, we believe strongly that mentorship is an important way in which trainees learn to be teachers, and we encourage schools to offer mentorship as a component of their training programs.

These initial changes are only the next step in our journey of upholding the integrity of our standards. We will be reviewing the possible requirement of mentorship across the next year and will share any updates in future newsletters and on our website. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters to be informed of changes as they develop. Select “Communications Preferences” in your online account to update your subscription preferences.

Do the new standards include a trainer:trainee ratio?

Yes and no. Yoga Alliance will not be requiring a certain trainer:trainee ratio at this time. However, we do request that schools implement a ratio that is conducive to a supportive learning environment. When your school upgrades to the new RYS 200 standards, you will be asked to provide trainer:trainee ratio along with rationale for how the ratio aligns with the teaching methodology for your school.

Will Yoga Alliance provide a sample syllabus for the new RYS 200 standards?

Yoga Alliance does not want to unduly influence a school nor define how it should train teachers on its lineage, style, or methodology. Rather, we have created a framework that supports hours + competencies, centered around a common core curriculum, that still provides freedom and flexibility for schools to teach yoga freely and without unnecessary restriction.

Do you have a copy of my RYS syllabus?

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide you with a copy of your current or past syllabus. However, if you became an RYS after 2013, your syllabus is available to you in the “Manage School” section of your online account.

What else do I need to submit with my updated syllabus?

To align with the changes to the standards, we enhanced the application, which includes various checkpoints. Required elements include the syllabus, curriculum, and hours-by-competency allocation; the overall schedule; manuals and other training materials; letters of intent; and more.

In addition, Yoga Alliance will introduce an academic-style peer review panel which will ensure a fair, consistent, and thorough review process of each application.

Is the review process changing given the changes to the RYS 200 standards?

Yes! We are pleased to enhance the process we use to evaluate each RYS application beginning February 2020 when new schools start applying under the new RYS standards. We learned through the Standards Review Project that our membership and the yoga community overall want us to uphold the value and integrity of our credentials, to foster the development of skillful yoga teachers, to support accountability and public safety in the teaching of yoga, among other things. The evolution of our standards and the enhancement of our review process is a step towards fulfilling this expectation.


How do I submit my updated syllabus?

You can submit your updates through the “Manage School” section of the School Dashboard. The new RYS 200 standards will take effect beginning February 1, 2020, and we will notify our members when our system has been upgraded to support the new RYS 200 requirements.


How long will it take to review my updated syllabus?

We review application on a rolling basis. We understand that it is important for applications to be reviewed quickly to support the business operations of a school. To streamline the review process, we have upgraded the application process, which includes a new 20-point checklist and a peer review panel.

However, it is important for new schools applying for RYS 200 status for the first time and for current RYSs that are renewing that they wait to market themselves as an RYS 200 until their application has been renewed.


Do the changes affect a “parent” and affiliate RYS 200 relationship? If so, how?

Yes. With the updates to the RYS 200 standards, we will require all RYS 200 members to be standalone credential holders, which means the option to be an affiliate school will be discontinued by the start of 2022.

If you are the “parent” school in an affiliate RYS 200 relationship, you will no longer have an affiliate school attached to your RYS 200 in our system. Likewise, if you are the affiliate school in such a relationship, you will no longer be able to use the “parent” school’s syllabus through our system.

This is in large part so that we can uphold the credentials with integrity through these enhanced standards and a more thorough application and review process.

We encourage both the “parent” school and affiliate school to communicate about this change to plan for the future as this likely affects your working relationship with each other.


By when does an affiliate school have to hold its own RYS 200 credential?

As of December 31, 2021, all RYS 200 affiliate school programs must hold their own standalone RYS 200 credentials.


As a “parent” school, when will my relationship end with my affiliate school?

If you are the “parent” school of an affiliate RYS 200, your relationship with your affiliate school will end after you update to the new RYS 200 standards. You will function as a standalone RYS 200 at this time.


As an “Affiliate” school, when will my relationship end with my “parent” school?

If you are the affiliate school using the syllabus of another RYS 200 program, you have two paths from which to choose:

  1. Continue use of the training syllabus of your “parent” RYS program until it up-levels to the new RYS 200 standards; at that time, you must then apply under the new standards with your own syllabus and as a new RYS 200 program; or
  2. Develop your own syllabus sooner, and apply under the new standards as a new, standalone RYS 200, separate from your “parent” program’s timeline for up-leveling to the new standards.

As a former affiliate school, may I submit the syllabus of my “parent” school when I apply as my own standalone RYS 200?

Perhaps. You would need to obtain permission from your former “parent” school. This would involve a separate legal agreement, outside of the Yoga Alliance credentialing system, to allow for you to use another RYS’s syllabus. You would still need to submit specific information that relates to your own school, including information on Lead Trainers, Other Faculty, and more. Click here for more information on the application process.


How do these changes affect an affiliate RYS 300 or affiliate RYS 500?

Currently, there are no changes to the relationship between affiliate RYS 300 or RYS 500 schools and their parent schools. Changes to the syllabi for the RYS 300 and RYS 500 credentials will be announced next year in June 2020, effective for new schools February 1, 2021 and current schools January 1, 2022. We will be reviewing possible changes for affiliate RYS 300 and RYS 500 schools in the next year and will share any updates in future newsletters and on our website. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters to be informed of changes as they develop. Select “Communications Preferences” in your online account to update your subscription preferences.


Are there changes to the syllabi for the RYS 300 and RYS 500 credentials?

Changes to the syllabi for the RYS 300 and RYS 500 credentials will be announced next year in June 2020, effective for new schools February 1, 2021 and current schools January 1, 2022. Yoga Alliance will ensure to move at a measured pace and allow time for schools to acclimate and change.

Until the RYS 300 and RYS 500 standards change, schools should follow the existing standards, which include educational categories and contact and non-contact hours.


Can I have an RYS 300 without an RYS 200?

Yes! Though Yoga Alliance will not be announcing new RYS 300 and new RYS 500 standards until next year in June 2020, effective July 15, 2019, existing schools may renew an RYS 200 and RYS 300 separately in their account. Effective October 1, 2019, we will be enhancing our system to allow an RYS 300 to register as a standalone school without an RYS 200.


Are there changes to the Yoga Alliance specialty credentials?

Changes to the YA specialty credentials, specifically the Continuing Education Provider, the Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher, and the Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher, will be announced next year in June 2020.


Will there be any changes to Social Credentialing or the Yoga Therapy policy?

Right now, no – there are no changes to Social Credentialing or the Yoga Therapy policy at this time. However, we will be reviewing Social Credentialing and the Yoga Therapy policy across the next year and will share any updates in future newsletters and on our website. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters to be informed of changes as they develop. Select “Communications Preferences” in your online account to update your subscription preferences.


 

Changes for Yoga Teachers

I am already an RYT. Do I need to take another RYS 200 that is operating under the new standards in order to stay an RYT?

No. If you currently hold an RYT credential at any level, none of these changes affect your credential(s). If you are a graduate from an RYS 200 but have not joined Yoga Alliance yet, you may still register with Yoga Alliance to become an RYT 200 as long as your school was an active RYS 200 at the same time as the completion date on your certificate. View the path of an RYT here.


Are there any changes to RYT policies with the standards changes?

With the up-leveling of our standards, RYTs will need to agree to a Code of Conduct and Scope of Practice that represents a shared ethical commitment of all Yoga Alliance teachers to proper behavior. This will take effect February 1, 2020 and any renewal afterwards.


Will I be required to take any additional courses to hold my current credential?

Yoga Alliance will offer an online course on equity in yoga that will qualify as 10 Continuing Education credits that all RYTs must take in the first year of this new commitment. RYTs must complete the course within the first year of this new commitment.


What is meant by equity in yoga?

Equity is different from equality; equity ensures that we all have the resources needed to reach a goal while equality provides everyone access to the same resource, regardless of the needs of an individual or group. In addition to representing quality and safety in yoga teaching, the Yoga Alliance credential will signal an awareness of and commitment to changing the social and systemic inequities that currently exist in yoga so that the practice is more accessible to all populations.


When do the Lead Trainer requirements take effect?

The Lead Trainer requirements take effect February 1, 2022. We chose this date, more than 24 months after the announcement, to allow time for currently eligible Lead Trainers to upgrade their credentials, if needed and if desired.

Before this date, the current Lead Trainer requirements hold true. As of February 1, 2022, however, a Lead Trainer of any RYS 200 will need to hold the E-RYT 500 credential. You may view the requirements to become an E-RYT 500 here.

In addition to Lead Trainers having to hold a higher credential, 75% of an RYS 200’s classroom hours will need to be taught by a Lead Trainer beginning in February 2022. The remaining 25% of classroom hours may be taught by faculty members. You can learn more about this requirement here.


Is there an alternate pathway for registration to be an E-RYT 500?

Yoga Alliance will announce a clearly-defined alternative registration pathway for teachers who have extensive training and teaching experience, who share similar ethical commitments with Yoga Alliance, and who provide quality, safe, and accessible yoga classes to their communities. We are excited to offer a new pathway for these teachers and will share updates to this through our website and membership communications in the near future.


I don’t have the time or money to upgrade my credential to an E-RYT 500 in order to be a Lead Trainer.

We understand that this is not an easy update for some of our members, but it is the right decision for yoga to support quality and safety in teaching and to ensure that experienced teachers are training the next generation of teachers. To accommodate this, we have allowed for more than two years for schools and teachers to plan and prepare for this change. By February 1, 2022, any Lead Trainer must hold the E-RYT 500 credential. The update aligns with the feedback that we received from the global yoga community through our Standards Review Project. You can review a white paper with recommendations from the Teacher Trainer Qualifications working group on how our standards should evolve.

We have also announced two new initiatives - the Intermediary Status Provision and the Advanced Study Program – to help current experienced and new E-RYT 200 Lead Trainers with this change in requirement. Click here for more information, and stay tuned for when these limited-time initiatives will open.

Please contact our Member Services team for support with upgrading your credential at info@yogaalliance.org or 888-921-9642.


Given that the RYS 200 standards now include a common core curriculum shared by all RYS 200s, will my RYS 200 credential be honored by other Yoga Alliance schools as a yoga teacher?

Yoga Alliance cannot make what amounts to a business decision on behalf of its schools, unfortunately. That said, it is our hope that in the future, RYSs have greater confidence in graduates of other RYSs and what they know and understand given this common core curriculum that now exists under the new RYS 200 standards. When we consider the global nature of the world today in which we live and teach, we hope that schools give thought to this and make decisions that support them as well as the yoga community at large.


 

Additional questions?

View the New Standards Changes page which includes infographics and resources to support you in making these changes.

You can also contact our Membership team for support by email at info@yogaalliance.org or by phone at 1-888-921-9642, Mondays – Thursdays, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, ET or Fridays, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, ET.

 

Need more assistance?
Contact our Member Services team at 1-888-921-YOGA (9642) or at info@yogaalliance.org.

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