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Upholding Our Ethical Commitment

Last Published: July 10, 2020

Every human being has the right to practice yoga free from abuse, harassment, and manipulation. Yoga Alliance condemns the physical, mental, emotional, financial, or spiritual abuse of any yoga student. This has been Yoga Alliance’s unequivocal position since we first established our Sexual Misconduct Policy in February 2018.

Read separately from any specific context, this position statement can read as an obvious—and, therefore, slightly peculiar—affirmation of widely-accepted, basic human rights. Unfortunately, our need to restate this now, at any time, again and again, is a painful signal that this simple, unassailable statement of principle remains an aspiration for our community, rather than a reflection of the lived experience of all of us.

Any acts of sexual harassment, assault, or predation of any kind, by any Registered Yoga School or Teacher, are unethical and Yoga Alliance will not tolerate these acts within our membership. As of February 27, 2020, these acts also violate our member-wide Ethical Commitment, including an updated and strengthened Code of Conduct. Members who violate these commitments are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including revocation of any and all Yoga Alliance credentials.

Yoga Alliance is aware of recent, public reports of misconduct by Jafar Alexander, a teacher with whom we have worked closely, and who is stepping away from teaching yoga because of his conduct. We are deeply saddened by these reports, and we stand in support of those sharing their stories. We regret that our work with him may have contributed to increasing his public platform.*

To prioritize survivors’ agency and privacy, we will stand by our policy not to comment on information reported to us directly and confidentially. However, as always, we will take any necessary and appropriate action in accordance with our policy after reviewing the available information.

So, we will say it again—every human being has the right to practice yoga free from abuse, harassment, and manipulation. We condemn the physical, mental, emotional, financial, or spiritual abuse of any yoga student.

Above all, we stand with survivors. Our grievance process applies to this type of conduct in a yoga setting led by Registered Yoga Teachers or Schools, and detailed information about this process and procedures, and how to file a complaint, is available on our website or by contacting us at grievance@yogaalliance.org. We also encourage survivors to seek any and all useful and available support and accountability – please visit our resources page for an initial list of resources. You are not alone.

*For transparency, we have decided not to consider removing any archived content featuring this teacher until we receive more input from our members. Until that time, we are working quickly to update all archived content to include a disclaimer, so that anyone reviewing the archive is aware of the full context of that content, and with the intention to raise awareness of these issues within the community.

2018 video by Shannon Roche, former COO and current President & CEO, on the issue of sexual misconduct in yoga and the critical conversation surrounding this sensitive and important topic

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