A Response to Recent Allegations of Misconduct
Last Updated: March 17, 2017
Like many of our members, Yoga Alliance has been following recent news about allegations of sexual misconduct by prominent yoga teachers with students in their teacher training programs. The allegations are troubling, and, if true, reflect conduct that is prohibited by the Yoga Alliance Registry Code of Conduct. As court proceedings play out, some of the conduct may also prove to violate U.S. laws. None of the accused yogis in recent, highly publicized cases are registrants with Yoga Alliance Registry, so Yoga Alliance Registry has no authority to take any action regarding those individuals. Any registrant that is found to violate the Yoga Alliance Registry Code of Conduct, however, may lose his or her right to use the RYT® credential.
Several principles in our Code of Conduct prohibit sexual exploitation or harassment of students by yoga teachers. For example, every RYT® must accept the Code of Conduct and agree to:
- Conduct myself in a professional and conscientious manner.
- Create and maintain a safe, clean and comfortable environment for the practice of yoga.
- Encourage diversity by respecting all students regardless of age, physical limitations, race, creed, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
- Respect the rights, dignity and privacy of all students.
- Avoid words and actions that constitute sexual harassment or harassment based on other legal protected characteristics.
- Follow all local government and national laws that pertain to my yoga teaching and business.
Yoga Alliance also provides its members with resources to help them apply these principles in their instruction. Yoga Alliance’s video library, available to all members, includes an online workshop on “Healthy Teacher-Student Relationships,” and Yoga Alliance will continue to add educational resources on this and related topics.
Yoga Alliance Registry’s curricular standards for Registered Yoga Schools already include a requirement for Contact Hours spent on ethics for yoga teachers, which may include topics involving teacher-student relationships. Yoga Alliance Registry is examining whether to expand and strengthen this element in both the curricular content of Registered Yoga Schools and the Continuing Education hours requirements for current RYTs.