We've Heard You Loud and Clear, Washington!
We're writing with an important update. As you know, Yoga Alliance® recently was contacted by Washington yoga teacher training schools (YTTs) about their interactions with the state's Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board. This Board has been licensing some YTTs under a state law that is intended for institutions providing vocational, technical, and professional training. This means that the licensed YTTs must pay expensive fees and comply with administrative requirements that are a poor fit for yoga programs.
Last month, we asked you how these requirements affect you in a survey and we’ve heard you loud and clear. We agree that licensing YTTs like “career” schools is unnecessary and that the associated fees and administrative hurdles are more harmful than helpful to yoga businesses and consumers.
We've taken your concerns to heart and have already begun working on your behalf to protect Washington's YTTs. We have assembled a team In Washington, and we have been in contact with state regulators and legislators to make sure the yoga community is heard.
In the last few days, bills were introduced in the Washington House and Senate to exempt YTTs from mandatory licensure requirements. The purpose of this legislation is to clarify that YTTs are not like the private career schools that the state is supposed to be regulating, and that yoga programs have different needs than those addressed by the Workforce Board. Our legislation would make it so YTTs are not required to become licensed but nothing would preclude YTTs from seeking a license if they want one.
We’re pleased to support this legislation, which that builds on previous efforts to support yoga communities around the country. As you may know, in recent months, Yoga Alliance has worked with YTTs, yoga teachers, and students in states from coast to coast to make sure that yoga schools may operate without unnecessary government regulation. As a result of our collective efforts, in 2016 alone, 5 states adopted legislation that exempted YTTs from state regulations and licensing requirements intended to apply to "occupational" or "vocational" schools.
As we move forward in Washington, we'll need your support. Please reach out to let us know your thoughts and share your experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be on the lookout for updates on our progress and details on how you can join the movement to support yoga in Washington.