In the past couple of months, we’ve reached out to our membership to let you know that we’re embarking on a process of change and renewal at Yoga Alliance®. We have asked for your participation and input, and we are consistently gratified by the volume and thoughtfulness of the feedback we receive. It’s time to share a bit more about our plans for the months ahead, as we grow into what we’re calling the Next Generation of Yoga Alliance.
Our original role as a nonprofit when we were founded in 1999 was simple: to create standards for yoga training and remain a self-regulating community. While this mission continues to be important, we have much more to do, to truly serve the needs of yoga teachers, schools, studios and students.
Your mandate for us as an organization has been clear. You’ve wanted us to add rigor and clarity to our credentialing process, to provide an expansive suite of programs and services to membership, and to conduct our business in a transparent and collaborative manner.
A New Mission
Our new mission is much broader: “to spread the power of yoga one person at a time.”
We believe that the individual experience of yoga is of paramount importance, and are committed to supporting the passage of yoga from trainer to teacher, teacher to student, and student to aspiring yogi. If we succeed, the practice of yoga will keep growing; more people will connect with yoga and be transformed. It’s easy for us all to stand behind such a spectacular mission.
To make this happen, we’ve already begun our work in some areas:
- Boosting the value of membership with programs, services, and resources. We’ve already introduced liability insurance and health insurance programs, two core services that were much in need for our community. And we’re continuing to grow the suite of products and services you can access at a discount by virtue of your membership, to support your work in yoga and simply your life in general.
- Supporting the business and profession of yoga, so more of our members can turn their passion for yoga into a sustainable living. We have begun to offer regularly scheduled Online Workshops to provide our members with education on the kind of business and legal issues they face on a daily basis.
- Cultivating local yoga communities. We've launched the Local Community Initiative to foster a safe space for networking and local educational opportunities for yoga teachers, studio owners and school directors. These local groups will also serve as an early-warning system for regulatory issues and help establish relationships that could lay the foundation for successful grassroots organizing. We recently announced a partnership with Off the Mat, Into the World ™, to create a training program so that community leaders are better equipped to inspire collaboration in your communities.
A New Website
We wish to introduce to you another project we’re working on: a new website, one that will increase the visibility of our qualified teachers and schools and serve the entire yoga community. What we’re building is a dynamic, comprehensive site that will be a destination for those seeking instruction, training, community and resources on yoga.
This new website, scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2013, will provide a vast array of new services and resources, including:
- A dynamic Directory that lets Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT®s) and Registered Yoga Schools (RYS®s) display their personalities and more effectively market themselves to potential students. Each of you will have a comprehensive and engaging website profile page that will promote your unique brand. The vision is to build enough features for you to capture who you are and what you offer to potential students or trainees.
- A smoother registration process for teachers and schools. We will be migrating away from paper applications and providing a much more streamlined online experience for those registering, updating their profiles, or upgrading to higher designations. While we’re at it, we will work to clarify our Standards and present them in a manner that lights the way for RYTs to grow along the designation ladder, and makes it easier for schools to adapt and expand their training programs.
- Developmental resources for teachers and schools to capture, collect and grow from feedback. The website will include ways for teachers and schools to learn from their experiences and continue to grow on their paths with yoga. It will also provide a means to enhance the rigor and credibility of our credentialing system while protecting the rich diversity of yoga, providing the public with increased assurance that the training they receive from RYTs and RYSs meets the highest professional standards.
- A modern platform for yoga education and resources. This year, we started introducing some resources in the form of Online Workshops and updates on current events. We will expand the resources we provide with the help of a better platform to disseminate yoga information that’s relevant and useful to you.
The next generation of Yoga Alliance is, in essence, the establishment of a new, bigger and bolder mission to serve the yoga community. And we will do so with several core values at heart: service, transparency, learning, innovation and community.
A New Logo
One of the ways we asked for your involvement recently was in the development of a new logo. With our new direction, we needed a new face to share with the world, to express who we are – now – as the leading international nonprofit organization for yoga. And we were happy to have you all along for the ride.
Our logo is a reflection of not only our organization’s values and work -- it represents our entire community. So we needed to find a logo that conveyed both the individual, personal aspects of yoga, as well as the professional character of an organization like Yoga Alliance that seeks to enhance the credibility of its members. We’re very happy with where we landed.