Student Dashboard

Yoga Teacher Training Standards After Yoga Alliance


An Update to “How Yoga Alliance is Ruining Yoga”

My intention in posting “How Yoga Alliance is Ruining Yoga” on January 7 was to encourage the organization to raise their minimum yoga teacher training standards, which are followed by most US schools. On that front, the article failed. The standards remain, with little editing in the decade and a half since they were originally introduced. Yoga Alliance’s public responses to the post, on their site and elsewhere, have focused on everything but the teacher training standards that the article questioned.

I never imagined that, five months later, “How Yoga Alliance is Ruining Yoga” would be one of the top results when “Yoga Alliance” is searched on Google, often in the number two position after Yoga Alliance’s own site. It’s been viewed over 50,000 times, with the average user lingering for over six minutes- ample time to read it all the way through. Over a hundred readers, many of them experienced yoga teachers who have undertaken yoga instructor training, have contributed thoughtful responses that either support or disagree with some or all that I’ve voiced.

Another surprise in the post analytics was the relatively microscopic amount of traffic driven to the article from Yoga Alliance’s own online responses to it. Together, their published posts have driven a total of 151 people to the original article, slightly more than one a day. That statistic, taken with their off-target messaging around the issue tells me that Yoga Alliance has become irrelevant.

People just aren’t that into you, Yoga Alliance.

In the time since publishing it, I’ve taken in all that the post has generated- from teachers, students, prospective teacher trainees, and from Yoga Alliance themselves. As a result, I’ve made big changes in what I am doing and saying. Here they are boiled down into a short list.

1. I am openly requesting that Yoga Alliance gets out of the business of setting standards.

Yoga Alliance membership has become considerably more valuable to its members in the past few years by adding benefits such as conferences, online seminars, group discounts for yoga professionals and healthy and safety courses such as Cpr training Brampton. It seems to me that Yoga Alliance is doing a good job in this role.

However, the original 1997 mission of Yoga Alliance founders , to develop “non-binding guidelines” for teachers and schools, has stagnated. If their response to the wave of criticism that my article generated had been more along the lines of, “Here is what we are doing to change the standards”, I’d fully support the change. But, their response was a far cry from what I’d hoped for, and web analytics reveal that few people care about their response anyway. So, it’s time for them to step away from their perceived legitimization of course curriculum, including designating skill levels for yoga teachers.

I am not hopeful that this will happen. When I toured the Yoga Alliance offices last September, I saw that, if you took out all the rooms there that are dedicated to processing applications, collecting fees, and printing and mailing certificates, there would not be much workspace left. Yoga Alliance probably isn’t about to give up that part of their business.

2. I support the creation of multiple credentialing systems, with voluntary membership by schools who share a common sets of core values.

One of Yoga Alliance’s oft-repeated responses to challenges to their standards is that the wide diversity among yoga schools limits their capacity to add rigor to the current standards. However, when I asked them in September 2013, how many registered schools focus primarily on teaching something other than asana, they said there was only one.

Nonetheless, I do agree with Yoga Alliance here. I do not think that one set of standards can possibly cover every yoga training. So, instead of using the lowest common denominator as the guide for standards, as Yoga Alliance has done, I would like to explore having multiple sets of standards for the multiplicity of practices that yoga teacher trainings teach.

The trainings I offer and the practice I do are built entirely around asana as part of the system that is laid out in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, as are many other contemporary trainings. My original post was specifically about how inadequate current standards are, if the aim is to educate people on using the physical body as a means to become more present. Classes taught at Yoga Alliance’s required level of skill don’t teach how to use the body to find the soul. Devoid of needed skill, Yoga Alliance-caliber asana class classes are often disguised as yoga behind masks of Indian fetishism, entertaining playlists, and a “whatever feels good” attitude. Those “let’s look like we are doing yoga” classes can be fun, interesting and helpful … but they are not asana. And that is because of Yoga Alliance.

We can certainly come up with a set of standards specifically geared toward actually teaching asana as yoga. And we can create unique sets of standards for different kinds of asana, and for non-asana training content. In addition to creating an opportunity to get more specific about what gets taught, having multiple designations will break up the monopoly of the current single registration option, which would create more space for some training curriculum to not be registered at all with any organization.

3. I am creating a space for dialogue.

While the profession that Yoga Alliance purports to represent has exploded in size and scope, the organization’s standards have remain little changed since they were written. Questioning the status quo should continue into and beyond whatever happens next. So, from the beginning, any standards-setting system needs a built-in tool that allows adaptability to changing times and increased understanding. Yoga Alliance has no such tool, unless they’re keeping it hidden- which defeats the purpose.

As a first step toward a replacement for Yoga Alliance, I’ve set up a page opening up this discussion to the people who are affected by it professionally, as students, teachers, and practitioners of asana and as business people. My next steps will be based on what I learn there.

It’s time for those of us who want a higher standard to begin to shape the specifics that higher standards might include.

4. I am phasing out my training’s Yoga Alliance validation for course curriculum.

Most yoga teacher trainings who register with Yoga Alliance do so because it makes marketing their program a little easier. But that marketing value is disintegrating. I no longer believe that the Yoga Alliance stamp of approval is necessary for any decent training.

The reality in the teacher training world is that, when prospective teacher trainees look for a school, they see Yoga Alliance’s name and seal on the websites of almost every training. Because of that, even training directors who don’t recognize Yoga Alliance’s authority over standards, like me, have decided that it’s easier to just register than it would be to educate users about Yoga Alliance and their minimum standards.

But, things are changing. Now, web searches for teacher training information yield results that expose the increasingly vocal criticism of Yoga Alliance standards. It’s less risky now to choose something other than the status quo.

However, teacher trainings are scheduled pretty far in advance. Because I have scheduled trainings through February 2015 that have been advertised as being Yoga Alliance-registered, I’ll maintain that registration until then. In the meantime, I am using their name and seal with stark minimalism in the materials that explain what my program offers. Anybody looking for information about whether we meet Yoga Alliance minimum standards will find it on our website, but it’s not front and center, and it includes an explanation of where American Yoga School stands on the whole Yoga Alliance issue.

And, for years, after educating my teacher trainees about Yoga Alliance’s impact on standards, I’ve asked them to consider holding off on seeking Yoga Alliance registration unless they need it for employment. The fact that very few of them have registered, even though most of them are employed as yoga teachers, further supports my observation that Yoga Alliance is irrelevant.

5. I am putting most of the content of my training online so that I can effectively increase the number of hours in my trainings.

Along with many other teacher trainers, I don’t think that 200 hours is enough time to create a competent asana teacher. However, adding a lot more hours to my course would create significant barriers of cost and time commitment and would make it less viable in the current 200-hour market that Yoga Alliance has helped form.

I’ve solved that problem by taking the curriculum part of my training online and using all of the live contact hours to apply what is learned online. Now, without raising tuition prices, we offer a 400-Hour training instead of a 200-hour; and a 1,000-hour training instead of a 500-hour. The live portions of each satisfy Yoga Alliance standards, and doubling the hours of training satisfies my standards. (Oddly, although every Ivy League school offers distance learning courses for credit, Yoga Alliance does not credit any online training toward any RYT status.)

When online instruction complements live training, we train a far more skilled teacher without adding much new cost. Further, there are other significant advantages that online training has over live training. The most important one is that, when the trainee learns the curriculum online, it frees up an equal number of hours of class time that used to be filled with lecture.

We use those newly liberated contact hours to apply the concepts learned online, something that there’s never too much of. So, instead of writing two or three sequences together, we write a dozen. And, instead of teaching just four times, trainees teach many more times. Instead of having one asana practice a day, now we have time for two. Shifting to online education doubles the knowledge, skill and experience of the graduate.

Life beyond Yoga Alliance can and should be shaped by the people who want to raise credibility for yoga teaching as a skilled application of a system that elevates quality of life for those who partake.

Whatever the style, a physical yoga practice is kept safe and on target only by a teacher who knows how to do those things. While there are plenty of teachers who do know these things, their skills exist in spite of Yoga Alliance’s minimum standards, not because of them.

Yoga Alliance has done nothing to raise, or even to maintain the standards of yoga teaching that existed before they came along. Their standards have not evolved at the pace that is needed in the current teacher training environment for a system that purports to classify yoga teacher training content. And they’ve responded to calls for change with statements explaining why they can’t do it, or what they are doing instead. It’s time for yoga professionals to move on.

, , , , , ,

15 Responses to Yoga Teacher Training Standards After Yoga Alliance

  1. Elizabeth Gabriel November 7, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    This is all very interesting to read. And to see this has been going on for years – of course it has. But it’s new to me – to us. I see the YA president (now former) spent much time keeping up with posts like this both on this web site and other blogs I came across. It’s interesting that it’s worth spending there time promoting good PR for themselves if they had over 7000 new RYT’s in a year. I’m glad they care people are posting things like you post here, and I also wonder why they care. Perhaps they realize they in fact, do have a weak offering. That in due time yoga teachers, studios, and more importantly students, will realize the certifications don’t matter. Certified teachers are great. And some are awful Non-certified teachers are wonderful, some are awful. YA only gives certifications since 2005. But man of the best teachers have been teaching far longer than that. I come into the conversation because this week a community based organization I am part of – the Finger Lakes Yoga Alliance – received a letter from a YA lawyer demanding we take down our web site, facebook and destroy any materials that have the words “yoga alliance” on them. These are trademarked phrases and we are in violation of the law. Yes, Yoga Alliance and YA are trademarked. As are RYT and all the numbers that go with RYT or E-RYT. However, we feel YA could have approached this conversation in a much less threatening manner. We are a tiny community organization. We are changing our name (we have until tomorrow) and will change our FB and web site. We aren’t going to fight them. But as an organization made of many teachers and studios currently certified with YA, it does beg the question; why are we supporting an organization that treats in constituents this way? And how credible is it that an organization certifying people as yoga teachers do not know how to practice yoga teachings themselves? You can read the YA letter to FLYA at (well, you can read it for as long as we are able to keep the site active…)

  2. Ma'at May 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Great discussion! I am a fitness professional and yoga teacher. I think you bring up some great valid point in this article and the last. I stumbled across the site when (like you mentioned) typed in yoga alliance to renew my registration. I haven’t renewed in almost 4 years since the first year I was registered. I am only renewing to get a new job at a health and wellness center. I also read the recent comment that the president of the YA left and I think there was one important point missed by him. What is the standard? He described yoga as mind and body, but people can get hurt when there is no standard of education or knowledge on the part of the teacher. I’ve had relatives to go to yoga classes and be injured because a lack of knowledge on the instructors part. Friends who performed a cool new yoga trick without foundation or contraindication that could make the stunt dangerous. ( I use the word stunt and trick because even though it said yoga on the door it was not yoga). Thanks for your insight. It was a great read. I have only been to one yoga school that was more mind than body and the teacher was not yoga alliance trained/registered. He studied in the Kriya tradition through the lineage of babaji. Not certification needed to teach. He kind of chuckled when I asked him in 2010 about being registered with the YA.

    • Richard Karpel May 28, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

      Hi Ma’at.

      Our standards are curriculum-based. You can read more about them here:

      It’s interesting that the only school you’ve been to that was more mind than body wasn’t registered with Yoga Alliance. That seems to run counter to the point that James is trying to make.

      • James Brown May 28, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

        My point is not at all about the ratio of mind to body. It is about the rigor of standards.

        • Richard Karpel May 28, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

          We included a great deal in our responses to your original post about how we’re adding rigor by instituting a system providing oversight and accountability for our RYSs, and why we had to do that before changing our standards. We’ve written articles, and conducted interviews and online workshops on the same subject. Yet you still haven’t made any attempt to discuss what we are doing or explained why you think it won’t work as a first step.

          But in this post you did find time to contrast your own physical posture-based training (“trainings I offer and the practice I do are built entirely around asana as part of the system”) favorably to the 3,000+ other Registered Yoga Schools. And perhaps it wasn’t your intention, but I certainly came away with the impression that you believe those schools spend their time on yoga woo-woo while neglecting training in physical postures. (“Devoid of needed skill, Yoga Alliance-caliber asana class classes are often disguised as yoga behind masks of Indian fetishism, entertaining playlists, and a ‘whatever feels good’ attitude, etc. Those ‘let’s look like we are doing yoga’ classes can be fun, interesting and helpful … but they are not asana. And that is because of Yoga Alliance.”)

          • James Brown May 28, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

            Adding oversight before there are standards is backwards. Having graduates provide feedback on the training from which they graduated will not be conducive to frank criticism. Physicality isn’t the essence of asana. It is the tip of the iceberg, even in the confines of a pure asana practice. Watch this:

            I think that in your role, you should know what asana is. Most yoga teachers you register don’t know. And that is Yoga Alliance’s fault.

          • Richard Karpel June 1, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

            (James, this was written in response to your May 28 response below. For some reason, I couldn’t append it to that particular comment.)

            “(B)efore there are standards?” Of course we have standards, and you know it because you submitted a curriculum that conformed to them when you applied to be a Registered Yoga School. I understand the standards aren’t as precise as you would like them to be, but if we added more detail our credentialing system would almost certainly be more prescriptive than the yoga community would stand for.

            It’s ironic that you apparently believe both that our standards aren’t prescriptive enough and that they aren’t sufficiently focused on asana. Most yoga teachers I know think Western yoga is too asana focused. Have you considered the possibility that if our standards were more explicit you might be even less satisfied with the result than you are with what we already have? We’re a nonprofit organization with processes designed to ensure decisions are made collectively by our members; I’m certain that most of them don’t agree with your view on the need for more asana.

            “Having graduates provide feedback on the training from which they graduated will not be conducive to frank criticism.” This is actually a good point James, and it’s the first time in over 3,500 words that you’ve seriously addressed potential flaws with our new Social Credentialing system. It’s absolutely true that the quality of the feedback provided by our RYTs is critical to the success of our new program. That’s a subject we thought a great deal about when we were designing the system and we’ll continue to refine it as we learn more about its strengths and weaknesses.

            And although they didn’t hire me for this job because of my yoga expertise, I know what asana is. However, I know even more about it now that I’ve watched your excellent video, which is surely the first yoga training that draws connections between Patanjali, Charles Dickens, Quentin Crisp and quantum physics. Kudos.

        • Karen January 15, 2016 at 10:36 am #

          I would not call that a curriculum. I have a background in classroom education and am a yoga instructor; YAs “curriculum” is nothing more than a list of broad and general guidelines. Does YA review the actual lesson plans and learning objectives of the programs they are certifying? Do they review the books and materials? YA is focused on the business of yoga and nothing more. They don’t get my money or my respect.

  3. Richard Karpel May 28, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    Hearty congratulations on all the attention your original post generated and on your significant SEO accomplishment, James. Allow me to also take this opportunity to congratulate you on your website, which is incredibly well-designed and easily one of the best yoga school sites I’ve ever seen.

    However, when you say that the response to your post indicates, “that Yoga Alliance has become irrelevant,” I believe you are misreading the tea leaves. In fact, we have other metrics proving the exact opposite point. Since you posted your original article on Jan. 7, we registered 7,323 new RYTs. By comparison, we registered approximately 4,900 RYTs in the same period last year. So not only have we continued to register more teachers, but our rate of growth significantly accelerated since last year. That doesn’t seem like irrelevance to me. 

    We believe this accelerating growth is the result of our recent efforts to provide oversight and accountability to our credentialing system; the new products and services we recently began offering to our members (and thank you for your kind words about those); and our increased communication, outreach and transparency to the yoga community.

    You claim your original post on Jan. 7 “failed” because we haven’t changed our standards since it was written. But I think you are being too hard on yourself. Your expectations were simply unreasonable. 

    We are a nonprofit association with over 48,000 Registered Yoga Teachers and 3,000 Registered Yoga Schools that have a stake in the organization. We are not a private for-profit corporation that can move at the speed of its owners’ whims. Unlike your yoga school, for example, when we make significant changes they must go through a lengthy process (see more on that below). We aren’t the kind of organization that can make major changes in our standards because one of our registrants urges us to do so, regardless of how much attention they are capable of drawing to their point-of-view.

    Allow me to address, point-by-point, some of the other statements you made in your post. My apologies in advance for its length but there are many things you wrote with which we disagree.

    *** “Yoga Alliance’s public responses to the post, on their site and elsewhere, have focused on everything but the teacher training standards that the article questioned.” ***

    Not sure why you would make this claim. In fact, we did address your contention that we need to change our standards. We explained that we decided changing the standards would have to wait until we increased the oversight and transparency of our current standards, so that’s where we focused our efforts. In addition, we noted our Standards Committee plans to review our standards this year (again, more on that below).

    *** “However, when I asked them in September 2013, how many registered schools focus primarily on teaching something other than asana, they said there was only one.” ***

    Perhaps if I were at the September meeting I would understand what this means, but frankly, it doesn’t make much sense to me. We have curriculum standards for 200-hour, 300-hour and 500-hour YTT programs. (For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, you have chosen to focus solely on our 200-hour standards.) Each set of standards requires schools to provide education in non-asana-specific topics like yoga philosophy and teaching methodology. Some schools offer more than the minimum-required hours and we also allow schools to select their own elective hours. They can use those extra hours to emphasize asana training if they choose. But the meaning of the statement that only one of our 3,000+ RYSs “focus(ed) primarily on teaching something other than asana” is a complete mystery to me.

    *** “Classes taught at Yoga Alliance’s required level of skill don’t teach how to use the body to find the soul. Devoid of needed skill, Yoga Alliance-caliber asana classes are often disguised as yoga behind masks of Indian fetishism, entertaining playlists, and a ‘whatever feels good’ attitude. Those ‘let’s look like we are doing yoga’ classes can be fun, interesting and helpful … but they are not asana. And that is because of Yoga Alliance. ***

    We understand you believe teacher-training programs registered with Yoga Alliance — presumably not including your own — are inadequate. What we don’t understand is why you continue to lay the entire blame for those perceived shortcomings solely on Yoga Alliance. Don’t the individual schools and teachers have a responsibility to provide adequate training and hire competent teachers? In addition, if your thesis is accurate — that there has been a degradation in the quality of YTT’s since our standards were introduced in 1999, and that the degradation is all our fault — the schools that are not registered with us would tend to provide higher quality training. Do you have any evidence about whether that is in fact the case?

    Your hope for standards focusing entirely on asana runs counter to the desires of most of the people we hear from in the yoga community, who believe modern yoga is too focused on the physical and not sufficiently attentive to the mental or spiritual aspects of the practice. In fact, some believe our standards feed that allegedly misplaced emphasis. Perhaps knowing others in the yoga community take a position diametrically opposed to your own will help you empathize with the challenges of operating a credentialing system for a community as diverse as ours.

    *** “1. I am openly requesting that Yoga Alliance gets out of the business of setting standards.” ***

    Request noted. 

    *** “2. I support the creation of multiple credentialing systems, with voluntary membership by schools who share a common sets of core values.” ***

    We encourage competition as well because it makes us better. Nevertheless, credentialing is a field in which a single system tends to predominate within an industry or profession. Yoga Alliance is undoubtedly the beneficiary of that phenomenon but we aren’t invulnerable. There are many examples of credentials that failed or credentialing organizations that were superseded by better systems.

    One of the factors behind the natural inclination of industries and professions to coalesce behind only one credentialing system is the difficulty and complexity of operating a credentialing organization like Yoga Alliance. Perhaps that is why the most recent attempts of which I am aware at starting competing yoga credentialing organizations in the U.S. don’t appear to have made much headway.

    *** “So, from the beginning, any standards-setting system needs a built-in tool that allows adaptability to changing times and increased understanding. Yoga Alliance has no such tool, unless they’re keeping it hidden – which defeats the purpose.” ***

    Actually, we have a very active “tool that allows adaptability to changing times and increased understanding” that we are quite proud of. It starts with input from our members, to which we are highly sensitive and which we seek through both formal and informal processes. As we have noted many times, that community is diverse and soliciting, organizing, responding to and ultimately implementing that feedback is a huge challenge for an organization with a staff as small as ours.

    The next step up from the membership is our highly engaged Standards Committee, which is comprised of two separate groups of over 120 volunteer yogis whose sole purpose is to provide “adaptability to changing times and increased understanding” for our standards. (Far from being “hidden,” their names are listed on our website: The first level of this committee is our Working Group of ten members who meet face-to-face twice a year and have an active schedule of conference calls and email discussions. They are presently engaged in just the type of dialogue you are advocating. Our Working Group oversees several subcommittees that are developing an enforceable Ethics Code; clarifying and revising our Continuing Education standards; developing a grandfathering process for highly qualified, veteran yoga teachers who weren’t credentialed by Yoga Alliance through our normal process; and thoroughly re-examining our standards. We are a couple of months into this final process – the Standards Review – and the committee is planning to address many of the issues you raise.

    We also have a Standards Committee Advisory Group of over 100 RYTs we will be calling on for feedback as all of these processes unfold.

    Sitting at the top of this pyramid is our Board of Directors, which meets face-to-face three times per year and also has an active schedule of conference calls and email discussions. They have the ultimate responsibility for approving major changes recommended by our committees.

    If you are so inclined, we would be happy to incorporate the feedback you receive from your online web form into this highly democratic process.

    *** “5. I am putting most of the content of my training online so that I can effectively increase the number of hours in my trainings.” ***

    Wonderful! As I noted above, we set minimum standards and any school is welcome and encouraged to exceed those standards. We’re happy to see you made the decision to do that.

    However, while online training is a great option for schools wanting to exceed minimum standards, in the YTT context it will never completely replace face-to-face training. In addition to being a physical practice, yoga is about the union of mind, body and spirit, and cultivating intuition and awareness of the intangible. It’s difficult to completely capture those subtleties from behind a computer screen.

    I should also mention that we have already done a significant amount of work to eventually adjust our standards to account for distance learning. I suspect within the next few years our members will approve a change in which distance learning standards replace the less subtle concept of “non-contact hours.” There is a qualitative difference between participating in an interactive online training (i.e., distance learning) and reading a book or watching a video, but our current standards do not yet address the distinction and count both as “non-contact hours.”

    *** “Oddly, although every Ivy League school offers distance learning courses for credit, Yoga Alliance does not.” ***

    We don’t offer distance-learning courses because we’re a credentialing organization and trade association, not a yoga school. We don’t train yoga teachers to teach yoga. If we did, we would be competing with the teachers and schools registered with us. We don’t think they would be happy about it.

    It’s also worth noting we accept distance-learning training for credit as non-contact hours towards our continuing education requirements.

    Of course, the best online courses take a lot of time, effort and financial resources to create. Ivy League schools have large endowments and charge tuition that significantly exceeds the cost of a yoga teacher training, so it’s easy to see why our members might have difficulty implementing effective online training programs. We wish you the best of luck with yours.

    In conclusion, I want to emphasize that the founders of Yoga Alliance, many of who are prominent members of the yoga community, decided 200 hours of training should merely be the foundational learning experience for an individual who wants to teach yoga. So they intended the RYT 200 to be the beginning, not the end, of a yoga teacher’s training process.

    Thank you again for articulating your views. I hope this response helps clear up any lingering confusion.

    Richard Karpel
    President and CEO
    Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Registry

  4. Lea Kraemer May 27, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    This is such an important discussion! Thank you. I have given PRANA MANDIR Yoga trainings and certifications since 2001. But other than maintaining an ERYT listing myself, I did not affiliate my studio or program with YA. When my TT program was offered at a certain studio, it was YA registered for the first time and I found this experience to be both confusing and downgrading for the students. Teachers have different approaches and gifts, which can develop into a curriculum or workshop as we used to say in the old days, of different numbers of hours, various subtle and physical methods of practice, and areas of close focus during each training. That is part of the beauty. Because standardization has left many wide gaps, I too hope that we can flow into a new collective form of registration. I suggest each training become more distinct. If a teacher or school has nothing distinct to offer, maybe it is not a wise choice to register as a “yoga school” just to become a blob of undifferentiated information? The “whatever feels good mentality” is difficult to come up against as a traveling teacher as well because there is no starting ground and it lacks the focus, respect and gratitude that are fundamental in yoga and the art of being present.

    As James writes above, we need to educate students about what is possible in a good training environment. Is there a new collective where we are creating “unique sets of standards”? I would like to and offer to be a part of this process. I whole heartedly agree with creating “opportunity to get more specific about what gets taught”, having multiple designations and more visibility for training philosophy & curriculum to be shown.

  5. Cole D Lehman (@ColeDLehman) May 27, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Thanks, James. That makes sense to me now. I think your online aspect is a great idea.

    My training was YA registered, but it was an Anusara program and the school has its own certification process, which is rigorous and I’m happy it exists. Not everyone knows what it is though, and what that training means compare to others. I think that’s one of the main issues in the middle of this… How do we communicate quality to students as diverse schools and teachers?

    YA currently solves the communication part of that problem, but the quality isn’t always there. If we go to separate schools, we could get the quality (though some will abuse the openness), but communication becomes cloudy with every school trying to market its standards.

    It’s a complex issue that needs solutions and I’m happy you’re opening up the discussion on what to do next.

  6. Cole D Lehman (@ColeDLehman) May 27, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    I think everyone is with you on raising standards and I just wrote this article on elephant journal about what exactly yoga alliance does with the intent to bring awareness to the flaws and to start a discussion.

    I suggested that their infrastructure, with vast improvements, could still be one of the best shots at creating some kind of standard certification that the world can recognize as an indicator of quality. I did that knowing that that goal might not be possible and that it might not be the answer. But it seems like something that is valuable and worth being pursued.

    Is the purpose of this article to simply to suggest moving away from Yoga Alliance and beginning a discussion or to highlight your teacher training curriculum as a model for that replacement?

    I only ask because I don’t understand what “2. I support the creation of multiple credentialing systems, with voluntary membership by schools who share a common sets of core values.” this system looks like to you in any way. What’s the new vision?

    • James Brown May 27, 2014 at 9:15 am #

      Thanks, Cole. The point of the article is to move away from YA for credentialing. I’m not in any way suggesting that my training’s curriculum be a model for a future system. I chose to wrote about what I’m doing, and couldn’t really do that without describing some aspects of my training.
      I’m not sure how I can further clarify #2 beyond saying that I think different styles should have different credentialing systems so that each style can do it the way they want.

    • James Brown May 27, 2014 at 10:11 am #

      I am glad that clarified it for you. I am in agreement with you on all of this. I do think that communicating quality is a challenge, but it’s doable. From what I hear from prospective trainees who are looking at my program, I think that I have (finally) managed to convey what my training is like. That supposition is based on the things I hear them say about why they want to do the training. They say things that show me that they understand what we are about. On our site we have some overview-type statements about our overall approach, and elsewhere on the site there are lists of lessons, some learning objectives, several sample lessons, and testimonials from grads. One might think that in the hyper-speedy environment that is internet browsing, that all of that content is too much to take in. But, what I have found is that the student who is looking for a good training will spend a lot of time looking at everything.

      I am not an Anusara practitioner, but I have known enough of them to be able to comfortably deduce that they are pretty well-educated and that there is a definable approach to the method and to the training.


  1. yoga alliance online registration | Oke Learn Yoga - November 12, 2014

    […] Yoga teacher training standards after yoga alliance […]

Leave a Reply

© 2016 American Yoga School. All Rights Reserved.

Skip to toolbar