Updated: Apr 8
There is so much that relates to this discussion, so today let’s start with an overview.
I remember the idea of a Yoga Teacher Training. Take a 200-hour YTT and then, here I am, a Yoga Teacher. It seemed so straight forward to be able to offer what my teachers have been offering to me for years. Near the end of the training, my teachers introduced to me the Business of Yoga. I wasn’t aware that this was even a thing. So many things were introduced, but the one thing I was most naive to was Yoga Alliance (YA). YA is a governing body, based in the US, for Yoga Teachers and Yoga Schools.
Initially, as a new teacher, I attended several of their free, online workshops on various topics, including Yoga Nidra, running retreats, meditation, sequencing, anatomy workshops and so much more. They offer discount prices for yoga insurance at a very affordable price at the click of a button. I continued to grow my career as a Yoga Teacher, and the more I started to offer, such as workshops, the more the credentialing came in handy. The more I taught as an RYT, (Registered Yoga Teacher), the more students attended my offerings, and similarly, more RYT's opted to take part. Being a member of YA allows me to store my certificates, diplomas, credentials and teaching hours and show them to any studio, retreat center or Yoga School interested in my services. I just have to give them my YA number ID or a direct link to my profile. By attending YA recognized schools and trainings, all those hours and experience are there at the touch of a button, accessible for all to see. Yet, it doesn’t stop there. After teaching a certain amount of hours, I was offered the opportunity to upgrade my title to E-RYT 200. This means I am now an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher that has taught over 1000 hours in two years. Not only can I offer continuing education courses with this title, but I can also put my trainings on their website. This also offered me the ability to facilitate 200-hour teacher trainings as well. And, it doesn’t stop there, depending on your path in the yoga world, you can continue to climb the ladder.
The controversy of YA, was a good one, in my opinion, because the uproar of paying $60USD a year for just free workshops, eventually pushed YA to restructure their entire format. They started to focus on their internal structure and created new guidelines for Registered Yoga Schools (RYS). Like any medical or teaching profession, a governing body offers the public a means of dispute for important things like sexual harassment or malpractice. Professionals must be registered in order to teach. This provides a safety net, not only for the client or student but also for the teacher. The governing board can investigate accusations, as well as offer support for the teacher in the case of an unhappy student. YA also provides the yoga world with a common code of ethics, mission, and vision. They ensure that the teachings provided by an RYT maintain consistency with a Western version of what Yoga encompasses. Many unregistered teachers or schools will argue that YA deviates from the original teachings and limit true spiritual embodiment, and again, that boils down to personal opinion.
At Alpha Yoga School, a Yoga Alliance accredited yoga school, we have come to the conclusion that membership, regardless of the level you pursue, is professionally beneficial within the yoga world. Being recognized broadens your opportunity, connection and support within the yoga profession all over the world. Check us out to see what we offer.
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