YOGA ALLIANCE® - INTERNATIONAL

CODE OF ETHICS FOR YOGA TEACHERS


CODE OF ETHICS FOR YOGA TEACHERS

The terms “us” or “we” or “our” herein refers to Yoga Alliance®, Yoga Alliance Australia®, Yoga Alliance International®.


Statement of Purpose

As an integrated way of life, Yoga includes moral standards (traditionally called “virtues”) that any reasonable human being would find in principle acceptable. Some of these standards, known in Sanskrit as Yamas and Niyamas  or ‘disciplines’ are encoded in the first limb of Patanjali’s eightfold path.

In light of this, it seems appropriate for contemporary Yoga teachers to endeavour to conduct their lives in consonance with the moral principles put forward in Yoga. As teachers, they have a great responsibility toward their students, and they can be expected to clearly demonstrate the qualities one would associate with a good teacher. As practitioners and representatives of Yoga, their behavior can be expected to reflect the high moral standards espoused in Yoga.

Yoga Alliance views the formulation and publication of this Code of Ethics as part of its effort to help preserve the traditional legacy of Yoga and improve the quality of Yoga teaching and practice in the modern world. This Code of Ethics underpins the Yoga Alliance Code of Practice which contains more specific guidance.

The following are put forward as a reasonable adaptation for our modern situation, which also takes proper cognizance of the wisdom contained in the heritage of Yoga.

Yamas (Universal Morality). The Yamas are broken down into five "wise characteristics "they tell us that our fundamental nature is compassionate, generous, honest and peaceful."

  1. Ahimsâ (Non-harming). Cultivating compassion. Yoga teachers strive to practice tolerance and compassion toward other Yoga teachers, schools, and traditions. Non-harming implies not hurting others mentally or verbally; it includes avoiding all violent means - including physical violence - anything that injures others.

  2. Satya (Truthfulness). This precept is based on the understanding that honest communication and action form the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community, or government, and that deliberate deception, exaggerations, and mistruths harm others. Yoga teachers should particularly embrace the ideal of truthfulness in dealing with students and others. Yoga teachers will make every effort to avoid exploiting the trust of students and their potential dependency, and instead encourage students to find greater inner freedom.

  3. Asteya (Non-stealing). Asteya arises out of the understanding that all misappropriation is an expression of a feeling of lack. The practice of Asteya asks Yoga teachers to be careful not to take anything that has not been freely given. In constantly looking outside of ourselves for satisfaction, we are less able to appreciate the abundance that already exists. That is what really matters our health and the riches of our inner life and the joy and love we are able to give and receive from others.

  4. Brahmacarya (Celibacy). This precept means more energy moderation as opposed to celibacy. Yoga teachers will avoid any form of sexual harassment of students. Yoga Teachers  must modify  their emotional, and physical energy, to avoid stress, exhaustion. Basically find a balance of energy towards health physical, emotional and spiritual.

  5. Aparigraha (Non-attachment) Yoga teachers will refrain from jealousy of what others have. Yoga Teachers will aim to take only what is necessary, and not to take advantage of a situation or act greedy.

Niyamas (Personal Observances) Niyama means "rules" or "laws." These are the rules prescribed for personal observance. Like the yamas, the five niyamas are not exercises or actions to be simply studied. They represent far more than an attitude. They refer to the attitude yogis must adopt toward themselves as they create a code for living soulfully.

  1. Saucha (Purity). Sauca has both an inner and an outer aspect. Outer cleanliness simply means keeping ourselves clean. Inner cleanliness has as much to do with the healthy, free functioning of our bodily organs as with the clarity of our mind.. "But more important than the physical cleansing of the body is the cleansing of the mind of its disturbing emotions like hatred, passion, anger, lust, greed, delusion and pride."

  2. Santosha (Contentment). Modesty and the feeling of being content with what we have. To be at peace within and content with one's lifestyle finding contentment even while experiencing life’s difficulties for life becomes a process of growth. Yoga teachers should accept that there is a purpose for everything, yoga calls it karma, and we cultivate contentment 'to accept what happens'.

  3. Tapas (Self-discipline).Tapas refers to the activity of keeping the body fit or to confront and handle the inner urges without outer show. Behind the notion of tapas lies the idea we can direct our energy to enthusiastically engage life and achieve our ultimate goal of creating union between the mind, body and spirit. Tapas helps us burn up all the desires that stand in our way of this goal.

  4. Svadhyaya (Self-study). Sva means "self' adhyaya means "inquiry" or "examination". Any activity that cultivates self-reflective consciousness can be considered Svadhyaya. As Yoga teachers we should intentionally find self-awareness in all activities and efforts, even to the point of welcoming and accepting  limitations. Svadhyaya teaches us to be centered and non-reactive to the dualities, to burn out unwanted and self-destructive tendencies.

  5. Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender). That’s the Grand Ordering Design of the Universe. It’s that which underlies everything  including us. Because we are a part of life. This surrender often means taking a moment to allow a moment to truly penetrate our being.  As Yoga teachers we must set aside some time each day to recognise that the Grand Ordering Design of the Universe is larger than ourselves and that is guiding and directing the course of our lives.

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