Looking for a good yoga teacher?


This is what you should know

OYoga Alliance Think Differentver the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have practised with some of the best yoga teachers in the world. I’ve been taught by young yoga teachers and much older ones and teachers of various nationalities and experience levels from different lineages and traditions. I attended classes with “world famous” yogis and those who have taught for 30 years or more without much acclaim.

Lately, however, I have been doing some self-reflecting on the search for the right teacher. So what makes a yoga instructor great? Who is the best? Teacher and student is after all a relationship, right? Most of us are drawn to yoga through some hardship in our lives and are transformed through the practice of yoga.  A good teacher simply shares her/his practice and all the many benefits students gain when they practice yoga correctly.


Because teaching is a job where the teacher makes contact daily with people and have an interest in who they are, it helps them teach from an intuitive place where they invite participants to explore their own authentic self.

While there is no quintessential yoga teacher as they all are different, there are definitely some qualities that great yoga teachers all have because being a good yoga teacher is all about being a good teacher and being humble and not talking down to anybody.

People are going to a specific teacher’s classes to feel good, even better, than they do when they stepped on their mat. If  the teacher give alignment suggestions or call attention to her/his instructions, the teacher must  make sure it’s from a loving place that makes the student feel INCLUDED, as opposed to excluded.


As professionals, yoga instructors need to be vigilant in keeping their egos in check with the teachings of yoga, and to also practice humility (vinaya) to eliminate the perils of pride and arrogance.

Ego-less teachers are happy to share their wisdom and knowledge openly!  For yoga teachers being more fully connected with  students and colleagues is a much more authentic and heart-centered way to move through the world. If a teacher’s authentic personality is more about warmth and compassion and they teach from their heart, they have the ability to create a really beautiful and uplifting class.


Serious yoga injuries, though rare, are on the rise

More and more people across the world have been taking up yoga in recent years and the rate of yoga-related injuries has also climbed, a new study in the United States finds. Although the number of injuries occurring  it’s a small compared to how many people practice yoga, researchers said, the odds of a serious injury are high.

At the beginning of each class, every yoga teacher should take a moment to touch base with their students and ask them about possible injuries. In order to give appropriate guidance with recommendations, the teacher should obtain certain essential information such as  the history and nature of a student’s pain and the type of injury, and eventually advise the student whether or not continued practice is appropriate. Important questions must include: When did the pain start? Is it better or worse with exercise? What is the nature of the pain (e.g., sharp or achy)? Are there pins and needles associated with the pain? What is the intensity on a scale of 1 to 10?

The majority of yoga students don’t exactly know what yoga teachers know of anatomy and how they apply it to prevent and address injury among yoga students. The increased use of yoga for post-injury rehabilitation highlights  the differences in knowledge between an “average” yoga teacher and “one who can identify”, assess, address, and prevent injuries.


There are five main organisations in the world  that provide credentials for yoga teachers.  These organisations are often referred to by reference to the country in which they operate / are organised – e.g.“Yoga Alliance” (Australia), “Yoga Alliance” (Canada), “Yoga Alliance” (USA),”Yoga Alliance” (Italia), “Yoga Alliance” (New Zealand), “Yoga Alliance” (UK) now “Yoga Alliance Professionals”, “Yoga Alliance” (Singapore). This group of Alliances, are considered the largest yoga teachers and schools membership organisations in the world with over 100.000 members between them!

The professional affiliation with any Yoga Alliance is widely recognised by employers, insurance companies, yoga students and practicioners around the world. The purpose of registration as a Member of Yoga Alliance is to fulfill the primary purpose of protection of the public, yoga students and aspiring yoga teachers in an “unregulated industry”.

If practising  with a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT)  is important to you, then you can  find out if they have registered and by visiting the Yoga Alliance® Registry

By Rosie Brent 



Yoga Alliance® New Standards for Teacher training


Yoga Alliance Think Different

While many Yoga Organisations focus on addressing problems, the most successful focus on raising the bar!

Innovation is defined as the introduction of something new or different and that’s precisely what Yoga Alliance® -International Australia did! “Sometimes it’s those quiet achievers who can make just as big an impact without having to be ostentatious about it.”

In January 2017, after nearly twenty years Yoga Alliance® – International and its associate Yoga Alliance®  Australia and  Yoga Alliance® Italy, were the first organisations to revise and implement new Standards for Teacher Training in Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the rest of the world.

Now other Yoga Alliances across the globe are duplicating the Yoga Alliance® – International’s innovative Standards Scheme! Why? because the world is full of fast followers! 

Yoga Alliance New Standard fro Teacher TrainingYoga Alliance new Standard for Yoga TeachersYoga Alliance Italia International RYS-250 PLUS StandardCSEN - ITALY

The first step to achieving High Standards is to lift the quality and status of Yoga Training Programs. Organisations that represent the yoga community worldwide owes a duty not only to the people they operate with, but to anyone who may be affected by the organisation’s activities.

In January 2017, Yoga Alliance® International and its associate Yoga Alliance® (Australia) and Yoga Alliance® (Italia) in Italy in association with the C.S.E.N (Centro Sportivo Educativo Nazionale (National Educational Sport Centre), a Body for Sports Promotion recognized by the Italian National Olympic Committee CONI, were the very first Yoga Alliance organisations to introduce new Standards for Teachers Training based on the proliferation of low quality yoga teacher training, and inadequately trained yoga teachers. Updates were made after receiving input from many member schools, renowned yoga experts and yoga teachers from every corners of the world!

These group of Alliances considered by experts and members of the community the most innovative of all yoga organisations, felt that the seventeen years old standards were out of date, and restrictive in their prescriptive breakdown of course content and hours.

Rather than requiring a specified, narrow curriculum, Yoga Alliance® International evaluation is based on the content, number of contact hours, structure of training programs and the experience of the Director of Training.

The creation of more rigorous professional standards is one sign of progress to ensure that teachers will know the subjects they teach and how to teach them to yoga practitioners. The Yoga Alliance® International’s new standards were created to respect the diversity of perspectives in yoga, while still providing a framework for yoga teacher training programs.

For more detailed information please visit: http://www.yogaalliance.com.au/raising-the-bar-for-teacher-training.html


All Yoga Alliances are the Same



“All Yoga Alliances Are The Same”







In the true spirit of yoga, meaning “UNION”, Yoga Organisations worldwide should be UNITED and work together to benefit the yoga community at large.

Just as Yoga has one underlying philosophy of UNION but many different styles and practical expressions of that philosophy, one would expect the Yoga Alliances (the peak bodies for yoga in the world) to uphold the teachings of yoga and foster the integrity of yoga teachers and schools from all lineages and traditions.

With Yoga nowadays a multi-billion dollar industry, it is no surprise that the yoga industry has become a diversified market with a number of independent Yoga Alliance organisations been established  to serve the fast growing community of yoga professionals in Europe, Australia, Canada, Asia and North America.

Although the Alliances are legally separate entities governed by the law of the country where they were established, Yoga Alliance -International Australia, Yoga Alliance Professionals UK, the Canadian Yoga Alliance, Yoga Alliance Italia-International, Yoga Alliance International with headquarter in Sydney (not to be confused with the Indian YAI) Yoga Alliance New Zealand and Yoga Alliance U.S are today considered the world’s largest, independent membership yoga organisations with over 100,000 registered members.

The designation of Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and Registered Yoga School (RYS) are the premier form of recognition in the field of yoga. The credentialing system implemented by the  Yoga Alliances remains the globally accepted professional credential for yoga teachers and yoga schools.

But what about “UNITY” beyond the walls of the Yoga Alliances? Shouldn’t these organisations be UNITED and work together to make a positive difference for the community of yoga practitioners,teachers and schools worldwide? Shouldn’t they all advocate UNITY?


Unfortunately, union can be difficult when the ego becomes involved in business and this became apparent when one particular organisation: Yoga Alliance U.S, who in November 2014, just two months after the resignation of its CEO Richard Karpel who basically saved YA from imminent demise, published an article on their web-site “Not All Yoga Alliances Are the Same”.Sadly the article does not incorporate the Philosophy of Yogic Yamas and Nyamas as would be expected from an organisation that ‘promotes’ Yoga Unity and Integrity.

In the article, Yoga Alliance U.S claim that the name Yoga Alliance is “their name” rather than Yoga Alliance U.S which is a “moniker” (nickname) according to them, that “some other entities use to refer to them”. However with Alliance Organisations established across the globe whose name: “Yoga Alliance” is a registered trademark and the property of those organisations, why does Yoga Alliance U.S claim that the name Yoga Alliance is “their name”? IP (Intellectual Property) Offices from around the world would not allow the registering of trademarks if exclusivity already existed.

In the same article, Yoga Alliance U.S went on to publish a list of Yoga Alliance organisations she claimed to not be affiliated with which includes the officially recognised yoga bodies: “Yoga Alliance-International Australia/”, “Yoga Alliance Italia/International”, “Yoga Alliance International” with headquarter in Australia, “Yoga Alliance Professionals UK” and the “Canadian Yoga Alliance”.

Not surprising, Yoga Alliance U.S failed to mention in the article that when in 2006 they were contacted by a group of yoga teachers who asked if they were interested in setting up a Yoga Alliance outside the USA, they were told that their organisation had been set up in the States, under United States law and specifically for the USA, and they were NOT considering establishing counterpart in other countries. However, in the spirit of yoga, Yoga Alliance U.S was very helpful and encouraged the group to set up a version of Yoga Alliance outside the U.S, and offered to give  advice and help if needed.

In the meantime, the CEO of Yoga Alliance U.S, with whom the group was in discussion, was removed from office, and Yoga Alliance U.S’s former warmth became distinctly cold and distant to the point of threatening the group with legal action if they did not stop calling themselves Yoga Alliance.

The threat was withdrawn because the group succeeded to register the trademarks Yoga Alliance, RYT and RYS in the country where they had established a Yoga Alliance. However, it was disappointing to find that the spirit of sharing and cooperation one would expect between similar organisations set up to promote the benefits of yoga and maintain high teaching standards, no longer existed.

Yoga Alliance U.S does not register yoga teachers who have completed a  training program accredited by highly respected yoga bodies such as the British Wheel of Yoga (the oldest yoga organisation in the world founded in 1965 in the UK, longer before YA U.S even existed), Yoga Alliance-International Australia, the Canadian Yoga Alliance, Yoga Alliance Professionals-UK, Yoga Alliance-International Italia, Yoga Alliance-New Zealand or the IYN (Independent Yoga Network). But what is really intriguing is why for nearly 16 years and until November 2014 Yoga Alliance U.S coexisted in harmony with these organisations?

Is it a competitive feeling, greed, envy of others success and achievements or a divide and conquer attitude that triggered  Yoga Alliance U.S to write the article? Why does an organisation that claims to promote ” Unity and Integrity” feels that it should shift its focus on the competition?


Any business, that has separation or “divide and conquer” as its underlying attitude, will end up becoming divided itself, and we must constantly be vigilant to ensure that our own personal ego’s do not affect our business decisions in a way that is harmful to others (in this way we practice ahimsa and non-harming). There are many ways that organisations can work together to support each other. Building relationships with similar businesses in your industry will also help your bottom line.

Over the past twelve years, the Canadian Yoga Alliance, Yoga Alliance Professionals-UK, Yoga Alliance International-Australia,  Yoga Alliance- Italia/International, Yoga Alliance International and Yoga Alliance-New Zealand (the largest Group of Alliances) gained popularity and respect  amongst the yoga community and acquired market strength nationally and internationally. These organisations coexist in harmony because they think of their relationship with fellow Yoga Organisations as ‘coopetition’ rather than ‘competition’ unlike their counterpart Yoga Alliance U.S.


There is no governing body or council behind Yoga Alliance U.S to hold RYTs accountable for upholding a certain standard. therefore, what  does tearing others down do for Yoga Alliance U.S?  Well, tearing others down might make one feel better. No doubt! But the truth is that no one likes anyone who tears others down. If you are bad-mouthing someone, it might make you feel better, but others won’t like it. You will gain a bad reputation, and your bad-mouthing will come back to hurt you. If you are sabotaging others, that’s even worse.

If you become an obstacle to others’ success, they will despise you for it. They will try to get around you, and failing that, will try to go through you. Your energies and time will be spent trying to stop others, and defending yourself against their attacks.

What a waste of precious time and energy dear Yoga Alliance U.S! Couldn’t you spend that better on building things yourself? On creating something beautiful and truly useful? and perhaps  improve the quality of your Standards and services??

Tearing others down is destructive. It hurts other people, and in the long run, it’ll hurt you and your members also registered with your competitors. Don’t waste your time and energy on it! Instead, build others up. Praise their success. Learn to be truly happy for the successes of others, rather than envious. Be a part of their success, rather than an obstacle. Participating in something great, including the successes of others, is a wonderful thing to have accomplished.


Building Alliances with similar businesses in your industry and working together is an important dynamic for organisations to understand. If you feel that you have to take steps to position yourself against the competition and you focus on the competition, “you might miss something important in your own business”.

Relationships typically move up and down a continuum based on a number of factors:the degree of commitment; the nature of changes required; relative levels of power and trust; the willingness of all parties to share resources, and most importantly, the state of mind of the parties involved.

Nowadays, it is essential for your organization’s success that you are an effective collaborator rather than an untrustworthy competitor. Why? Because if we develop the mindset of scarcity we create an environment of fear and see everyone else as a threat to our survival.

If you cultivate the mindset of co-operation you create an environment of opportunity and creativity which encourages the same state of mindfulness not only in other organisations but within your own organisation and this is imperative to the survival of your business.

Given the rise in popularity that yoga is experiencing on an international level, there is no need for yoga businesses to adopt the mindset of scarcity and fear. This is particularly important in bringing the philosophy of Yoga to western nations.  If the philosophy of yoga businesses is seen to be one of competition, division and self-interest then this will be a grave injustice to this ancient art and philosophy and a disservice to its cultural heritage.


Yoga is currently unregulated everywhere in the world, as such there is NO official Yoga Governing Body anywhere in the world recognised by a government, and anyone claiming otherwise is misrepresenting themselves and misleading the yoga community and the general public.

Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased. Jiddu Krishnamurti



Yoga Alliance-International Australia World Yoga Summit

Yoga Alliance-International Australia-World Yoga Summit 2016

Yoga Alliance -International Australia “World Yoga Summit” 2016 Beijing








Yoga Alliance® International-Australia guest speaker at the “World Yoga Summit”  Beijing June 11-13 2016.

A panel of  world’s renowned  yogis and  Great Grand Masters  will  discuss the many aspects of How the Yoga industry in China and the rest of the  world will be developing in next five years, How to build a successful Yoga Business, Successful Operation on Community Yoga Club,  Wisdom on Yoga Operation and much more !

The event graced by the late B.K.S.Iyengar in 2011, will this year be graced by the presence of His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand, the President and Spiritual Head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India, one of the largest interfaith institutions in India, and Swami Sadhiv BhagawathiJi-the Director of “Yoga International Festival Rishikesh”, India and many highly regarded personalities of the Yoga world.

Yoga Alliance® is extremely grateful  to the Yoga community of  the Republic of  China and to Mr Yang Hong the CEO of  the “World Yoga Summit 2016” for the invitation.

A large number of yoga practitioners from all over the world are expected to participate in the event considered one of the biggest in the history of yoga.

His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji is the recipient of World Peace Ambassador Award, Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian award, Hindu of the Year Award, Prominent Personality Award, by Lions’ Club, Best Citizens of India Award, the Uttaranchal Ratan Award and leader in numerous international, inter-faith summits and parliaments, including at the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum and the Parliament of Religions as well as with Religions for Peace, KAICIID, the Hindu-Jewish Summit in Jerusalem, the Hindu-Christian dialogue by the Vatican and so many others. He is also a leader of frequent world peace pilgrimages across the world.


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Mindfulness, Kindfulness: What’s in a Name?


By Melissa O’Shea- Yoga Alliance Australia RYT 500 hour Gold Designation


There is nothing new about mindfulness: 2500 years ago Buddha taught people how to meditate sitting, lying, standing and walking, and then how to bring this focused attention to the rest of life. Mindfulness has become the preferred modern term thanks to the popularity of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s MinYoga Cow Posedfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Some people prefer the term mindfulness as they believe it to be connected to clear physical and psychological benefits while distancing itself from the religious and spiritual aspects of meditation. Enlightenment and Nirvana aside, whether we call it mindfulness or meditation, the goal of sitting meditation is to get up and live mindfully.

Mindfulness is simple. It is doing one thing at a time with focused attention. It could be as simple as eating breakfast slowly, tasting every bite. It could be walking the dog, feeling every step beneath your feet, inhaling the scents of nature (be selective with this one). It could be showering, or gardening, or even washing dishes, stopping the car at a stoplight and taking three deep breaths. Mindfulness is the antithesis of multi-tasking: it is not texting while driving, walking while eating, or cleaning the kitchen, supervising homework and clocking up kms on the pedometer while you talk on the phone. Which begs the question, who has time for mindfulness, let alone meditation?

Apparently, about 300 people do on a Friday night in suburban Perth. Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre features a 3 metre tall golden Buddha and a monk in brown robes: Ajahn Brahn. Recently back from retreat and in full humorous form, Ajahn Brahn leads a 30 minute meditation followed by a 45 minute talk. Referring to the recent Time Magazine cover article, ‘The Mindful Revolution’ Brahn says, “If you want to know about mindfulness, you’ve come to the source.”. The audience laugh but then sit at attention as Ajahn Brahn explains what is missing from mindfulness as taught by psychologists and corporate gurus, and the term he would like to replace it with.

Meditation in western culture began as a spiritual practice but popular culture has now unhooked it from religious tradition and embraced as a way to reduce stress, promote health and sharpen the mind. Happiness is often touted as one of the outcomes of mindfulness/meditation. “Living in the moment” and “Be here now” is a prescription for how to live well. But what happens when the moment doesn’t feel particularly liveable? When we’re in pain physically or emotionally, or someone else is? When we have too much to do, our job is boring or underpaid or we work for the boss from hell? This is where compassion, or as Ajahn Brahn suggests, “kindfulness” comes in. Through compassion for our self and others we can infuse any moment with kindness, making the tough times more bearable and the pleasures more exquisite.

There is a story in the Buddhist tradition about a monk who went on retreat in a cave for 7 years. Upon finishing his retreat and heading to town for sustenance the monk tripped over a dog, kicked the dog and swore. Making meditation a separate pursuit is a good way to practice and hone the skill, but without compassion for yourself and those around you it can become just one more thing to do in your busy schedule, one more pressure to feel stressed about. What good is seven years (or ten days, or an hour, or even 20 minutes) of meditation if you yell at your kids or your partner when you emerge?

Practicing compassion can in itself be a form of mindfulness. Be kindful when your child tracks dirt onto the newly vacuumed carpet and gently help him to clean it up. Wait kindfully when you are stuck in traffic, focusing on some music or the blue of the sky. Listen kindfully to your colleague’s account of her latest illness. You could even kindfully take out the rubbish or scrub the toilet or make the coffee (especially when it’s not your turn).

With practice and a little effort, living mindfully and kindly can become a regular part of your day. At first, think of it like tea breaks or bathroom breaks, something you will do every few hours. Over time you will find favorite mindful activities, and you can experiment with more challenging situations (lunch with a prospective client, reading The Cat in the Hat to your child for the 40th time). Mindfulness with kindness is the whole package: it can promote good health, reduce stress, and make you a happier person, all at the same time. Through kindness you might even find yourself improving someone else’s life and, with each small act, potentially changing the world. How’s that for multi-tasking?