Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is not, therefore, an activity capable of being regulated and perhaps will never be.
It is important that consumers are clear that the Yoga Alliances (i.e.Australia/Canada/Italia/UK/U.S) are membership organisations that maintain a self-regulated independent Registry of yoga teachers whose training and teaching experience meets their minimum standards.
The Registry acts to protect the public by highlighting appropriately qualified individuals who have received an approved level of training and experience. The registry therefore presents a source of information on suitably qualified individuals for those seeking advice on yoga or offering employment in the field of yoga anywhere in the world. Members of the Registry are issued a certificate of membership/registration confirming their status as a RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) or RYS (Registered Yoga School) for a set duration of time, at which the candidate must renew.
The registration of yoga teachers and schools is not a certification, but rather a voluntary process collectively developed by the abovementioned Alliances to help regulate and support those in the field of yoga, and the development of yoga into the future. The registration therefore with any yoga organisation has no legal force anywhere in the world.
There is No “Global Yoga Governing Body” in the world. There is no statutory regulation of Yoga in Australia, USA, Europe, Canada, UK, or anywhere else in the world and none has yet been recommended. The term ‘Governing Body’ is a non-protected one and as such carries no legal authority whatsoever.
The most important thing to know about teaching yoga is that individuals practicing a regulated profession (i.e. Medical Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, etc.), need to be able to show evidence of registration with the appropriate regulatory body, in others like teaching yoga, it is not because still is an unregulated profession for which there is no legal requirement or restriction on practice with regard to licenses, or registration with a yoga body. Those in unregulated professions must demonstrate their competence through evidence of experience or education and training.
An employer may request that a yoga teacher holds a RYT certificate or any other qualification or registration it sees fit, and may refuse to employ he or her if do not have what they require. This is often negotiable between the teacher and employer.
A protected professional title is legally restricted to use by persons who have completed a specific training course and/or are members of a particular regulatory body. A Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) is a distinction given to yoga teachers whose training and teaching experience meet Yoga Alliance requirements. A Registered Yoga Schools (RYS) is a credential given to yoga schools that meet Yoga Alliance standards for yoga teacher trainings.
Let’s see why in an unregulated industry registration with Yoga Alliance is recognised and accepted by employers and insurance companies across the globe.
There are thousands of voluntary standards setting bodies around the world, and they can standardise pretty much anything to make life easier, safer, and more productive. Often, these bodies have agreements to cooperate with each other. They may endorse each other’s standards, build upon them, or purposely avoid duplicating efforts. But human nature being what it is, standards bodies also compete with each other. The yoga industry is affected by these myriad standards and the organisations that produce and endorse them.
The Alliances mentioned in this article are a typical example of competition although literally and legally a “Perfect Competition”,which is a market structure in which all companies sell an identical product, all companies are price takers (they cannot influence the market price of their product); market share has no influence on price; buyers have complete or "perfect" information – in the past, present and future – about the product being sold and the prices charged by each companies.
With that being said, the reasons why the registration with Yoga Alliance Australia/Canada/Italia/UK /U.S is employer recognised and enables yoga professionals to apply for professional indemnity insurance, are mainly due to the creation and implementation of a voluntary “de facto standards”. The term de facto standard is a Latin phrase that means “in fact” (literally by or from fact) which is used in contrast with obligatory standards (also known as “de jure standards"). A de facto standard achieves its status through public acceptance or market forces (such as early entrance to the market) rather than because it was officially approved by some standards organisation or government.
The Yoga Alliances are pioneering organisations! In every age a few organisations rise above the rest and "bring fire" to the world—changing the way we live. As the global marketplace continues to expand, nothing less than a commitment to pioneering new and better ways of doing things will serve.
Accreditation vs. certification vs. registration in the Yoga world
The Yoga Alliance International® Registry is a listing of teachers and schools who have agreed to abide by an explicit code of conduct and standards set forth by the association. Prospective teachers who complete a RYS program are automatically eligible to become RYTs.
Certification refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organisation. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment tests supplemented by an official document attesting to a status or level of achievement.
Achieving the title of Certified Yoga Teacher recognises that you have completed a yoga training course and that you practice in a professionally competent, independent and ethical manner, and shows you are a leader in your field.
Accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of educational institutions or programs are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the appropriate agency. In the yoga teacher training context, an accreditation refers to yoga training programs delivered by schools which periodically may be subject to audits to ensures that their certification practices are acceptable, typically meaning that they are competent to test and certify third parties, behave ethically and employ suitable quality assurance.
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