If you are going to become a yoga teacher and take a Yoga Alliance teacher training program, then it would be good for you to know a little bit about the Yoga Alliance (YA) and how they affect yoga teacher certification programs and certain industry terminologies. As you search our site or the web, you will see many terms being thrown around that you will need to become more familiar with.
These are words that will frequently surface in searches for yoga teacher trainings, and sorting out precisely what these words refer to can be a bit confusing. As you search our site for yoga certification programs, you will notice particular schools offering Yoga Alliance accredited yoga teacher training. So what exactly is the Yoga Alliance?
The Yoga Alliance was established in 1999 and is based in Arlington VA. The Yoga Alliance are the national support and education organization for Yoga in the US. Formed with the merger of two volunteer organizations, Ad Hoc Yoga and Unity in Yoga, the Yoga Alliance work to promote public understanding of Yoga as well as mutual respect within the Yoga community. Since its inception the YA has established certain minimum standards for yoga teachers and yoga schools of all styles, especially when it comes to yoga teacher certification. Implementing these standards has allowed the Yoga Alliance to create and maintain an international registry of teachers and a national registry of yoga schools that have met the Yoga Alliance requirements. Since yoga’s growth in popularity in the early 90’s, their goal is to help establish a more professional perception to the public of what yoga is. This includes working with local governments when it comes to yoga teacher training standards. These standards are important to have to ensure the integrity of the yoga community and make sure that teachers are not just going out in the world representing yoga in a negative way. More importantly, it helps keep the integrity of how yoga is perceived and its future developments here in the United States.
What this means is that these teachers have met the minimum standards set forth by the Yoga Alliance and have registered as RYTs with the Yoga Alliance. RYT 200 means the teacher has completed a 200-hr yoga teacher training; RYT 500 designates a teacher who has completed the more comprehensive 500-hr yoga teacher training. It should be noted that not all schools are registered with YA and cannot offer a Yoga Alliance teacher training. Make sure you find this out first before you sign up with a yoga teacher training school.
These are yoga teachers who have considerable experience as yoga teacher trainers and/or have extensive teaching histories. All RYTs and E-RYTs are listed in the Yoga Alliance teacher directory, which is available online. Make sure you check their directory to see if your school is registered as you will not be able to become a registered teacher if your school is not registered with the Yoga Alliance.
These yoga schools have met the minimum standards implemented by the Yoga Alliance and have had their yoga teacher training curriculum approved; additionally, their director of Yoga Alliance teacher training is required to be registered as an E-RYT. A student who graduates from a RYS is eligible to register with the Yoga Alliance as an RYT. All RYS’s are listed in the YA’s school directory.
Yoga Alliance defines their mission as follows: “YA works in the public interest to ensure that there is a thorough understanding of the benefits of Yoga, that the teachers of Yoga value its history and traditions and that the public can be confident of the quality and consistency of instruction.”
If your intention with taking a yoga certification is to teach yoga professionally, then you will want to make sure your school is Yoga Alliance accredited unless the type of yoga you are going to teach does not require you to be a RYT such as Bikram.
While there may be mixed feelings as to how the Yoga Alliance helps the community, what is certain is that there is a need to have some centralized organization that keeps the integrity of yoga in tact. Since yoga migrated here from India in the 60’s, it has pretty much been a free for all until they stepped in. Some schools like Bikram are not registered with the Yoga Alliance and have decided to go their own route. This is fine for some schools who seek to create their own path within the yoga community. But from a broader perspective, as a student just starting out, it is much safer to take a Yoga Alliance teacher training so that you have options down the line in case you want to teach professionally.
Recently the government tried to come in and impose its own yoga teacher training regulations and standards. When this was happening (and still is on some areas) many yoga schools and the Yoga Alliance were able to step in to some extent and show that there is already some regulation taking place. While the government did pull away from trying to regulate NY through their vocation law, other local officials are still trying to impose their rules in other states. This seems to be a very touchy subject and will continue for some time on the local level.
To learn more about the Yoga Alliance and how they serve the yoga community, you can visit their site at www.yogaalliance.org
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