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Teaching Yoga? License and Registration, Please!

in Business of Yoga, MUST READS, YD News

Hello Yoga, you wanted acceptance? Here you go! But it’s gonna cost ya!

Life just got a little bit stricter, and costlier, for Michigan yoga studios hoping to make a healthy buck training new yoga teachers. The state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth has caught wind of this here yoga boom and wants to protect us all from fraud, see! They’ve come to crash the party, enforcing a requirement that all studios be licensed by the state, as in required to purchase a license. Why? Because by definition these yoga studios churning out dozens of  “certified” teachers fall under the same category as other vocations like bartending, pet grooming, medical assistance and business schools.

“If you teach a trade, occupation or vocation, and you charge a fee, you need a license to do it in Michigan,” says Mike Beamish of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.

Simple! But obviously studio owners are not thrilled.

Says Brian Granader, owner of Red Lotus Yoga in Rochester Hills,

“Nobody has ever said we are trade. We don’t look at ourself that way. We aren’t teaching small-engine repair or medical procedures here,” Granader said. “So few people go on to become a yoga teacher. A majority do it for personal growth.”

Is that relevant? He ended up paying, reluctantly. Though Mr. Granader did add that perhaps the license added some credibility.

yoga_cashOf the schools contacted by the state since February and March, four have filed for licenses, four are in the process and four have closed (don’t know if this is directly related to the licensing). The owners of the remaining 17 who’ve yet to respond could face 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

OK, on one hand we sympathize with the stubborn studio owners – having to suddenly owe money sucks! And to the government? Blech! And on top of the license fee there’s also a $5,000 surety bond the owner must purchase to indemnify the financial loss of the students. Pain in the ass!ana. But, kinda boo hoo ya know? (we don’t own a studio by the way)

Hate to say it, but we sorta have to side with the state here.* Listen studio owners, if you’re taking your training seriously (as you should for $2,000+ !) then you gotta be a big kid and pay up like everyone else. You were just lucky to have slipped through the cracks this long. Besides, we don’t hear you complaining about paying the Yoga Alliance. And what does that really get you?

*commenter and YD pal Linda made the fine point that the license fees are just another moneymaking tactic from the state. Are they fair in general?

Full Disclosure: Certain disgruntled Yoga Dorks, who will go unnamed, are indeed still grumbling, having yet to pay off a teacher training debt. argh.

State: Yoga Schools Must Be Licensed [Detroit News]

More… Wash. State Yoga Studios Won’t Have To Pay Sales Tax, Because Yoga Is Not Physical Fitness?

15 comments… add one
  • I can see both sides and the bottom line is that it’s just another way for the state to make money.

    and don’t even get me started about the Yoga Alliance!


  • Hey… I read your information from begining to the end and I think that is interesting information.. I think i will tell this information again to my friend and I hope this information will be usefull for them… oh yes I suggest you to check Yoga Classes – Yoga Teacher Training on my site http://www.yogalife.org , I hope the Information on my site will be usefull for you..and we can share each other. thank you… 🙂

  • It’s totally abut the state making money! Maybe licensing will evenutally benefit the industry overall, but did Michigan need to give studio owners just 7 days to pony up the fee and complete the paperwork? And having to wait 8 months for the license during which time they must cease training, even if they are in the middle of a program? Does NY really need to levy a $50000 fine for not complying immediately? It seems there could be a better way to implement this new rule.

  • sara

    On the one hand I sympathize with the studios. On the other hand, as someone who wants to teach someday, I kinda resent these studios running their teacher trainings like a for-profit business, which I guess is what they’re doing. Because they can. For something that’s supposed to be a spiritual practice, it doesn’t sit well with me that studio are charging up to $5000 for a three-week training. IMO the studios have brought this situation on themselves.

  • Licensing Yoga Teachers. Government needs to manage the affairs of Government, and yoga Teachers need to be left alone, to work in a peaceful enviroment. Gitanali International is representing all American Yoga Teachers, from New York -California, against the State Government. One State at a time. Virgina is first. 713-475-0856
    Govinda Vishnu
    CEO. Director of Operations.

  • val

    I think this is a very interesting article. Why not have license it’s something we have and we at http://www.yogi-nomad.org are also registered as a non-profit organization. And enjoy teaching yoga teacher training courses.

  • Elle Varga

    As a working yoga teacher, I can clearly see both sides here. Unfortunately, the vulnerable, trusting student can be pressured by her institution to enroll in a YTT, with the hopes of a new career in the wings. I have heard this numerous times. It’s a big payday for the studio. In our current economic climate, it isn’t easy to keep a studio actively running. As teachers, we are sharing our knowledge and gifts, promoting wellness programs throughout communities. We are not diagnosing and treating. Therefore, I see this as a way for the state to make $$$. This was an issue in NJ in 2009, and we fought against it. The licensing would require 300+ Hours of state required courseware to be completed in a brief period. It was not limited to yoga teachers either. Pilates, Zumba, sculpting, toning, conditioning, MMA class teachers, etc….personal trainers, dance teachers (ballet/tap) were all required by the state as well upon ruling. So, in the end, I unfortunately only really see it as profit for each individual state implementing this nonsense. The language of the above article basically states, “pay up or shut up.” As far as consumer protection, we must “exercise” our best judgement (no pun intended). Through the years, I’ve had close to ten students who’ve expressed desire to become yoga teachers. When they asked me to advise them where to do their training, I explained that taking time to interview as many schools via taking a class or two is essential. You want to expose yourself to various teachers, styles, studios. This is not a decision to be made hastily. When we are considered for employment (in NJ), we must provide our certificates, liability insurance documents, etc….

    • Bianca

      Elle u make lot of sense where do u teach?

  • Scarlet

    Elle, I like what you wrote. Good points, thanks.

  • kim

    i think the state should realize that teacher training and certification are requirements to work in health clubs and studios. just an excuse to have more revenue for the state. that’s all.

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