Way back at the end of June we incited VA yogis to follow NY and unite! Though we’re pretty sure it didn’t take much coaxing to set the letter-writing campaign to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) et al in motion, as well as rally the troops online at the Virginia Yoga Teachers group on facebook. Way to go ‘Ginny yogis!
Perhaps one of their greatest triumphs to date though is getting enough buzzing prana to make it in today’s Washington Post, in an article highlighting the certification dilemma and shedding light on an even muddier argument: is yoga teacher training job prep?
Yoga Teacher Training: A Vocation or Avocation?
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) says yoga teacher training is preparation for a job. In short, their claim is that teaching yoga is a vocation and thus involves a $2500 fee, audits, annual charges of at least $500, and a bucketload of paperwork just like any other vocational school is saddled with presently. VA studios are denying the pants off that claim.
In one corner, state lawmakers for vocation!
“But the teacher training is preparing people for a job. They can take the skills they learn and open up their own studio or just teach,” says Linda Woodley, the higher education council’s director of private and out-of-state postsecondary education.
In the other corner, the studio owners for avocation!
“Maybe we shouldn’t call it teacher training — maybe it should be yoga immersion or an apprenticeship,” says Maryam Ovissi, co-owner of Beloved Yoga in Northern Virginia, which trains about 15 teachers each year.
“This is definitely an avocation. Most people aren’t doing this as a way to support themselves,” Susan Van Nuys, a ‘burned-out computer programmer-turned-studio owner.’
Hm. Basically, folks, anyone training to become a full-time yoga teacher, especially these days, is completely bonkers. Pshaw.. like anyone in their right and left minds would come out of YTT expecting to be a full time yoga teacher. yah right (*nervous laughter*). We’ve surely seen and heard of people attending teacher trainings to deepen their practice, and perhaps integrate yoga into their day jobs, which we just assume are as lawyers, hedge funders and neurosurgeons, because they can afford it! Oh we kid, there are plenty of other professionals with credit cards. We wonder though, is downplaying the YTT programs’ ability to churn out capable teachers the right root to tug?
Help from With-out
So far VA yogs have seen a glimmer of encouragement as State Del. David E. Poisson (D-Loudoun) jockeys to defend the “classic case of regulation run amuck” by prepping legislation to exempt yoga from the licensing requirement, which he intends to present during the next session of the Virginia General Assembly in Jan 2010. Here’s hoping everyone decides to take a siesta until then.
In the Post article there’s no pointing to Yoga Alliance as the inadvertent snitch to the gov, as The NYTimes outed, but rather a random advertisement spotted by a state employee that set off alarm bells. In fact, YA CEO Mark Davis has actually been very much involved in the VA countercharge efforts and just recently attended a meeting between yogis and SCHEV (State Council of Higher Education for Virginia) as a silent observer. (Read his letter to VA yoga teachers).
Meanwhile, yankee yogis are celebrating the Yoga Association of NY‘s newborn ‘Yoga for NY’ and the freshly christened website (yogaforny.org). As YANY’s efforts have been somewhat successful in causing the state to recoil in child’s pose (for the moment), it has also provided the yogs a chance to unite, and enough breathing room to lobby lobby lobby. So far, still breathing. Still inspiring others, obviously.
With state governments cracking down all over the US, is a national association on the way? Is Yoga Alliance wedging its way into leading it?
Also, is it us or is it odd we’ve yet to hear any rumbles from California on the subject, where budget deficit is borderline disaster level, and yoga studios are as copious as stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Let’s all knock on a Redwood.