Yesterday the Who’s Who of steamed and concerned NY Yogis gathered together in a cramped midtown Manhattan yoga studio to grill hear from freshly appointed Yoga Alliance President John Matthews, an even-tempered gentleman with a slight drawl and southern-bred manners, who had no idea what he was getting himself into.
Mr. Matthews stepped up to be the self-described “broom” this past March when it appeared YA was ready to toss in the yoga towel, and everyone had had it up to their third eye with runaround bullshit. Oh, don’t worry it was a civilized meeting all right, but with great thanks due to the awe-inspiring command of Yoga for NY chieftess Alison West (whom you may recall lead the fight and subsequent victory over government regulatory legislation last year). So what happened at the meeting and why should you care? Well, lucky for you we have the power of the mighty bulletpointed list!
Here are the exciting highlights! Gripes, followed by responses.
Yoga Alliance stinks! Mea culpa – Straight off the bat Prez Matthews apologized for the lack of organization, poor judgment and overall poor operation of the org, but promised that’s in the past. The new staff is 23 strong and all but 5 are regular yogis. John himself is a Transcendental Meditater.
Great, so what is Yoga Alliance good for again? Their main job to is set and enforce standards, Mr. Matthews confirms. The problem is, a great lot of studios don’t agree with the standards (which were created, not by the board, but by some secret underground group no one knows who or how) and there is no compliance mechanism in place to do checks.
About standards, are you planning to reassess specialties like kids yoga, prenatal or senior yoga? Yes, er at some point. This goes for teacher trainings and continuing ed credits as well. They’re aware of it now, thank goodness, but it remains a someday scenario. Still, not even the president of Yoga Alliance knows who actually set these standards to begin with and who will consequently make any changes to current guidelines.
How will you keep track of studios adhering to guidelines after writing their check? A new strategy of satellite committees by state is in the works. Stay tuned for more info on the Yoga Alliance website. (don’t hold your breath)
I paid and registered and my (insert name/studio) is still missing from the site! Bugs. A lot of the old staff has been ousted, as well as old systems. However, the new database behind the directory for yoga schools and teachers is still wonky and we’re told it’ll be another 3-6 months to work out issues. Keep nagging them.
What does Yoga Alliance do for me anyway? For Yoga Studios and Teachers, Yoga Alliance registration still only gets you a rubber stamp. And for the fee you pay? That’s just for processing paperwork. That’s it. For now, John says.
YA was all but absent in the NY State fight against government licensing for teacher training, what’s your official stance on government regulation? YA is strongly against government regulation, but not opposed to working with government bodies in the future. What needs to change is the language involved in teacher training to be less vo-tech and more knowledge based. This is going down right now with a battle in Texas similar to what happened in VA and NY. Matthews is involved, and you can read more about it here.
Speaking of fees, where does all that money go? Pays for processing paperwork! A-duh. Right, but the better news is that, like any other non-profit, YA will start to publish an annual report, 2011 being the earliest.
Obviously, there’s so much left unanswered and so much to “sweep up”. Our best advice if you still have questions, comments concerns? Email, call and write!
In closing and in truth, this organization is supposed to be here for yoga teachers, studios and students. A new fancy website and a broom-sweeping won’t whip it into shape on their own. We implore you to get involved with Yoga for NY, or your own local lot of yogis who give a damn.