≡ Menu

Texas Yoga Association: Regulation, “Organic Competition” a Slippery Slope

in Business of Yoga, YD News

A new press release from The Texas Yoga Association re: ongoing regulation battle, addressing stance on professional standards, yoga within the medical community and the corporate slippery slope.

PreviouslyOpinion: In Response to Texas Yoga Regulation, Why the Brouhaha?


After a press release and email inquiry sent to many top yoga teachers around the United States from a very large yoga program in Austin stating that we see yoga as a hobby, there may be confusion about the important details with the TYA’s mission and our stand for yoga in Texas. This seems to be getting messy – quite unfairly – and I think we need our supporters help to clean it up. Most of you have been there with us from the beginning and know the heart and souls behind this cause. Now some pro regulation entities have begun to challenge our position unfairly to oppose us by using glamour words and promises to steer those who will listen in through the back door to visit the idea of regulation. We see a very slippery slope on the horizon that looks like an attempt by larger more corporate entities to eliminate the more quaint studios and trainings. It is a history of “organic competition” we often see behind regulation attempts.

TYA considers yoga a way of life, and a lifelong practice. The practice is handed down teacher to student. It is the guided exploration of the breath and body. The guide, the instructor, is mindful and careful during the session so as to promote body awareness and wellness. Yoga addresses wellness from every aspect including diet, hygiene, sleeping, speaking, movement, stillness, and meditation.

The request for exemption in the bills does not mean that the TYA disagrees with professional standards. Such standards can be explored, defined, and maintained from within the yoga community itself. The TWC, as we have heard in the case of Genevieve Yellin, is NOT interested in the training curriculum or the module’s standards, what’s being taught or how. It is interested in the revenue! Why else would TWC REQUIRE audits of training centers and levy fees for being in business?

A new path needs to emerge. It needs to be the combination of TYA and the Professionals. If the PYTA is interested in becoming yoga facilitators within the medical community, then that association should develop its own criteria and standards in conjunction with the American Medical Association (AMA), NOT with every other Texas yoga studio and teacher. Not all yoga is medically driven. We understand that by its very nature, yoga promotes individual wellness and helps prevent serious disease and ailment. However, that does not mean that it is essentially or primarily for the western medical community. Yoga is for EVERYBODY.

Yoga should have a more prominent role in the patient’s healing process as it should in the preventative stages. Yoga asana, meditation, pranayama, and yogic diet would do well for the healing patient, yet it is only ONE aspect of several curative methods.

The problem with the regulation of ALL yoga studios is that neighborhood studio owners will be burdoned by the bureaucratic rigmarole and heavy taxation. Those studios, who operate on enough profit to stay open and for the owner to live modestly, will CLOSE DOWN due to the unnecessary weight of bureaucracy and government interference. That studio is somebody’s sanctuary, somebody’s home, somebody’s only place to go for healing. TWC and any movement toward regulation with some ideal notion that it will help yoga teachers and the health care system by being seen as a “professional” in the medical community is not only far stretched and without trend, it is a menacing threat to that sacred space we call an intimate yoga studio.

Blessings and please “like” this if you agree on facebook.



9 comments… add one
  • Yes, yes, yes! Unlike the previous opinion post, the TYI takes a broader view of yoga here, and shows a more nuanced understanding of the impact of state regulation on small studios. Small studios are the heart of yoga in the U.S.!

  • Regulation is ONLY about teacher training programs. Still the TYA continues to confuse the issue.

  • i gave a three levels opinion-answer in the prev post by darla about all this here on yogadork, http://yogadork.com.s157905.gridserver.com/news/opinion-in-response-to-yoga-regulation-why-the-brouhaha/

    my main concern remains, providing a base of safe instruction for an activity that involves moving or manipulating the human body

    what is the injury rate in yoga classes? is it reduceable? would better educated teachers help reduce the number of injuries? give practitioners a stronger longer lasting foundation of health?

    iyengar, in his interview “extra” on the dvd “enlighten up!” says good health is essential, and the foundation, for spiritual growth

    common sense says good health knowledge is essential

    my wife and i were literally shocked to learn the simple health and fitness things we hadn’t known, certifying with afaa –

    why are the students in my class as shocked as we were, when i teach basic information about alignment and improvements from oxygen uptake and gain in muscle mass?

    yoga should be at the forefront of what is best for the individual as a whole, which includes safety and health and wellness

    we are all people with mostly the same bodies

    oneness is oneness

    the spiritual sparring or sharing, would then be up to each individual, clan, and class –

    the issue of too high a tax or “fee” on small entities is legitmate, and should be stripped from the issue of safety and health, not mixed into the brew then served with a warning how unhealthy the mix is…

  • NCDan

    How can anyone believe that regulation of teacher training will remain only regulation of teacher training and will have no impact on the teaching of yoga to students? If regulation of teacher training has any effect on teachers it will have to influence the teaching of yoga to students. If it has no effect, why do it?

    When considering what we would like government to do, it’s very easy to think that government will do only what we want and stop there. In reality once the camel’s nose is under the tent the camel will come in and do what it wants to do.

    The concern of corporate control of yoga is a valid concern. The normal progression of a regulatory agency is that soon after the agency is established it will be captured by the most powerful interests it regulates and then it will be used by these interests to bleed less powerful competitors until they either die off or become willing to sell out to the larger interests.

    Some would like to develop yoga into third party reimbursable psychotherapy/physical therapy. As a yoga teacher with 9 years experience who also has 26 years experience as a psychotherapist, this pathway would interest me if I was a younger man. But this is a seperate issue from the regulation of cottage industry yoga teacher training. The proper way to pursue this is through established university level schools of health care. Here in NC Duke University appears to be moving along this pathway of incorporating selected yoga practices into mainstream health care although I cannot speak for them and do not know if that is actually their goal. This pathway to third party reimbursement is clearly the path that is most likely to succeed. Regulation of cottage industry yoga teacher training will not get yoga teachers paid by medical insurers.

  • Duke and Loyola Marymount University are the only accredited Universities that I know of.

    I really appreciate what you said NCDan. I feel pretty confident that that is the direction that yoga is going too.

    I do not think Darla is recognizing that the impact that regulation would have on a particular studio VS. say someone like Lex Gillan at the Yoga Institute. (who only does teacher trainings).


  • And I totally agree with you that “Regulation of yoga studio teacher trainings,” will most likely not get yoga teachers paid by medical insurers.

    In order to get recognition, accreditation and actually paid in excess of $50.00 – a yoga teacher would have to have a background in PT and yoga… or more.


  • Scott

    A few years ago, New York and some others states had similar problems. One large Yoga Yoga (oops, did I say that word twice?)studio in Austin took note. At a time when no yoga teacher training programs were regulated in Texas, they went about getting theirs regulated as a career school. Once they got through the process, they started reporting all of the other yoga schools that were not regulated as career schools. They forced several of them to close and many others to go underground because the cost and the record keeping and the inspections were overwhelming for a small studio. This was exactly their purpose – to run competitors out of business. Beging regulated as a career school has absolutely ZERO to do with the quality of the yoga program. It won’t lead to greater prestige or even improved standards. The only reason this came about in Texas is because one warehouse style yoga yoga company wanted to use state regulations to make life hard on other studios. The wickedness at the core of this organization belies its redundent name. There is no real yoga that can come from such a dark and miserly heart. They are only interested in Rich or Gold so let me raise my Stein to salute the dark heart of Texas and their Walmart style of business. I hope it brings you everything you deserve.

  • Scott

    For those yogis interested in proviuding healthcare and getting reimbursed, the organization to join is the International Association of Yoga Therapists. They are actively working toward that goal. Typically, the minimum qualifications are a master’s degree from an accredited program, though some like nursing and chemical dependency counseling have entry level educational standards that are lower. They also havce a very restricted practice, get paid at much lower rates and many ways are not allowed to practice independently.

    This is a completely separate issue from yoga teacher training. Those who want yoga teachers who haven’t had adequate training at an accredited instution of higher learning to provide healthcare are simply trying to get out of doing the hard work that leads to a legitimate degree. If you want to treat patients, go to a school that trains people to do that. Once you are licensed, you can use any methods that have adequate scientific support.

    • jenny

      I couldn’t agree more Scott!

Leave a Comment