These are interesting times for yoga. For instance, for the first time ever, a major American university is offering a master’s degree in Yoga Studies. And the Yoga Alliance, essentially an online directory, is starting to make some real moves in a potentially positive, somewhat corporate-y direction, even speaking out in the public forum in defense of yoga, more than once. Yes, these are strange times, indeed.
The other day we posted YogaCityNYC’s recap from a recent Yoga for New York meeting where Yoga Alliance president and CEO Richard Karpel answered a few important questions about all these new and crazy changes happening. While there were a few discrepancies (which we were alerted to several times by YA – seriously, we were even visited in our dreams by three YA ghosts – and which have since been cleared up), the updates come as a relief for some who cheer for an overseeing organization, and frustration for others who still aren’t convinced of YA’s relevance, or that they’ve finally outgrown their dysfunctional years.
Perhaps it’s because, for a lot of yogis, this is the first they’re hearing of all these new rules and changes from an organization that’s still trying to figure out how and where they fit in this ever evolving yoga world, industry and culture. If you’re still confused, or are just finding out there are any changes at all, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of sorts. We got all of this info buried in the currently less than easy to navigate Yoga Alliance site and splayed it all out here to help make sense of it, with no (ok, hardly no) commentary.
The Next Generation Yoga Alliance – What Gives?
1. For one, they have a new mission: “to spread the power of yoga, one person at a time.”
- They know membership hasn’t brought many perks besides the supposed “credibility” of being listed in a directory. They want to try and fix that. (Because let’s be honest, the more members they have, the more profitable their business is, too.)
- They’re going to try and do more to help the individual while supporting the business and profession of yoga so ”members can turn their passion for yoga into a sustainable living.” To that end they’ve introduced liability insurance and health insurance programs and will host yoga business-related workshops online as well as conferences for members.
- Other member perks: Discounts on some brands and services like Hugger Mugger, YogaUOnline and Zipcar. See the full list of perks here.
2. New website:
- The new directory will give each teacher their own profile page to display their “personalities” and yoga selfies.
- No more paper registration. It’s all moving online, which YA promises which will be more streamlined, along with the clarification of standards so RYTs can more easily ”grow along the designation ladder.”
- Starting in November, RYS profile pages will also have the capability for reviews and feedback from registered trainees, Yelp style. (More on this in a bit.)
- New community aspect: YA has collaborated with Off the Mat, Into the World to offer tools and guidance for members wanting to organize local yoga community groups.
What else, what else. We know there was something else new they were really excited about. Oh, that’s right.
3. New logo!
- There’s a new logo they’re super proud of and seem to have spent a lot of time and effort on. (See above image and video.)
4. New credentialing and rating system:
- Look out. “We’re building a new-to-world system we call “social credentialing,” which combines our traditional credentialing system with the best practices of social ratings sites.”
- Basically, starting in November, Registered Yoga Schools must provide a syllabus and must verify trainees’ completion of the program. The syllabus must be submitted before the end of the school’s first training in 2014 or your trainees can’t register. On the flipside, trainees will evaluate the training programs (see: Yelp note). The entire evaluation can be found here.
- There’s an almost 90-minute youtube video on this from director of credentialing, Pam Weber, and director of programs and training, Nicole Mitchell if you care to check it out (which we doubt anyone will, though yoga studios who want to register really should).
- Though at first they were requiring yoga schools to publicly post syllabi on their YA page, this is no longer the case, because everyone freaked out when they heard that. (See: intellectual property scare.) However, they are certainly guilting everyone into doing it. Like, if you don’t post it, what are you hiding anyway??
One of the ways that you, the yoga community, and Yoga Alliance can earn more credibility with the public is through transparency. Since your syllabus is the basis of your registration with Yoga Alliance, the public has the right to expect to be able to view it. By being transparent and publicly sharing your syllabus, you are building credibility for your own teacher-training program and playing an important role in enhancing the credibility of the entire yoga community.
- Registered schools must display their public rating based on the evaluation responses to the question: “How likely are you to recommend this teacher-training program to a friend or fellow yoga teacher?”
- Lead trainers have to be registered with YA.
- Your school registration can’t lapse past 6 months (it used to be a year). If it does, you’ll have to re-apply and pay more fees. Also, if it lapses during a training, none of the trainees will be able to register because you didn’t keep up your end of the bargain and have likely ruined all their lives forever.
- Relatedly, if a teacher did a training in the past, but their school of choice wasn’t registered at the time, that training doesn’t count, according to YA, even if the school is now registered. No soup for you!
You can read all of the RYS updates here.
- Ah yes…the fees. Nothing really new here except that maybe you’ll be getting a wee bit more for your membership costs. You’ll be happy to know they still take Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
6. Two separate legal entities:
- This is not on the website yet from what we could tell. Richard Karpel confirmed in his updates the other day that the credentialing will remain a 501c3 public charity, which it has been, and the new trade and professional association that will offer member benefits and services will operate as a 501c6. Two separate legal entities with a joint staff. This shouldn’t effect any of us too much, but it’s nice to know they’re cool with the IRS.
To read more and choose your own adventure, go to this Next Gen Resource Center link, which we can’t seem to find anywhere on the YA homepage.
What do you think? Is it all worth it? How are you feeling about the Next Generation Yoga Alliance?