Earlier this week Yoga Alliance quietly announced in an email to its members that Richard Karpel, President of Yoga Alliance and the Yoga Alliance Registry, will be stepping down later this year. This is somewhat unnerving and unfortunate news. Some may remember Karpel joined the organization as president in 2012 and basically saved YA from imminent demise. Under his leadership, YA went from a sad state of affairs of being practically useless to the community, to being a more supportive, outspoken and, dare we say, commendable entity taking responsibility and taking a stance on matters of importance (see: YogaGlo patent issue, the Yoga Tax, health insurance perks, and actually answering phone calls.) With Karpel leaving, will that be the end of Yoga Alliance’s rise to any shred of reliability?
“I have loved every minute I have served as Yoga Alliance’s president, working on behalf of the yoga community. But it’s time for me to move onto the next chapter in my life and career,” Karpel is quoted in the newsletter that was sent out late on Wednesday night with the subject line “Announcement from Yoga Alliance.”
The email listed the many changes that happened under Karpel’s watch including a re-branded website and a refreshed mission to be more accountable and active in professional yoga space, as well as, in short, getting their shit together. Read the entire email online here.
A second email from the YA board of directors followed earlier today acknowledging Richard Karpel’s announcement and his accomplishments, as well as attempting to answer a lot of questions that likely flooded their inboxes, which we assume went a lot like “WTF?” and “Who’s taking over now?” and “What does it all mean??”
According to this email from the board, Chief Operating Officer Barbara Dobberthien will be taking over the commanding position. Here’s the full email (which you can also read online here):
Dear Yoga Alliance community,
As mentioned in our last email on September 3, Yoga Alliance President Richard Karpel announced he will be stepping down from Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Registry. The board would like to thank him for his service during the last two years as our community grew and our programs expanded. Our growth has created a challenging but rewarding experience as we kept pace with the administration of a larger community and worked hard to deliver more programs, services and benefits to our members and registrants.
As a response to the demands of our growth, in April, our staff was moved under the guidance of Chief Operating Officer Barbara Dobberthien, who joined the organization in 2012. All of the 20-plus employees in our Arlington, Virginia headquarters will carry on reporting to Barbara, who will continue to oversee internal growth and management of Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Registry.
Barbara led our staff through the development of our Member Perks, Online Workshops and Business of Yoga Conference. She has also been involved with the overhaul of our credentialing structure, including a brand new website, to deliver more oversight via Social Credentialing and offer a more robust directory of our teachers and schools. All of these developments are designed to make our organization more accessible to you while offering more resources to help yoga teachers and yoga business owners thrive and to help the public gain information about yoga and options for yoga practice and study.
During our leadership transition, we do not anticipate any operational issues at Yoga Alliance, so there will be limited impact on our community. Barbara is positioned to continue growing Yoga Alliance as we plan to expand the benefits and resources to Yoga Alliance members. We will also have a renewed focus on Yoga Alliance Registry’s core mission of credentialing Registered Yoga Teachers and Registered Yoga Schools efficiently while providing oversight of our standards.
Thank you for joining us as we continue to spread the power of yoga, one person at a time.
Board of directors for Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Registry
Brandon Hartsell, Chair
Linda Rowe, Vice-Chair
Roger Rippy, Treasurer
Kerry Maiorca, Secretary
Margie Deutsch Lash
Nayaswami Gyandev McCord
So there you have it. Not to worry. Everything’s fine. Nothing to see here. Carry on.
(We’ll be bringing you more news and updates as they happen as well as more from Richard Karpel himself.)