With all the deserved criticism being leveled upon the yoga industry of late, it’s important to distinguish between the influence of corporate business and what is happening at the grassroots. There is no better example of the disparity between these two mores than the efforts of Yoga for NY, an organization of yoga centers and teachers that have banded together to see that their interests are represented in local government.
Is yoga fitness? Should it be taxed as so? Will practitioners have to pay for it? These are questions on New York studio owners' minds lately. For years yoga has slid by without paying NY sales tax. That changed last April when the New York Department of Taxation and Finance ruled to include yoga studios in the category of businesses based around fitness rather than movement spaces (dance studios aren't taxed). Since then, yoga studios have been getting audited across the city and the tax man is coming to collect, which could slam some and bankrupt others.
Some of you may be aware of Yoga for NY and the battle they fought two years ago (and won) against NY State over licensing fees. They organized to rally against government regulation but have stayed united as an organization ever since. A few weeks ago, YFNY came together again to discuss recent legal challenges, predominantly, the sales tax issue, that isn't only affecting NY but other states and studios across the country.
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. Previously...Opinion: 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 [...]
Tally yo!(ga) Texas is on the march against state government regulation over yoga teacher training. We received this missive in our inbox yesterday: March 2011 (Austin, TX) - Over 1,500 Texans have signed a petition sponsored by the Texas Yoga Association (TYA) to pass House Bills No. 1839 by Representative Phillips and 2167 by Representative [...]
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 [...]
Even more commentary on the commercialization of yoga and nudie booties in ads, with a dash of spiritual enterprising. From the Guardian UK: Does all this fuss over yoga and sex reflect the enduring strength of American puritanism and prudishness? Are critics merely jealous killjoys? Supporters of Budig and the new nudity trend in yoga [...]
Every time a story comes up about government taxing or regulation we're reminded that, oh yeah, yoga is an industry and it churns out lots of money! (though since it's in the news every day reminder not so required.) Well, money practically grows on vrksasanas right? So why wouldn't the government want to tax it!? [...]
Free to Om. Oh it is so official. Governor Paterson has signed the bill! NY yogis (studios with teacher trainings) are now lawfully exempt from government regulation and costly licensing fees. Karate instructors can rejoice as well (they're included!) as NY Governor David P-dog signed the legislation just earlier today. "This legislation is important in [...]
Earlier this month we reported that the bill passed through the Senate and State Assembly. Now NY Yogis anxiously await Governor Paterson's signature on the dang thing so it can be official: yoga teacher training will be exempt from state government regulation -- along with martial arts so we found out: Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal [...]
We just got word... Yoga bill has passed through the Senate just moments ago! Developing... Via Yoga For NY's facebook page: HOORAY!!! Our bill passed the Senate just minutes ago! A huge thank you to all of our helpers. One more step to go... UPDATE 5:30pm: full article via nysenate.gov... Senate Passes Bill To Protect [...]
UPDATE 3/11/10: VA Gov. Robert F. McDonnell signed the bill Tuesday night...(WashingtonPost) Hear ye! Hear ye! We just got word from Suzanne Leitner-Wise...the Senate bill has passed! Based on the constitutional right to freedom of speech VA yoga teachers beat the gov for exemption from regulation and from falling under the terms of "vocation" in [...]
This Just In! Missouri next in the yoga taxation smackdown! Texas to follow in licensing regulation. Kansas City, MO (via KCStar): "The Department of Revenue on Sunday began enforcing collection of a 4-percent tax on yoga and Pilates classes..." Why? Because they are now considered commercial and places of “amusement, entertainment or recreation.” But Debbie [...]
Yogis doin' it for themselves. VA edition. 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 [...]
Crap. Unfortunately, we really can't say we couldn't have seen this coming. After Michigan licensing and the Washington taxes tackle...well. Right, so here we go... The State has gone ahead and pulled the mat out from under NY yoga studios, those that have been, or were hoping to start, raking in profits from training commoners [...]