Targeting: Texas State Legislators
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has sent letters to numerous yoga studios and individuals that offer yoga teacher training requiring that they either (a)become state-licensed career schools regulated by the TWC at great cost and administrative effort, (b) show how they are specifically exempted or (c) shut down immediately. The TWC is operating on the mistaken premise and interpretation that offering a teacher training program for yoga teachers classifies a yoga studio as a %u201Cpost-secondary career school or college.%u201D Why? Because requiring yoga studios to become licensed by the State of Texas generates revenues for the state.
Texas yoga students are adequately protected under the existing Texas state laws. The Texas Workforce Commission has not received a single complaint from a yoga student who enrolled in one of these programs. The Texas Workforce Commission is not equipped to oversee advanced yoga training programs. In fact, TWC admits that it has no knowledge of proper yoga instruction nor has it established experts to oversee the imposition of regulations on yoga curriculum. The proposed licensure does not benefit yoga students. This is purely a revenue generating operation.
Yoga studios are not career schools and cannot be treated as such. Licensure offends the tradition of passing yoga down from teacher and student. In addition, Yoga is an expression of physical movement, meditation and spiritual practice more than a vocation. This should classify Yoga as an art form, so should have the same alignment as Martial Arts or Dance.
This licensure also creates undue financial and administrative hardship on yoga studios. The impact of these regulations means increased costs for students, discontinuance of advanced programs, and negative effects on our yoga teachers. This is unacceptable; the government has no business regulating yoga teacher training.
The bottom line is that regulation by the Texas Workforce Commission is not appropriate for yoga studios and does not benefit yoga students. In order to stop this, the law needs to be changed so that yoga is specifically exempted from the statute the Texas Workforce Commission. TWC currently seeks to erroneously enforce against yoga teacher training programs. Regardless of what stance is taken on this important issue, of whether or not there should be some standards regarding what a yoga teacher training program consists of, the State of Texas/ TWC is not the proper entity to make that determination.
Please help us to raise awareness of the importance of keeping yoga free of regulation. You can take action by attending our next legislative session with our state representatives to effect a change in the law.
July 2, 2010
Dear State Representative,
It recently came to my attention that the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is sending letters to yoga teacher training programs and studios requiring that they become licensed vocational schools under the Texas Education Code in order to continue to offer advanced yoga teacher trainings.
Yoga studios offer instruction on the art of Yoga, an ancient tradition that has existed for over 6000 years, passed down from teacher to student. Yoga is an expression of physical movement, meditation and spiritual practice. It offers many benefits to students who regularly practice including, overall improved health and wellness, decreased stress levels, and increased productivity.
Yoga teacher training programs are not career schools and they do not lead to a degree or a career. Yoga studios are primarily small, locally owned businesses who cannot sustain the burdens of licensing. Yoga teachers are often people who have a primary career in another industry who share their yoga practice with students for purposes other than earning money. Many students attend yoga teacher trainings without the intention to become yoga instructors, but rather to gain a more profound understanding of their yoga practice that cannot be gained in a 60 minute class in a gym. Many studios and teachers offer yoga classes for free or by donation so that yoga students have access to yoga classes irrespective of their level of income. In our current economic climate and with the rising costs of healthcare, unrestricted access to yoga teachings and classes in our communities is of even greater importance.
I take issue with the TWC%u2019s assertions that yoga studios need to become licensed vocational schools in order to continue to offer advanced yoga trainings and that yoga teacher training programs are %u201Cpost-secondary%u201D curricula subject to regulation since these programs require no degree (such as a high school diploma) whatsoever to participate. This regulation is overreaching and unduly burdensome, and does not benefit yoga students. Licensure not only is not conducive to the tradition of yoga, it is also offensive and creates unjustified hardship on yoga studios, teachers and students. The consequences are disastrous for yoga in Texas. The TWC has made it clear that they will continue to wrongfully enforce and interpret the law until the law is changed in their favor. I urge you to put a stop to these actions immediately through a change in the law to specifically define %u201Cpostsecondary%u201D in Chapter 132 of the Texas Education Code as %u201Cthat which requires a high school diploma or equivalent%u201D as it is used elsewhere in the Texas Education Code and in the statutes of the State of Texas Generally.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Peace and Warm regards,