Yoga Alliance has drawn a line in the sand that divides yoga professionals who work therapeutically with those who teach to "healthy" populations. In doing so, they are limiting access to yoga for people of diverse ages and abilities. They also limit important training for yoga teachers to meet the needs of their diverse students. Lastly, their stance creates confusion about the role of yoga professionals as integrative health practitioners in collaboration with medical and wellness providers of other disciplines. Please sign this to tell the Yoga Alliance that yoga teaching and yoga therapy go hand-in-hand, and that our professions are stronger and more effective when we work together and learn from each other. Here are our concerns with the current policy:
1) It was driven by fear of ligitation and implemented without any input from the membership.
2) It is not in the spirit of yoga (union) or the ethical principles of yoga.
3) It bans a list of words that are routinely used to accurately describe our work with special populations. In some cases, those words are in the names of our degrees, facilities, and programs.
4) It requires a disclaimer on all marketing materials, which is bizarre to anyone in other health professions who has no knowledge of an RYT. Many professionals have dual credentials and are not required to make such disclaimer as long as they are practicing within the scope of their profession(s).
5) It misunderstands the meaning of Yoga Therapy, including the term "therapy" itself, which comes from the Greek root word for "do service" or "take care of."
6) It aims to divide the fields of yoga teaching and yoga therapy, when many individual practice both, and are qualified to do so.
7) By driving away yoga therapists, it limits yoga teachers from accessing important training about serving special populations safely. All yoga classes have mixed abilities. All yoga classes have special needs. Yoga teachers should be learning how to address those challenges in their classes.
8) It prevents yoga training programs from including material related to serving diverse populations.
9) It misunderstands that making yoga accessible to all (ages, sizes, abilities, etc) is different from practicing yoga therapy, and should fit squarely within the scope of all yoga teachers.
10) Efforts on the part of yoga therapists and accessible yoga teachers have been dismissed as not representational of YA members because many have agreed to their terms in order to maintain professional credentials. It is important for YA to hear our concerns as more than isolated individual opinion.
Let's work together to widen the tent for all yoga professionals and all yoga practitioners. If you have a body and a mind, you can practice yoga.