How people can get confused and pay more money unnecessary with Yoga alliance

This article was written as an answer to the constant questions of the people interested in having a yoga teacher training and want to know if IKYU’s trainings are supported by YOGA ALLIANCE.

We decided to not affiliate our training to the Yoga Alliance since we do not consider it necessary to hold the education of yoga to an entity which utility is not clear to us bearing in mind that the quality criteria they apply is not sufficient to ensure good training and professionalization of teachers and instead it is more burdensome economically for those who take the courses.

Yoga is an art and a science that has been developing for thousands of years in different historical, geographical and therefore cultural contexts, as response and solution to a single philosophical question pertaining to give a greater sense to Human existence from the transcendence of suffering (ignorance – attachment) and the exploitation and development of its physical, mental and energetic potentials (Kundalini – Samadhi).

There have been multiple solutions to the aforementioned question, which has generated a great diversity of philosophical, technical and methodological developments proposed and systematized by notable masters, guides and gurus all around and from which different schools have been formed as well as philosophical and ‘’spiritual’’ paths that although in certain cases may seem opposite, seek in one way or another similar achievements.

To sharpen the above, and in response to the radical changes in the paradigms of this new and multi diverse humanity, in recent years there has been an interesting diversification phenomenon of yoga proposals occurring, practically one for every taste and individual need. What was once a contribution of a few wise men to the development of humanity (and also misused by others as a tool for religious recruitment), has been adapted to the current economic dynamics of consumption, and then becoming a juicy and lucrative business.

This phenomenon of commercialization of yoga has had the result that more and more people know and take advantage of its benefits, but at the same time it has deteriorated its quality by turning it, in most of the current offers, into a superficial physical and/or religious activity that tends to reinforce ignorance patterns in the practitioners, who can spend large amounts of money for that kind of offer.

In response to this trend of diversification and commercialization of yoga, an institution called Yoga Alliance has been positioned on the market, whose objective is precisely to recognize the diversity of yoga proposals, to offer a space from which to promote their yoga instructor and teacher trainings, and have unifying criteria for the professionalization in the teaching of yoga.

The YOGA ALLIANCE affiliates schools and teachers who offer yoga instructor and teacher trainings and if they fulfil the set out criteria by the alliance in their programs they endorse them and put the alliance’s logo on the diplomas.

This proposal has very good intentions and in fact it helps a lot to raise the level and quality of the trainings.

  1. However, there are several considerations of great importance that need to be analyzed to see beyond the appearances that the topic has been offering.
  2. An attempt to unify criteria for the professionalization of yoga teachers by well-intentioned it may be, can only lead to an unsuccessful bias, in addition to creating the risk of a monopolization of the teachings and the exercise of yoga as I think it might be currently happening.
  3. This kind of initiative generates confusion among the public who can come to think that Yoga Alliance is the one that supports the unique truth about learning Yoga, leading them to ignore excellent traditional schools such as those of Iyengar, Desikashar, Yogananda, Veda Bharati, the different Buddhist branches and Satyananda Yoga, (officially recognized by the Indian government as a University of Yoga), this simply because they are not affiliated with Yoga Alliance.
  4. In fact, the most traditional and recognized schools in India are NOT associated with the Yoga Alliance (except Sivananda Yoga and a few others) perhaps because their training standards far outweigh those of the entity in question and because it does not make much sense to be conditioned by a North American entity with criteria of the ‘’Western World’’.
  5. The other confusion it generates is about the record. I have noticed that in recent years people have been thinking that the Yoga Alliance is the institution that globally sustains with its record the Yoga teacher title and this is completely wrong. They believe that you can only work globally if you are in the Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT®) but do not know that the exercise of teaching yoga is not regulated on the planet by any entity and only some countries have specific regulations. It is a rather delicate confusion in which people incurs because of the way in which the Yoga Alliance has been promoted that does not clarify this circumstance leaving in the air nothing more than doubts, a sense of monopoly, I do not think that maliciously but inadvertently.
  6. The solution to this has already existed for more than the 17 years of existence of the Yoga Alliance, because each school keeps its own records and in almost every country there are yoga associations and guilds that support its member teachers.
  7. The most important consideration as I see it is that it is not necessary to pay extra to an entity that only gives a logo that supports a branding under the offer of quality standards that fail to guarantee it and that lists in a record the thousands of teachers that get a title in industrial quantities annually. Our own experience has presented us certified teachers with this branding, among others, who do not meet the minimum conditions of personal development and professional competence, although clarifying, this does not in any way demerit the quality of many teachers who like others I have met honor their degree endorsed by the Alliance.
  8. A very interesting additional effect in this matter is that students begin to believe the need to accumulate onerous hours of training with the feeling of winning titles (as if they were accumulated points of consumption) to be more competitive professionally, which is also not true as in any other art is not the diploma, certification or points that enable competence and suitability.
  9. It is true that training permanently is absolutely essential but I wonder at what cost professionalization is necessary. This creates a replication of the commercialization model of formal education to the yoga teacher training.

To conclude, this type of trends and understandings can be exclusive, monopolistic and dismissing the quality and importance of yoga lines, schools and traditions that do not want to be a part of any Alliance or union.

Finally, aspiring yoga teachers must weigh if to train as yogis and as such develop humanely and technically, it is really useful and necessary to pay extra for an expensive carton with a brand in positioning, and how much are they really going to get for what they pay for.