Yoga Alliance, the nonprofit organization that registers yoga teachers and teacher training programs, is expanding its reach. A new focus on helping teachers with the business side of their work and an initiative to strengthen the credentialing program for schools puts the organization front and center in helping to guide yoga as a profession.
The organization now offers liability insurance for full-time and part-time yoga teachers and studios, has begun hosting online workshops on the business of yoga, and has made the 2013 Yoga Alliance Conference taking place in Washington D.C. in August, all about business.
The organization is also encouraging teachers and studio owners to learn from each other through a new Local Communities Initiative. “There are so many yoga teachers and studio owners who are passionate about yoga but lack experience in business matters like marketing, customer relations, finance, managing employees and independent contractors, etc., and they’re not getting much help," Laura Burch, the communications director for Yoga Alliance, told Buzz.
These efforts are part of a bigger shift that is happening with Yoga Alliance since a new CEO, Richard Karpel, came on board last July. The organization has faced a lot of scrutiny since YA-registered yoga studios seemed to have been targeted by tax officials in New York. "We are growing and changing, and we’re doing so collaboratively with our members to make sure we’re living up to their expectations," Burch said.
According to the Yoga Alliance website, there are more than 37,000 yoga teachers and 2,500 yoga teacher training programs registered with the organization.
What might have the biggest impact on Yoga Alliance (and how its perceived by the public) is an initiative to strengthen the credentialing program for yoga schools. Since yoga is such a diverse practice, it might be difficult to agree on exactly what a yoga teacher should know in order to be qualified to teach. More than 100 volunteers have joined a standards committee to offer their feedback on the credentialing process, according to a YA press release.
For more information and to learn more about the new benefits offered by Yoga Alliance, visit yogaalliance.org.