I recently got the notice I receive each year during January telling me it is time to renew my registration with Yoga Alliance.
For those of you that may not know, Yoga Alliance is the registration service that yoga teachers can join once they have completed a Yoga Alliance certified training of 200 hours or more. That is why we are called RYT’s. The more numbers you have after your RYT, the more hours you have trained, and if you have an E anywhere in your designation, it means that you have taught at least 1000 hours in the case of an E-RYT 200, or 2000 hours in the case of the E-RYT 500. I am currently around 1400 hours toward my E-RYT 500.
I am leaving this registration service, which is really all it is. Please allow me to explain.
Yoga Alliance provides no supervision of our work as yoga teachers, and no oversight of the Yoga Teacher Trainings popping up everywhere. These Yoga Teacher Trainings send in a pre determined class plan to YA(along with $400), which they agree to adhere to in their training, YA rubber stamps it, and voila! you can call your teacher training YA Certified, which means exactly nothing. Once you get the rubber stamp on your passport, as a school you are free to teach whatever and however you choose, and Yoga Alliance doesn’t check in at all to make certain you are doing what you told them you are doing. They just take your school’s $400 registration fee(and no one seems to know what they do with that money as well as all the money the RYT’s pay to register) and do something mysterious with it. People can go online to the YA website and see my name, picture and a brief biography that I write myself. YA recently announced we were no longer allowed to use any variation of the words therapy or therapeutic either in our YA bios or on our personal websites(unless we put a disclaimer on our websites, which they kindly wrote for us, telling us how to tell the public that our therapeutic credentials and claims had nothing to do with them).
It’s all a bunch of HOOEY, and I am done with it. I am dedicated to svadyaya, or self study, and also to satya, or TRUTH. My truth and my svadyaya tell me that Yoga Alliance is full of HOOEY, I am telling people I think they are full of HOOEY, and I am done with them and their registration service, and their telling me what I can and cannot call what I do. I TEACH THERAPEUTIC YOGA, and people find value and comfort in the practice. I don’t teach power flow, I don’t teach athletic stuff, none of that. I teach people how to breathe, and explore, and find comfort and ease in their bodies. I watch people with insulin pumps have to turn them off because their numbers drop 100 points during pranayama. I watch people with MS stop shaking because of pranayama. I watch the vagus nerve work its magic. I am not the message, I am the guide. I am the conduit. I am not the practice, I am the map for the practice, and the map is therapeutic. To call what I teach anything else is dishonest.
Not to worry, students. I am still going to be disappearing for long weekends or sometimes even weeks, going to trainings with teachers I respect and whose message aligns with my vision. I still want to grow and learn and become a stronger and better yogi and teacher as time passes, but I will be playing in my very own sandbox, and I will no longer have an RYT after my name, since Yoga Alliance holds the copyright on the title and if I don’t pay my money I can’t use it(and what does that tell you about exactly how much the title is worth???).
I hope you understand my decision and will continue to support my work as a teacher, and our studio as a whole. I am still me.
Bettie Shea, Yoga Teacher with a lot of teaching experience and strong opinions