Who is affected by licensing?
The State's attempt to license yoga teacher training
touches everyone, not just teacher training programs. Yoga classes need yoga
teachers, and yoga teachers need training. Without strong training programs,
yoga lovers would find it difficult to find classes. Studios that rely on
training fees would close, hurting their staff members, landlords and
suppliers. Diversity would be lost. The entire yoga community would suffer.
Does licensing improve quality?
Licensing of vocational programs is chiefly a consumer
protection service for those wanting to enroll in the program. The licensing
process would give participants recourse in the event a program is canceled or
a studio folds and their money is not returned.
It is important to realize that the licensing of yoga
teacher trainings as envisioned by BPSS does not have any relation to oversight
of the quality of yoga teaching or yoga teacher training, as the license stands
now. No one at BPSS is qualified
to judge the merits of a program (other than it has a real schedule) or to
assess the quality of a teacher.
There are no assessments of quality of teaching.
What does licensing mean?
Among the burdens that would be imposed on studios in the
- The Glick bill would have pushed the licensing fee to
$5000 for first time licensing.
- A Certificate of Occupancy, with a cost of up to $20,000
- Compulsory site inspections, and the potential for
- Financial audits at any time
- Curriculum supervision: this may require working with a
state official at $50/hour to put the curriculum into approved language and format
- Supporting financial documents and other documents
What other problems are there with licensing?
- By making site inspections a part of the license, the
State automatically makes it compulsory to have a "domiciled" teacher
training, or a fully dedicated space for a teacher training. However, many
teacher trainings rent space temporarily while their programs are underway, or
take place at hosting facilities such as the NY Open Center or Omega.
- Guest teachers are frequently used in yoga teacher
training programs. Would guest teacher trainings in fact be legal, since not
- Visiting teacher trainers from out of state who are
conducting trainings at New York State venues (such as Omega, the Open Center,
and yoga conferences conducted by Yoga Journal) would also face problems.
In addition: What has received little attention so far is that, in
fact, continuing education workshops for the general public of more than five
days duration or more than two workshops a year are also cause for
Moreover, although the New York State Education
Department now stands behind the two bills that await a vote and passage into
law exempting Yoga Teacher Trainings from licensing, they have made it clear
that they may reconsider their position if we do not succeed in getting these
bills passed by the end of 2010. It is therefore urgent that we do everything
we can now to make this happen in the next session beginning in January 2010.
What has happened so far?
Read our background on the issue. The first letter threatened us with fines up to $50,000. The
bill the State wanted to pass pushed the first cost of licensing up to $5,000.
Also, any guest teacher in any teacher training program would also have had to
be licensedundefinedde facto teacher licensing.
The "Yoga" bill (A.8678-A/S.5701-A), as it has come to be called, was signed
into law by Governor Paterson on March 24, 2010. Yoga Teacher
Trainings are now exempt from government regulation in NY State.
How did our bills get passed?
To ensure that our bills got to the floor for a vote, got
passed and signed into law, we retained a lobbyist. We need to raise
$35,000 to cover the fee and expenses. Our bills were competing with
hundreds of other bills to get to the floor for a vote, and we had to ask
Senators and Assembly Members all over the State to support our bill and
What do we do now?
Yoga teacher trainings are the first beneficiary of the
hard work that Yoga for New York has done on their behalf. A successful
legislative strategy spared every teacher training program enormous aggravation
as well as licensing fees. Every yoga teacher-training program should do its
share and give to the Advocacy Fund. The amount recommended is $50 per student
enrolled in teacher training between June 2009 to June 2010. If everyone gives
at this level, we will have sufficient funds. If you are under real hardship,
please let us know. But please be in touch with us! All of us must work
together to make this happen.
Students and teachers have a keen interest in this issue
too, since we all want trained teachers to teach us, we want training to become
teachers, and we want studios where we can learn to teach and to practice. But
the burden of licensing might have shut down teacher trainings, and studios that
rely on those funds for operations.
Everyone can become a friend of Yoga for New York; it's just
$10. There are over 2000 registered yoga teachers in NY State. If every teacher joined Yoga for NY at
the $10.00 level, we would be
within reach of our goal right there! Teachers, studios and teacher trainings
can become members at different levels. And all teacher trainings — and all
friends of yoga — should also give what they can to the Advocacy Fund, which to made
sure the bills got signed into law.
Keep visiting our website for regular updates on the
issue, to volunteer and to make donations. It's easy.
Yoga = Union