Shelves: yoga If it looks like a textbook and it smells like a textbook, it is a textbook. For better or for worse, Yoga Anatomy has become a popular text for numerous reasons. One of them being that the book takes photographs of yogis in poses to show the joint actions of bones and muscles in each pose. Another source of its popularity lies in the introductory If it looks like a textbook and it smells like a textbook, it is a textbook.

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The most notable conversation has taken place, via email and text, with my friend Brandon Hartsell, and we agreed to turn it into this post. I have inserted a good number of links, so if the topics we cover are of interest to you, feel free to dive down this rather deep informational rabbit hole. Thanks for taking the time to articulate it. Thank you for taking the time to read it. The Texas Workforce Commission became interested in regulating Yoga Teacher Training Schools, and John had the forethought and relevant experience to recognize the long-term disaster this would create.

I actually spoke with him once…Pat Sweeney. He actually created a PowerPoint to teach regulators in other states how to deal with their local yoga communities. I still have that slideshow. My recollection is that Texas actually started enforcing the licensing law in , and it got reversed a year or so later. I know Jennifer Buergermeister , founder of the Texas Yoga Association and Conference was instrumental in getting it overturned. John also had the foresight to establish the c 6 allowing YA to lobby and oppose regulation effectively.

As I pointed out in my article prior to that, even if YA had an anti-regulation policy, its c 3 non-profit status would have prevented them from doing much of anything about it.

It was because they saw it as a source of income and they felt they could make the argument that YTT Schools fell under their regulations. We found out that the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision BPSS had no direct funding from the state budget, so they supported themselves entirely from the licensing fees they collected from their targeted schools.

Back in , the economy was tanking, and a lot of the schools were closing down, so they were highly motivated to find new sectors to license. Contrary to what they claimed, it had nothing to do with consumer safety and everything to do with them finding new sources of funding. In Texas, they had received no complaints or outcries about unsafe classrooms or unscrupulous training programs.

Thankfully, Texas legislatures ultimately found this absurd — both in the Texas Congress and Senate. Speaking as a studio owner, can you say what it was like to have been targeted for licensing by the state? We were given the option of closing down our program or beginning the process of being licensed by the state.

We began to comply in order to buy time in the hope that new legislation would pass. Beginning the process of compliance exposed me to how unqualified and unprepared the state was to regulate our industry.

There are dozens of requirements that are fundamentally incompatible. If you hold a student in class for longer than 50 minutes you violate the law.

You are literally a criminal. Now of course, there is nothing naturally criminal about a student voluntarily learning for more than 50 minutes, but if you are a licensed career school in the state of Texas, it becomes a criminal act.

It takes about a thousand hours to get them the information they request. One thousand hours, just to file the paperwork! It takes a program director level person and they will struggle. That person did it on their own. We would have had to spend more. We were one of the few programs with enough scale and resources to have survived the application process, not to mention the ongoing requirements which were also time consuming and burdensome.

I point this out to highlight how easily regulation can be abused to the benefit of a few. There are several individuals in our industry who feel that only the State can give yoga teacher training programs validity and credibility. Yoga is not the first industry to have big players who would use a government cudgel to kill their competitors.

One of the other big programs in Texas was Yoga Yoga in Austin. I asked Rich Goldstein the owner about what happened in , and he told me that he gave his lawyers a large chunk of change, and asked them to tell him what he should do about licensing — submit, or oppose? His lawyers told him it would be cheaper to comply than to fight, so he complied. That, to me, is a good example of the difference between pragmatic and principled decision making. Barbara was a strong advocate for not letting this happen to our yoga community, as small mom-and-pop yoga operations are even less able to survive the disproportionate impact of licensing.

It was her leadership, during and after Richard, that led to YA becoming an efficient and effective anti-regulation organization. If those skills have been lost or are being lost inside YA today it would be disappointing to say the least. There are still a few potential battlefield states that are known for having a more activist regulatory stance. As you know, I had this same concern — that YA might take their eye off the advocacy ball because of how much resource and focus will go into administering the new standards.

If, for example, California goes after yoga trainings with vocational licensing, that would require quite a large legal war chest to fight properly. California has already been hassling studios about employee vs. So, back to history: after the battle against regulation in Texas was won you stayed on with Yoga Alliance, served on the board, and eventually became the chair of the board.

As far as I know, on your watch, there were nothing but victories as far as YA vs. Regulators is concerned. Any other inside perspective you could give? I also agree that the certificate the school issues is the only valid credential. It was this very insight that lead to Gyandev McCord and the board to support the development of Social Credentialing. Trainees providing feedback to and about their trainers and schools was implemented.

The next step would have been for students to provide feedback about their teachers. This would help close the loop on quantifying the effectiveness of the relationships.

If the newly minted teachers are happy with the schools and the students are happy with the teachers, where is the problem?

Each of these steps has challenges but I have never heard a principled explanation from YA as to why they gave up on Social Credentialing. The few times I asked, I got convoluted answers that basically came down to a lack of trust in graduating trainees and in the public.

After hearing how it was going to work, I remember pointing out to Karpel that unless the graduating trainees could provide their feedback anonymously, it would never be truthful.

After all, those new instructors would graduate wanting to get teaching slots so would be disinclined to honestly answer questions about the quality of their training for fear of pissing off studio management.

Brandon: Yes, we got that feedback and I think it is a valid concern. I recommended they quantify it. It is not hard to do.

Then you get the details. We would then have been able to see patterns and could have adjusted. Brandon: Yes, we considered a lot of the potentials for abuse of the system. There was also a concern that schools and trainees would conspire. I find this scenario unlikely, but this open loop would be closed if we had developed a system to survey the students of the graduates. Presumably if a high ranking school was actually garbage, student feedback would eventually uncover that.

As a school owner with multiple studios that hire as many of our TT graduates as we can and who surveys our students, I know for a fact this feedback loop works. I truly get that any one graduating trainee or any one student of a graduate may abuse the system, or at least not tell the full story — but with time and quantity of responses, the data would be significant and meaningful. Many trainee graduates have had other schooling, so they know what quality looks like.

Same for students. They have taken other classes, and their opinions tell us about the relationship. In a fairly short period of time, schools could really find out how to adjust their curricula, and prospective trainees via YA collected data would be empowered to see the schools that were doing the best job at setting them up to be successful instructors.

What comes across to me is that if the kind of system you advocate had been in place several years ago, there would have been no need for the massive, expensive undertaking of the Standards Review Project, because the information the SRP was intended to generate would have been flowing in continuously via Social Credentialing.

What if you could be brought on as a paid consultant? When I first came on the board, the primary community concern was that the Registry was poorly administered. YA addressed those issues excellently. What we do — if not done correctly — is dangerous. Therefore, the government needs to step in to protect the public. YA needed to decisively get out of therapy to protect the greater teaching community. Like the Colorado school you mentioned, they made a similar claim about public safety, but it was clearly an anti-competitive move on their part.

When I had John to myself for a minute, I reminded him — for what seemed to be the hundredth time — that IAYT was doing a great disservice to its membership by not having a policy about regulation.

Yoga Teacher Trainings — and they will. This all seems reasonable to me, independent of complaints abut how we implemented the therapy policy. So what does the community want? If they want to know they are a good school, then they are going to have to validate that by asking their graduates. If the graduates want to know if they are good instructors, they are going to have to ask their students.

And when the student data is rolled back up to the schools, THAT closes the loop on the effectiveness of the school. Without providing a system for gathering that ground-up data, it is clear to that me YA is inadvertently pushing from the top-down towards less diversity — and the most disadvantaged members will be the ones that suffer the most.

This gives an unintended advantage to those who are already able to afford these trainings, and removes the agency of those who cannot — and all without a data-driven reason. There will definitely be some amazing trainers who are left behind simply because they cannot afford to become an E-RYT Even if there were data that proved upgraded standards would produce better outcomes, there will still be the issue of the prohibitive cost involved in the additional training.

In that scenario, if YA were truly committed to inclusion, they would need to provide a ton of scholarships. That says a lot more to me than hours, or money spent on trainings. Imagine a feedback loop in which a teacher documents how they improved themselves over a period of time — and there is actual student feedback data that supports their claim.


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