Significantly Enhanced RYS Standards as Result of Community-Led Process > Community Conversations

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Community Conversations

We received a call to action to convene community-wide dialogues in support of the field’s challenges and growth. We look forward to launching numerous conversations later this year in partnership with the yoga community on three initial topics:

  1. “What is yoga?”,
  2. The roles of power and empowerment within yoga, and
  3. The broader issues of inequities that exist in yoga.

What is Yoga?

We do not believe there is one static definition of yoga that encompasses all lineages, styles, and methodologies or fully encompasses every person’s individual beliefs and experiences, nor do we think our role is to do so at Yoga Alliance, given that we celebrate and encapsulate the full spectrum of yoga.

Though we will not be defining yoga, we will be hosting conversations with the community on “what is yoga?” to highlight the fullness of this incredible practice and how it resonates with each individual.

More to come!

Power and Empowerment within Yoga

How does power present itself in the practice of yoga, and how we can move it towards empowerment?

We believe that every individual has the right to practice yoga free from harassment, abuse, and manipulation. In 2017, we addressed head-on the issue of sexual misconduct in yoga, updating our Grievance and Sexual Misconduct Policies, up-leveling our internal accountability procedures, and creating a sexual misconduct resource center for our members. We participated multifacetedly at multiple events in 2018 on consent to touch in yoga and shared thousands of consent chips to empower the practitioner and inform the teacher when making asana adjustments.

We will be continuing this dialogue, expanding it to call out the power dynamics that can exist in yoga in both obvious and subtle ways and how to elevate the conversation towards one of empowerment in yoga so that all can experience the practice in a safe space.

Equity in Yoga

Yoga Alliance and the Yoga Alliance Foundation are dedicated to platforming collaborative conversations and initiatives to advance equity within and through the practice of yoga.

We have been asking several questions about yoga, of ourselves and the community, not all of which have been comfortable. How might we approach the issue of inequity in yoga? Have we acknowledged the harm it has caused, leaving many to feel underrepresented and excluded from the practice? And beyond how we approach it, how do we change it? We recognize that we, as Yoga Alliance and as a yoga community, have a great responsibility to break down the systemic and societal barriers that exist within yoga.

We launched a working group on Inclusion as part of the overall Standards Review Project to help us begin to answer these questions, though inclusion and the larger pathway of equity were woven throughout the majority of the working groups’ discussions and debates. One of the initial outcomes from the Inclusion working group’s recommendation was to provide a required addition to any Yoga Alliance core curriculum a course on equity in yoga. As the realization of the past, present, and future impact from addressing this topic, Yoga Alliance has made this a requirement to become an RYT. We will offer it free online for our new and renewing credential holders, and it will count towards Continuing Education credits.

To advance our work in this area, we hired Quentin Vennie – speaker, author, and social impact leader – as our Vice President of the Yoga Alliance Foundation. Quentin will spearhead the equity conversation on behalf of Yoga Alliance, convening a task force to work with leading experts in equity to develop this course on equity in yoga, among other resources and tools.

How Did We Get from Inclusion to DIAE to Equity?

We know that there are different ways one can discover yoga. Nonetheless, we are also aware of the barriers that prevent many people from being able to experience the practice, and it is our desired mission to break down these barriers. Equity is the overarching pathway for diversity, inclusion, and accessibility – traditionally referred to as DIAE. We have made the conscious decision to address each of these issues thoughtfully within our equity in yoga course and under the umbrella of Equity.

We will be convening conversations on equity in yoga as well as supporting organizations and events that are also addressing this important issue.

Below is an initial calendar of event.

Equity in Yoga Calendar of Events

SoulFest 2019

Equity Task Force

  • Topic: Equity in Yoga Course
  • Dates: July 17 through August 22, 2019

Wanderlust Wellspring 2019

RoundTable Discussion

  • Topic: “Racism in Yoga”
  • Moderator: Quentin Vennie
  • Release Date: TBD


Questions about our new standards? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

For answers to common questions about our new standards, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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