Standing Against The Flow
Yoga is not about the corporations, yoga’s only real purpose is to help the people that need it.
Written September 18th, 2010
No matter the style that is practiced, no matter what brand of clothing you wear, no matter who taught you – yoga can help and actualize the individual person who practices it. No one, not one person… none of the Certified Yoga Teachers or Un-Certified Yoga Teachers, none of the yoga scholars, none of the board members, none of the CEO’s, or CIO’s, can dispute that fact.
Yoga helps those that can recognize that they are holding themselves back, and allows a person to accept or surpass their own limitations.
As teachers, as practitioners, as yogis… we are ultimately responsible for our own process.
Today, the majority of America subscribes to the low-grade yoga credentialing, provided as a lackluster “social credential” of safety, that is in essence, a literal “non-license” that only serves to give the public a false-sense of security.
Yet, as a discipline (and also as independent teachers and practitioners) of yoga, we have to accept our own our own universal teaching methods as a modality that supersedes anything that is provided by Yoga Alliance.
We need to accept responsibility for ourselves – because it is the responsible thing to do, and because it’s the right thing to do.
How do we do that?
Any sort of real ownership must come from ourselves : teachers from different lineages, and even teachers who teach yoga to the masses. Fundamentally, yoga continues to be passed down from teachers to the practitioners, but what is the literal, figurative and spiritual cost?
Will yoga teachers continue to allow themselves to be guided by a non-profit that has been devoid of any type of real legitimate responsibility?
Brian Castellani and Yoga Therapy President John Kepner at the National Ayurvedic Medical Association in the Bay Area
Will yoga teachers continue to allow Yoga Alliance to promote fraudulent tradition of claiming they are the “benchmark of yoga education” despite not doing anything of value for yoga or yoga teachers for 30 years?
Since Yoga Alliance (via Unity Yoga) began in 1999, the organization has continually skirted the edge of honesty for motives of profit. They altered the truth to suit their agenda, bending the truth to yoga teachers for almost two decades.
Through consistently misappropriating the perception of yoga credentialing, Yoga Alliance has assumed yoga teacher legitimacy in America. Yoga Alliance has misrepresented themselves to local New York State and Virginia governments about “yoga regulation” within the U.S.
Before they “fought for yoga’s rights” in 2010, Yoga Alliance actually hoped state regulation would pass and require all teachers in America to register with them by default.
It didn’t end up happening that way, and it totally backfired on them (Yoga Alliance) in four states. So, before you sign up for your YA 200/500/800 – realize that while Yoga Alliance was busy denying yoga teachers information about the origins of State Regulation, those same yoga teachers were literally pleading for their (YA’s) help with a situation that Yoga Alliance had partially started, themselves.
From 1999 – 2007 to the world, Yoga Alliance was falsely claiming to be the “silent benefactors” of yoga… the paragon of yoga teaching standards, while financially taking in $2-5 million-plus a year in collecting dues.
Yoga Alliance has proven through their actions that they are not responsible enough for the future of yoga. Yet yoga teachers side with them because they are the only option that is available.
And why is that? Because they are good at their jobs? No, that isn’t it. Because they have amazing ethics and rigorous honesty? No, I assure you that isn’t it either. The only reason they are still around is that there isn’t an alternative.
No one credible has created a better organization. In my lifetime, I pray you get your shit together.
Who holds your leash?
Are we truly this complacent? Are we destined to only be in Yoga Magazines with watered down ads and Yoga Non-profits that are run like the Good Old Boys Yoga Network of Abundance, or are we individuals who stand together?
Are we so set onto our path of Yoga Rockstar Dysfunction that we would rather collect the pennies that Billionaire Yoga Corporations pay us to endorse their products?
DOES yoga set you on the path of searching for your own truth?
DO you simply want to dance ecstatically so you can keep feeling that sting of delusion?
IS THAT TOO MUCH SOAPBOX?
Apologies, keep in mind that I am only one perspective. I encourage anyone to find the truth for themselves. Don’t accept what’s being shoveled.
Are You Willing?
As yogis, as autonomous thinking people, we need to take care of our own licensing and regulation, without Yoga Alliance.
We need to do the work ourselves. The only reason YA, or any other yoga entity, wants to make it mandatory for Yoga Teachers and studios to be registered and licensed is for their own financial security and future, and the teachers.
Once you realize that YA‘s motivations are all about hiding the obvious and arbitrary double-speak, financially misleading information and future based securities that are printed on meaningless framed paper – you should be inspired to go to the next step.
Yoga Alliance suggested to both Virginia and New York Gov officials about potential tax revenue for state governments through vocational taxation of YTT’s.
FACT: Yoga Alliance suggested to both Virginia and New York Government officials about potential tax revenue for state governments through vocational taxation of yoga teacher trainings.
FACT: Yoga Alliance abandoned yoga and their entire subscriber base while they chased the dream of mandatory Yoga Alliances 200/500 hour RYT Licensing in every state across the nation.
FACT: Yoga Alliance negligently abandoned NY, VA, TX, MO, WI, MI, LA, and WA – as well as every teacher and practitioner that ever trusted them.
It all depends on you. And for the record, you can depend on the flimsy 200/500 hours all you want, it doesn’t mean anything except that a person paid $250 for a slip of paper that holds no value.
Who am I
I am the person who will see the reign of Yoga Alliance come to an end. I am the person that will see yoga teachers and yoga studios across the world come together to agree that we can take an active role in our own future without corporations or misguided non-profits farming us out like sheep.
I may not lead it, I may not own it, but I am the person the end began with.
There is a better way that exists, and I believe you want it – with or without me.
The only question for you to ask yourself is, as a yoga teacher, are you ready to leave the decisions of your future to a group of individual Yoga Alliance Board members who continue to abuse your trust.
TAGS: yoga regulation, Yoganomics, Indie Yoga, independent Yoga, yoga teachers, yoga teacher trainers, yoga studios, yoga teachers, yoga teacher trainers, Licensing Yoga, Licensing Yoga Teachers, Yoga Licensing Standards, Yoga Alliance
Thanks for the awesome post!
I just wanted to comment on your blog and say that I really enjoyed reading your blog post here. Your very informative. I’ll be back to read more in the future. Thanks!
It is time to the Yoga community to turn their eyes back to the place of origin of Yoga (means India) and look for ‘authentic sources” (not any whatever sources) to help on setting up standards and regulatory processes for certification of Yoga teachers and Yoga schools… with the basis that Yoga IS NOT only a physical culture neither a product of merchandise or commodity ! I may be back to you in future with some ideas. Thanks for the post and for the initiative !!!
Dear Castellani. Yoga Alliance is just a non-profit. The current board and leadership are entirely different from all the history that you cite. It’s like the gov’t, if people you don’t like are running things you try to elect people into office whose ideas you agree with. I was in NY in 2008/09. I was a member of Yoga For New York. We stopped the state money grab there and we were pissed that Yoga Alliance didn’t help. But then instead of complaining about it, I joined the board along with a bunch of other folks and by 2012 Yoga Alliance created a 501C6 so it could legally lobby. It just so happens that since then YA has been standing up against regulation for the last 5 years and has successfully passed laws in 10 states protecting yoga. Now the current leadership is attempting to both set up systems of accountability AND create a higher standard in a transparent and inclusive way. (see http://www.yastandards.com) If you really care about yoga you’d be engaging with the new leadership and trying to make practical changes. I get that there is anger about the past but what have you been doing all this time? You are obviously an intelligent and impassioned yogi. I hope you will channel your passion towards working together instead of fighting against the tide.
Andrew this is an email that I sent to Lynn Bushnell in 2010. I have removed most of the emails for legal reasons. But I never got a response. Not one. John Matthews refused to see me at the 2011 NAMA conference. I have been ridiculed on Facebook by your presidents. YA let go of three people I now consider friends. YA acts like bunch of directionless children. After weathering 4 different conflicts with 4 different presidents, you think that I should just join you? Why would I do that? Yoga Alliance made this my life. I don’t owe you or YA anything. Read the below email.
Subject: Yoga Alliance / YogaWorks / Lynn Bushnell, Chair of Yoga
From: “:: castellani ::” < @castellani.me>
Date: Tue, March 23, 2010 3:54 pm
To: , @yogaworks.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was wondering if you might be willing to clear up some questions about information I think I am missing, pertaining specifically to Yoga Alliance.
Is it true that Yoga Alliance is a 501c3, which limits the power of Yoga Alliance?
Can you shed any light on Yoga Alliances involvement with the convention/meeting of the “National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools (NASASPS)?”
Does the current push for yoga regulation in so many states stem from Yoga Alliance’s suggestion?
Have the advances of local city “education and workforce commissions” on the regulation of yoga, been prompted by the Yoga Alliance’s inquiry referenced in the Facebook posting HERE: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=139374655483&topic=10965 ?
I know that since you are a 501c3, your minutes should be public. Right?
Can you direct me to the minutes from the last three meetings you had?
Who is really behind firing the three employees?
It would really help out a lot of people… namely teachers, studios, and most people who work in or around the field of yoga… who are questioning Yoga Alliances procedures and practices.
It would also help my genuine curiosity about Yoga Alliance’s intention and motivations for the quickly approaching future.
The non-commital indecision that Yoga Alliance has displayed in and of itself are bad choices and also, I feel very strongly, conscious choices.
As far as the people of yoga that I have been communicating with, the majority believe that Yoga Alliance’s silence is an admission of guilt, specifically regarding the suggestion of local city and state yoga regulation, and also that Yoga Alliance has no authority or power to make any real or necessary changes that yoga truly needs right now.
On Wednesday of next week, I am going to New Orleans to help organize a plan of action and defense against the state regulation of yoga. Before I go, I will be sending out a Newsletter to my entire list of studios and teachers.
If you have anything that you wish to be heard, or anything that you would like to say, now is the time to write it articulately, honestly and get it to me in the next two days.
Feel free to call me after you send me an email response to this email, at (xxx) xxx-xxxx.
I need a response that I can put into my newsletter and send to every known studio, yoga educational school, Loyola Marymount University, Duke University in the United States, and also studios, Ashrams, and all major yoga schools in Canada, Australia, China, South Africa, India, Japan, UK, Spain, Greece, Italy, Turkey, the Middle East, Balkan’s and Russia.
Hope to hear from you in less than two days.
Thank you and namaste –
First of all, thank you for writing me back. It’s so clear that you care a lot about yoga. Forgive me for being unaware of your history. As you rightly said, management at Yoga Alliance has been in over its head since it’s inception and thus there are no employees in leadership today whom you once worked with. That is both a challenge and an important opportunity. You and I obviously see eye to eye on the issue of regulation of yoga. Back in 2010, I’m not sure what the board’s position would have been on regulation. When I joined the board in 2012 along with Roger Rippy, Brandon Hartsell, and Kerry Maiorca, all 4 of us were very anti-regulation of yoga and we began work right away creating advocacy projects. Successfully passing bills in over 11 states over the last 5 years. Even Leslie Kaminoff has endorsed those actions! Like I said in my previous message to you, Yoga Alliance isn’t a monolith, the board changes over time and therefore the policies and work of YA changes over time. I understand that you have been burned by those in power at YA in the past, and that is a shame. The point where you really diverge though is when you said in your last comment “To me, it doesn’t matter how much you(YA) might change for the better…” Because for me it does matter. Unlike you, I haven’t yet been burned in the way you have and so I can approach this time with fresh eyes and great hope. This is why I believe Yoga Alliance is the best vehicle for protecting yoga from regulation, while at the same time bringing the greater Yoga community together around a voluntary set of standards. I would note that many people in the #boycottya group are actually pro licensing yoga teaching. I would be very hesitant to align with them. At the end of the day Yoga Alliance is a non-profit, voluntary standards-setting org with a challenging history for sure and I’m grateful that someone with your knowledge, intelligence, and frankly heart, is returning my comments. I appreciate your contribution through your criticism. I’m listening. RE Yoga for NY, I used to own a number of yoga schools in Queens and the Bronx, (bamboomoves yoga). I donated the website yogaforny.com and .org to Alison and I was at the first few mtgs. My main contribution was paying the domain fees and cheering from the sidelines. Thanks. AT
Come now… I think I have contributed enough to Yoga Alliance. Most of YA changes were things that either I suggested or John Matthews suggested. Where do you think he got the idea to start the 501c6?
And, there is no such thing as “just a non-profit.” There is history, and covering up over conduct, there are people who work there, people who were fired without cause, workers that quit for good reason, decisions that have been made that altered the public’s perception of what Yoga Alliance is… and I seriously should be committed if I ever engage with Yoga Alliance again.
I laughed out loud as I read your sentence, “If you really care about yoga you’d be engaging with the new leadership and trying to make practical changes.”
Are you saying if I care about the fate of yoga, I should contribute to the chaos that Yoga Alliance has sewn? No thank you.
You don’t know me, I don’t think, but I know you somewhat. I have known four of your past presidents, too. (Mark, John, Richard, Barbara). I never interacted with Barbara, but I heard first-hand accounts of how she treated employees.
Ironically, they all said the same sorts of things that you did, then continued to conflate issues, and attempted to pacify people online, and completely blame other people for their own issues. People like me. Yeah, no, I will never be apart of Yoga Alliance.
I have never subscribed to YA, nor will I ever. Considering the past manipulative actions and the current actions of Yoga Alliance, I would never participate. To me, it doesn’t matter how much you might change for the better, I still only see the Board, the decisions YA made because of the Board, the dishonesty YA committed itself to by generalizing, blaming past employees and other people unrelated to the non-profit.
I have been closely acquainted with Alison West, I didn’t know that you were a part of Yoga For NY. I have to say, I am pretty surprised that you are a part of Yoga Alliance. I have seen your name before on the YA website, but I wasn’t aware you were a part of Yoga For NY until you mentioned it.
My article is more of a historical documentation of what Yoga Alliance is since YA scrubbed most of the other history that existed on the internet.
If only YA had come clean when they needed to, Yoga Alliance probably wouldn’t be where they are right now.
I think I have contributed enough. Have a nice day.