January 16, 2012

I Don’t Know About You But, I’m Registering Under The Galactic Confederation of Yoga Overlords.

When comparing our American minimum yoga standards with yoga standards from across the pond, where do we rack and stack? Are our standards enough? What I’ve noticed is that some organizations and trainings mirror the American requirements; however, there are also a number of organizations that take it to the “professional” level. Should we take it to this level?


Many may think registering with an organization is a waste of time and money, and for you it probably is. But if you’re like me and frequently move from place to place, letting someone know that you’re registered with the “Galactic Confederation of Yoga Overlords” is informative for a studio owner who doesn’t know you. Below are a few European and International websites that I’ve found from other studios listing themselves as registered members.


1. European Yoga Alliance (www.europeanyogaalliance.org) and the International Yoga Federation (www.internationalyogafederation.net).


Websites seem to be embedded with one another. Standards between these two organizations and the American Yoga Alliance are surprisingly similar, except they offer a 100-hour certification. The fees are very different. I can pay $550.00 with the International Yoga Federation and certify as a “Yoga Master” for a lifetime (I’m hoping the phrase “Yoga Master” was lost in translation).


If you’re bored and sitting at your work desk (or meditation cushion…no judgment here, everyone has a bad day), you should check out www.yogasports.org. I found it under the European Yoga Alliance website. Click on the “international rules” link (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t) where they detail how contestants compete in pratyahara …seriously. I think it’s worth a few points.


2. European Yoga Union (www.yogaeurop.com).


The European Yoga Union conveniently lists each European country’s yoga website(s) and standards, and these standards vary from country to country. Let’s take the Irish Yoga Association for example – students have to train for a minimum of two years before they can teach AND complete a minimum of 200 hours of training. But in order to receive a diploma, students must complete 693 hours of training over a period of four years! This comes with tutors in areas of physiology, anatomy and first aid. The course includes a mandatory residential weekend where students experience the yogic lifestyle through vegetarianism, purification techniques, meditation and karma work. Our American Yoga Alliance standards look stunted compared to some of these countries!


3. International Association of Yoga Therapists.(www.iayt.org)


It’s a good website with a bucket load of materials. It’s like a library of yoga medicine. If you give a type of yoga therapy or would like to do some self-education on a specific injury, this is the website for you. They have published a draft for their proposed requirements for Americans wanting to register as “yoga therapists”, but a decision has not been made in regards to the requirements.


The proposal required something like 800 hours above the prerequisite 200 hour teacher training. Not bad, but not finalized.  I’ve taken a look at other European yoga therapist requirements and Germany has an extensive education program to include a minimum of 670 classroom hours over a four year period, final written exam, final oral exam, and a final teaching demonstration. While this is the German yoga therapy minimum and their insurance companies minimum, the actual Germany yoga therapy schools requires twice as many hours.

Let me know what you think.


Rachael S. Arabian is an active duty military officer who moonlights as a yoga teacher. She has studied with several yoga teachers such as Manju Jois, Ana Forrest, Lisa Clark, Pamela Schulte and is currently working on her 500 hour yoga teacher training with Rolf Gates. While her roots began in traditional Ashtanga, Rachael is currently teaching a melting pot of yoga at Hot Asana Yoga Studio in North Carolina.

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