Yoga Regulation: India Weighs In

June 22, 2009

iyaDid you know that last year the Indian government formed the Indian Yoga Association (IYA), described as “a self-regulatory body responsible for establishing standards for accrediting yoga institutions, yoga curriculum, and yoga therapy?”

Maybe I was asleep at the keyboard and missed this important event in yoga news? But a quick google search doesn’t turn up anything so maybe this was all done very quietly and without fanfare? The first official meeting of the IYA (which is led by BKS Iyengar!) was in December of 2008 – where are the meeting minutes?! Just kidding! The full list of council members is here.

Their charter is here.

India is of course the birthplace of yoga and generally accepted as yoga’s “motherland.” So in a way it’s no surprise that the Indian government wants to protect yoga’s heritage and create standards for both the education and practice of yoga. I cannot imagine this is an easy task, given the numerous variations of yoga that have emerged. Of course, just defining the word yoga would be a monumental endeavor!

I’m mostly wondering, though, what does this mean for us yoga teachers and practitioners in the West? Will IYA declare that some currently popular forms of yoga in the West aren’t actually “yoga?” Will we need to meet certain standards to use the term “yoga?” What if the IYA and the Yoga Alliance disagree? What if the IYA doesn’t agree with the standards set forth by the Commonwealth of Virginia? Who then is the ultimate authority?

Hmmmm…….

On another note, a HUGE  THANK YOU to yogadork for helping spread the word about the MONEY GRAB in VA.

AND…if you are wondering what happened to the recipes and cuddly dog photos, don’t worry you can find them on my new blog eat.run.doyoga. Enjoy!

“State-Harassment-of-Yoga-Studios” Flu Outbreak One Step Closer to Full Pandemic

June 17, 2009

Swine FluRICHMOND, VA – While everyone has been keeping their eye on the swine flu pandemic, a different kind of contagious disease has been creeping its way across the United States. That disease is “State-Harassment-of-Yoga-Studios” flu, or “SHYS.”

This highly contagious, fast-moving disease was first reported in Michigan and Missouri earlier this year, and has quickly spread to Arizona, New York, and Virginia.  It is quite possible that the flu has already reached additional states as well. It seems that once one state government comes in contact with another state government that already has the bug, then they have it too. The World Yoga Organization (WYO) has raised its pandemic alert for SHYS flu to the second highest level, meaning that it believes a national outbreak of the disease is imminent.

New York has been hit especially hard, with a recent proposal for their license fees to increase to $5,000! Officials in New York report that they are organizing a Council to defend against the flu, with eradication of the flu as their number one priority. (You can read more about that here and here.)

While the number of yoga studio deaths resulting from  SHYS is unconfirmed, unofficial sources report 4-5 yoga studios / teacher training programs in Virginia alone will need to shut down because they just can’t afford the unreasonable fees being levied by the Commonwealth. There are unconfirmed reports of closings in other states as well.

“Unfortunately our biggest hope ‘Yoga Alliance‘ has been completely ineffective,” said WYO Director-General Durga. “The best defense at this point is for yoga teachers across each state to join together and open communications with their State Governments. You can begin this fight RIGHT NOW by downloading the attached letter and sending it to your state representatives.” Durga continued, “Eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep will also better prepare you to fight off this disease.”

Skid Row Yoga

June 11, 2009

beggar cupThe NY Times Magazine ran an article last week about a yoga teacher who is going on food stamps. Since the recession hit, her income has fallen to just $15,000 a year, down 30% from last year. You can read about it here.

I thought this was really interesting since Yoga Journal published a study just six weeks ago in which they said the amount of money Americans spend on yoga is up 87% over last year. I wrote about it in my blog, which you can read here.

Then just a few weeks ago we heard that sales at Manduka, seller of high-end yoga mats, are up 55% in the first four months of 2009. Here’s my write up about this story.

So now I wonder, WHO exactly is really making all the money in the $6 billion yoga industry? Are yoga teachers seeing an increase in the number of classes and privates they teach? Or is it really just the retailers of yoga clothes and accessories who are benefiting from the “yoga boom?”

In the Midst of a Recession, VA Bullies Yoga Studios into Paying Unreasonable Fees

June 8, 2009

Last week I told you about the application process that Virginia is requesting demanding yoga studios to through to obtain a Certificate to Operate a yoga teacher trainingva seal fail program. So here’s a little more of what the yoga studios have to go through.

Part of the process to get your yoga teacher training program approved by the Commonwealth is you have to agree to random AUDITS. On the second page of the Institutional Certification Checklist for Postsecondary Schools, one of the numerous, cumbersome forms the studios have to fill out, it says:

I understand, that if at any time (Name of institution requesting certification) fails to meet or to maintain compliance with Council’s certification criteria, Council may revoke or suspend its certification.  I understand that in the event the school is selected for audit, it may be subjected to an administrative fee of $1,000 for each item of non-compliance found as a result of the audit. Further, I understand that violations of the Virginia Administrative Code shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor and that each violation shall constitute a separate offense. (studio owner is supposed to sign this to indicate agreement)

For a small business, $1,000 per violation is no chump change!

In 2007 Virginia audited 36 schools and found whopping total of 177 violations – about 5 violations per school. At $1,000 per violation, that means EACH SCHOOL PAID ON AVERAGE $5,000 IN VIOLATION FEES.

The violations were:

  • Advertising – 32 violations
  • Faculty Credentials – 27 violations
  • No written documentation on history of school and/or ownership – 25 violations
  • Student policy (including grievance process) missing or incomplete – 19
  • violations
  • Improperly maintaining student admissions or financial records – 16 violations
  • Incorrect refund policy or incorrect processing of refunds – 16 violations

The remaining 42 violations don’t seem to be listed????

These are violations committed by large institutions that have STAFF.  Gosh I can’t imagine that a yoga studio might not have all of their ducks in a row at all times! News flash: yoga studios generally do not have a staff to handle things like this! Like any other small business, the owner does everything:  run the studio, teach most of the classes, lead teacher training programs, handle  the marketing, keep track of the bookkeeping, manage other teachers, etc. Yoga studios are NOT major universities or community colleges that have staff and $$!

Now $5,000 in violation fees might not seem like a lot of money to a post-secondary institution such as the University of Virginia, which as of June 30 2008, had $657K in current assets (which includes cash and short term investments) and overall, had $6.8M in net assets. But I haven’t seen a yoga studio with a financial profile like that, have you?
It’s just OUTRAGEOUS to lump small business yoga studios under this law that is really for major educational institutions.

Money Grab: Virginia Tells Yoga Teacher Training Schools to Submit and Pay Up

June 5, 2009

Following in the footsteps of Michigan, Arizona, and New York, Virginia has decided that it too needs to require it’s yoga teacher training programs to file for a state “Certificate to Operate.”

Citing Virginia Title 23 of the Code of Virginia, the Commonwealth is requiring all teacher training schools to:

  1. Attend a new school orientation. In Richmond. For $150.
  2. Submit a complete certificate application plus a fee of $2500. To see the 16 forms that need to be completed, click here.
  3. Undergo a site visit – not sure what comes out of this.

I’ve also learned:

  • There is a recurring annual fee of $2500 to maintain the “Certificate to Operate.” That’s a whole lotta dough to a yoga studio!
  • Each school / studio must submit to random audits. For any violation (that could mean having the logo on the wrong spot in your documents), there is a $1000 fine per violation. SCARY.
  • In addition, the Commonwealth will determine additional fees to be paid based on the studio’s income (overall income or teacher training income, we’re not sure). SCARY.

Virginia Title 23, chapter 21.1 23-276, 1-276 of the Code of Virginia states that

  • No person shall open, operate or conduct any postsecondary school in this Commonwealth without a certificate to operate such postsecondary school issued by the Council.
  • “Postsecondary school” or “school” means any entity offering formal instructional programs with a curriculum designed primarily for students who have completed the requirements for a high school diploma or its equivalent.

But yoga teacher trainings are not postsecondary! The Commonwealth has been advised of this but they say “pay up” anyway.

Hmmm…money grab? I think so!

So far we know that 4 studios in VA have decided to hang up their teacher training mats, leaving us with just 20 teacher training programs in the entire state. Not good for the public, not good for the studios, and not good for the Commonwealth as that means less income for them to tax!

Double Dog Yoga specializes in Absolute Beginner vinyasa (flow) style yoga classes. We offer small group and one-on-one instruction that ideal for people who have always wanted to try yoga but not sure where to begin. Vinyasa yoga is a practice in which a series of postures (asanas) are linked via your breath. The result is a flowing practice that may improve your cardiovascular system, enhance your flexibility, and build strength. Learn more about Double Dog Yoga by visiting our site at www.doubledogyoga.com.

Eat Your Greens!

June 4, 2009

SwissChardSusanV of Fat Free Vegan posted her Savory Swiss Chard pie recipe the other day and as soon as I read it I knew I wanted to try it. I made it for dinner Tuesday night – it was super easy to make and really yummy. Even hubby liked it! Next time I make it I will add sautéed mushrooms and maybe even pour everything into a pie crust. You could use other greens too such as kale or spinach, or go spicier with dandelion or mustard greens.

Here’s the link to the recipe:

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/06/savory-swiss-chard-pie.html

Sorry – no picture of the final dish – we ate it up too fast!

Double Dog Yoga specializes in Absolute Beginner vinyasa (flow) style yoga classes. We offer small group and one-on-one instruction that ideal for people who have always wanted to try yoga but not sure where to begin. Vinyasa yoga is a practice in which a series of postures (asanas) are linked via your breath. The result is a flowing practice that may improve your cardiovascular system, enhance your flexibility, and build strength. Learn more about Double Dog Yoga by visiting our site at www.doubledogyoga.com.

Awesome Vegan Gluten-Free Baking Blog

June 1, 2009

For anyone who is interested in vegan gluten-free baking, Karina’s Kitchen just posted one of the best posts I’ve ever seen on this topic. I’ve perused a LOT of foodie blogs and haven’t seen everything laid out so clearly anywhere else. She really prepares you to go off and make up your own recipes.

In her “Vegan G-Free Baking Cheat Sheet,” Karina reviews:

  • Her favorite types of gluten-free flours
  • Various types of starches and gums
  • Replacements for eggs, dairy, and butter
  • Trouble shooting gluten-free baking

She also links to one of her previous posts in which she reviews additional substitution options for fats, sugars, thickeners, and peanuts. Whew! Check it out:

Vegan G-free Baking Cheat Sheet

Double Dog Yoga specializes in Absolute Beginner vinyasa (flow) style yoga classes. We offer small group and one-on-one instruction that ideal for people who have always wanted to try yoga but not sure where to begin. Vinyasa yoga is a practice in which a series of postures (asanas) are linked via your breath. The result is a flowing practice that may improve your cardiovascular system, enhance your flexibility, and build strength. Learn more about Double Dog Yoga by visiting our site at www.doubledogyoga.com.

Joy, Peace, and Bliss Through Meditation

May 29, 2009

By feature blog writer Doug Kalish.

What if we could slow down from our normal hectic pace, and live more peacefully?  What if we could have far less stress and fewer worries?  What if we could turn off the constant chatter of our mind?

Well, we can do it, through our yoga practice.

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, then you are already familiar with hatha yoga – the physical poses we move in and out of, simultaneously with our breath.  There are other aspects to yoga that you may not know, such as meditation (sometimes called mantra yoga). This is where we focus our mind on a single thought or phrase, helping us unite with the universe around us, through quieting our mind and body.

So many people have trouble sitting still for more than five minutes, and haven’t had any luck with meditation.  There are actually many ways to meditate, and different meditation techniques work better for different people.

Have you ever made the trip into Washington DC to visit one of the amazing Smithsonian museums?  If you’ve ever made the trip from the suburbs, then you know that are there so many ways to get downtown.
There’s a fantastic Metro system, with the various Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, and Blue lines.
You can take any of the bridges, like the Key Bridge, the Roosevelt Bridge, the 14th Street Bridge, the Sousa Bridge, the New York Avenue Bridge…
And there are so many roads you can drive on, like New Hampshire Avenue, Georgia Avenue, 16th Street, Connecticut Avenue, Wisconsin Avenue – the choices are endless!

Discovering a meditation practice that helps you find peace and quiet your mind is a bit like making a few visits into DC.  Maybe the trip over the Key Bridge through Georgetown is too confusing, or the taking the Red Line is really inconvenient…you have to try a few different ways, maybe get lost a few times, and then settle in on the best way to go.

Whether this is your first trip, or you are ready to find a new way to go, I’m ready to make the trip with you as you (re)start your meditation practice!

So if you are interested and ready to create a more peaceful life through a meditation practice, then tell us either in the comments below, or send an e-mail to doug(AT)doubledogyoga(DOT)com .  If enough people want to get started, then I’ll post regularly over the next 30 days, giving you practical tips and hopefully lots of inspiration to start and stick with a great meditation practice.

Let’s do this together!

Double Dog Yoga specializes in Absolute Beginner vinyasa (flow) style yoga classes. We offer small group and one-on-one instruction that ideal for people who have always wanted to try yoga but not sure where to begin. Vinyasa yoga is a practice in which a series of postures (asanas) are linked via your breath. The result is a flowing practice that may improve your cardiovascular system, enhance your flexibility, and build strength. Learn more about Double Dog Yoga by visiting our site at www.doubledogyoga.com.

Can Anyone Spare a $100 Yoga Mat?

May 27, 2009

mandukaWe might be in the middle of a recession but you’d never know from the looks of Manduka’s P&L. In a time where major retailers such as Circuit City and Sharper Image have gone belly up, the maker of the much-coveted Black Mat Pro yoga mat has enjoyed a whopping 55% increase in sales in the first four months of 2009. Time magazine has the scoop in their article “No Stress: Pricey Yoga Mats Sell Briskly in Recession.”

Called the “ferrari of yoga mats,” Manduka yoga mats retail anywhere between $75-$130, which is a heck of a lot more than the $20 yoga mats you can get at Target and the $12 yoga mats I’ve seen at TJ Maxx. So why are people shelling out big bucks for a YOGA MAT?

Because Mandukas are really, really good yoga mats, that’s why. And if you are serious about your yoga practice, you’ll want to have a yoga mat that:

  • feels good,
  • provides traction,
  • has some cushion, and
  • comes with a lifetime guarantee.

These yoga mats are totally worth it, IF you’ve decided to be a dedicated yogi. For the yoga newbie, I say before investing in a Manduka, go with a Target yoga mat while you determine if yoga is something you’re going to want to continue. After slipping and sliding your way through your first few months of yoga you’ll know when it’s time to get your first Manduka and you’ll really appreciate it!

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Double Dog Yoga specializes in Absolute Beginner vinyasa (flow) style yoga classes. We offer small group and one-on-one instruction that ideal for people who have always wanted to try yoga but not sure where to begin. Vinyasa yoga is a practice in which a series of postures (asanas) are linked via your breath. The result is a flowing practice that may improve your cardiovascular system, enhance your flexibility, and build strength. Learn more about Double Dog Yoga by visiting our site at www.doubledogyoga.com.

Looking for a Vegan (Dairy Free) Ice Cream Recipe?

May 26, 2009

Over the past few months I’ve been gradually transitioning to being “dairy-free.” And since I love ice cream that means I really need an awesome dairy-free ice cream recipe!

I’ve been making coconut milk ice cream and will definitely continue to make it. And after today I now have another option – ice cream made from cashews!

I based my cashew ice cream on the vanilla “vice cream” recipe in Vice Cream: Gourmet Vegan Desserts by Jeff Rogers. I made his basic vanilla recipe and added in butterscotch flavoring and chocolate chips and it is delicious! The consistency is creamy and smooth, although a bit soft. We ate ours just about an hour after coming out of the ice cream maker, but I think it will be firmer after being in the freezer for a longer amount of time.

So here’s my Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cashew Ice Cream recipe!

IMG_0680Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cashew Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 vanilla beans OR 1 tablespoon alcohol-free* vanilla extract
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup maple syrup OR 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons alcohol-free* butterscotch extract
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Slice the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds into your blender.
  2. Mix all ingredients except the chips in the blender for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  3. Freeze the mixture for about 1 hour.
  4. Transfer mixture to your ice cream maker and process according to instructions. Add in the chocolate chips when there is about five minutes left to go.
  5. You can serve the ice cream right out of the ice cream maker (it will be like soft serve), or put back into the freezer until firm.

*It’s important to use alcohol-free flavorings as the alcohol in regular extracts will affect the freezing process.