Posts Tagged ‘yoga license’

Put Your Money Where Your Mat Is

June 26, 2009

States Say Yoga Teacher Training Schools Need a License

May 15, 2009

Greedy Government Action or Good for the Profession?
Yoga studios around the country are starting to get letters from their State Departments of Education saying that yoga teacher trainings are “vocational” trainings and therefore each school must pay a licensing fee. So far this has happened in Michigan, New York, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Virginia, and possibly Minnesota. I’m sure this will spread to more states very soon, and I predict that soon individual teachers will need to have a license as well.

Yoga Alliance (YA), the yoga community’s self-governing body, is a non-profit organization and therefore cannot lobby on the yoga teacher’s behalf. They acknowledges that small yoga schools and studios may not be able to comply with the fees and lengthy process and therefore have to close their teacher training programs and “for this we are sad.”

Here are some pros and cons that I see so far:

  • Yoga licensing is a step towards being covered by insurance. Hmmm…maybe that’s a con.
  • Yoga will have more credibility and teachers will be held to higher standards
  • Students may be able to apply for federal aid.
  • Shouldn’t yoga studios and schools be treated like every other business / school?


  • The states are now taking a cut of the yoga revenue stream which means that ultimately yoga class and training prices will probably go up.
  • Some of your favorite studios may go under, as many studios rely on teacher training programs for income and might not be able to make it without. Studios in Michigan have already closed as they cannot afford to pay the fee.
  • Some of your teachers may no longer be able to teach or may need to take further training to qualify for the possible required teacher license. Yoga teachers typically DO NOT make a lot of money and trainings are expensive.
  • The implementation of these new (and sometimes old) laws has been poor:
  1. NY will levy a $50,000 fine to any school that does not comply, and schools must wait 8 months for their license, during which time they cannot run their programs.
  2. In Michigan, school owners had just 7 days to comply or face 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
  3. Studios in VA may have their license revoked if they do not comply immediately.

In all my research I have not seen a single reason for WHY these laws are suddenly being put in place. Anyone?

Other resources on this topic:

  • A yoga teacher from Virginia, Patty Kearney, has started a  blog to discuss the impact of these licensing requirements
  • Yoga educator Leslie Kaminoff weighs in, with a very interesting response from David Scott Lynn:
  • Press coverage in NY
  • Yoga Journal blog posting:
  • Information from Jo Brill about what’s happening in NY
  • To give you an idea of what schools will have to go through to comply, here are the guidelines for Virginia

More opinions:

What are your thoughts on this issue?