At Yoga Alliance, we are committed to updating you and connecting with you through the global coronavirus pandemic. This health emergency has understandably caused concern and anxiety amongst our communities around the world. While we cannot eliminate all threats, we can take preventative steps to minimize risk.
We are continuously fielding many questions from member schools and teachers regarding a variety of coronavirus concerns and what impact there might be to our standards, their credentials, or other aspects of their professions as yoga teacher training programs, trainers, and teachers.
The Online Teaching Exemption Application is Now Open, October 28, 2020
After months of careful listening and collaboration with you, our members, we are excited to share that the 2021 Online Teaching Exemption application is now open.
This announcement comes during one of the most historically disruptive years most of us have seen in our lifetime. The devastation of the COVID-19 health crisis has proved to be transformative in not only our community of yoga professionals, but for millions across the globe; and its impacts have heightened the worldwide need for yoga. The crisis also has laid bare structural weaknesses as, for example, in the U.S. there is a disproportionate impact on BIPOC communities due to centuries of institutional racism and bias.
Understanding the sense of urgency for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, we carefully created this exemption to help preserve your livelihoods and support your ability to continue sharing yoga within your communities as well as to pursue ongoing continuing education.
Our President and CEO Shannon Roche recently spoke to the community about the care and consideration that went into the development of the exemption guideposts, in addition to the important feedback and experiences we’ve heard from you, our members. You can view her message here.
We’d like to send a big “Thank you!” for the time and care you put into sharing your feedback and questions regarding online yoga teaching and training. Your combined input has been critical for us to understand how best to support you in your work.
Throughout our information-gathering process, the following themes emerged:
- Online teaching options are necessary for businesses to stay open. For you to be successful, you need support, resources, and guidance in transitioning away from physical classrooms to virtual spaces;
- Of utmost importance to our members (and us!) is the need for all RYS programs to preserve Yoga Alliance standards—which are synonymous with high quality, safe, accessible yoga education—while offered in a digital format;
- There are concerns regarding accountability and integrity becoming lost in online offerings; and
- While our former short-term exemption offerings have been helpful, you need more time and space to craft and market quality RYS programs.
Taking all of this into consideration, we’ve crafted the following guidelines, requirements, and application.
Guidelines & Requirements
This exemption is for RYS programs who have qualified under our current RYS standards and are already approved to hold an RYS credential. It is not intended for new programs that have been designed for 100% online teaching, as we do not currently provide standards for 100% online programs.
- Agree to read the Online Best Practices compiled by Yoga Alliance.
- Follow the Yoga Alliance Code of Conduct and Scope of Practice.
- Engage in the newly launched YA CommUnity (an inclusive peer-to-peer online space designed for members to share information, resources, and experiences).
- Participate in surveys and information sharing, as detailed below.
Surveys and Information Sharing
We are asking participants to agree to participate in surveys throughout their training and to allow Yoga Alliance to survey their trainees and trainers. This will help us capture big-picture takeaways and evaluate on a macro-level what qualities and components of an online teacher training lead to the most effective outcomes for teachers and schools.
We are also asking that RYS members—upon request—provide access to their competency testing benchmarks* and results. We will collect this information to inform future decisions regarding online teaching and to make sure we’re providing the necessary support to RYS programs throughout their online trainings.
*Detailed below under Curriculum Requirements.
Synchronous (Live-Digital) and Asynchronous Teaching
We require a blend of both synchronous and asynchronous teaching, but do not enforce a set number of hours per category. Instead, we are focusing on training outcomes and evaluating the synchronous/asynchronous ratios utilized to identify noteworthy correlations.
- Synchronous: Learning that requires real time interaction with either a trainer or other students. Engagement and efficacy are determined by demonstrated engagement and integration of content.
- Asynchronous: Learning that does not require real time interaction and takes place according to the students’ pace. Engagement and efficacy are determined by deadlines and a required competency component.
To ensure high quality teaching and skill development, we require RYS members to conduct competency testing withing their programs—the details of which must be described within the 2021 RYS Online Teaching Exemption application.
- As with our current Elevated RYS standards, we allow up to five Lead Trainers per program.
- At least 50% of the content, whether synchronous or asynchronous, must be taught by these Lead trainers.
- The other 50% can be taught by invited presenters or lead trainers, just as you would in an in-person format.
To further detail these exemption specifics, we are hosting a dedicated Online Teaching Exemption digital event on November 6 at 3pm ET. You can also find more online teaching resources, including Online Best Practices, digital event programming, Re-Opening and Recovery Guidelines for the US and International communities, and more on YourYa.org.
Find out more about what this means to you as a RYT or RYS.
We know this exemption has a direct impact on your livelihoods and requires a certain level of care, sensitivity, and consistent communication and moderation from us to ensure you are succeeding in your training programs and professions.
Just as yoga itself has evolved to accommodate modern life for millennia, we too, are committed to a process of continuous evolution and community collaboration. We are approaching this exemption and today’s modern yoga needs with curiosity and humility in order to gain greater clarity on what makes up a successful virtual yoga teacher training, while striving to adapt our standards to meet you where you are in real time. Please know we will always provide you with as much detail on any updates that stand to impact your professions, as needed and as often as possible.
Your endurance and perseverance during this challenging time is nothing short of inspiring. We are honored to work alongside you in our shared mission of bettering yoga teaching and practice everywhere.
2021 Online Teaching Exemption, September 22, 2020
In response to overwhelming feedback voiced by you, our members, Yoga Alliance is extending the online teaching exemption through 2021 for Registered Yoga School (RYS) members who apply and meet qualification requirements. These will include: agreeing to new parameters, expectations on incorporating a mix of live and pre-recorded content, Lead Trainer hour requirements, and a commitment to (and transparency around) competency testing. You can anticipate the full details in October, after we have completed gathering and distilling valuable member and community feedback.
All members are invited to provide any additional thoughts with us over the next two-week period. To share your input, please email email@example.com.
We know this update has been of top priority for many members, and your sense of urgency and importance is not lost on us. Rather, we share it with you. Our role as your professional membership entity is to balance the community’s need to work and teach within the new yoga landscape, while adhering to our standards designed to support high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable yoga teaching and teacher training.
Six months ago, it was immediately clear that you needed options to continue your yoga professions and practice outside of traditional classroom spaces. In response, we have been offering online teaching exemptions to RYS members for condensed timeframes. While we have been pleased to hear this has supported many schools in staying open under unique health, safety, and economic circumstances, we also acknowledge it is a challenging way to operate given the advanced planning and marketing required to run a successful RYS program. With this in mind, we want to respect the space and time you’ve requested to create quality programs and meaningful online teaching offerings via this extension.
Looking forward, we recognize that by the end of 2021, many members will have been operating in a reality of digital yoga teaching for almost two years. This truth impacts our role supporting the global yoga community, and especially the standards Yoga Alliance credentials represent. As such, we are committed to the ongoing critical examination of our standards and how best to support you as we all continue to adapt to new ways of life.
Thank you for your resilience when facing disruption, dedication when facing change, and for your commitment to yoga, always. Again, to provide feedback regarding digital learning, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to connecting with you again in October with the full online teaching exemption details.
Temporary Online Exemption Update, July 23, 2020
Earlier this year, due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements and concerns, Yoga Alliance announced a temporary exemption to allow member schools with currently-active or already-scheduled teacher trainings running between March 13–September 30 to offer the required in-person contact hours in a virtual format. This communication shares some important updates and clarifications about that temporary exemption.
We have received considerable community feedback about this unusual action. This includes responses in favor of and in gratitude for reacting flexibly in light of unprecedented challenges to your ability to continue sharing yoga’s teachings, as well as some concerns about potential impacts this exemption may have on the integrity of RYS standards and trainees’ experience and learning.
The question we have heard most frequently and most urgently is from those members who are in locations still actively impacted by COVID-19 and related restrictions: will we extend this exemption beyond September 30 to support their businesses and the important continued sharing of yoga’s teachings? To adequately address all of the input we’ve received, we worked with community experts on what course of action would be best to holistically balance sometimes conflicting tradeoffs and members’ pressing needs. Thank you for your patience.
After careful consideration, we have decided to extend this temporary online exemption through the remainder of 2020 for RYS members who notify us of their extension needs and are based in locations where they are unable or feel unsafe returning to in-person, live teaching during this time. Please see the FAQ below for detailed responses to the most common questions and concerns we’ve heard about this exemption from this community.
Members who plan to operate virtually under this temporary exemption must notify us by clicking here to complete a brief questionnaire that automatically attaches to your account. It includes the dates of your training, lead trainers, and reason for requesting the exemption. This questionnaire is intended to ensure we are capturing the essential details of your request and can more fully understand the spectrum of our member’s needs to continue teaching virtually at this time. Please fill out this request form for each training you will be offering online from now through the remainder of 2020.
The service that you provide your community is more important than ever in these moments, and we are honored to support you. Thank you for the work that you do for your communities, now and always.
Membership Renewal Extension Option
We understand that for many this is a time of financial uncertainty. We do not want Yoga Alliance membership renewal to be another point of stress; rather, our hope is to provide you with the services, resources, education, advocacy, and benefits you need to get you through this crisis and beyond.
As such, we have created a membership renewal extension offering for those members who need it. If your membership renewal falls between now and June 30, you will have the option to delay the payment of your membership dues by up to three months. For example, if your upcoming membership renewal date is May 23, you can choose the option to defer your membership renewal payment for up to three months, extending your renewal payment date to August 23.
How this works: Members whose renewal falls between now and June 30 do not need to do anything immediately. Rather, when your renewal payment date approaches, you will receive an email that offers two options: 1) to request a one-, two-, or three-month deferral or 2) to pay as scheduled.
We recognize that this renewal extension offering does not currently include members whose renewal comes up after June 30. If this is you and you already anticipate the need for an extension, or if your circumstances necessitates additional consideration, please contact us at email@example.com. We will work with you to ensure your membership continues without pause. Additionally, we will connect with members whose memberships lapsed in the wake of COVID-19 to offer them this same extension offer as well.
Since it is unknown how long this situation will last, we will be continually evaluating the timeframe of this extension and will make updates as appropriate. And while not required, members who are in a position to pay their membership dues on time may choose to do so. This funds our ability to provide our members with tools and resources at this critical time.
Membership renewal FAQs can be found here.
For Registered Yoga Schools—Virtual Learning Temporary Provision
- RYS 200, RYS 300, and RYS 500 teacher training programs;
- RCYS and RPYS teacher training programs;
- Trainings and courses in support of the Yoga Alliance Continuing Education (CE) requirements; and
- ALL Educational Categories, including practicum (practice teaching) and observation requirements.
We recommend, where possible, that trainings and courses make every attempt to deliver virtual content live (not pre-recorded) in effort to more fully replicate in-person trainings as much as possible. That said, we understand that this is not always feasible.
To leverage this temporary provision of offering some of your teacher training sessions virtually during this time period, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your RYS, the dates of your training program overall, specifically the dates of the portions of the training to be offered virtually, and the total amount of contact hours you will be delivering virtually (with no restriction on Educational Category). Member Support will respond and confirm your plans for temporary virtual training delivery in order to document that your RYS is still in compliance with our standards during this unique time. While you do need to email us, you do not need to wait for approval from Yoga Alliance to start delivering your content virtually
In addition, please
- Refer to the Yoga Alliance online learning best practices as a resource;
- Review the Standards Review Project Online Learning working group paper about considerations as they pertain to online learning; and
- As a reminder, Yoga Alliance Members receive between 15–30% off subscriptions to Teachable, an all-in-one platform that helps individuals create and sell courses online.
For Registered Yoga Teachers—Online Hours for Teaching and Continuing Education
During this unique time, RYTs may count hours virtually taught as regular teaching hours. RYTs can log these hours as they usually would with any teaching hour via their Yoga Alliance dashboard.
In addition, RYTs may count online courses taken during this time as contact hours for Continuing Education (CE) requirements. Members should refer to our Member Benefits page for partners that offer online training courses.