Information and Resources for COVID-19 (the coronavirus)
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.
On March 15, Yoga Alliance communicated to members its recommendation that—for communities where social distancing has become required, recommended, or the community norm—all in-person yoga instruction be cancelled until the need for social distancing has passed at which time it will evaluate its recommendation, including the safety of resuming regular or modified practice schedules.
There is a lot of fast-moving information out there with respect to the novel coronavirus, the disease it causes (COVID-19), and general health and safety measures. As a result, it can be hard to keep track of what is valuable without becoming completely overwhelmed. Yoga Alliance leans on and recommends two credible sources for the most up-to-date guidance, given how quickly the information on this situation is evolving:
- The World Health Organization (WHO); and
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Yoga Alliance remains vigilant in sharing ways in which its members and the broader yoga community can still deliver high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable yoga teaching to trainees and practitioners during this uncertain time. Given this increased physical distancing, we need greater social solidarity now more than ever.
On March 4, we first developed this webpage, which we update on a regular basis with new information, events, tools, and resources. On March 20, we launched our first COVID-19 Bulletin (email), editions of which are archived in the sidebar. We are also working to set up a member community where Yoga Alliance members can connect with each other in effort to share additional information with one another. We will update you on when that is available.
The Importance of Self-Care and Empowerment
Please practice self-care! You are the vehicle of self-care for so many. Take care of yourself by maintaining your own yoga practice, including asana (postures), pranayama (breath and energy work), and dhyana (meditation). Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, eat nutritious foods, stay hydrated, and manage your stress.
For those in parts of the world not yet restricted by social distancing and who are able to deliver classes in-person, ask students of yours to leave the room if they show symptoms of sickness, including coughing and sneezing. Consider avoiding hand-on assists, and perhaps modify your teaching to eliminate the use of communal props.
Online Learning for Registered Yoga Schools (RYSs)
In light of COVID-19, Yoga Alliance has made a temporary provision to allow its schools to offer contact hours in a virtual format from March 13 until June 30 for any currently active teacher training program as well as those that will be running sessions during this timeframe. This applies to those sessions that would otherwise be in-person. We will continually evaluate whether there is a need to extend this provision further throughout the duration of the pandemic.
Of note, this temporary provision applies to:
- 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 email@example.com 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; and
- Review the Standards Review Project Online Learning working group paper about considerations as they pertain to online learning.
- 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.
Online Learning and Teaching for Registered Yoga Teachers (RYTs)
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 (please link here) page for partners that offer online training courses.
Prevention and Safety in Work and Community Spaces
The tips below were compiled from information sourced from the WHO and (U.S.) CDC prior to Yoga Alliance’s strong recommendation for communities where social distancing has become required, recommended, or the community norm that all in-person yoga instruction be cancelled until the need for social distancing has passed.
For those located in parts of the world not yet restricted by social distancing and who are able to deliver classes in-person, below are suggested steps that may help reduce or prevent the spread of respiratory or communicable illnesses like COVID-19 in work or community spaces.
- Stock and maintain your bathroom(s) with soap and water
- Stock and maintain your studio(s) with at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Stock and maintain your studio(s) with disinfectant wipes
- Stock and maintain your studio(s) with tissues
- Offer no-touch receptacles where possible
- Clean the bathroom(s) multiple times each day with a disinfectant cleaner and disposable paper towels or wipes
- Clean the studio floors after each class
- Wipe telephones, keyboards, door handles, bathroom faucets, front desk surfaces, and anything that staff, teachers, or students commonly touch
- Thoroughly wipe all rental mats and other props before and after each use
- Wash blankets and bolsters more frequently
Signage – note: check the sidebar for examples of flyers that you can download and post today!
- Post signs in each bathroom and around the studio with respect to cough-and-sneeze etiquette (using a tissue and throwing it away, using upper sleeve if a tissue is not available, refraining from touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, etc.)
- Post signs in each bathroom about washing hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Post signage at the front desk regarding the request to refrain from practicing at the studio if under the weather
Staff, Teachers, and Volunteers
- Set up a COVID-19 response team that meets regularly to share information reports from federal, state, and local resources and to manage various contingency plans, including staff (including teachers and volunteers) and practitioner communication
- Create a response matrix based on transmission scenarios in your region (see a sample framework as developed by the WHO)
- Ensure that your work-from-home policies (telework, remote meeting options, etc.) are flexible
- Ensure that your sick leave policies are also flexible and consistent with public health guidance
- Encourage staff, teachers, and volunteers to work from home or take a sick day if they are sick
- Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for staff, teachers, and volunteers who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work
- Maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19
- Maintain flexible policies that permit staff, teachers, and volunteers to stay home to care for a sick family member
- Empower staff, teachers, and volunteers to ask sick practitioners not to practice if they are showing symptoms
- Encourage staff, teachers, and volunteers to practice good health habits, such as getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing their stress, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating nutritious foods
- Don’t propose to know everything; stick to the basics
Students and Practitioners
- Proactively communicate with your students about what you are doing to increase your studio cleaning and other precautions, including emails, social media posts, and in-studio flyers
- Encourage students to remain at home if they are sick but to do a home practice if they feel up to it to help manage their stress
- Ask students to leave if they cough or sneeze in class, offering them class credit for a later date
- Email sequences from your teachers that can keep them practicing if staying home
- Reduce or pause the use of studio-provided props in your in-studio classes
- If still offering studio-provided props, ask students to use a tissue between them and eye pillows, or encourage them to bring a clean pillowcase from home to use over blankets or bolsters
- Encourage students to bring their own props with them, including not just mats but belts, blocks, and bolsters
- Reduce or pause the use of physical assists in your in-studio classes
- Limit or reduce the number of students per class to allow for more space between mats
- Require advanced class sign up, if possible
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