Aligning with a Registry or Organization
Yoga Alliance, through which this program is accredited, is the most widely recognized yoga registry in the world. They decide what must be included in each training as well as the level of study and teaching hours that instructors must achieve in order to reach a given title. Much of what is reported is based on the honor system, so it is up to you to be honest; This will help ensure an authentic depiction of who you are as a teacher, your experience and your level within their registry. Alternatives to Yoga Alliance depending on your geographic region include:
International Yoga Federation (IYF)
British Wheel of Yoga (BWY)
Yoga Alliance Membership Levels
It can be confusing navigating all of the different categories, standings and titles in the Yoga Alliance. Here is a thorough breakdown of all of the different levels for your to have as a reference in the future.
Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT) – Upon graduation you will each be instantly considered at CYT. In order to become a registered teacher you must go through the process of becoming a member of Yoga Alliance.
Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) – Upon successfully joining the Yoga Alliance you will become an RYT. This designation is further broken down into different levels.
RYT 200 : One who has successfully completed a 200 hour Yoga Alliance aligned YTT (RYS) and has completed the YA membership requirements and paid subsequent fees.
E-RYT 200 : One who has successfully completed a 200 hour Yoga Alliance aligned YTT (RYS), has taught a minimum of 1000 hours of yoga classes and has completed the YA membership requirements and paid subsequent fees.
RYT 500 : One who has successfully completed a 500 hours of training with Yoga Alliance aligned YTT programs (RYS) either in 500 consecutive hours or a 200 hour YTT + an advanced level 300 hour YTT. Must have at least 100 hours of teaching experience before registering at this level as well as completed the YA membership requirements and paid subsequent fees.
E-RYT 200, RYT 500 : One who has successfully completed 500 hours of training with Yoga Alliance aligned YTTs and has at least 1000 hours of teaching experience as well as 2 years of teaching experience since completing their initial training as well as completed the YA membership requirements and paid subsequent fees.
E-RYT 500 : One who has successfully completed 500 hours of training with Yoga Alliance aligned YTTs and has at least 2000 hours of teaching experience. A minimum of 500 of these teaching hours must have been completed after finishing the advanced level program. The teacher must have a minimum of 4 years of teaching experience since completing their initial training as well as completed the YA membership requirements and paid subsequent fees.
It is recommended that anyone that would like to eventually direct an RYS moves from this standing to then assist on yoga teacher trainings through a Yoga Alliance RYS at the level they would like to teach at.
Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT) : For one who has successfully completed a 200 hour
yoga teacher training with a Yoga Alliance registered school and has additionally completed 95 hours of
teacher training with a Registered Children’s Yoga School (RCYS).
Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT) : For one who has successfully completed a 200 hour yoga
teacher training with a Yoga Alliance registered school and has additionally completed 85 hours of
teacher training with a Registered Prenatal Yoga School (RPYS).
Registered Yoga Schools
Yoga Alliance offers 5 options for registering as a Yoga School.
Registered Yoga School at the 200 Hour Level (RYS 200) : A yoga teacher training program that provides a foundational-level training with a minimum of 200 instructional hours.
Registered Yoga School at 300 hour level (RYS 300) : A yoga teacher training program that provide a professional-level training with a minimum of 300 instructional hours (taken by a teacher after their successful completion of an RYS 200 program).
Registered Yoga School for cohesive 500 hours (RYS 500) : A yoga teacher training program that provide a combination of the RYS 200 and RYS 300 programs with a minimum of 500 instructional hours.
Registered Children’s Yoga School (RCYS) : A yoga teacher training program that specialize in children’s yoga with a minimum 95 instructional hours (to be taken by a teacher after the successful completion of an RYS 200).
Registered Prenatal Yoga School (RPYS) : A yoga teacher training program that specialize in prenatal yoga with a minimum 85 instructional hours (taken by a teacher after the successful completion of an RYS 200).
Yoga Alliance Code of Conduct
You will see below the Yoga Alliance Code of Conduct copied and pasted directly from their website and last updated December 2017. It is important to read, understand and abide by these codes of conduct and ethical behavior if you choose to call yourself a yoga teacher.
YOGA ALLIANCE: Code of Conduct
Last Updated: December 31, 2017
Yoga Alliance’s Code of Conduct is a declaration of acceptable ethical and professional behavior to which all registrants agree with respect to conducting the teaching and/or business of yoga. It is not intended to supersede the ethics of any school or tradition but is intended to be a basis for yoga principles.
Yoga Alliance members—Registered Yoga Teachers (RYTs), Continuing Education Providers (YACEPs), or representatives of Registered Yoga Schools (RYSs)—agree to uphold the following ethical principles:
- Conduct themselves in a professional and conscientious manner. This includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that they live up to any commitments they make to their students or to the public, and ensuring that their practices and behaviors conform to the representations they make about themselves in holding themselves as yoga practitioners who adhere to certain precepts.
- Acknowledge the limitations of their skills and scopes of practice and where appropriate, referring students to seek alternative instruction, advice, treatment, or direction.
- Create and maintain safe, clean, and comfortable environments for the practice of yoga.
- Encourage diversity by respecting all students regardless of age, physical limitations, race, creed, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
- Respect the rights, dignity, and privacy of all students.
- Avoid words and actions that constitute sexual harassment or harassment based on other legal protected characteristics.
- Adhere to the traditional yoga principles as written in the yamas and niyamas.
- Follow all local government and national laws that pertain to their yoga teaching and business.
Yoga Alliance reserves the right to immediately suspend any member’s credentials and registration for the duration of any pending law enforcement investigation, criminal or civil legal proceedings, or an internal investigation.
Separately, Yoga Alliance may also impose final sanctions on a member’s credentials and registration for cause, including failure to uphold any aspect of the Code of Conduct. For these purposes, prior to imposing final sanctions on the member, Yoga Alliance will provide notice of the basis for the potential final sanction and an opportunity to respond. After review of the evidence, Yoga Alliance will issue a decision as to whether to impose final sanctions, based on its reasonable judgment of the evidence before it. All members agree to hold Yoga Alliance harmless for any losses or damage that they may incur because of the revocation of credentials.
Yoga Alliance Ethical Commitment
In response to resounding agreement from across the entire yoga community, Yoga Alliance will ask all credential holders to sign onto a strengthened, contemporary ethical commitment upon registration or renewal beginning February 2020. This ethical commitment includes three elements, the need for which was voiced loud and clear in SRP working group sessions and throughout conversations with schools and teachers of all levels: a Scope of Practice, a Code of Conduct, and a responsibility to equity in yoga.
An exciting new change for Yoga Alliance RYTs of all levels will be a shared ethical commitment of proper behavior in yoga and yoga teaching. We created this commitment, which will include a Scope of Practice and Code of Conduct, in response to the resounding agreement from across the entire yoga community—members and non-members alike—that this was needed to serve as a marker of quality, safety, and accessibility with respect to schools, teachers, and classes.
Yoga Alliance will create tools and resources to support its members in understanding the components of the Scope and Code. In addition, we will be working with field leaders to create an online course on the topic of equity in yoga to begin to unpack the root causes behind why many people believe that yoga is not for them.
This class will be free of charge to members and will count towards 10 Continuing Education hours.
This ethical commitment will be asked of RYTs—new and renewing—beginning in February 2020.
This shared commitment will aid in fostering quality and safety in yoga teaching with an awareness of and responsibility to increasing equity in yoga. In addition, these requirements will elevate the public’s understanding of the yoga teaching profession and signal to them Yoga Alliance members’ commitment to building a yoga community for all.
The Inclusion working group paper emphasized the importance of learning, teaching, and practicing yoga honestly, which to do so must include promoting equity, reducing harm, honoring and leveraging cultural differences, and fostering diversity and inclusion in all areas of yoga while honoring the integrity of yoga’s cultural and historical roots. Given the importance of this topic, Yoga Alliance will work alongside experts and leaders in the field of equity to develop and offer an online course on equity in yoga to introduce members to the issue of inequity in yoga so that we, as a community, can begin to address the root causes that have resulted in many people feeling excluded and underrepresented in the practice.
This course will be provided as part of membership and will count towards 10 Continuing Education credits.
Yoga Alliance Grievance Policy
Last Modified: January 2020
Yoga Alliance takes all reported grievances seriously and reviews each for compliance with its standards and credentials, Code of Conduct, and policies. Each grievance will be recorded in the account of the Registered Yoga School (RYS), Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), and/or Continuing Education Provider (YACEP).
If you wish to report a grievance and choose to share your information with us, please send the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- A clear statement that reports the alleged conduct;
- The date when and location where the alleged conduct took place;
- The standard, the element of the Code of Conduct, and/or the policy that the alleged conduct violates;
- The full name of the RYS, RYT, and/or YACEP that or who performed the alleged conduct; and
- Any tangible evidence available to support the grievance.
To adequately and thoroughly address your grievance, Yoga Alliance may need to request additional information during the course of grievance review.
Information you provide to Yoga Alliance, including your identity, will remain confidential to the extent practical, balancing the need for confidentiality and to conduct a meaningful investigation. This may include disclosing information to an investigator, witnesses, and respondents. Further, please note that even where Yoga Alliance does not disclose your identity, your identity may be known by respondents and witnesses simply based on the allegations or facts of the case.
Similarly, any actions taken in response to the grievance and information regarding the investigation will remain confidential to the extent practical.
If your grievance relates to illegal or fraudulent behavior by the RYS, RYT, and/or YACEP in the United States, you may file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Consumer Protection or a similar State or local agency. You may also choose to contact your local law enforcement or initiate a legal claim against the school or individual.
Yoga Alliance Sexual Misconduct Policy
Last Modified: January 2020
Please note the contents on this page are sensitive in nature.
Yoga Alliance believes that everyone has the right to practice yoga free from abuse. To achieve our goal of providing high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable environments for the practice and teaching of yoga, the conduct described in the definitions of this policy will not be tolerated.
While Yoga Alliance does not have the same authority or resources to investigate or stop criminal activity as law enforcement bodies do, we do take all reported grievances seriously. As such, we have an active grievance procedure in place for people to report any alleged conduct that happens in violation of this policy. Reporting misconduct is extremely helpful in providing us with essential information that will ultimately inform our processes and decisions.
With this in mind, Yoga Alliance understands the sensitive nature of reporting misconduct and respects the emotional and physical safety of survivors. If you or a loved one have experienced misconduct and are unsure about making a report, please email email@example.com. An Accountability Advisor will contact you to hold space and answer any questions about the investigative process and will not move forward with an investigation without your express consent.
Though Yoga Alliance does not require a police report to investigate complaints, we do encourage grievance reporters to consider exploring the criminal, legal, judicial, and social support systems available in their jurisdiction, based upon their individual comfort levels.
For more information on the options available to you, we encourage you to contact one of the organizations listed on our Sexual Misconduct Resources page for further support.
Sexual Misconduct: Unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature, whether physical or verbal in nature.
- Non-consensual sexual touching: A broad term that refers to any deliberate non-consensual touching of a person’s body, which conduct can range from unwanted touching such as fondling, up to and including non-consensual sex.
- Verbal: Use of sexually suggestive or explicit statements, whether through speech or written form, that create a hostile environment.
While it is not possible to list all the circumstances that may constitute sexual misconduct, the following are some examples of conduct which, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual misconduct:
- Unwelcome sexual advances — whether they involve physical touching or not;
- Sexual epithets, jokes, written or verbal references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life, comment on an individual’s body, comment about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons;
- Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments;
- Comments or conjecture about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Inquiries into one’s sexual experiences; and,
- Discussion of one’s sexual activities.
Retaliation: An adverse action taken against a Complainant or Witness in response to their submission of a complaint and/or participation in an Investigation. Examples of adverse action include withholding a certificate of completion; firing or refusing to hire an individual; or expelling a trainee or student.
Yoga Alliance: The premier standards setting organization for yoga professionals. May be referred to as “YA” or “we.”
Accountability Department: The YA employee, or their designee, responsible for accepting, reviewing, and investigating Grievances. This person is also responsible for (i) determining whether there was a violation of the Policy; and (ii) if a violation is found: issuing and overseeing discipline.
Grievance: Any allegation of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Complainant: A person who reports a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Respondent: A person who is alleged to have violated the Policy, and who is responding to a Grievance.
Party: The Complainant or Respondent. Collectively, they may be referred to as the “Parties.”
Witness: A person whom the Complainant or Respondent identifies as having first-hand, relevant information about the alleged violation or lack of violation.
Member: A person who currently holds the credential of RYT, RYS, or YACEP; a person who formally held these credentials; or a person applying for any one of these credentials.
Preliminary Review: The Accountability Department’s initial review following receipt of a complaint to determine whether to initiate an Investigation.
Notification of Disciplinary Proceeding: The written Notification to the Respondent informing them of the initiation of an Investigation.
Investigation: The fact-finding process conducted by the Accountability Department that determines whether there is sufficient, timely information to determine whether there has been a Policy violation.
Notification of Decision: The written communication from YA that notifies the parties about the findings of the Investigation. In the event of an adverse finding, the Notification will also inform the Respondent of any disciplinary actions.
Appeal: Either Party’s right to contest the findings of the Investigation, but only on the following bases: (a) significant procedural lapses or (b) the appearance of substantive new evidence not available at the time of the original decision.
Vice President of Standards: The YA employee who considers Appeals.
Vice President of Standards: The YA employee who considers Appeals.
II. Application of this Policy
- This Policy applies to Members regardless of membership status with YA at the time of the incident that gives rise to the Grievance, regardless of whether the Complainant is a YA member.
- Any Grievance must be reported to Yoga Alliance within two years of its occurrence, unless YA determines that an extension is warranted.
III. Reporting a Grievance
Reports must be initiated by the individual who has personally experienced sexual misconduct as defined in the Policy. If said individual is a minor at the time of the report, the individual’s parent or legal guardian, should one have been appointed, can report the misconduct on their ward’s behalf.
In the interest of the safety and privacy, YA will not initiate an Investigation based upon a third-Party report of a Policy violation.
To report a violation of the Policy, please send the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-912-1770, Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (ET):
- Your full name;
- Your email and phone number, including any international extensions;
- Full name of the Respondent;
- A description of the conduct alleged to have violated the Policy;
- The date and location of the alleged misconduct;
- Names and contact information of Witnesses; and,
- If necessary, a request for an exception to the two-year time limit for reporting a Grievance.
We may request additional information from you during the course of review or Investigation of any Grievance.
To ensure a fair process to all those involved, we will not investigate anonymous reports.
IV. Preliminary Review
The Accountability Department will review reported Grievances to determine whether (i) the Policy applies to the subject of the complaint; (ii) the Grievance is timely; and (ii) the alleged conduct is covered by the Policy. If the complaint does not include all the information required by Section III, the Accountability Department shall inform the Complainant, who will then be given the opportunity to provide the required information. If no response is received within 21 days, the matter will be closed.
V. Activating an Investigation
There are two ways to activate an Investigation:
- After Preliminary Review of a Grievance, the Accountability Department determines that there is sufficient information to proceed with an Investigation.
- YA may initiate an Investigation on its own behalf, for example when an indictment has been issued or charges filed with the relevant law enforcement.
Once an Investigation is activated, YA will provide the Respondent with written (email) Notification of Disciplinary Proceeding. In the event that a Respondent does not have an email address on file with YA, the Accountability Department will call the Respondent to notify them of the Disciplinary Proceeding.
VI. Account Suspension
Yoga Alliance reserves the right to suspend any member’s credentials and registration pending any of the following:
- Yoga Alliance investigation;
- Law enforcement investigation; or
- Criminal or civil legal proceedings
Yoga Alliance may choose to await the final outcome of a law enforcement investigation and/or criminal/civil legal proceedings prior to conducting an internal investigation.
We appreciate that participating in an Investigation – whether as a Complainant, Respondent, or Witness – can be difficult. Although YA strives to balance the desire for confidentiality with the need to conduct a thorough and fair Investigation, anonymity cannot be maintained; therefore, the Parties’ names will be disclosed to each other during the Investigation.
VIII. The Investigation
Once the Complainant and Respondent are contacted by the Accountability Department to request an interview, they will have 21 days to participate in an interview, and/or to provide information in writing.
The Complainant and Respondent will have an equal opportunity to be heard, to submit information, and to identify Witnesses who may have relevant information. The Accountability Department will notify and seek to interview all involved parties separately (e.g., the Complainant, the Respondent, and identified Witnesses) and will gather other evidence and information relevant to the determination as to whether a Policy violation has occurred. Witnesses must have information deemed relevant to the Investigation, as determined by the Accountability Department, and cannot be participating solely to speak about an individual’s character.
The Accountability Department will consider the totality of information gathered in the Investigation to determine, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) whether the Respondent violated the Policy. In reaching a Finding, the Accountability Department will consider things such as:
- Party participation;
- Detail provided;
- Timeliness of the report;
- Corroborating or conflicting information;
- Plausibility of information provided;
- Relevancy of information;
- Omission of information.
X. Notification of Decision
At the conclusion of the Investigation, the Accountability Department will notify the Parties as to whether there is sufficient information to establish a violation of the Policy. In addition, if a Respondent is found to have violated the Policy, they will be notified by the Notification of Adverse Decision.
If we determine that a Respondent has violated the Policy, we will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Such action may range from education to revocation of Yoga Alliance membership and credentials.
Both parties have the right to request an Appeal of the results of the Disciplinary Proceeding. The right to Appeal is limited to (a) significant procedural lapses or (b) the appearance of substantive new evidence not available at the time of the original decision. Appeals shall not be based upon, or granted to, dissatisfaction with a Finding or discipline. Note: deliberate omission of information by the Appealing Party in the original Investigation is not grounds for Appeal.
Each Party has 21 days following the receipt of the Notification of Finding to request an Appeal. Requests for Appeal, with reasons, should be emailed to email@example.com. If this is not possible, the Party requesting an Appeal must speak directly with the Accountability Department.
The Vice President of Standards will grant Appeals only in cases where the procedural problems or new evidence are considered substantive enough to potentially affect the outcome. If the Appeal is granted the VP of Standards will (i) affirm the findings, or (ii) alter the findings only where there is clear error based on the stated Appeal grounds. The Vice President of Standards’ decisions are final and will be issued within 21 days to the Party requesting the Appeal. If the finding is altered, both parties will be notified of the final outcome.
Yoga Alliance reserves the right to amend the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures at any time by posting the revised version on its website and notifying members via electronic mail to the address provided by the member. The most current version of the policy will apply upon receipt of a grievance.