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.
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.
- The holistic health and safety of our members and your communities—embodied, mental, spiritual, social, and economic—is paramount to Yoga Alliance. We are centering these priorities in all our decision-making.
- Due to the ongoing and continued nature of the coronavirus pandemic, Yoga Alliance is extending the temporary online exemption through the remainder of 2020 for member schools located in jurisdictions impacted by mandatory or community-encouraged social distancing/shelter-in-place requirements.
- This does not replace or change the existing RYS standards, nor does it apply to newly-developed trainings intended to be delivered entirely online, which do not qualify as Yoga Alliance credentialed trainings. It allows schools to continue running their active, Yoga Alliance-credentialed, and in-person-designed curriculum in a virtual format during this time for trainers and trainees’ health and safety.
- Yoga Alliance has heard and shares the concerns some members have raised about abuses of this exemption. We will be announcing a more complete package of support and accountability measures this fall, and concerns should be emailed to our Accountability Department at email@example.com.
- Members who plan to operate virtually under this temporary exemption must notify us by clicking here to complete a brief questionnaire that will automatically attach to your account. It includes the dates of your training, lead trainers, and reason for requesting the exemption. You will need to fill out this form for each training you will be offering online from now through the remainder of 2020.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 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;
- 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.