Yoga alliance or not!?

This indeed is the question I am asking, as are my colleagues here in South Africa, and I am sure, in the rest of the world too. Founded in 1999 in the US as a voluntary registry for yoga teachers and yoga schools who met their standards, Yoga Alliance was a useful and helpful resource for students looking for yoga teachers in their area, or for people looking to find Yoga Schools.

For yoga schools to be a part of Yoga Alliance, they have to offer Yoga Teacher Trainings that fulfil a core curriculum, requirements for length of training, and other criteria. Once approved, Registered Yoga Schools can maintain their registration if they continue to pay the fees. There are no ongoing reviews or verification that ensure that standards are maintained.

Yoga teachers who are members of Yoga Alliance have also commented that being a part of the organization lends the industry as a whole credibility however, despite what many yoga teachers think, it is not necessary to be a member of Yoga Alliance to get liability insurance.

Living in South Africa and paying an annual membership in Euros or Dollars, is unsustainable, and the costs for doing this would be carried by the student teachers. To date I have not received one student from the Yoga Alliance website, nor any discounts for Yoga mats, yoga festivals or insurance for my studio. It has now become obvious to me, that what started as a non-profit, well-intentioned organisation has turned into a big business.

Back in the late 1990’s when this idea was born in the US, I can understand how helpful it was in setting a standard and assisting with continued education for yoga teachers and clients alike. However, this is 2024, we are all connected with such ease and there are good organisations offering ongoing education with access to all the latest research, much more so than Yoga Alliance ever has.

As a studio owner and teacher trainer myself, when interviewing a potential teacher for employment, I do not ask to see who she trained with, I ask her to lead me through a class. The proof is really in the teaching skills, not the credentials of a Yoga Alliance certified studio. So why I wonder, would I pay more than one entire teacher students fee to an organisation that in return only allows me to market their brand on my website as a form of exchange? The logical answer is, no, it does not justify the extra costs carried by the student teachers themselves.

This is certainly a complex issue, but I do believe it is time to discuss alternative ways for standardising quality teachings and trainings.

Please pass your comments and/or experience in the comments section below or mail me on and let’s see where this narrative takes us as an industry.

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