Yoga Alliance (YA) Misperceptions – Registration, Certification, Accreditation & Why You Don’t Need to Pay the Yoga Alliance Fees


Here we introduce the subjects of registry and certification, common misperceptions about Yoga Alliance, and what exactly the Yoga Alliance registry does and does not recognize.

In a Nutshell

The following points are highlights from the detailed reporting below. For more information, keep reading or use the contents to jump to the section you’re most interested in.

Basic Facts

  1. Yoga Alliance does not propose, assess or enforce competency standards.
  2. Yoga Alliance does not certify yoga teachers, teacher trainers, or training schools.
  3. YA maintains a registry (a list).
  4. Neither teachers nor trainers are required to be registered with Yoga Alliance or any other organization.
  5. Teaching and studio insurance may be obtained without Yoga Alliance (or any other) registration.
  6. Many widely recognized and influential teachers (and less well known teachers as as well) are NOT registered with YA.

Widespread Misperception

  1. A common misperception is that Yoga Alliance “certifies” teachers and/or that YA recognition has a relationship to competency, professionalism or legitimacy. This is not correct.
  2. There is an implication that newly trained teachers who have completed a training with an RYS have achieved a particular standard level of competency. For example, a hiring manager might presume that a “graduate” of a Yoga Alliance “approved” training has a proven ability to sequence effectively and promote student safety, to understand scope of practice, to be skilled in biomechanics and the physiology of stretching and so on. However, no such standards are required or verified by Yoga Alliance.
  3. The quality of training and resulting trainee competency have no relationship to whether the training is registered with Yoga Alliance.
  4. Teachers who have applied for YA registration at RYT levels tend to be unaware of the misperceptions, issues and burdens  associated with the trainer registry (RYS). They also tend to fall prey to the myth that having attended an RYS means having attended a training that meets particular standards.

Bureaucracy vs. Standards

  1. Yoga Alliance recognizes teachers and trainers based on two things: an online form and fee payment. In return, teachers and trainers are given “registry marks.” While Yoga Alliance’s bureaucratic requirements changed in 2020, this recognition model (money and forms in exchange for being on a list) did not change.
  2. Beginning in February 2020, Yoga Alliance began requiring trainers to submit additional documentation that attests to the fact that they, the trainers, will be assessing competency (of unspecified standards) in over 50 topics. YA doesn’t specify the standards (they simply note general teaching topics such as “sequencing”) nor do they provide resources to support trainers in assessing competency of their trainees.
  3. So while competency assessment is now finally MENTIONED in YA materials, there is no actual support to do so. Rather, there is a burdensome application process with demanding documentation requirements, fees and processing time. The new requirements even demand submission of the trainer’s copyrighted syllabus and training curriculum as well as their branded manual.

Moving Forward: Your Options

  1. Consider whether or not you wish to perpetuate the false narrative that Yoga Alliance registry is in any way related to competency or legitimacy. Every time an organization states that they or their teachers are “certified by,” “accredited with” or “approved by” Yoga Alliance, they are perpetuating a myth.
  2. Be aware that you are not required to register with Yoga Alliance and that you have alternatives.
  3. If your objective in registering with Yoga Alliance has been to “legitimize” you or your organization, you can do so without a third-party organization by simply promoting your particular background and skills. If you’re a trainer, you can offer verification of your trainees through certification, registration or other recognition. Or, if there are third-party organizations that offer services you resonate with, you can choose to participate in their systems of recognition.

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