YA Truth & Reconciliation – Teacher & Trainer Reports About Yoga Alliance


Since publishing Registration, Certification, Accreditation: Why You Don’t Need to Pay the Yoga Alliance Fees, emails from teachers and trainers have been flooding in, expressing support and offering to volunteer to hold a transparent discussion about alternatives to Yoga Alliance. (A 33-member board was formed and will be in effect through November 30, 2019. See here for their discussion topics and objectives.)

Most of the teachers and trainers who have written in have expressed frustration with various issues and have given their support for more sharing of information. But there have also been some stories of experiences with Yoga Alliance that are describing a level of harm that seemed important to be brought to light. This is the place those statements are being published.

More stories are being edited now and are being added as they are ready. Please write in if you have anything to share.

Discussion Summary

This resource section offers factual, verifiable information on Yoga Alliance registry and alternatives. Select from these subjects:

    1. Registration, Certification, Accreditation — Yoga Alliance Misperceptions & Why You Don’t Need to Pay the Yoga Alliance Fees
    2. Who is Responsible for Teaching Competency Standards? — What Standards Must Be Met? + Widely Recognized & Influential Teachers Not Registered with YA
    3. Yoga Alliance Alternatives — Research Summaries on Other Registries & Certifications + Groups Developing New Programs
    4. Insurance Providers — Insurance options for Yoga Teachers and Teacher Trainers
    5. YA Truth & Reconciliation — Teacher & Trainer Reports About Yoga Alliance (you’re currently on this page)

Bureaucracy, Not Standards


Yoga Alliance took almost a year to approve an RYS application submitted by a highly qualified teacher who had experience training with an elite teacher (Gregor Maehle). The same training program, submitted to Yoga Australia, was accepted immediately. Years prior, YA required this experienced teacher trainer to go through a basic training with a YA-registered school despite already training teachers for Maehle.


Yoga Australia has significantly higher standards than Yoga Alliance and usually processes most applications in around six months, after a close supportive process with the applicant. I submitted a training application to both Yoga Australia and Yoga Alliance. Yoga Australia approved the application within 48 hours without revision. Yoga Alliance drug out my application for nearly a year. They didn’t understand the quality or delivery process of my training and in the end, I dumbed it down to the point it no longer resembled my training at all and simply told them what they wanted to hear.

I am also a teacher who many years prior had to redo basic training to get registered with Yoga Alliance despite already training teachers for Gregor Maehle.

Yoga Alliance is structured to endorse training that maximises membership to the organisation rather than support robust standards in training and teaching. This, in my opinion, makes it purely a commercial enterprise entirely of zero value to teachers or trainers.

The organisation itself is mostly responsible for leading to a worldwide degradation of training standards in efforts to widen the potential membership net by allowing registration of 200-hour training that is delivered over very short time frames — as short as a few weeks. As a yoga school owner, I would never employ someone who trained for only a few weeks.  I think we would all agree that this is grossly inadequate, even for basic training. I can’t see them ever changing this as it would severely limit their membership pool.

Having achieved a widening of the membership net of the organisation, Yoga Alliance are moving towards monopolising power as demonstrated in their making the training registration process deliberately rigid,  unnecessarily long and complicated, and funneled.

By funneled, I mean that they only recognise the YA pathway – even though there are other organisations that do the same thing (and much better). If you don’t join the system at the bottom end, you are forever kept out of the system. I’d like to work to keep options open and to compare the standards that various organisations support.


Sarcha Thurston, Yoga Hub Perth

No Verification of Training Quality


Experienced trainers of high integrity have “witnessed people who could not teach a sun salutation or have even basic understandings of the principles of yogic philosophy, physiology or psychology that had been registered with YA.” Despite advanced training with elite teachers and philosophers, trainers will be required to undertake further training with YA “approved” schools.


My partner and I operate a small yoga studio in the suburbs of Detroit called House of Yoga. We have had difficulties with Yoga Alliance and essentially understand it to be a money making venture wrongly perceived to be an organization that upholds standards.

We also understand that virtually anyone can become a “certified yoga teacher” [the common understanding] through Yoga Alliance as they have no way of verifying what training an individual really has.

We both believe in high ethical and moral practices and believe in teaching people how to be really good, sincere teachers. We have witnessed people who could not teach a sun salutation or have even basic understandings of the principles of yogic philosophy, physiology or psychology that had been certified by YA.

We’ve thought about doing an experiment where we register our cat “Buddha” as a yoga teacher haha. If the fee was paid, there’s no reason to expect there would be a problem.

We have both been practicing and teaching for nearly 20 years and have led many, many teacher training programs. We are having difficulty with the new regulations by the YA that in order to continue to provide trainings, we will soon have to have an RYT-500. We both have had much training from the best Hatha Yoga teachers and spiritual teachers out there today…. real teachers such as Mark Whitwell and yogic scholars such as Russill Paul, among many others.

But the YA process doesn’t take into account such quality and requires that we train with their “approved” schools.


David Shiva Das & Durga Devi, House of Yoga Berkley, MI

No Consequences for Ethical Violation, Punished the Victim


Yoga Alliance did not provide any support or relief to a YA registered teacher who reported trainers who had misrepresented themselves as a registered school. YA did not acknowledge the training the teacher received and yet allowed the trainers who lied about their status to later register with no consequences. The teacher was afforded no relief for being victimized by the lie or for reporting the violation. YA did not warn other teachers of the ethical violation.

Update, January 2020: The yoga teacher who reported this event notified us that after this report was published here, Yoga Alliance remedied the situation. (Because the situation has been remedied, we have removed all identifying information from the statement below.) What great news that the teacher received justice. This is also an indication that if you have been harmed and choose to report the truth of what happened to you that you may be able to obtain restitution.


I am currently registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 200.

I  agree that the standards don’t represent teacher quality and that Yoga Alliance provides no real oversight of the standards.

I  wanted to share with you a personal experience that showed me that Yoga Alliance also provides no ethical oversight of their teachers and schools, despite their bragging about how they protect teachers and the Yoga community.

I enrolled in a 300-hour teacher training program run by two teachers who were E-RYT 500.  The enrollment material and program website advertised that it was a Yoga Alliance approved RYS-300.  Upon finishing the program,  I found out it was not.

I filed a grievance with Yoga Alliance, because mis-representing a program as an RYS is, of course, a violation of the Yoga Alliance rules. Essentially the two trainers running the program lied and took a ton of money under false pretenses, which is stealing.  The Yoga Alliance code of conduct requires all teachers and trainers to abide by the Yamas, which prohibit lying and stealing.

In response to my grievance, Yoga Alliance acknowledged that the school and trainers lied. But rather than doing anything to help me, they told me I needed to enroll in a new program and start all over again.!

And, instead of punishing the school and trainers, they let them pay the registration fee to become an RYS-300.

Yoga Alliance punished the victim and rewarded rule breakers who lied and stole.

I have copies of the 300 hour program’s letter of engagement and printouts about the program from their website. And I have the grievance correspondence with Yoga Alliance including their reply.

If Yoga Alliance had helped me, the victim, all they would have received is goodwill. But by helping the school they got 600 bucks and annual renewal money.

Thank you for your interest.


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