Yoga training in Idaho, USA, has been targeted by state regulation. Compliance with these regulations could potentially lead to the closure of various yoga activities, and the lessening of opportunities to practice yoga for the public. In order to maintain the availability of yoga, House Bill 108 was created to offer exemptions for yoga training from state educational regulation in Idaho.
Yoga Alliance became involved when their Yoga teacher Training (YTT) programs as well as other yoga institutions, were approached by the Idaho State Board of Education on compliance with regulations meant for schools providing vocational, technical, or professional training. These regulations would require expensive fees and compliance with administrative requirements which aren’t applicable to yoga programs.
House Bill 108 was authored by the Idaho House of Representatives. On March 14, it received a unanimous vote (34-0) by the Idaho Senate in favor of the bill. The final step is for Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter to sign the bill into law.
Yoga Alliance has successfully supported similar legislation in 5 other states: Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri. In addition to Idaho, they are concurrently organizing movements in Washington and Massachusetts too to protect yoga from government regulation.
Yoga Alliance opposes government regulation on a variety of grounds. One argument against regulating yoga teacher-training is that yoga schools are not vocational schools, which train and certify professionals such as truck drivers, paralegals, dental hygienists, and welders. The majority of students in a yoga teacher-training do not join to become yoga teachers themselves. It is more often a means to deepen one’s practice in yoga, similar to a martial arts student striving to achieve a higher color belt, or a writer participating in a writing workshop. Yoga training is more of an avocation than a vocation.
Yoga Alliance also asserts that, of the few students who come out of teacher-training as registered teachers, only a fraction pursue it as a full-time career. The majority of yoga teachers have different primary sources of income.
Yoga Alliance was founded in 1997 to create voluntary guidelines for yoga teachers and schools in the US. It is now the largest nonprofit association representing the yoga community in parts all over the world. Their mission is to promote and support the integrity and diversity of the teaching of yoga.