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NOS for Hatha Yoga & Hatha Yoga is not a Religion

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Yoga teachers have a duty of care to their students and an obligation to be safe, competent and knowledgeable. We believe that UK-wide National Occupational Standards (NOS) can be agreed which set out these minimum requirements in a way that does not restrict what kind of yoga is taught or how it is taught and will therefore be compatible with all traditions and schools of hatha yoga.

We believe that the NOS will set a minimum benchmark that all yoga teacher training organisations in the UK committed to delivering quality yoga teacher training will be able to meet. We believe that this will be a good thing for the overall quality of UK yoga teacher training.

The Register of Exercise Professionals was established to provide a level-based list of those working in the fitness sector. Significant numbers of yoga teachers working in gyms and leisure centres have been required to be on the REPs register at Level 3. However, in the absence of national occupational standards entry to this list has been determined by a panel of three yoga practitioners whose processes and criteria are not in the public domain. We believe it would be transparent and fairer to base entry onto the REPs register on clear criteria set out in the NOS, and not on the determinations of a yoga panel.

We note that standards for yoga teaching are also being developed by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity and that Sport England have given CIMSPA a one million pound grant to produce standards across all sport and fitness areas including yoga and pilates. We further note that CIMSPA base their newly created standards on NOS, where they exist. Where they do not exist, CIMSPA develops its own standards.

We draw the conclusion from this that it would be better for the UK yoga community to come together and develop one set of agreed NOS that can inform REPs and be the basis for the CIMSPA standards.

Standards are coming. We believe it is better to be a participant in this process than a bystander. However, we respect the decision of those who choose not to be a part of this process. Yoga is currently an unregulated profession and these standards will not be obligatory for those working outside the fitness environment.

We further affirm most strongly that yoga is not a religion, and is compatible with all faiths and none. We respect those from the Sanyasin, monastic and Ashram traditions, and those teachers whose yoga springs from their own personal faith. Yoga is universal; its teaching are for everyone and the foundations of the hatha yoga system remain the hathayogapradipika and the sutras of Patanjali. Yoga must remain an inclusive practice, open to all, regardless of race, religion, creed, gender or sexuality.

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