Friday, August 23, 2013

Module 6: Professionalism

As we transitioned from intro to teaching and into professionalism, we began discussing the issues facing the yoga world today.

First we discussed some of the common challenging situations that arise with different class scenarios. Often yoga instructors, particularly working in various environments with various skill levels and types of student populations, can have circumstances that make teaching safely and effectively difficult. We went through several hypothetical situations to discuss what factors to look for and how we can respond most effectively.

We also reviewed a number of current controversies in the yoga community, including issues regarding ethical breeches in the cases of John Friend and Bikram Choudary. We talked about William Broad's NY Times articles and media sensationalization of sexuality and injury risks. We reviewed many, many responses to Broad's article some by people he misquoted) and discussed the seriousness of injury prevention while balancing out some of the more exaggerated or inaccurate claims.

Following these emerging issues we transitioned to the concerns of regulating the yoga industry and current professional organizations. We discussed the history, pros and cons of Yoga Alliance (YA) registration, and the different levels of education and experience in the YA and still-in-progess standards of the International Assocation of Yoga Therapy (IAYT).

From regulation and credentialing we moved on to career options, and insurance requirements, and basics of employment law.

We also talked about appropriate types of insurance, waivers, and how connecting with students and encouraging body awareness influence liability and litigiousness.

We discussed the different types of yoga jobs available and the standards of W2 versus 1099 contract work. We talked about the transition within the industry and how since 2012 the standards for what constitutes a 1099 have become more regulated.
From here we moved on to marketing, a tricky subject for most new yoga instructors because of the inherent tensions between ethical, non-grasping practices and what passes for sales and marketing in the modern world. We discussed how the most pure ideas of marketing, being in touch with your authentic self, being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and communicating how you meet a need, are not intrinsically opposed to yoga philosophy.

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