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Today's episode is all about yoga law. What does yoga law mean you may ask? We're talking liability waivers, service agreements, social media & YouTube disclaimers, and ultimately how not to get sued! 

Cory Sterling our yoga law expert, founder of Conscious Counsel & now Law Is Fun has joined us for another legal training. He wrote The Yoga Law Book and has served hundreds of clients in the health and fitness space all across the world, the majority of whom own or operate a fitness/health studio.

Let's dive in! 

Don't Get Sued

The best way not to get sued in today's climate is to have documents which communicate your expectations openly and honestly. These documents can be used as a tool to resolve anything should something come up. (Also, purchase liability insurance to cover any financial costs if needed) 

6 Elements To A Liability Waiver

1. Outline The Activities

 In your liability waiver outline different types and ways you will be doing yoga in your class. Highlight out of the ordinary types such as ACRO, SUP, inversions, or any activities that are not usual to a normal class movement. 

In addition, this section is where you want to identify if the class will be online, in-person, outside, in-studio. All the different ways you will offer yoga to your attendees. This is also the section to highlight communicable diseases and the activities in which could spread COVID specifically.  

2. Highlight The Risks

You have now identified all of the activities, the risk section is all the possible ways it could go wrong. Some example risks are falling, slipping, losing your balance, overstretching, migraine, catch a communicable disease. The list can go on. 

3. Outcomes Of The Risks

The risks have been outlined, now for each risk you must explain an outcome. For example, someone trips on a mat and breaks their wrist trying to catch themselves. A risk could lead to an injury in which your quality of living decreases or changes from your norm. Even death is an option. 

If something happens while you are in duty of their care you must address this is your liability waiver. 

4. Voluntary Participation 

Now that the person understands the activities, risks, and outcomes of those risks, this section is to make sure they are voluntarily participating. 

5. Affirmation Of Health

This section is to determine if they are healthy enough to participate in the activities of your class. They are making a claim that it is their responsibility to ensure their own health in order to participate. 

6. Release Of Liability 

This is where the participant signs. They are saying they understand the document and are voluntarily agreeing to participate. They are agreeing to not hold the teacher legally responsible as the activities take place. 

Download The Waiver Of Liability Template

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Live Questions

How do I go about starting a trademark on my new yoga business? 

Generally, registering trademarks is a complex activity. The first place to look www.uspto.gov/trademarks which can be overwhelming at first glance. Cory recommends hiring a lawyer to help you through this process.

Trademarks are an extremely important thing to do to protect your brand but make sure you are confident in your logo and business name before you begin the process. 

What are my rights as an independent contractor? 

This answer is jurisdictionally based. Each state has it's own laws protecting independent contractors so to learn more about your specific state, take some time and read up on the laws surrounding independent contractors. 

Does the creation of an LLC protect my personal assets if I am the only one in my yoga teacher business?

Yes. The way an LLC works is that it is a creation of a separate legal entity and so long as all the relationships are entered into it on behalf of that LLC then the LLC is liable to the extents of the assets that are contained within the LLC. The number of people is irrelevant. 

What do we need to add to our liability waivers as a result of COVID/Vaccines? 

There are a few ways Covid & Vaccines play into yoga law. One of the ways you can protect yourself if by adding it to the activities section if the waiver of liability.

Service agreements also can play a part in protection. Create and outline how you will go about handling situations that COVID or another communicable disease could affect normal operating procedures. For example, an employee tests positive. What are the expectations of the studio & employee to keep everyone safe? Create an employee handbook with all these agreements. 

If I am a private yoga instructor operating out of a fitness studio as an independent contractor, do I need a waiver of liability in addition to the one the studio has?

The privacy policy reminds me of HIPPA. Also am I responsible for protecting payment info taken electronically? 

HIPPA will most likely not apply to what you do as a yoga teacher and that is because HIPPA is specifically designed for medical professionals who either provide medical services or who are referred to by other medical professionals. 

If you are a yoga teacher and people are coming to you and buying memberships & private lessons HIPPA will not apply but privacy policies do. 

How To Be Fully Protected

At beYogi we support the first line of defense which is having your legal documents prepared. When you are building these we highly recommend researching and communicating with a legal professional to guarantee the best protection for the activities you offer your students. Check out Conscious Counsel for all your yoga law needs. 

In addition, we suggest purchasing a yoga liability insurance policy to provide the safety net to protect your career & assets in the event an accident does occur and a claim in made. Here at beYogi we provide top rated yoga insurance offering coverage in the United States for online, in-studio, outside, and at-home.