How to teach a virtual class without seeing the students; How to adjust your teaching style to be able to teach online.
April 15, 2020
Restorative Yoga Flow For Immunity Boosting
April 23, 2020

What You Need To Know About The New Yoga Alliance Standards


There has been a lot of chatter and misinformation floating around about the new Yoga Alliance standards and how they will affect students and teachers alike. If you’re a member of the Yoga Alliance, then you have been receiving a lot of emails telling you about deadlines and information on the new standards, but might still feel a bit confused about what is actually changing. Before you panic and run to your yoga mat for a long savasana and deep breathing, it’s important to know what is changing and how it will affect you.

So what’s actually changing in the new Yoga Alliance Standards?

There are a lot of changes happening in the new standards that range from big shifts to slight adjustments. Although some of the changes are really just a change in name, there are a few things that are major changes and need to be addressed.

Big changes

  1. The application process is going to get harder, and be more selective and you’ll need to submit a lot of info
  2. Online learning will now be accepted as a form of teaching (up to 40 hours)
  3. E-RYT 200 and RYT-500 teachers can no longer be lead trainers

Smaller changes

  1. A revamping and renaming of some curriculum categories and hour minimums shifting from 5 categories to 4
  2. A new mandatory ethical commitment that is required to be signed and upheld by all YA members

Let’s explore each one individually.

The application process is about to get a lot tougher

Perhaps one of the biggest changes, and albeit one of the most labor intensive, will be a more rigorous and selective application process, and the need for all existing programs to resubmit their courses for evaluation. Until now schools were able to apply for a RYS status before they even created training, but under the new standards you must have all elements of your training completed before you can apply. Here’s what you will be expected to share when you apply 

To apply, you will submit:

  • A letter of intent from all lead trainers and the school
  • Syllabus, curriculum, hour allocation, and a sample daily schedule
  • Your manual and all other teaching materials 
  • The ratio between student and teacher and the prerequisites you require for your students
  • Copies of policies, and assessment methods
  • A sample certificate 

Even if you have already been approved by the old standards you will still be required to resubmit your application and show all of these materials

Online teaching is now going to be accepted (up to 40 hours)

Virtual teachers rejoice! You can now include up to 40 hours of online learning in your curriculum, when before online learning was not accepted. You can now practice up to 20 hours in anatomy/physiology and yoga humanities which can streamline the learning process, and also create some flexibility in the training schedule, but you can’t just have online hours for these two categories- you will still need to do a minimum 10 in person classroom hours for each topic if you choose to do online learning. Online learning seems to be the new substitute for the old standard’s non-contact hours. 

E-RYT 200 trainers can no longer be lead trainers

This may be the biggest change with the new standards, and will cause a lot of old programs to become noncompliant unless they find a new lead trainer. Under the new standards a lead trainer must be at least an E-RYT 500, meaning they have completed a 500 hours of training and have taught at least 2,000 hours after the completion of their course and has been teaching for at least 4 years. Sound impressive? That’s because it is- and becoming an E-RYT 500 is no joke, and is currently the highest designation that the YA offers for a teacher and is the minimum requirements for a lead trainer. Other designations can still help teach YTTs, but they will not be allowed to be lead. 

A revamping of curriculum requirements and hourly designations

While the old standards had 5 educational categories, the new standards are now moving to a core curriculum with 4 categories and 12 competencies. Overall, there aren’t a lot of changes here except some reshuffling of what topics fall under what categories and you are now alloted those 40 online learning hours. All of these items should have been in your training already, but this is how it is to be broken up under the new standards

The 4 categories of the core curriculum include 

  •  Techniques, Training and Practice- 75 hours
  • Anatomy and Physiology – 30 hours (20 can be online)
  • Yoga Humanities (history, philosophy, ethics etc) – 30 hours (20 can be online)
  • Teaching Methodology and Professional Essentials- 65 classroom hours

The 12 competencies 

  • Asana 
  • Pranayama and the subtle body
  • Meditation
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • History  
  • Philosophy 
  • Ethics
  • Teaching methodology
  • Professional development
  • Practicum 

The Ethical Commitment

According to Yoga Alliance- all members of the YA community will “abide by an Ethical Commitment, designed to unify members around shared principles and to foster safe and respectful guidelines for the profession of yoga teaching. This will assure the practicing public that Yoga Alliance members maintain a high level of teaching ability and accountability. The Ethical Commitment will not be just words on paper but rather married with thoughtful action over time.” So basically, you will be required to uphold this ethical commitment, and foster a safe space that cultivates things like respect, consent, and accountability for ethical standards. I think we can probably all get on board with that. 

When do you need to make the switch?

Now, before you start to panic, know that there is still time to submit your curriculum, and meet the new standards. Yoga Alliance has given you nearly two years to make any changes and resubmit your course. The timeline for meeting the new standards is as follows

Feb 2020-New YTT applicants can begin applying under the new standards 

Feb 2020-All Yoga Alliance members will be asked to sign and adhere to the new ethical commitment. Click here to learn more about this agreement

Feb 2021-New 300/500 hour applicants must apply under the new standards

Feb 2022- Everyone must be upgraded to the new standards by this time 

For more information about the new Yoga Alliance standards click here.

Kelly Smith
Kelly Smith
Kelly is the founder of Yoga For You, and the host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast. She is an E-RYT 500, YACEP, and a location independent yoga and meditation teacher. She spends her days traveling globally offering trainings in restorative yoga, meditation, yoga nidra, writing blogs for beYogi, and recording meditations from her closet.