I have been a part of the Colorado Yoga Community since I moved back here in 2003. I opened my first yoga studio in 2005 and honestly, have never really felt like I belonged in this place where yoga flourishes. (Probably one of the reasons why I opened my own small business.) Interestingly, the yoga community here has never quite gotten along. It was as if the people preaching and teaching unity couldn’t quite get there themselves.
Until this past Sunday when I attended a Yoga Alliance meeting for the Denver Metro area studios and teachers. I was pleased to see around 40-50 people in attendance. It was nice to reconnect with the people I know and meet some new people as well. I can honestly say that we came together as a united front to fight for what is right. I am proud to be a part of this community. The past does not matter. It is what we do in the present that counts. And we are united as a whole for the first time, which is beautiful.!
The meeting laid out how yoga is under attack here in Colorado, and quite honestly across the nation. The Department of Private Occupational Schools (DPOS) has recently sent out 80+ letters to yoga schools to see if they qualify for being regulated. In response to the letter I sent back and just about every other response was a resounding “YES” from the State. All of this is under the guise of client protection. To our knowledge there have been zero complaints about yoga schools in Colorado. Essentially, DPOS is solving a problem that does not exist.
Now, back when I owned Green Mountain School of Yoga I worked with these people and played their game. I willingly followed the rules and was regulated. I filed stacks of papers, reports, had colleagues review my curriculum, paid a quarterly fee and their annual fee of nearly $2000. All of this so that my students would have “protection” if I decided to do something unethical like close and run off with their money. It was a huge headache and in the end I as a school received no benefits.
The Yoga Alliance decided to get involved in this battle in Colorado thanks in part to several studio/school owners who didn’t know who else to turn to. The DPOS has an exemption for schools that are avocational – meaning that the primary purpose of the school’s education is not to obtain gainful employment. I think most of you know that yogis aren’t in it for the money and that most people take a yoga training to deepen their knowledge and practice of yoga.
On our behalf Yoga Alliance has started a campaign to #ProtectColoradoYoga. They have hired a lobbying firm to talk with DPOS and work toward legislation that would exclude all yoga schools from this kind of governmental overreach through regulation.
Regulating yoga is something I don’t ever want to see. Can you imagine government bureaucrats telling your teacher what they can or cannot teach you. That would be ridiculous and the quality of yoga would decline sharply. Honestly, do you know anything that has gotten better after being regulated? ~No!
The DPOS is after the yoga schools to start with. Pretty soon they’ll be after every single yoga teacher trying to license them. Your independent yoga teachers and studios will be out the door. There will be no more freedom and independence in yoga. One of the best things about yoga is how it can be viewed from so many different angles. It is an ancient practice that grows and evolves through the course of time to meet the needs of the people in that time.
I don’t want the government in my business any more than it already is and I certainly don’t want it to get in between me and my students and how I teach yoga.
If you can support this action, and I ask from my heart that you do, please contact your legislators, the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor and tell them to support the legislation that is coming up to #ProtectColoradoYoga. We don’t need the government in our yoga classes!
Many of you have already heard about this. Now is the time when we need action. Here’s how you can help if you oppose the regulations of yoga schools in Colorado.
Get the attention of your elected representatives and government officials. We need them to be aware and engaged. Here is a Word document (Sample Letters to Four Colorado Officials (4 pgs)) that contains four letters to Governor Hickenlooper, Lieutenant Governor Garcia, your state Senator and Representative. The last two you can customize with your appropriate legislator. If you aren’t sure who your senator and representatives are check out the website OpenStates.org/co. Be sure to write your name and address at the top and sign at the bottom. Feel free to customize the letters. Please mail these letters instead of emailing them. A stamped piece of communication carries more weight than an email.
Let’s get our amazing community fired up on this. We can flood the mail boxes of our legislators and the Governor. We can get bipartisan support for legislation blocking the overreach of DPOS into our yoga schools. Arkansas just passed a similar bill last week with a 100% unanimous vote! If Arkansas can do it so can we! Any way you look at it, it is good to keep yoga independent.
- Protect small businesses and women owned businesses
- Block more government regulations
- Stop the money and power grab of the government
- Keep yoga and yoga teachers as independent thinkers
- Keep your yoga classes the way you like them
- We don’t need the government to solve problems that don’t exist
- If this government regulation passes here, it will make it easier for the rest of the nation to overreach into their yoga communities.
Create a Social Media Storm. Share why you oppose these impending regulations or how they would hurt your yoga communtiy using the hashtag #ProtectColoradoYoga. Make sure to share and retweet messages and updates to keep your family and friends informed as well. If you really want to make some noise, include Governor Hickenlooper (@hickforco), Lt. Governor Garcia (@LtGovGarcia), and your state representatives in your messages.
Time is of the essence. At the last DPOS meeting, local yoga representatives, the Yoga Alliance and our lobbying firm convinced DPOS to take a 2 month break on perusing yoga schools. That was two weeks ago. The next six weeks are vital for the future of yoga here in our state. Make some noise and let your representatives know to support the independent nature of yoga in Colorado!
The role of the yoga teacher is to take you from darkness to light. We will come together as a community and move from this darkness of government regulations to the light of union which is yoga.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support!
Founder of Maitri Yoga