Three days after this article’s first printing, John Matthews resigned from his position as president from Yoga Alliance. The reasons are again non-transparent according to Yoga Alliance protocol, however, what I will say is this. I believe that John Matthews has been responsible for most, if not all of Yoga Alliance’s bad decisions since he began to work for them in 2004.
However, he is not the main cause of Yoga Alliance’s bad decisions, he is only the instigator. The real cause behind Yoga Alliance’s self-centered, ego-based non-profit abuse is directly linked to the board of directors. The indecisive, non-action was because of Lynn Bushnell, Virginia S. Cowen, Arun Tilak, Gyandev McCord, and other Yoga Alliance Board Directors.
The only option left to truly save Yoga Alliance is for ALL of the board of Directors to step down from Yoga Alliance and allow a new board members to assume the roles.
The only option that will truly unite the United States yoga community behind Yoga Alliance would be a complete withdrawal from the corrupt board that led them down an ambiguous road of un-credentialed yoga teachers, corporate affiliations and community distrust.
The Yoga Alliance Recap
Just days after this was first printed,
Yoga Alliance accept’s no blame for attending the 2008/2009 US Educators Conference. They apologize for things that are trivial and small in relation to what they are really responsible for. So standing from where I have been, as an ex-Yoga Journal employee who spoke to yoga teachers and studio owners all over the world, having been to the first Texas Yoga Conference, also the organizer of the only ad hoc “yoga regulation” gathering in New Orleans (where over 50 studio owners and yoga teachers attended), Yoga Alliance gets exactly what they deserve: a name stained in inept business practices and cursed as the carpet bagger’s of yoga credentialing.
The whole reason that any Yoga Alliance article has been written is not from what Yoga Alliance has done, per say, but rather what they did not do – through their actions in omitting facts, omitting the actual truths of how events transpired, and not accepting responsibility for any of their actions.
All of the decisions, all of the actions set in motion by Yoga Alliance happened not because of their past presidents, not because of their past employees, but rather for only two reasons: the non-profit board of Yoga Alliance (Lynn-Bushnell, Gyandev-McCord, Virginia-S.-Cowen, Arun-Tilak) and John Matthews – a Yoga Alliance contract employee since 2004 and now acting president.
In 2008 Yoga Alliance sent President Mark Davis to a national Government Educators
During the times that Yoga Regulation was occurring between 2009 – 2011, Yoga Alliance specifically and quite strategically did not involve themselves in any local state yoga regulation issues, because they gambled that yoga teachers would accept the taxation on yoga as a vocation. [fact]
Yoga Alliance expected that since individual states were beginning to instigate “vocational” taxes on yoga teachers, that Yoga Alliance would benefit by the “YA 200 hours as a benchmark of yoga education.” [first hand accounts from two ex-Yoga Alliance employees]
Yoga Alliance has changed only under the yoga public’s pressure, and now have formed an airtight micro-managed 501c6 Trade Organization, because they couldn’t accomplish anything as an unaccountable 501c3. [true]
Yoga Alliance’s current positive outlook doesn’t change the fact that in 2008 and 2009, they knew that states were going to begin taxing yoga teachers as a “vocation,” and that they knowingly “omitted” information. Omission is another word for profiting from others misfortune.
While New York, Virginia and Texas were paying lofty lawyer fees and state lobbyists, do you know what Yoga Alliance was doing?
Nothing to help yoga teachers and everything to help themselves. In 2010, while yoga teachers in New York and Virginia where paying out of pocket for lawyers and lobbyists – fighting for the right to teach yoga to students – untaxed…. Stoic Yoga Alliance paid $336,325.00 to two different corporate blog-farming businesses to increase their online presence. [2009 Tax Return]
They never responded to emails, never responded to phone calls, and fired all of their staff except Jeanine Frest and officially hired the master manipulator John Matthews as Yoga Alliance’s official micro-managing ultra meditating, non-yoga practicing, Yoga Alliance president. [fact]
Look at the facts:
- Yoga Alliance successfully trademarked RYS, RYT, ERYT, Yoga Alliance, YAPlus while they claimed to NOT set standard’s for yoga, but only suggest and maintain a registry of teachers who meet the bare minimum of standard for yoga.
- Yoga Alliance claim’s they didn’t know about the Yoga Regulation happening in the United States during the years of 2008, 2009, 2010, when in fact Yoga Alliance is the whole reason states began the crusades to tax yoga teachers as a vocation.
- In 2009 Yoga Alliance worked with Individual State governments to “Educate” the members of the Education Conference and later, successfully persuaded “some states” to adopt the Yoga Alliance 200 hours as a benchmark of yoga education (thereby hoping to create a monopoly on RYT teaching methods and bulldoze membership).
So where is the solution?
Yoga teachers should take out a class action suit against Yoga Alliance for having yoga teachers follow their ridiculous “bare-minimum” trademarked requirements that DO NOT measure a yoga teachers worth. The RYS, ERYT, RYT (trademarked) labels amount to very little in terms of today, in terms of yoga education, and effectually do absolutely nothing in terms positioning a yoga teachers career.
Yoga Alliance has charged yoga studios and yoga teachers money for a laminated card credentialing for fifteen years, while yoga teachers bought the Yoga Alliance RYT / RYS because it supposedly meant something…. When in fact it meant nothing, especially when yoga needed it to mean something. While Virginia and New York organized their own defense, Yoga Alliance buried their heads in the sand and in the only email response I ever got from them, they claimed: “they didn’t have enough time to prepare an answer.”
Yoga Alliance credentialing is not legally binding, does not prove a teachers worth, and as New York and Virginia won their yoga regulation cases in the State legislative governments, they proved without a shadow of a doubt, that the industry of yoga did not need Yoga Alliance to define their credentials or their teaching ability.
What New York and Virginia really proved to American yoga is:
#1 yoga teachers don’t need Yoga Alliance for their self imposed rules or standards – and
#2 The non-profit board of Yoga Alliance grossly abused the trust of not only their members, their employees they fired at will without any severance and also the entire yoga industry.
Should all step down from their positions from the SHAME
The board that serves Yoga Alliance along with John Matthews, should all step down from their positions for selling out the yoga teachers they claim to set standards for, and also for selling their subscriber lists Yoga Alliance as a friend to yoga corporations. The image that non-profits are “good” is an urban legend that has given way to corruption and a good ole boys network of the bleeding deacons of yoga.
Whoever buys their cardboard certifications and opt’s to buy into the YAPlus trade organization, will continue to perpetuate misnomers and more biased ego-inflating commercialism.
Arun Tilak, Gyandev McCord, John Matthews, Lynn Bushnell, Virginia S. Cowen, Yoga Alliance, Mark Davis, Joanne L. Perron, Independent Yoga, Yoga Alliance
- @YAPlus @YogaAlliance: Help us hide the money! $336,325.00 (yoganomics.net)
- The real reason that @YogaAlliance didn’t donate money to NY or VA (yoganomics.net)
- Adapting to the @YAPlus Dishonesty (yoganomics.net)
- #Occupy for #Yoga is very real @OccupYOGA (yoganomics.net)
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