Yoga as an integrated system of practice that belongs to humanity - The British Wheel of Yoga and Introducing National Occupational Standards - a letter from Sadhita

The Independent Yoga Network are following up moves by the Britsh Wheel of Yoga to apporach "Skills Active" in the UK with the the aim of introducing national occupational standards into yoga teaching. 

Sadhita as Yoga Elder registered with IYN responds in a letter to be published and addressed to the Bristsh Wheel of Yoga.

"Yoga as an integrated system of practice (mentally and physically integrating) is a system that belongs to humanity. All spiritual teachings at their various levels belong to humanity as a common stock of practises and philosophical disciplines. 

When those traditions go through transitions and arrive in new eras we will inevitably see changes of formula and delivery. Yoga is a very broad concept that cannot be boxed into a small set of pratices labeled asana, pranayama etc. If we try to seek security in our systems of practice, fixing them into a formula that is unchangeable and inflexible, something in them will die. 

What is important is that the underlying principles do not get lost sight of. What do the various practises aim to achieve and how can the formula evolve without loss of principle?

It seems to me the BWY are in a somewhat delusional authority hungry state, desiring to impose their model onto the yoga world at large. The stamp of authority once given will ever remain in their hands. This is because they are literal minded. Whenever a system takes its pratices too seriously, with the belief that this the only one way "ekagatta" (skrt) then we can be certain that literalism has arrived. 

Yoga has been, is and will always be an experiment with the human body and mind. Every year we learn of new things about the body that advances our understanding of what yoga practice is. One school or system can in no way encompass all there is to know or teach. More importantly, is how yoga effects or helps the development of our mind. Our approach for example is based upon traditional mindfulness teachings that come from Buddhism and secular approaches to mindfulness such as. MBSR. 

The idea of imposing standards onto the yoga tradition at large, especially yoga schools and teachers needs to be resisted and fought against. It is not the domain of the BWY in conjunction with corporate interests to control yoga or set standards or limits that are arbitrary, onto yoga.

The literalism of this approach will only but fail, as, I very much doubt any independent yoga system wishes to take up the interests of the BWY and associates that want to limit and control yoga teaching. 

Personally, my interests, as I'm sure with many schools, are to do with high quality training, basing the development of the teacher on firm foundations of their own development in their practice as well as giving technical knowledge and skills for professional teaching. Being dictated to as to what our teachers can and cannot teach is in no way desirable.

As co-founder of I have to be concerned about these developments in the UK, even though a large number of our students are based around the globe. I personally do not agree with the developments within the BWY nest and will do whatever is possible to maintain independence in the yoga teaching sphere."

Dh. Sadhita Co-founder of Bodhiyoga teacher training international.

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