Editorial: Yoga regulations need relaxing


A debate on whether or not state regulators should play a larger role in yoga teaching certification is stretching out across Colorado.

A bill passed by a Colorado Senate committee last week mandated that the state must certify training programs for yoga teachers, according to The New York Times. The Division of Private Occupational Schools would primarily be responsible for overseeing the regulations that come in response to a growing number of yoga instructors in the state. The process would be similar to other occupation oriented fields — barbers and cosmetologists are required to pass similar certification requirements in many states. Colorado’s government wants to ensure that these instructors are in fact properly qualified to teach such classes. In contrast, a bill to exempt yoga instructors’ training from such certification requirements successfully made its way through Senate appropriations yesterday.

Although the bill proposing greater state regulation most likely means well by aiming to ensure all yoga instructors are adequately qualified to teach, regulation of the yoga industry at the state level is both unnecessary and burdensome to yogis everywhere.

The government should use its regulatory power to sustain public health and order, but it should not micromanage every aspect of society. New certification requirements for yoga instructors are, foremost, a burden to those who teach yoga as a passion and not as a career. Although there is not universal route to becoming a yoga instructor, the Yoga alliance, the national registry of yoga instructors, will not recognize a program if they haven’t spent 200 hours in a hands on learning environment.  

By complicating yoga with superfluous regulations, many instructors who teach in their spare time will no longer have the drive,energy or money to continue doing something they love, consequently impacting the supply of yoga classes. Colorado yoga instructor Michelle Voeller recently closed her teacher training program after learning she would face a fee of more than $2,000, according to The Times

Voeller’s situation reflects the reality that such unnecessary government regulation does not primarily protect citizens, but rather kills small enterprises. As Voeller notes, “The bigger people will survive, and the smaller people trying to do really authentic work will suffer.”

The Pure Food and Drug Act was a reasonable law, ensuring that citizens could take a drink of water or eat a hamburger without fear of death or illness. The government’s encouraging national travel with the Interstate Highway System was certainly beneficial to American citizens. Yoga sessions, however, should not require strict regulatory oversight of any government agency at any level of government. 

Let’s hope Colorado relaxes a bit and adopts a stance that doesn’t hurt small business.