I am against the institution of a National Occupational Standard for a Yoga Teacher [NOS] because:[a] It offends my religious sensibilities and those of many others. The private, spiritual matter of practising and sharing Yoga should not be interfered with by what is in effect a government quango and this is a freedom guaranteed by the Human Rights Act 1998, Article 9. The idea that the NOS can be innocent in this respect if somehow the spiritual aspects are peeled off, which is bandied about in social media and which Skills Active have trotted out as a part of their current pitch, is naïve in the extreme and not born out by the experience we had the last time a NOS was attempted 12 years ago. It’s not born out by the history of Yoga either, nor by its textual bases, nor by the nature of its current highly diverse variants. The notion being circulated by proponents of NOS that the public need defending against ‘bad teachers’ and should therefore be interfered with (as is allowed for by the Human Rights Act) is not borne out by the evidence provided by insurers. Claims are extremely rare which makes one suspect that this ‘crying wolf’ is a propaganda ploy. [b] It will lead to injustice given empirically that factions in communities seek dominance and they can exploit ‘governmentally’ bestowed respectability to achieve it. We have already seen precisely that in the Yoga community and more generally and globally in the commodification of more and more commons in the service of corporate profit and power. [c] The injustice will not only be one of an imbalance of power and influence between factions in the Yoga community. It will be an economic one. This latter will favour big, rich organisations and concerns and be disadvantageous to one-man-bands, and people working in a dana [donations] system. Many smaller Yoga projects will feel that they have to kow-tow to the dominant faction for fear of losing reputational momentum to then get involved in onerous red-tape, whilst incurring costs they can ill afford. Again, we have seen this before. [d] The entire project is illegitimate given that a large fraction of the Yoga community, including the IYN, The National Council of Hindu Temples and some 2000+ signatories of a petition demanding that NOS be abandoned, are very strongly against it. An action with potentially far reaching cultural and economic fallout like this attempt to institute a NOS for Yoga Teachers should not be attempted without a very large consensus in its favour. This is simply a matter of natural justice.
NOS? No thanks.
Dr Pete Yates[IYN Secretary]