i. Membership Obligations
Yoga Australia is the peak national body for registration and representation of Yoga Professionals from all traditions and styles of yoga, independent from any one teacher-training provider. Yoga Australia has an important role in guiding the national direction of yoga practice in Australia. As such, we have a responsibility to set standards for membership with care in order to protect both the public and the tradition of yoga.
All Yoga Australia members are required to:
For further information, please see the Yoga Australia Membership Information – everything you need to know.
ii. Statement of Ethics
Yoga is a system of self-investigation, self-transformation and self-realisation. Its practices and lifestyle aim to integrate the body, mind, heart and spirit and awaken students to their innate wholeness.
The role of the yoga teacher is to guide and support students in their practice of yoga. Yoga teachers aim to nurture the physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual well-being of students.
This Statement of Ethics guides yoga teachers in their work of supporting students’ yoga practice. It is based on the traditional yogic ethical principles, the yamas and niyamas, as outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. This Statement of Ethics reflects the timeless, living principle that our essential nature is awake, aware, compassionate and peaceful.
iii. Code of Professional Conduct
Yoga Australia’s Code of Professional Conduct makes explicit the standards of ethical and professional behaviour expected of registered Yoga Australia teachers by their peers and the community.
This code is a practical application of Yoga Australia’s Statement of Ethics. It offers guidance to teachers in their role of supporting students in their practice of yoga.
This Code applies to all members of Yoga Australia. It also informs yoga students and the community of the level of professional behaviour required of Yoga Australia members.
iv. Scope of Practice
A registered Yoga Teacher may pursue any activity that falls within the Scope of Practice. Currently, in Australia, Yoga Teacher registration is based on verification of initial and continuing competence through the professional body, Yoga Australia (YA). Some Yoga Teachers will hold additional qualifications that complement the scope of Yoga Teaching, which will permit such practitioners an extended Scope of Practice, for example being a registered psychologist, physiotherapist, doctor, naturopath etc. Such extended scope is beyond normal Yoga Teaching practice and is to be regulated by the scope and codes of the professional registering body of other such disciplines. The duty of care of a Yoga Teacher is to ensure the safety of a student at all times and to refer to a more appropriate therapist or medical practitioner when the student presents with symptoms outside the expertise of the teacher.
iv. Member Statement
Yoga Australia acknowledges that many members of the yoga community have historically experienced sexual assault and other forms of abuse, occurring both within linages and across disciplines and from individual instructors. This was highlighted by Case Study 21 of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse which found extensive instances of child sexual abuse occurred in an environment which fostered compliance, secrecy and the silence of victim survivors. The Satyandanda Ashram example illustrates the potential for harm to occur as well as the importance of ethical conduct in the individual realm – in the teacher-student relationship and in the wider culture of yoga schools, ashrams, studios and other environments where yoga practice occurs. As such, Yoga Australia requires registered practitioners to adhere to the statements in the Member Acknowledgement Statement
vi. Student Teacher Relationship
Outlining Yoga Australia student teacher guidelines to make students aware of their rights and responsibilities. This is a document that can be utilised by registered Yoga Australia teachers to provide information to their students and provide guidelines for conduct for themselves in professional settings such as Yoga Australia state meetings and conferences and first aid courses and continuing professional development events.
Yoga Australia aims to address complaints brought to its attention, as an essential part of maintaining both its own professional integrity and the professional integrity of the yoga-teaching sector. Yoga Australia aims to address complaints using processes that are based on the values of respect, confidentiality, goodwill and equality.
Yoga Australia is a Company Limited by Guarantee. As a result, our Constitution guides the grievance policy and process.
viii. Duty of Care
Yoga Australia has been questioned at times on what to do when they have concerns for their own safety or that of a student. Students may make statements to the teacher that indicate they are a threat to themselves or another. Or that someone is a threat to them. This document aims to give an overview on what duty of care is and how it applies to yoga teachers