I should have known. Americans were at risk from a yoga industry run amok. Only government regulation can save us. And collect big bucks for government.
Citing laws that govern vocational schools, like those for hairdressers and truck drivers, regulators have begun to require licenses for yoga schools that train instructors, with all the fees, inspections and paperwork that entails. While confrontations have played out differently in different states, threats of shutdowns and fines have, in some cases, been met with accusations of power grabs and religious infringement – disputes that seem far removed from the meditative world yoga calls to mind.
In April, New York State sent letters to about 80 schools warning them to suspend teacher training programs immediately or risk fines of up to $50,000. But yogis around the state joined in opposition, and the state has, for now, backed down.
In other states, regulators were not moved. In March, Michigan gave schools a week to be certified by the state or cease operations. Virginia’s cumbersome licensing rules include a $2,500 fee – a big hit for modest studios that are often little more than one-room storefronts.
Lisa Rapp, who owns My Yoga Spirit in Norfolk, Va., said she was closing her seven-year-old business this summer. “This caused us to shut down the studio altogether,” Ms. Rapp said. “It’s too bad, because this community really needs yoga.”
Makes you wonder how we survived all those terrible years when Americans could go to work without having to satisfy an industry-controlled government commission that they were qualified to work!