Yoga Scotland, the charitable organisation recognised by sportscotland as the Governing Body for Yoga in Scotland, has been facing intense competition from the boom in yoga teacher-training providers both home and abroad. Seeming at odds with the values it promotes, the yoga industry has not been immune to the faster pace at which the world now spins. It has found itself having to meet the demand from would-be students lacking time or patience to undergo the type of in-depth teacher training Yoga Scotland offers. Many potential teachers, already in full-time work, have to use their holiday entitlement economically and so combine their teacher training with tourism ~ India unsurprisingly one of the most popular destinations.
The upshot is a market becoming flooded and devalued by under-qualified teachers who have been sold their dream under the guise of two or four weeks' "authentic" teacher training in the spiritual home of yoga.
Look, some of these programmes will be run by providers with the best of intentions and high integrity. But a significant number will be profit-driven and insufficient for those without prior extensive personal practice. It's not possible to absorb the history, philosophy, anatomy, physiology and the full Eight Limbs of Yoga in four weeks when the closest you've been to yoga before is stroking a pair of leggings in Asda.
Yoga Scotland (in common with British Wheel of Yoga, Governing Body of Yoga in England) is losing out to TT-tourism and that means that ultimately we all lose out, whether practitioner or teacher. It could lead to the standard of teaching across Scotland taking a nosedive, leaving students short-changed and potentially vulnerable. But now a new broom is sweeping across the organisation and because I believe deeply in what Yoga Scotland offers I've accepted the invitation to become part of the change, joining several new faces on the Board of Trustees.
Established institutions with a strong ethos often struggle to find balance between operating true to their values and operating successfully within a business model. This is something YS has wrestled with. It forgot to look outward, to connect with what else was going on, confident that what it offered was enough. Yes, for sure the West needs top quality yoga teaching, but for that teaching to be heard it has to be modulated for the ears of a modern, tech-savvy, image-conscious audience.
YS has recognised this and is ready to evolve, ready to adopt a new approach that allows its USP to shine ~ it will continue to deliver first-rate training that students can trust and that is highly respected by the industry.
To help the organisation maintain this upsurge of energy, I've accepted the request to step in as editor of Yoga Scotland Magazine. (Many thanks to Mick, the previous editor, who has made a terrific start in moving YSM forward!) I see my role in this capacity as giving our members a fresh and inclusive voice that will carry far enough to reach the wider yoga community.
Yoga Scotland would love you to be part of this change, to come with us and get stuck in to creating a modern, fun, intelligent magazine fizzing with ideas and integrity. You can get involved by:
subscribing and joining the largest yoga family in Scotland! Only £25 per year to non-teachers.
getting in touch. We want to hear from you! What would you like to see in YSM ~ pictures, how-tos, human interest stories, science-behind-the-practice articles? Do you have any questions about yoga technique or philosophy that you'd like the YS tutors to answer, would you like to share your practice with us, what you do, why you do it, your goals and ambitions, or do you simply have a funny yoga story that will tickle our readers?
Lay it on us: your likes, loves, dislikes, recipes (veggie or vegan), photos ... Let's bring all aspects of this wonderful discipline to the table and share the damned love!
Cor. Exciting, ain't it?
At the moment, YS Magazine is available automatically through subscription and it is also possible for non-members to purchase issues for £3 plus P&P. The next issue will be released January 2019 and the theme is "Yoga ~ a healing art ~ yoga therapy". Send any accompanying photos (good quality, clear and well framed) as separate files. Maximum length 1500 words. If you have an article that runs longer, feel free to send a pitch for consideration. Content may be edited in the interest of clarity and space. Deadline: 9th Nov 2018.