New York Times Reports on Licensing Issue

Today, none other than Arthur Sulzberger’s 28-yr old son, A.G., reported on the still hot-ticket issue of licensing New York yoga studios. Thank you, A.G.! Your press helps the cause.

Yoga Association of New York (YANY) was officially ratified on Wednesday, at OM Yoga, at its second official meeting. For more news on what’s been happening since I last wrote, see my upcoming post on YogaDork. (I’ll remind you!)

Alison West

Alison West, president of the newly ratified YANY, teaching at her studio, Yoga Union. Photo for NYTimes by Ruby Washington.

For now, Sulzberger, who attended YANY’s first meeting, traces the origin of the conflict to the very creation of the Yoga Alliance in 1999. This attempt at self-regulation, according to Leslie Kaminoff of the Breathing Project, made yoga studios a sitting duck for cash-flow challenged government looking for new sources of income. (A government that thinks yoga’s popularity means that studios are raking in the big bucks.)

” “We made it very, very easy for them to do what they’re doing right now,” said Leslie Kaminoff, founder of the Breathing Project, a nonprofit yoga center in New York City, who had opposed the formation of the Yoga Alliance. “The industry of yoga is a big, juicy target.” ”

Sulzberger continues, “In New York State, though, teachers fought back, complaining that the new rules could erode thin bottom lines, contradict religious underpinnings and, most important, shut down every school in the state during an eight-month licensing period.”

“It basically destroys the essence of yoga, to control and manipulate the whole situation,” said Jhon Tamayo of Atmananda Yoga Sequence in Manhattan, shortly after receiving one of the warning letters from the state. “No one can regulate yoga.””

The dispute is far from over. But there’s a sense that YANY, at least, is in it for the long haul. And, in the immediate, there is some light at the end of the tunnel—stay tuned for my report via YogaDork! (With pics and docs)

(On another note, A.G. Sulzberger’s piece marks a nice departure from the usual isn’t-that-weird tone that a lot of articles on yoga take. Thanks again, A.G., for taking the cause seriously.)

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