Last Friday saw the Nation’s Yoga community came together for OM Yoga Show at Olympia, London.
Our Compliance and Standards Manager Robert Wilkie was invited to speak at OM Yoga as part of The Accreditation Debate, along with representatives from British Wheel of Yoga (Paul Fox), CYQ (Lori Randall), Independent yoga network (Peter Yates), Yoga Alliance UK (Brandon Hartsell) and Yoga Scotland(Joy Charnley).
Chaired by Peter Clifford, the session gave the opportunity for an open debate around the value of accreditation across the yoga discipline.
Robert discussed the value of REPs recognising National Occupational Standards (NOS), and how employers and practitioners benefit from a structured and recognised training and career pathway:
“Being invited to be a panel member was a good opportunity for SkillsActive/REPs to explain the processes which underpin the writing of National Occupational Standards and how qualifications are produced from these. It also allowed us to explain how entry onto REPs was achieved through achieving qualifications based on the NOS, and how this allows some degree of reassurance to the public that yoga teachers on REPs had achieved competency in pre-determined standards of knowledge, skill and ability.”
The panel raised interesting questions that looked to the future of Yoga Accreditation without a standardised process for developing qualifications standards. Both Yoga Alliance and British Wheel of Yoga, although critical of each other’s training framework - particularly concerning correspondence courses - did agree that protecting the diversity and quality of training was key. Furthermore, CYQ clearly demonstrated the value of a spectrum of Yoga courses that mapped to key knowledge, and allowed for further specialisms to be focused on with CPD, such as pregnancy and rehabilitative care.
Although the session created further debate around labels such as ‘Governing Body’, it was clear that a closer relationship from all parties was required to help breathe new life into the accreditation system. Yoga Scotland were keen to develop relationships outside of Scotland and into the rest of the UK to ensure that qualifications and standard were met to clearly guide qualifications and standards
Bringing the session to a close, Peter Clifford gave his conclusion and asked for the Yoga community to work with standards setting body such as SkillsActive to improve and drive the standards of training; without this he warned that a third party, such as the government could step in and regulate the industry.
Furthermore, Robert Wilkie added:
“It was clear from the debate that there are passionate and committed individuals working in the field of yoga education and training. Given the disparate nature of yoga and the many interpretations of what constitutes proper yoga practice, it is understandable that there would be disagreement on certain points. However, if such differences could be overlooked, then SkillsActive and REPs would have a clearer understanding of what the consensus viewpoint was, and would be able to incorporate these views into better NOS, which could themselves be formed into better qualifications. This would help to bring greater recognition of the professionalism and skills of yoga teachers, and enhance their reputation with the public.”
There is a lot of work to be done in this area, and the impetus to drive this work forward must come from the yoga community. This debate was the first step in the process, and it is to be hoped that there is sufficient interest from yoga teachers to progress this agenda.