Yoganomics®

the blueprint for yoga business development

Yoga – standing up against the Waterloo of State Regulation

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Patricia Diart, Yoga Teacher in San Francisco

Patricia Diart, Yoga Teacher in San Francisco

Ballet studios are not taxed for teaching ballet. Martial arts centers are not taxed for presenting different colored belts to students as they move up in rank. On average, a person who takes one yoga teacher training does not stop with the first – he or she will take many throughout their lifetime. Completing a 200-hr training course – or 500 hours, or even 1000 – no more guarantees a person a career built on yoga than does a black belt ensure a career teaching karate.

Cora Wen, Bay Area Teacher & Ashley Halley, Tampa Bay Yoga Teacher

Cora Wen, Bay Area Yoga Teacher & Ashley Halley, Tampa Bay Yoga Teacher

Yoga For New York had a victory where the Senate voted unanimously to permanently protect both New York yoga studios and yoga teachers from being subject to fees of up to $50,000. But the fight is not over yet. Earlier this month, the State ofLouisiana began issuing letters to yoga studios demanding that they either pay a $6000 licensing fee, or shut down the so-called“vocational” teachertrainings and, in some cases, even yoga workshops. Currently Virginia, New York, Texas, Louisiana, Washington, and Missouri are undergoing – or have already undergone – stateproposed bills that would regulate or tax teachers and teacher trainings. What that means is that governments in six states are trying to classify teacher trainings and workshops as stateregulated vocations that must have certified state accreditation and paperwork on file, and pay taxes and annual renewal fees.

Alison West YogaUnion.com

Alison West YogaUnion.com

The victory in New York was enormous. However, the struggle to get there brings to light the need for a more stable infrastructure than what is currently available through Yoga Alliance, and other long standing media entities. Yoga is evolving and the community itself must constantly educate ourselves about our inner workings and learn to live more effectively and consciously. Organizer guru Alison West, who helped inspire volunteers, teachers and studios for the lobbying against the NY legislation, explains on the website: Yoga 4 NY

“The State’s attempt to license yoga teacher training touches everyone, not just teacher training programs. Yoga classes need yoga teachers, and yoga teachers need training. Without strong training programs, yoga lovers would find it difficult to find classes. Studios that rely on training fees would close, hurting their staff members, landlords and suppliers. Diversity would be lost. The entire yoga community would suffer.

Licensing of vocational programs is chiefly a consumer protection service for those wanting to enroll in the program. The licensing process would give participants recourse in the event a program is canceled or a studio folds and their money is not returned.

It is important to realize that the licensing of yoga teacher trainings as envisioned by BPSS does not have any relation to oversight of the quality of yoga teaching or yoga teacher training, as the license stands now.  No one at BPSS is qualified to judge the merits of a program (other than it has a real schedule) or to assess the quality of a teacher.  There are no assessments of quality of teaching.” (Alison West)


This is in part because there are no across-the-board standards used to judge yoga as a whole–that idea goes against the very tradition of yoga itself. Most of the iconic yoga teachers who teach today learned everything they know from the 5000-year-old tradition of passing information down from “teacher” to “student.” Even these teachers will be affected: guest teachers would have to pay a state licensing fee based on the number of participants, and, in some cases, $5000 to the state as a first year licensing fee.

yoga for ny t-shirt

Yoga for NY t-shirt

Some bigger-business studios and larger product corporations view regulated vocational yoga teacher training schools as a good thing. Big business believes that they can make more money breaking yoga into small pieces to maximize profits.  — Don’t be fooled by the media’s portrayal of the yoga industry First, the big wheel “Yoga Media” giants have not covered the State Regulation issue.  Second, the majority of teachers and studio owners today are not making six figures. Most teachers spend their extra time working a second job, or working out how they increase their take-home pay so they can continue sharing their passion with their peers; If state regulation of yoga passes in any state, the ONLY people who will be effected are the teachers and the studios, and they will get priced right out of practice.

Dhyana Leyton || http://yogaforhouston.com

Dhyana Leyton || yogaforhouston.com

In most parts of the world, yoga is a simple practice rooted in a lifelong passion that is passed from teacher to student, until thestudent becomes actualized into the teacher – end of story. The mental and physical benefits gained from a steady yoga practice are becoming more and more sought-after; state governments don’t have the right to go on a yoga-teacher witch-hunt in an effort to make money off those who are trying to teach their fellow students kindness, compassion, and patience. In addition–and perhaps more immediately important–the government’s argument is built on a faulty premise. The vast majority of all yoga teachers are forced to turn to entirely different jobs for their primary income; most teachers teach yoga on the side because it is their avocation, or passion. It’s very, very rare that I meet a teacher who can depend entirely on his or her teaching income alone.

What can you do specifcally? Yoga for New York has had volunteers and lobbyists advocating for the state since summer of 2009, and the Texas Yoga Association has volunteers and yogis lawyers in Texas (who are currently working pro-bono with studios and teachers.)  Teachers and studios need to communicate and understand that there is more strength in numbers, than broken up into individual states.

“The united response by yoga studios and teachers coordinated through the Texas Yoga Association has positively engaged the standing of yoga with state regulators. The continued growth and organization of the Texas Yoga Association is vital for advocating for the integrity of yoga. This was a great first step in educating our government about yoga but it is only the beginning.” ( Texas Yoga Association)

As we were leaving, Sean Johnson from Wild Lotus Yoga in New Orleans found out that his studio,

Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band

Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band WildLotusYoga.com

too, had received a “Letter of Legislative Intent”; I thus suggested planning an impromptu studio and teacher gathering at Wild Lotus’ studio during The Big Soak, an April 2-4 yoga workshop in New Orleans. Sean and Dana Flynn, The Big Soak’s main organizer (of Laughing Lotus in New York and San Francisco), were both excited about the idea, so I got on the phone with our Texas legal contingent and Jenny Buergermeister. On behalf of Yoganomics, I will join them in New Orleans to present what’s been learned so far from our predecessors in NY, WA, VA, and TX. What started as just the seed of an idea has grown organically into a successful and prosperous event  to unite the states of Washington, Virginia, New York, Texas as one yoga.

The issue is whether or not we will continue to stand together, as teachers, as mentors, as students, as advocates for yoga, despite this attempt to divide yoga in each state.    It is solely because of backbone of the skilled and independent studios and teachers that yoga has seen the growth and progression that it has in this country.   Make no mistake… the issue at hand is far from over, and at it’s root, is more about undermining the legitimacy of yoga, and diluting the practice.

Teachers and studios must organize themselves together into one self-sustaining community.  Yoga will accomplish much more together than it will separately. If you are a supporter of the benefits of yoga… if you are a student, a teacher, or just a friend  – please show your support and write emails, or letters to your public officials, and tell them that you do not think that Yoga Schools are Vocational Schools, and that yoga is a practice that deepens our knowledge of a 5000-year-old spiritual and physical discipline, without government interference.  Contact me if you want to know who specifically you need to contact in your local governments. – namaste –

Brian Castellani ( :: castellani.me :: ) is a yoga teacher from San Francisco, California, who began Yoganomics® – a blueprint of yoga business, as an online community specifically to address yoga and business.  He has worked for 12 years in one form or another of small business development and he worked for Yoga Journal for four years. If you want to read his personal you can at: Castellani.me or email him at: castellani@castellani.me –


Welcome to Yoganomics® • the blueprint of yoga

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Bikram Teacher Chloe Hallock - Portland, Oregon

Bikram Yoga Fremont Street Teacher: Chloe Hallock - Portland, Oregon

Welcome to the official Yoganomics® Website.

What is Yoganomics?  More importantly, why is Yoganomics important to the community of yoga?

Yoganomics is the first online yoga business to business oriented trade publication.

Yoganomics Mission Statement is to be the blueprint of yoga development… an intuitive “self help” resource guide for any yoga teacher or yoga business.

We were created by a yogi, written by yogis, and we are for yoga professionals.

There will be NO hidden agendas… Yoganomics maintains the ethical value of transparency within our content… just yoga teachers and studios or people who make their living in the yoga community.

Information is key to the yoga community and Yoganomics is directing that information to yoga professionals, so it can better utilized for communication, and inevitably business.

Yoga is a worldwide practice, the more awareness there is within our community means the more awareness we can cultivate in our yoga practice and our businesses.

Regular newsletter topics are going to encompass most areas of yoga small business, and included in each newsletters you will find yogis writing articles about:

  1. Happenings within yoga around the world, and how is it effecting the world we live in? Yoganomics is combining all the yoga specific news media networks from all participating Yoga Teachers, Yoga Studios,  Magazines, blogzines and articles.
  2. Functional marketing tools and directory service for teachers, studios, retreat centers, yoga educational institutions, retreat centers, ashrams, community classes, Non-profits and other yoga related businesses.
  3. Reporting on legislation and legal issues surrounding yoga in the United States.
  4. Biographies of teachers, studios and businesses from around the world.
  5. Independent yoga clothing yogi & yogini manufacturers showcasing their process and their talents.
  6. Link articles from major yoga magazines, and yoga blogs.
  7. Regular blog updates by known yoga bloggers.
  8. Yoga Scholarships are available – limited availability so please apply. Placement and helpful suggestions.

Current forms of yoga media are not answering even the business needs of yoga teachers and studios.  Yoganomics has been created and is engineered to be a one stop shop for yoga professionals and yoga businesses, and every studio will be emailed a newsletter asking them to join the Yoganomics mailing list.

Currently there are three aspects for Yoganomics® :

  1. Yoganomics.net – Yoganomics the online Yoga Trade Blog Zine
  2. Yoganomics.ning.com – Social networking and individual blog site for all to use.
  3. Yoganomics Constant Contact – Sign up and receive Newsletters.

More details are to follow –

  • If you are in the field of yoga, you can write and article for the Newsletter on your specific field!  Contact me for details at yoganomics108@gmail.com

Welcome … and namaste,

Brian Castellani

© 2010 Yoganomics®. Design & Production by Brian Castellani. All rights reserved.


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