Below are two compilations of ethical guidelines for yoga teachers. Yoga Alliance is a national organization of yoga instructors. it is a voluntary organization that is responsible for setting up the training guidelines in the field of Yoga. The second document was written by Georg Feurstein, an important and valuable voice for the perennial philosophy, and the foremost authority on Yoga today.
Last modified 11/4/2013
Our code of conduct is a declaration of acceptable and professional behavior by which all registrants agree to conduct the teaching and business of Yoga. It is not intended to supersede the ethics of any school or tradition but is intended
to be a basis for Yoga principles. As a Registered Yoga teacher (RYT), Experienced Registered Yoga teacher ( E-RYT) or representative of a Registered Yoga Schools (RYS), I agree to uphold the following ethical principles:
As an integrated way of life, Yoga includes moral standards ( called virtues ) that any reasonable human being would find in principle acceptable. Some of these standards, known in Sanskrit as yamas or “disciplines,” are encoded in the first limb of Patanjali’s eightfold path. According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, this practice category is composed of the following five virtues: nonharming (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), nonstealing (asteya). chastity (brahmacharya), and greedlessness (aparigraha).
In other key scriptures, further moral principles are mentioned, including kindness, compassion, generosity, patience, helpfulness, forgiveness, purity and so on. All these are virtues that we connect with a “good” character and that are demonstrated to a superlative degree in the lives of the great masters of Yoga.
Thus, it seems appropriate for contemporary Yoga teachers to endeavor to conduct their lives in consonance with yoga’s moral principles, particularly because teachers have a great responsibility toward their students and should be expected to reflect the high moral standards espoused in Yoga. At the same time, we must acknowledge the complexities of our contemporary
society, which make it necessary to appropriately adapt the moral standards originally designed for the conditions of pre-modern India. Also, we need to take into proper account the looming environmental crisis by adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
The following guidelines are put forward as a reasonable adaptation for our modern situation, which also takes proper cognizance of the wisdom contained in the heritage of yoga.
The above ethical guidelines are not exhaustive, and the fact that a given conduct is not specifically covered does not imply anything about the ethical or unethical nature of that conduct. Yoga teachers alwas endeavor to respect and to the best of their abilities adhere to the traditional yogic code of conduct as well as to the laws current in their country or state.
Copyright@2003, 2006, 2011 by Georg Feurstein.
Reproduced with permission.