A problem that the yoga studio industry has not handled is how to keep yoga teachers safe.
Keeping yoga teachers safe is something that the yoga studio industry doesn’t talk about, because we only want to teach about light and love which creates a cycle of spiritual bypassing. This is unsafe.
What does being unsafe in the yoga studio industry mean?
It means yoga teachers putting songs on their playlists that reference rape culture, racism and/or derogatory slang.
It means yoga studios creating policies on racism and sexual abuse in the workplace, but when those two things happen they fail to follow through on their policies. Meaning the policies mean nothing and the abuse continues.
It means using the term “all-inclusive”, but only providing yoga to one type of person and only representing that one type of person in your studio.
For example, your yoga studio says that they welcome all bodies, but classes are $35, their teaching staff only consists of white women and the classes are all advanced flows for flexible bodies.
Clearly their students are who the studio represents. White, wealthy, flexible women.
So how do we fix these issues?
How can we make our yoga studios safe for our yoga teachers and students?
Publish a Playlist Policy
Require that songs have no derogatory or inappropriate lyrics that could trigger students. Require that songs do not insinuate violence. Provide playlists or playlist examples that your teachers can use in class or for inspiration when creating theirs.
Create Policy + Change
Publish policies with consequences stated in them if teachers or students are racist, sexually harass and/or assault someone, if teachers don’t show up to teach, etc. then take action if these policies are broken. Meaning that you need to follow-up on the policies that you created if someone broke them. If you don’t follow-up then there was no point in publishing them in the first place. So take action because you created these policies to require and inspire safety in your yoga studio.
Ask For Consent
We can do this and absolutely need to do this!
Ask your students for consent BEFORE giving them a hands-on adjustment and before you even ask them for consent, ask yourself WHY you want to give this adjustment? Did you give your student three types of verbal cues and your cueing didn’t work? Are you giving the adjustment to prevent your student from injury? Just be sure that this adjustment is fully about your student and not about you.
You can also purchase and provide Yoga Consent Cards for your students to use in class. That way your teachers know before class even starts if their students want to be adjusted.
Pay Your Teachers on the Books and Provide Health Insurance
Yoga is all about taking care of your mind, body and soul. Therefore, we need to take care of our teachers.
Pay them on the books so that they can have healthcare and workers compensation if they get injured on the job. They need to have this because they use their bodies to teach.
Educate and Train Your Yoga Teachers
This means providing education and training for your yoga teachers on anatomy, verbal cues, anti-racism, reporting sexual assault, ableism, ageism, using pronouns, CPR and First Aid.
If your yoga studio says that they are all inclusive, it means that you represent and provide classes for all bodies. Not just some.
It means that your front desk and teaching staff consist of people who do not look, speak, think and act alike. It means that your teachers and staff mirror diversity and inclusivity.
When I walk into a studio the first thing that I notice is if there are people who work and practice in the studio who do not look like me. Representation matters.
Yoga studio safety needs to be at the top of your list for yourself, teachers and students. When we provide safety requirements then we can lead and teach with ease because we know that everyone in our yoga studio is being safe.
To learn more about safety in the yoga studio read my
Brytta is a world traveling yoga instructor from NYC. She is a lover of glitter, SUP Yoga and climbing waterfalls. When she's not adventuring around the world and teaching yoga, she's writing about her adventures, interviewing inspiring souls and coming up with new ways to take her yoga off the mat and into the world! A big fan of discovering new poetry, her current favorite poets are: Rupi Kaur, Lena Moon, and Carlos Andres Gomez.