B.K.S. Iyengar 14 December 1918 - 20 August 2014 …
Greetings from the desk of
IYAC/ACYI Ethics Advisor…
Role of the Ethics Advisor
Many of you may not be aware of the Ethics Advisor position in IYAC/ACYI. The Ethics Advisor’s duty is to answer or field any questions regarding professional conduct and ethical matters, and to assist IYAC/ACYI in concerns regarding complaints from members and students. The Ethics Advisor also provides guidance to anyone submitting a formal complaint.
The good news is that most of the work I do involves teachers who are not Iyengar certified, but who are using the protected ‘Iyengar’ title in ways intended only for Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers (‘CIYT’). “Great work!” to CIYTs out there who recognize this and report to me that the title is being misused. I am pleased to say that all non-certified teachers that I have contacted have stopped using the protected title.
The Certification Mark
Are you aware that the Certification Mark is a trademark which is legally registered in Canada to protect the high standards of Iyengar yoga? All CIYTs must hold a Certification Mark licence and be a Member in good standing of IYAC/ACYI in order to teach Iyengar yoga in Canada. The Certification Mark indicates that the teacher is properly trained and certified in Iyengar yoga, has committed to teach only Iyengar yoga, and will not mix other methods of yoga, along with other requirements.
Professional Conduct and Ethical Situations
I wish I could say all professional and ethical situations are cut and dried, with simple outcomes. Unfortunately, from long experience, I must say that is rarely the case. Certainly, following the niyamas and yamas is best practice. We encourage all teachers to familiarize themselves with the niyamas and yamas, especially in the context of their roles interacting with students. It is the teacher’s responsibility to define their role and set appropriate expectations, as students come to yoga from all different backgrounds and perspectives. We must adhere to these ethical standards in order to provide a safe place for students to feel respected in their path of learning.
Guidance and Information
We are in the process of adding expanded guidelines and information on the IYAC/ACYI website to assist teachers in matters of professional conduct and ethics. Please stay tuned. If you have a question or need information or guidance through a situation, please contact me through the IYAC/ACYI website.
Be kind, be careful, be well.
Sue Brimner is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. She teaches in London, Ontario at Yoga Centre London.