Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The great REPS debate

This is an unedited message from Swami Ambikananda to all TYA teachers:

Dear Yoginis and Yogins,

My salutations to you all.


As you know we have spent a great deal of time figuring out how to join an awarding body that makes it possible for our teachers to get onto REPS (the Register of Exercise Professionals).

We pursued first of all Skillsactive and then CYQ. It could be described as akin to diving into an Olympic-sized swimming pool filled with papers and being asked to getto the other side transformed! In the process we learned a lot about the ‘fitness/exercise’ industry: 1. It is by NO MEANS settled and determined. It was impossible to find anyone anywhere who could predict what the situation would be three months from now, let alone three years.

As we understand the current situation, REPS themselves are considering whether Yoga should actually be on at all (they don’t, for instance, have Karate or Kung Fu because they say the disciplines are too vast for them to determine effective practice). Added to this uncertainty, we have a new government cutting quangos of this type.

2. Given this, we were still being asked to hand over what would amount to thousands of pounds (costs which would have to be borne by increased membership fees!) for what looks like an uncertain future for Yoga in regard to this register.

3. The awarding bodies have no or very little knowledge of Yoga and yet wish to set and monitor standards of both philosophy and practice. The CYQ Curriculum was, to say the least, flawed. When I questioned it they responded saying we did not have to use their model answers. Between us, we wouldn’t even ask those questions!

4. Manisha and Uddhava spent a day in London working with CYQ and representatives of other Yoga schools on revising their curriculum – but the outcome of this process is uncertain.

5. The failure to produce a decent working model of Yoga - that would allow each school to determine its own philosophical position - is ‘balanced’ by an overwhelming amount of paperwork that each teacher would have to comply with for each and every class you give. It seems more like an attempt at imposing an overwhelming bureaucracy than trying to establish standards of excellence.

So we looked around for another way that would allow our teachers to get onto REPS without forsaking our independence AND WE FOUND IT. We have now as an association, applied for and been accepted as members ofIYN - Independent Yoga Network.

By doing this it means that YOU as TYA teachers become eligible to join IYN as individual teachers, and when youhave done so you can then apply to REPS to get onto their register. You are not automatically put onto REPS because the TYA has joined IYN, but our joining means you become eligible to get onto REPS.

EXACT DETAILS OF HOW TO DO THIS AND THE COST TO YOU WILL FOLLOW SHORTLY. However, please rest assured that this is by very far, the cheapest and quickest way of getting onto REPS for our teachers. In the meantime I ask that you consider seriously whether you need – in the foreseeable future – to go onto REPS. Even if Yoga falls off the register, if you are on it, you are on it. So if you work in any kind of fitness centre, health centre, gym, local authority, school, etc., my strongest advice is that you consider getting onto REPS as soon as we advise you of the process.

Please take a bit of time to think about it and details will follow. Of course, there will be the usual open discussion on the Ashram website about it.

In peace, Swami Ambikananda

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