California Yoga Teachers Association Code of Conduct

Reprint of article written in Yoga Journal, Nov/Dec. 1995
By Judith Lasater--Berkeley, California

SECTION 1: Statement of Purpose

The members of the CYTA recognize the sensitive nature or the student-teacher relationship. We believe that it is the responsibility of the yoga teacher to ensure a safe and protected environment in which a student can grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.


In order to protect the student in this potentially vulnerable relationship, as well as to uphold the highest professional standards for yoga teachers we agree to accept the following foundation principles:

  1. To avoid discrimination against or refusing professional help to anyone on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious, or national origin.

  2. To stay abreast of new development in the field of yoga through educational activity and study.

  3. To seek out and engage in collegial relationships, recognizing that isolation can lead to a loss of perspective and judgment.

  4. To manage our personal lives in a healthy fashion and to seek appropriate assistance for our own personal problems or conflicts.

  5. To provide rehabilitative instruction only for those problems or issues that are within the reasonable boundaries of our competence.

  6. To establish and maintain appropriate professional relationship boundaries.

  7. To cultivate an attitude of humanity in our teaching, we dedicate our work to something greater than ourselves.

SECTION 3: Professional Practices

In all professional matters, we maintain practices and teaching procedures that protect the public and advance the profession.

  1. We see our knowledge and professional associations for the benefit of the people we serve and not to secure unfair personal advantage.

  2. Fees and financial arrangements, as with all contractual matters, are always discussed without hesitation or equivocation at the onset and are established in a straightforward professional manner.

  3. We at times render service to individual or groups in need without regard to financial remuneration.

  4. We neither receive nor pay a commission for referral of a student.

  5. We conduct our fiscal affairs with due regard to recognized business and accounting procedures.

  6. We are careful to represent facts truthfully to students, referral sources and third party payers regarding credentials and services rendered. We will correct any misrepresentation of our professional qualifications.

  7. We do not malign colleagues or other professionals.

SECTION 4: Student Relationships

It is our responsibility to maintain relationships with students on a professional basis.

  1. We do not abandon or neglect students. If we are unable, or unwilling for appropriate reasons, to provide professional help or continue a professional relationship, every reasonable effort is made to arrange for continuation of instruction with another teacher.

  2. We make only realistic statements regarding the benefits of yoga.

  3. We show sensitive regard for the moral, social, and religious standards of students and groups. We avoid imposing our belief on others, although we may express them when appropriate in the yoga class.

  4. We recognize the trust placed in and unique power of the student-teacher relationship. While acknowledging the complexity of some yoga relationships, we avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of students. We avoid those dual relationships with students (e.g. business, close personal or sexual relationships) that could impair our professional judgment, compromise the integrity of our instructions and/or use the relationship for our gain. We do not engage in harassment, abusive words or actions or exploitive coercion of students or former students.

  5. All forms of sexual behavior or harassment with students are unethical, even when a a student invites or consents to such behavior involvement. Sexual behavior is defined as, but not limited to all forms of overt and covert seductive speech, gestures, and behaviors as well as physical contact of a sexual nature; harassment is defined as, but not limited to, repeated comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature.

  6. We recognize that the teacher-student relationship involves a power imbalance, the residual effects of which can remain after the student is no longer studying with the teacher. Therefore, we suggest extreme caution if you choose to enter into a personal relationship with a former student

SECTION 5: Confidentiality

We respect the integrity and protect the welfare of al persons with whom we are working and have an obligation to safeguard information about them that has been obtained in the course of the instruction process.

  1. All records kept on a student are stored or disposed of in a manner that assures security and confidentiality.

  2. We treat all communications from students with professional confidence.

  3. When supervising apprentices or consulting with other yoga teachers, we use only the first names of our students, except in those situation where the identity of the student is necessary to the understanding of the case. It is our responsibility to convey the importance of confidentiality to the apprentice or consultant.

  4. We do not disclose student confidences to anyone, except: as mandated by law; to prevent a a clear and immediate danger to someone; in the course of a civil, criminal, or disciplinary action arising form the instruction where the teacher is a defendant; for purpose of supervision of consultation; or by previously obtained written permission. In case involving more that on person (as student), written permission must be obtained form all legally accountable persons who have been present during the instruction before any disclosure can be made.

  5. We obtain written consent of students before audio and/or video tape recording or permitting third party observation of their sessions.

  6. When current of former students are referred to in a publication, while teaching, or in a pubic presentation, their identity is thoroughly disguised.

SECTION 6: Assistant, Student, and Employee Relationships

As yoga teachers, we have an ethical concern for tie integrity and welfare of our assistants, students, and employees. These relationships are maintained on a professional and confidential basis. We recognize our influential position with regard to current and former assistants, students, and employees, and avoid exploiting their trust and dependency. We make every effort to avoid dual relationships with such persons that could impair our judgment or increase the risk of personal and or financial exploitation.

  1. We don not engage in sexual or other harassment of current assistants, students, employees or colleagues.

  2. All forms of sexual behavior as defined in Section 4.6 with our assistants, students, and employees are unethical.

  3. We advise our assistants, students, and employees against offering or engaging in or holding themselves our as competent to engage in, professional services beyond their training level of experience and competence.

  4. We do not harass or dismiss an assistant or employee, who has acted in a reasonable, responsible, and ethical manner to protect or intervene on behalf of a student or other member of the public or another employee.

SECTION 7: Interprofessional Relationships

As yoga teachers, we relate and cooperate with other professional persons in our immediate community and beyond. We are part of a network of healthcare professionals and are expected to develop and maintain interdisciplinary and interprofessional relationships.

  1. Knowingly solicitation another teacher's student is unethical.

  2. Speaking of other teachers with disrespect is unethical.

SECTION 8: Advertising

Any advertisement including announcements, public statements, and promotional activities done by us or for us, is undertaking for the purpose of helping and public make informed judgment and choices.

  1. We do not misrepresent our professional qualifications affiliations and functions or falsely imply sponsor ship or certification by any organization.

  2. Announcements and brochures promoting our services describe them with accuracy and dignity. These promotional materials should be devoid of exaggerated claims about the exaggerated claims about the effects of yoga. We may send them to professional persons, religious institutions, and other agencies, but to prospective individual students only in response to inquires or as long as that promotional material is sent to a reasonable audience in a non-invasive way.

  3. We do not make public statements which contain any of the following:

    1. A false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or unfair statement.

    2. A false representation of fact or a statement likely to mislead or deceive because in in context it makes only a partial disclosure of relevant facts.

    3. A statement implying unusual unique or one-of-a-kind abilities, including misrepresentation through sensationalism, exaggeration or superficiality.

    4. A statement concerning the comparative desirability of offered services.

  4. Advertising or announcement by us of seminars, growth groups, or similar services or endeavors are to give purpose and a clear description of the experience, training, and experience of the provider involved are to be appropriately specified.

Note: The "Code of Professional Standards of Kundalini Yoga Teachers" appears to be virtually identical to the above CYTA "Code of Professional Standards" published previously. It seems that 3HO may have largely copied the CYTA code--though there are some exceptions and changes, which are interesting.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.