Teaching Yoga Is Not A Crime

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch had a great op-ed yesterday detailing the Institute for Justice's latest legal battle against arbitrary state interference with the right to earn an honest living. Believe it or not, Virginia requires yoga instructors to jump through a series of expensive and unnecessary hoops before they can open up shop:

Among other things, the state requires a $2,500 application fee for mandated certification—as well as annual renewal fees ranging from $500 to $2,500. That's a big nut for studios that often have only a handful of students in the course of a year. On top of that you can add detailed financial reporting requirements, a mound of paperwork (e.g., required written policies on grievances and "faculty accessibility"), and penalties for failure to comply that start at $1,000 a pop.

Fees and regulations like that would present a heavy burden for small studio owners in the best of times. In the current economic circumstances, they could be ruinous. Under any circumstances, they're unnecessary—and perhaps unconstitutional.

And check out this great video on the case from IJ:

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  1. Typical. Yoga being “regulated” by the State: morons who probably think it is that goopy stuff you eat.

    1. Wasn’t BHO teaching a Yoga pose to Akihito just the other day?

      And to King Abdullah?

      I know the pose …

      He needs to not only register, but to work on his form before he tries to teach any more.

  2. They should tell the state to get bent.

    1. Maybe the State needs to limber up first.

  3. Press release from Richmond PD:

    ‘Police received a tip from a reliable informant that an unlicensed yoga-training facility was being operated on subject premises. Pursuant to a warrant, officers executed a dynamic-entry search of subject premises and discovered yogic paraphernalia such as mats and incense. An individual who acknowledged being the tenant of subject premises was taken into custody.’

    1. Obviously, a competing yoga instructor.

    2. And shot their dog.

    3. Gee, that would explain why I nearly got killed by a fucking booby trap in a national park when I stumbled across a stack of mats and a stash of incense.

      -jcr

  4. Dynamic entry? How many dogs did they kill?

    1. Only the ones who seemed threatening.

    2. Thank god there wasn’t a class at the time, or there could have been a massacre. Downward dog, you know.

    3. The downward and upward facing ones.

  5. What these long-haired hippie freaks fail to realize is that yoga serves as a gateway to more dangerous forms of martial arts, such as that wild Kung Fu shit all the Asian gangsters are using.

    1. Right, like it’s only the gangsters.

      1. kung fu doesn’t kill people, people kill people.

    2. When I read this comment, I think of the voice of the character Dale from King of the Hill.

      Good one!

  6. Keeping up with liscensing and fees is what has commercialized the martial arts community as well. Constant testing fees, pushes for large classes and multiple fees for various reasons are a result of rent cost, liscensing fees, property taxes and the labor laws for employing people in your business.

    The traditional martial arts suffer because of this. Lord help you if you teach people to shoot and then environmental factors (lead) get introduced.

    1. Agreed. I would say that some dojos are motivated by profit (not that that’s a bad thing) and others are run by people who don’t make money but teach because they love the style and want to get back. (They usually have full time jobs in addition to teaching.) The latter dojos are rare and it usually takes longer to advance in rank, as compated to the belt factories.

  7. I like yoga, but my only choices at work (the ones that are already paid for with my gym membership) are the student gym, which is full of cute undergrad girls who treated like a fat, bearded rapist or the alumni gym, which if full of retired professors farting. And I don’t mean the occasional poot or toot, but long foghorns of saggy ass-flapping gut-horror.

    1. Are you saying Steve Smith liked yoga before the depilation?

    2. Fuck yoga. Take up powerlifting and fix your pancreas with sheer awesome manliness.

      1. I try to do both. My stupid arm won’t lift me lift much anymore, but I can still play racquetball and tennis with it.

        And my pancreas will never fix itself. It’s worthless and weak! Weak! I have never felt so betrayed by a body part.

        At least I still have my magnificent dong.

        1. Show your manliness! Tear out your pancreas and throw it to the ground!

          1. And scar the smooth fish-white expanse of my giant stomach?!? You, sir, are like a mad dog in the street!

            True story: My dad had his appendix out in an Air Force hospital in Texas in the late 60s. His scar ran from under his right nipple to to his left hip. WTF, Air Force doctors?

            1. Back in those days, surgeons were still unsure about the actual location of the appendix.

              1. They were looking for the back of the book.

            2. Having been recently surgered, here’s my advice. Get details on where they’re going to cut. My doctor said small incisions. Apparently, a pair of 4 inch long gashes are considered “small” in the medical community.

            3. They don’t teach airforce doctors anatomy. >:)

              1. the real reason why Ron Paul went into austrian economics.

    3. SF–you working on some more fiction?

      1. Being doing too much at work. The filth muse has abandoned me for now.

        You catch up on any you might have missed, if you haven’t already.

    4. You should try Bikram yoga. It’s great, and usually full of hot (pun intended) chicks. Just make sure you don’t get stuck behind that skinny, yoga vegan dude wearing a homemade Speedo/loincloth. Not. Pleasant.

      1. I can imagine. I used to date a vegan (God only knows why) so I know what all those starches and beans do to their digestive tracts. Maybe the old professors at SugarFree’s gym are vegans.

  8. cute undergrad girls who treated like a fat, bearded rapist

    he truth hurts, huh, Tubby?

    1. I’m not a rapist. Being fat and bearded is not a crime!

      1. Not yet anyway.

        1. There are penalties, though.

        2. Rape is the most sickening form of socialism. The mental gymnastics that Chony et.al. to justify theft disguising redistributionism as taxes, are the same mental hoops the rapist jumps through to justify rape.

          “From each according to her abilities, to each according to his needs.” Sick fucks.

          1. Kathleen Willey was a selfish capitalist!

      2. Crime? No.

        Socially acceptible? Again, no.

    2. Be very careful accepting treats from a fat, bearded rapist.

  9. Something similar is going on in Phoenix with fire performers. The “professional” fire troupes (which is to say, the amateurs that started earlier and want to make money) lobbied for the city to introduce regulations and permitting requirements on fire performances, such as a requirement that performers buy individual fire insurance and sites get a permit that verified that the performers had insurance before they could hold a public show.

    Everyone knew the people who were involved. It was, quite transparently, an attempt by a few quasi-professional fire troupes, to prevent new performers from getting gigs and holding public performances. (And possibly even private practice groups). It made it quite obvious how this sort of thing is primarily used by established players to limit comeptition in the market.

    1. I would like to think you are talking about performance artists that set themselves on fire while talking about how their father’s emotional distance was a form of child abuse, but I know that’s not the case.

      1. heh. No. I’m talking about people who spin fire staff or fire poi, or fire eating and fire breathing. (Or fire hula hoop – the latest craze).

        1. Fire hula hoop? To YouTube!

    2. Meade, is this the Poy fire?

    3. Hazel: in SF, we have been required to get permits for legal spinning for years. Out here though, a lot of people just don’t get the permit which is pretty standard practice since permits are so expensive (out here it’s 380 or so for the permit plus another $468 for the fire watch plus $56 for a sound permit — for starters). After years of working with the SF FD, this year, they started changing the rules. Sadly, I think more regulation everywhere is going to happen as the art form expands. It’s just a reality of doing business. As Reagan said: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

  10. I have to admit, the occasional dispatches from VA that get posted here make me glad I fled the state many years ago.

    1. To where?

      I fled NJ and am very happy to have ended up here. It’s way the hell better than NJ, that’s for sure.

  11. officers executed a dynamic-entry search of subject premises and discovered yogic paraphernalia such as mats and incense.

    These people should be rounded up and gassed (and I am NOT referring to the yogis).

    1. I should have used my sarcasm symbol. The police-raid press release was satirical – as far as I know.

  12. Actually, setting them on fire would please me, as well.

  13. Please, PLEASE can I be the FlamingHulaHoop Tsar?

    I’d be really excellent at it.

  14. The police-raid press release was satirical

    You BASTARD!

    Nicely done; I congratulate you.

  15. How are regulatory requirements and licensing fees unconstitutional.

    I think the requirements are ridiculous as hell and shouldn’t exist, but what is the Constitutional argument that would apply to this case, but doesn’t apply to say hair-dresser regulations or fitness instructor or any other occupation which requires licensing (like being a florist in LA) ?

    1. I dont think there is an argument that applies to these that doesnt also apply to hair-dressers/fitness instructors or doctors.

    2. Ah, the old “the Constitution doesn’t say that we can’t!” line. Please see Amendments 9 and 10. Yes, seriously.

      Oh, James Madison, if only we had listened to your sage advice about the enumeration of rights.

      1. Although strictly speaking the 1st amendment only prohibits congress. The states can do whateva the eff they want, their own constitutions depending. I believe most states have directly incorporated the 1st amendment.

    3. doesn’t apply to say hair-dresser regulations or fitness instructor or any other occupation which requires licensing (like being a florist in LA) ?

      Who said that those are legitimate restraints of voluntary commerce either?

    4. I don’t know about regulations for fitness instructors, but the Institute for Justice has gone after hair-dresser regulations.

    5. I dont think there is an argument that applies to these that doesnt also apply to hair-dressers/fitness instructors or doctors.

      Who said that those are legitimate restraints of voluntary commerce either?

      You guys seem to be missing my point..

      What exactly is the argument and what are the odds of success?

      It seems to me that if one could successfully challenge these BS licensing regimes on Constitutional grounds, it would have been done by now. Yet these licensing regimes are quite common all across the country and I don’t hear of them being struck down very often.

      Is there something specific in this case that would give it a better chance for success? Or is it just a bunch of wishful thinking on the part of IforJ and the plaintiffs?

      If there is a Constitutional basis for negating the licensing/regulatory regime, why hasn’t it happened in other industries?

      1. It seems to me that if one could successfully challenge these BS licensing regimes on Constitutional grounds, it would have been done by now.

        Fortunately, Mr. Brown didn’t take that view when he sued the Topeka, KS board of education.

        -jcr

  16. Oh wow, its not? I thought it was a felony!

    RT
    http://www.web-anonymity.de.tc

    1. No, I’m pretty certain shooting up is still a felony.

  17. My wife was trying to become a certified yoga instructor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Was.

  18. Yesterday two FBI agents stopped me for a random chakra-allignment check…

  19. Hooray… I’m glad this video finally came out. (I wrote the music for it).

    1. Well done and congrats.

      1. Thanks Art. I’ve been doing a number of scores for the IJ lately but I never know quite when they’ll be released to the general public until it happens.

        I’m available to write & produce for Reason.tv made videos too… *cough cough*. 😉

  20. But this is the land of the free and the home of the brave, right?

  21. How long will it be before we see a sobbing orphan on MSNBC, telling the tragic tale of his mother’s horrifying death caused by an unlicensed flaming hula hoop?

  22. Re: MNG,

    Yes OM, leftists [i.e. Statists] are just thinking of ways to restrict human productity just for shits and giggles.

    Among other things, the state requires a $2,500 application fee for mandated certification — as well as annual renewal fees ranging from $500 to $2,500.

    You were sayin’ MNG???

  23. How are regulatory requirements and licensing fees unconstitutional.

    There has to be some rational basis for the exercise of any state power. Stuff like this can (and should) fail the rational basis test.

    1. Public safety. Unlicensed yoga instructors could… could… Okay, I’m drawing a blank as to how unlicensed yoga is a threat to public safety. But public safety or health and welfare are the usual catch-alls for licensing.

      1. As A. Barton Hinkle wrote in yesterday’s Virginia Times-Dispatch,

        “Pity the poor state officials stuck with the task of justifying the regulations. In a letter to Del. David Bulova in late October, Daniel LaVista, head of the State Council on Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), graciously agreed to postpone the implementation of the new certification requirements until after the end of the next General Assembly session. Nevertheless, he wrote, “there is an emerging national consensus that inadequately trained yoga instructors are a source of serious potential harm to students.”

        Sure there is. You can hardly cross the street these days without bumping into someone whose life is a shambles because some yoga teacher said Parsva Bakasana when she meant Purvottanasana.”

        Yep.

    2. And I would imagine that the gov’t would say that unlicensed Yoga instructors could pose a threat to those who take their classes — eg. causing injuries or aggravating existing injuries — or they could try and make the case that by requiring licensing/certification they are protecting consumers from fraud and being ripped off by bogus yogis.

      I don’t agree with it, but what are the odds that a court would accept those arguments?

  24. I don’t agree with VA but here’s the rub.

    “Since she not only teaches yoga, but also teaches students how to teach yoga themselves, the state says her small studio is an institution of post-secondary education not wholly unlike, say, the Northern Virginia campus of Georgetown University. Because of that, the state wants her and yoga teachers like her to jump through a costly series of hoops.”

    It’s not about teaching Yoga, it’s about training teachers. NY state is doing a similar thing. It’s all about money, Yoga teacher training courses are not cheap and have gained in popularity over the last 10 to 15 years. The state wants a piece of it. The biggest racketeerers isn’t the mob, it’s government. Yeah, yeah, I’m preaching to the choir.

    “””My wife was trying to become a certified yoga instructor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Was.”””

    She still can, and she can open her own studio without this crap as long as she doesn’t offer teacher training courses.

  25. That’s not much of a rub there, TrickyVic.

  26. I’ve always felt the same way about barbers / beauticians. Why do they need a license? I guess it goes back to the days when they were also surgeons, but today I don’t really see the need to license people so they can cut hair.

    Of course, I haven’t been to a barber in over a year, since I bought the electric clippers.

    -Andrew

    1. I’ve always felt the same way about barbers / beauticians. Why do they need a license? I guess it goes back to the days when they were also surgeons, but today I don’t really see the need to license people so they can cut hair.

      Well with barbers/beauticians, I can see a case where you require them to take/pass a class on hygiene and proper care/maintenance of their tools. (how to properly disinfect brushes, combs, scissors etc) and how to reduce the spread of things like lice etc.

      But it should be something minimal and not too expensive. And a one time deal.

      1. Yeah that might be reasonable, or at least one could make a case for it. I wonder what the actual requirements are? It must vary from state to state.

    2. I recall an interesting case about braiders being required to get hairdresser licenses, even though all they did was braid hair – mainly for african american women. They still had to take classes on doing perms and dye jobs.

  27. Of course they don’t want you to live a healthy life style.

    If you do, then you won’t need those pricey meds that get pharmaceutical companies BILLIONS of dollars every year. If you take that away from them, then how are they going to Lobby the government for millions, and get the top dollar for vaccines?!

    Jezz people.
    Don’t you want to help subsides the government through bad health?

    What were you thinking?

  28. Holy crap!

    I am a Professional Engineer in Alberta Canada.

    To practice Engineering my annual professional dues are $250 andfor around another $2000 I can get the minimal liability insurance coverage. My work if done improperly can end up killing someone.

    I didn’t know that yoga was that dangerous? :@)

  29. Holy crap!

    I am a Professional Engineer in Alberta Canada.

    To practice Engineering my annual professional dues are $250 andfor around another $2000 I can get the minimal liability insurance coverage. My work if done improperly can end up killing someone.

    I didn’t know that yoga was that dangerous? :@)

    1. My work if done improperly can end up killing someone.

      So can a lot of other jobs. Why, I can’t count the number of times some unlicensed manicurist accidentally slashed a customers’ wrists and caused them to bleed to death.

      -jcr

  30. I hate big government, and don’t like the idea of licensing yoga instructors. BUT I did once encounter Satan in a Leotard, a teacher who could have SERIOUSLY hurt me in my first class with her. She didn’t know me from Adam, but as she patrolled up and down our line of forward bends (all she lacked was a crop to hit against a black hightop boot – can we say powertrip?) she passed me, seized me by the neck — can we say cervical vertebrae, class? — and shoved me viciously a further couple of inches into the pose. This stranger who laid hands on me, uninvited, had NO IDEA that I could stretch that far. Luckily, I could, and had sense enough to relax and go with it, rather than stiffen and risk injury to ligaments. Even though I’d paid in full, I did not return to take another single class. This was Adult Ed at Garden City, NY. So there are some back apples out there. Back at you, bee-ach.

    1. But if she had seriously injured you, wouldn’t you have felt a lot better knowing that she had the state’s approval to be teaching that class? I mean, a piece of paper is the ultimate determiner of competence, isn’t it? Huh?

      -jcr

  31. Ughhh! Can’t the gov’t get out of our bizness? I teach Yoga in the country, and if I wanted to train teachers, I could maybe get 2 people–tops–to sign up. There’s no way I could afford all the fees. I heard another studio here in Michigan had to close down, because they couldn’t afford to comply with all the BS. Hasn’t the gov’t heard…we don’t make a whole lot of money teaching yoga!!!!

  32. This is just a continuation of Virgina’s tradition of state interference with instruction, going back to the days when it was a crime to teach a slave to read.

    -jcr

  33. This still doesn’t beat San Francisco requiring psychics to obtain licenses as an antidote to fraud.

    You read that sentence correctly.

    1. You read that sentence correctly.

      Then why doesn’t it make any sense?

  34. In regards to why this is different than a hairdresser or barber…

    Anyone can teach a yoga class, whether they take a yoga teacher training program or not. So there’s really no pressing reason to regulate this very small industry of teacher training programs. These programs are optional and cover just as much philosophy and the yogic way of life as it does how to adjust a student in a pose, but of course students will come back to the classes that are taught by teachers who do a good job teaching.

    I love the mock police press release! That’s another thing that is crazy about this…I haven’t heard of people being swindled or cheated by a yoga teacher training program and that the government has to step in to protect the greater good.

  35. There’s a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966. http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  36. There’s a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966. http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  37. I think the big issue here is “business is a business is a business”. If you make money, charge sales tax, and run a business that does a service or sells a product, then you need a license, no excuse.

    Look at this way folks, is it legal to run a company and not report what you make to the IRS or to the state? NO

    So, don’t look at it in a spiritual right to do business as a yoga instructor or it’s cultural so you don’t need a license. Look at it as I am a business owner, therfore I need a business license, city license if req’d, and pay my taxes on sales tax or federal taxes as required.

  38. Food and health are basic part of life therefore we have to careful about these whenever man is in trouble in health and it may cause due to food therefore we choose that things which our stomic accept it
    It is our right to serve the family in gathering till at end because separation from them is like separation from the whole world so it is better for him to live with them in gathering and fulfill their needs
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  39. that’s right. Exercising Yoga Is Not A Crime

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