As the Washington Post‘s Maria Glod reports, a group of yoga instructors in Virginia have asked a federal judge to kill the state’s plan to begin regulating instructor training. Under the plan, the state would certify (for a fee) yoga instructors in the same way that it certifies other vocationally-trained professionals, including dog groomers and bartenders. Yoga enthusiasts have responded to the plan by gesturing toward yoga’s supposed religious essence:

“Yoga is the study of the self through direct experience,” Suzanne Leitner-Wise, a plaintiff and president of U.S. 1 Yoga Teacher Training said outside federal court in Alexandria, where the lawsuit was filed. “You simply can’t put regulations on that. It’s just dumb.”


Yoga instructors say many devotees enroll in instructor training to expand their knowledge. Many see teaching yoga as a quest for enlightenment, not a way to pay the bills.

“It has been passed down for thousands of years by sages to their students,” said Beverly Brown, a plaintiff. “To me, teaching yoga is a statement of my purpose, or dharma.”

Read the entire piece here.