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PUBLISHED BY:
International Yogalayam

EDITOR:
Yogacharya

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Yoga Liability Insurance – Why you might not need it.

A couple years ago I noticed a rising trend in some Western Yogic communities – a thing called yoga liability insurance. Now, just a couple years later, it appears that it has not only become popular, but it is also considered to be a standard requirement for yoga teacher.

I suppose that sounds like a perfectly reasonable idea to a lot of folks. But is it a positive step for yoga or just another sign of the wayward direction modern yoga is following?

The idea of having liability insurance is now entrenched in the psyches of most in Western yoga circles. When people who are interested in becoming a yoga teacher contact me for advice, it’s usually one of the subjects that are at the front of their minds.

When I tell them that I don’t carry yoga liability insurance myself, they are usually bewildered and amazed – sometimes even stunned. You’d think I just told them I robbed a bank or something!

I can imagine the response from my Indian guru if he was asked the question, “Do you have insurance?”

Yes,” he would surely say. “My insurance is the fact that I know what I am doing with yoga! What policy could give me better insurance than that?

Yoga liability insurance is perhaps another indication that there are too many people out there today who don’t know what they are doing. If there is even the remotest of possibilities that a teacher could need to be protected by insurance, then, as I often hear in American media, “Some red flags should be coming up.”

Rather than asking about where to get insurance to teach yoga, perhaps we should be asking ourselves if we are really ready to be a yoga teacher yet.

I know I’ve just ruffled a few feathers with that statement. I usually do when I suggest that some yoga teachers may not be knowledgeable or experienced enough in this vast science to properly guide others with its teachings.

It’s the same in any field though; the bad drivers are the ones that need insurance, not the good ones; the careless Doctors, not the stalwarts of the profession, who need to cover their backs.

The concept of insurance in general is rather perplexing. For instance, if a teacher ‘causes’ harm to a student in some way or another (be it negligence, incompetence, etc.), then how could insurance remove the harm that was caused? If I drive over you with my car and break your leg, then the fact that I have insurance may provide you medical assistance and likely some monetary compensation, but it doesn’t change the fact that you still have a broken leg.

Insurance doesn’t prevent harm from occurring, it merely makes one feel better (with $$) after the fact, which itself is really an absurd way to look at things, isn’t it? It suggests that we are willing to suspend our complaints and overlook our pains as long as there is enough material reward in it for us. What a truly Western materialistic view of life!

On the other hand, wouldn’t it be great if you were assured that in no way, shape or form, could any harm be caused to you by your yoga teacher! Now that would be truly ‘yogic insurance!’

How do we get that type of insurance? By insuring that we, as yoga teachers, know what we are doing; that we have put in the necessary time, effort and practice to fully understand this ancient science of life before we jump ahead and start teaching it to others.


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