The Integral Yoga Teachers’ Council just released the latest update to the Integral Yoga Teachers Code of Conduct (IYTCoC). The IYTCoC reflects the ethical principles of yama and niyama, which are found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, as well as the current standards in the broader Yoga teaching community. This code applies to all Integral Yoga teachers and Integral Yoga teaching centers throughout the world.
Section 1: Statement of Purpose
The Integral Yoga Teachers’ Council is committed to and holds high ethical and professional standards for all Integral Yoga teachers. It is the responsibility of the Integral Yoga teacher to ensure a safe and supportive environment for imparting the teachings and for the well-being of the students. The Integral Yoga Teacher Code of Conduct provides clear guidelines for teachers so that the highest integrity is maintained at all times in the teacher-student relationship.
Section 2: Principles
As a certified Integral Yoga teacher, I agree to uphold the following ethical principles:
1. To create and maintain a safe, clean and conducive environment for the practice of Integral Yoga.
2. To conduct myself in a professional and conscientious manner, maintaining appropriate relationship boundaries.
3. To use respectful language free from profanity, prejudice, insults, abusive language or verbal threats.
4. To avoid words and actions that constitute sexual or other forms of harassment.
5. To acknowledge the limitations of my skills and scope of practice and, when appropriate, refer students to seek alternative instruction or guidance.
6. To welcome all students regardless of race, religion, beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical limitations, or cultural background.
7. To cultivate an attitude of Karma Yoga (selfless service) in my teaching and dedicate my teaching to the highest good of all concerned.
8. To adhere to the traditional Yoga principles as defined in the yamas and niyamas.
9. To dress modestly when I am teaching an Integral Yoga class or giving a talk on Yoga.
10. To do my best to follow a vegetarian diet and refrain from any substances that are contrary to a yogic lifestyle.
11. To follow all local government and national laws that pertain to my Integral Yoga teaching and business.
Section 3: Professional Practices
In all professional matters, I will conduct myself in a manner that is ethical, appropriate and respectful of all concerned.
1. I will use my knowledge and professional associations for the benefit of the people I serve and not to secure unfair personal advantage.
2. Fees, financial arrangements and all contractual matters will be discussed at the outset and established in a straightforward, professional manner.
3. I will neither receive nor pay a commission for the referral of a student.
4. I will not speak ill of colleagues or other professionals.
Section 4: Student Relationships
The Integral Yoga Teachers’ Council acknowledges and respects the Spirit in all our students, teachers and staff. We recognize it is the responsibility of the teacher to respect the rights, dignity and privacy of the students.
1. I recognize the trust placed in and the unique power of the teacher-student relationship. I will not exploit that trust in any way or try to cultivate dependency of students. I will avoid dual relationships with students (e.g., business or sexual relationships) that could impair my professional judgment, compromise the integrity of my instruction, or use the relationship for my own gain.
2. I will not engage in harassment, or abusive words or actions.
3. I will not engage in sexual harassment as defined as, but not limited to: comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature. I realize that behavior, comments, or humor that is offensive to anyone because of its sexual content, or reference to gender or sexual orientation, is unacceptable.
4. I recognize that my teaching may lead to physical contact with students, such as adjusting them in asanas, and will exercise the utmost care. Touch will be used only with students’ consent and with their well-being in mind, and free of any personal motive.
Section 5: Reporting and Resolution Process
The Integral Yoga Teachers Council is committed to a timely investigation of any complaint, ensuring that all students are able to enjoy an atmosphere free from sexual or other forms of harassment, or inappropriate conduct.
The reporting process may be initiated by anyone. If a student feels that he or she has been subjected to, or has witnessed, inappropriate behavior by an Integral Yoga teacher, that student should immediately notify the director of the local Integral Yoga center, who may address the situation directly. If that is not a viable option, the student may notify the Integral Yoga Teachers Association (director[at]iyta.org), who will refer the complaint to the Integral Yoga Teachers Council.
The Council will conduct a confidential investigation of complaints in a compassionate and professional manner, and if necessary, refer the complaint to another appropriate body. Upon completion of the investigation, the Council will see that immediate and appropriate corrective action is taken.