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September 2, 2009

Yogis Break Tradition, Fight Back Against Regulation

Yogis in the US are voicing opposition to proposed measures that would require them to become certified to continue their practices throughout the country.

The government has proposed regulations on the yoga industry that would require those who teach to go through training programs to become certified instructors.

About 50 yogis have joined forces in New York with possible plans to hire a lobbyist to fight the proposed measures.

"It has brought us under one roof," Fara Marz, who held the gathering at his Om Factory yoga studio in New York, told Reuters.

"And this shows that yogis can be vicious, political, together."

Reuters cited the Yoga Journal, which estimates that the practice has grown into a $6 billion industry.

In Virginia, the State Council of Higher Education has said that yoga instructors must go through a $3000 process in order be trained and become certified.

"We are all teachers, and we are just trying to deepen the journey of yoga," Maryam Ovissi, co-owner of Beloved Yoga in Northern Virginia, told the Washington Post.

"Maybe we shouldn't call it teacher training -- maybe it should be yoga immersion or an apprenticeship."

The Post also reported that New York's State Education Department has issued a letter to yoga instructor programs, warning that they face a $50,000 fine for operating without a proper license.

However, the New York state legislature is considering a bill that would make yogi instructors exempt from having to receive certification.

"The message from the community has been loud and clear: get your government hands off my yoga mat," State Senator Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

"Next time, the state will think twice before threatening a practice that brings so much tranquility to New Yorkers."

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