Yoga Licensing in New Jersey and Beyond?

J. Brown alerted me to a piece of legislation approaching the New Jersey legislature that would attempt to require state legislation for fitness professionals, including yoga teachers. If passed, NJ teachers would be required to get a 300-hr certification from the state (superseding Yoga Alliance), renew a $150 license every two years, complete 25 hours of continuing education every two years and if they decided your specialty was not safe, it would be illegal to practice it.

Leslie Kaminoff has some good commentary on this bill, and his fight against the New York version in 2005. (“This really boils down to Naturopaths, Homeopaths, and Reflexologists seeking to establish for themselves a less demanding form of medical licensing; and in the process, dragging everyone else into State controlled licensure with them.”) It is being presented as a bill to “open access” to alternative medicine (probably trying to draw it into the insurance system), but it gives the state unlimited regulatory potential.

To protest this dangerous precedent, contact Rep. Joseph J. Roberts, Jr. (D), who is sponsoring the bill. Submit this form (he’s District 5 / Brooklawn), call (856) 742-7600, or write:

Rep. Joseph J. Roberts, Jr.
Brooklawn Shopping Plaza
Rt. 130 South & Browning Rd.
Brooklawn, NJ 08030

Here’s what I wrote, feel free to copy:

I am writing to protest your sponsorship of the Fitness Professional Licensing act. There is no need to draw yoga teachers into the mire of the insurance system. Yoga Alliance is doing a fine job ensuring the protection of consumers with its two-level certification system. Homeopaths and naturopaths should pursue a similar organizational body, rather than muddling all groups together in state licensing. Please withdraw your support of this bill, and respect the safe and supportive structure that the yoga community already has.

Please send an objection to Rep. Roberts, and forward this info to other yoga teachers, esp. those who teach in New Jersey.