Yoga Teacher National Occupational Standards (NOS)

This NOS is for Yoga teachers, tutors and or practitioners who demonstrate and teach Yoga practice to participants to improve physical, mental and holistic wellbeing.

The development of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Yoga teacher is primarily driven by the need to ensure participant safety. All Yoga teachers irrelevant of the type of yoga delivered/practiced should have a fundamental understanding of how to maintain the health, welfare and security of themselves and their participants. The principle behind the approach to develop NOS is to establish an agreed core of fundamental skills with which to teach yoga practice as detailed within the overview statements below and within the NOS; not what you teach. Likewise, it is appreciated that we are all individuals and this process should not be seen as trying to turn out teachers who are regimented in their teaching methods, delivery and approaches.

The NOS covers the fundamentals of facilitating participant’s safety. The content is not meant to control or pigeonhole individuals and their practices and beliefs, rather to be used as a basic benchmark of good practice, as the standards can be developed further to encompass and the diversity of traditions, cultures and backgrounds within your teaching and delivery We would like to emphasise that it is not the practice of yoga and its many approaches and philosophies that are being sought to be standardised.

Yoga Teacher NOS Overview

The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means to “join” or “unite”. This standard interprets Yoga as a taught self-discipline.

Yoga comes to us from the ancient philosophy of the Indian sub-continent. It was passed orally from teacher to student over thousands of generations in many different lineages, and expounded in texts written in Sanskrit, the sacred language of Indian sub-continent. The word Yoga comes from a Sanskrit root verb, ‘yuj’, which means ‘to join’: ultimately Yoga serves to offer its practitioners a state of being in which there is a discovery of wholeness and integration.

Since Yoga’s journey to the West which began during the 19th century, it has been taught as a religious and spiritual practice in some instances, as a system for physical health and wellbeing in others, and as a combination of both of these dimensions. Yoga’s vast history and philosophy allow for the authenticity of all of these approaches.

In the National Occupational Standards, the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali, which forms the basis of one of the six orthodox philosophies of the Indian sub-continent, is recognised as being among the authoritative texts of Yoga. In this text Yoga is defined as a quest for one’s true identity, and practices ranging from mindful postures and movement (āsana), breathwork (prāṇāyāma), ethics and codes of conduct (yama and niyama), containing the senses (pratyāhāra), concentration (dhāraṇā) and meditation (dhyāna) are all undertaken to serve this end.

Yoga classes take a wide variety of forms and may have multiple purposes or motivations for the student, falling into three broad categories:

  1. promoting physical, mental and holistic wellbeing, by relieving common ailments, enhancing quality of life and managing stress
  2. providing a sense of enjoyment, fulfilment or empowerment
  3. progress and achievement in Yoga practice as a possible path to spiritual development, through self-knowledge and personal transformation

This range of practices allows for individual choice: all, many or just one may be undertaken.

Classical Yoga comprises all of the branches of Yoga, including, but not limited to, bhakti Yoga, karma Yoga, raja Yoga, kriya Yoga and gyana Yoga

The ‘classical’ concept of Yoga is underpinned by many varied ancient texts, most of which come from the Indian sub-continent Asia , that provide a many strong and direct lineages that are followed by Yoga practitioners.

This National Occupational Standard provides a framework for the teaching of these practices.