Yoga NOS - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does NOS stand for?

NOS is an abbreviation for National Occupational Standards.

2. What are NOS?

A description of what an individual needs to do, know, and understand in order to competently carry out a particular job or function

  • National Occupational Standards (NOS) are statements of the standards of performance individuals must achieve when carrying out functions in the workplace, together with specifications of the underpinning knowledge and understanding.
  • NOS are National because they can be used in every part of the UK where the functions are carried out.
  • NOS are Occupational because they describe the performance required of an individual when carrying out functions in the workplace i.e. in their occupation (as a plumber, police officer, production engineer etc.)
  • NOS are Standards because they are statements of effective performance which have been agreed by a representative sample of employers and other key stakeholders and approved by the UK NOS Panel
  • NOS are benchmarks of good practice.
  • NOS are not regulation.

3. Are there any charges for us to use NOS?

No, once NOS are developed they are freely available on the NOS database.

4. What was the rationale to the development of the NOS?

This was originally detailed in the open letter dated 23 September 2016.

The development of the NOS for Yoga Practice is primarily being driven by the need to ensure participant safety. All yoga practitioners irrelevant of the type of yoga delivered/practiced must have a fundamental understanding of how to maintain the health, welfare and security of themselves and their participants.

The initial approach for the development of a set of NOS for yoga teachers was driven by several aspects.

  • Request from the sector to set a benchmark for the teaching of yoga.
  • Confusion of insurance providers regarding the standards for Yoga Practice and what could be insured.
  • Confusion from training providers regarding the correct qualification required by the sector.
  • Need for standards that set a minimum level of experience/skills that ensure safe practice in teaching yoga, preventing the risk of injury to participants.
  • Request for consistency of standards for teaching Hatha yoga, across the UK to provide a clear benchmark for entry on to the SkillsActive Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs.)
  • The Yoga Practice NOS should have been part of the Exercise and Fitness NOS review in 2012-14, as a Pilates NOS is included, but not yoga - please see article REPs and NOS. This inclusion is belated, due to complexities within the sector. As yoga held a category on the REPs register but no underpinning NOS, the development of the Yoga Practice NOS has been a priority for SkillsActive since this date.

5. How are the NOS funded?

Funding for the development of NOS can come from a number of sources. In the past, funding has been secured through an open tendering process which is contracted with the devolved national Government Office via Skills Development Scotland (SDS) or previously UKCES. As funding is limited due to devolved nation budget restrictions, private funding can be sourced to complete priority NOS development work. A robust rationale must be completed for all NOS activity, which must be agreed by the UK NOS panel before any work can commence on the development of the NOS.

6. What funding is being used for the development of the NOS?

The British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) has kindly provided £20,000 of funding towards the development of the NOS.

7. Is the BWY in the lead regarding the development of the NOS?

No - the BWY have provided the funding to complete the NOS project only. The NOS review must be completed through a strict quality assurance process, which is overseen by a UK NOS panel – please see question 16 regarding the NOS quality assurance process.

8. Are SkillsActive still involved with REPs?

SkillsActive have no involvement in REPs. On the 31 August 2016, REPs was completely taken over by Coachwise. REPs is owned by UK Coaching and operated by Coachwise Limited.

9. What is the role of SkillsActive within the NOS development process?

SkillsActive facilitates the NOS development and submission process in accordance with NOS quality criteria. Steering Group (SG) members and Expert Working Group (EWG) members provided the industry expertise - please see the July consultation presentation for details of Steering Group and Expert Working Group members.

10. What activity has been completed?

Timeline of activity

Date Activity
Oct - 2014 SA spoke at the OM Yoga show
2012-14 Exercise and Fitness National Occupational Standards
May - 2015 BWY reported concerns regarding REPs criteria
2015/16 SkillsActive placed a request to develop Yoga NOS –
funding application rejected from UKCES and Nick Boles, the Skills Minister
at that time
July 2016
BWY approached SkillsActive to fund the development of the
NOS in accordance with the NOS quality criteria
Oct 2016
Desk research /Functional Mapping review started
Open stakeholder briefing meeting London
27/10/16 Part A - agreement of the NOS review approved by governmentrepresentatives in all four nations
Nov 2016 NOS actionplans developed
16/01/17 EWG meeting 1
20/02/17 EWGmeeting 2
17/05/17 Steering Group meeting
22/05/17 - 31/07/17 Consultation Draft NOS
Industry Forum 1 – Wales (Focus Group)
Industry Forum 2 - Scotland (Focus Group)
Industry Forum 3 – Northern Ireland (Focus Group)
Industry Forum 4 – England (Focus Group)
Industry Forum 5 - Online (Focus Group)
Sept 17
Analysis of the consultation feedback
EWG meeting 3 – WebEx
EWG meeting 4 – WebEx
Steering Group meeting
Additional Industry Forum 1 –Wales (Focus Group) Cardiff
Additional Industry Forum 2 - Scotland (Focus Group)Glasgow
Additional industry Forum 3 – Northern Ireland (FocusGroup) Belfast
Industry Forum 4 – England (Focus Group) London
Additional Online Focus Group
Nov 17
Draft NOS submitted to SDS database
Dec 2017 Analysis of the consultation feedback
Additional EWG meeting 4 – WebEx
Additional Steering Group meeting
Jan 2018 Final NOS submitted (completion, approval and submission)

11. What are NOS used for?

NOS can be used for many quality assurance purposes, please see the link below regarding the potential uses of National Occupational Standards. As NOS are not compulsory it is entirely up to an individual organisation how they utilise the standards.

Below is a link to the different ways NOS can be used by organisations.

NOS can be of help to employers and organisations as NOS define in detail the performance criteria expected of an individual in a role. NOS set out clearly what an individual needs to know and understand to enable them to meet the performance criteria.

NOS can be utilised by employers to:

  • improve the quality of goods and services;
  • increase productivity;
  • reduce costs for recruitment;
  • provide for better human resources planning;
  • help effective skills upgrading;
  • act as a benchmark for rewarding experience, knowledge and / or competence.

12. What is Occupational Competence?

  • Technical requirements – the occupational skills and knowledge required for the work.
  • Managing the work process – the ability to manage the overall process e.g. planning work, monitoring quality, and solving problems.
  • Working relationships – for example, relationships with customers, team members, and colleagues.
  • Managing the work environment – overall considerations such as health and safety, ethics, values and quality.

13. Who is responsible for NOS?

  • SSCs and other employer-led organisations. Independent employer-led UK organisations have responsibility for their respective NOS.
  • SSCs have strong working relationships with the devolved governments and other skills stakeholders.
  • The NOS panel has responsibility for the approval of all NOS which must be UK-wide and underpinned by a rigorous process of employer engagement and consultation.

14. What is the relationship between NOS and qualifications?

Once new or refreshed, NOS are approved by the NOS panel and qualifications can be developed that are underpinned by these NOS.

15. What NOS are not.
  • Chargeable – there are no costs associated with NOS.
  • A register – they are not a register.
  • Mandatory – they are benchmarks of good practice.
  • Courses – they do not describe the detailed learning that is required.
  • Training programmes – they do not describe the development necessary to become competent.
  • Units – they do not describe learning outcomes or assessment requirements, but can be used to inform unit development.
  • Qualifications – they are not placed into a qualification structure unless they have informed unit development.
  • Levelled – they are not developed according to qualification or other level-based approaches.

16. What is the NOS quality criteria?

The NOS quality criteria is the quality assurance mark and process you need to follow for a NOS review.

  • National Occupational Standards (NOS) may only be developed and maintained by recognised organisations.
  • Organisations are required to meet all the quality criteria for NOS.
  • All personnel working in the NOS system must be competent in the functions they are carrying out, or be developing their competence under supervision.
  • Each standards setting organisation must demonstrate its compliance with the quality criteria for NOS.

Please see the link NOS Quality Criteria

Please see the link to the NOS database

17. Why were only a small number of people involved within the initial development of the Standards?

During the stakeholder briefing meeting in October 2016, it quickly became very clear that there was a vast amount of disagreement between attendees regarding the proposed development of the NOS for Yoga Practice, with individuals expressing disagreement between themselves and being openly aggressive to each other and SkillsActive members of staff. Following the meeting, SkillsActive staff experienced intimidating and threatening behaviour with some organisations openly stalking staff and demanding answers to questions which were unanswerable at this stage of the NOS development process.

One of the NOS regulators who attended the briefing meeting was consulted regarding the next steps. This was fed back to the senior team and the following recommendation was made:

  • the regulator felt that some of the confusion that was expressed in the October meeting may have come from the fact that there has never been any NOS and therefore there was nothing tangible for stakeholders to look at/review to enable them to visualise what the NOS would look like. The suggestion was to avoid any further negativity and allow a cooling off period. A discrete group of experts who were in support of the NOS project could develop a functional map and draft NOS for further public consultation. The draft NOS would be the first iteration for a wider group of stakeholders and organisations to view. Feedback from the consultation would be used to develop the standards further.

18. Which individuals/organisations have been in the Steering Group and Expert Working Group to date?

Details of the steering group and working group members are contained in the consultation presentation available on the SkillsActive Steering Group members have to meet the NOS quality criteria.

19. How could I apply to become a Steering Group or Expert Working Group member?

All Steering group or Expert working group members should express an interest in developing the National Occupational Standards for Yoga. Application should be made via the core SkillsActive mailbox This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please state what your engagement there has been in each nation - England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All working group and steering group members have to meet NOS quality criteria.

20. How inclusive was the consultation?

In order for a consultation process to be effective, it must be possible for people to question, disagree and offer alternative points of view, without this being construed as being negative or spreading false information.

During the consultation process at the focus groups in each nation, stakeholders and organisations were provided with ample opportunity to openly discuss and raise any questions relating to the development of the NOS for Yoga. Unfortunately, on some occasions this opportunity was used by some individuals to voice their own agenda.

Consultation questions were focused around the draft NOS, and SkillsActive ensured that all stakeholders and organisations during the consultation process had fair and equal opportunity to express their points and options.

This was achieved by providing:

  • an open consultation via the SkillsActive website;
  • focus groups in each nation;
  • multiple copies of documents during focus group meetings;
  • a facility for anonymous feedback;
  • multiple copies of documentation for participants to take away with them to review;
  • an open forum for discussion;
  • participants with the opportunity to choose the extent of feedback they wish to contribute to the consultation;
  • an alternative online focus group;
  • an online survey;
  • background information on the NOS project;
  • copies of the documentation in different formats.

The June and July consultation events were held in each nation as detailed below:

  • Belfast on the 23th June 2017;
  • Cardiff on the 5th July 2017;
  • Falkirk, Scotland on the 16th June 2017;
  • Doncaster on the 26th June 2017.

In addition, an online meeting was held on 3rd July 2017 for any individual unable to access a focus group.

All questions and information shared within focus group meetings were aligned with information on the SkillsActive website and online questions via survey monkey.

21. Why were some organisations not allowed to participate in the NOS development?

In October 2016, SkillsActive organised a stakeholder meeting to brief key organisations and stakeholders of the intention to look at developing National Occupational Standards for Yoga. An open invitation was extended to all. Some organisations and stakeholders did not feel it was a priority to attend. The consultation was an open process with invitations to join focus group meetings in each nation - including two online sessions and an online survey via survey monkey. This is the usual format that SkillsActive adopt. The development of National Occupational Standards are well established, proven and allow all stakeholders and organisations to be involved without prejudice. It must be noted that some organisations and stakeholders registered to attend both focus group and online briefing meetings but did not attend. For example:

The Yoga Alliance were invited to attend the Expert Working Group meeting on 16th January 2017 and consultation on all other meetings but failed to attend any.

22. Not enough people were involved in the consultation process.

Invitations we issued to over 6240 stakeholders and/or organisations via word of mouth, email, sector magazines and social media.

Over 180 respondents contributed to the June – July consultation.

23. The timescale for the consultation was too short.

The consultation for the Yoga NOS commenced on the 22/05/17 and finished on the 31/07/17. Four to 6 weeks is the usual time allocated to NOS consultations.

Additional consultation events were also held in November 2017.

24. Although the NOS will be the same across the four nations, it was discussed at the meeting that they could be used and interpreted differently in each of the four national contexts.

The NOS are a benchmark of good practice across the UK, they do not have a specific nation or focus. For example, policies and procedures vary between different organisations, and regulations can be different in different nations. The NOS can be used in a variety of ways as detailed within question 11 and the link provided there.

Each nation, organisation and stakeholder can decide how they can best utilise the NOS.

SkillsActive’s Welsh Language Scheme states; "4.3. SkillsActive will actively research and react to the Welsh language skills needs of the Active Leisure and Learning sector. SkillsActive will advise and lead Learning Providers to recognise and respond to the training needs of a bilingual Wales."

The SkillsActive Welsh Language Scheme document referred to is a historic document from 2007. SkillsActive have liaised with the Welsh Language Commission and have provided the following response;

“SkillsActive would like to confirm that all National Occupational Standards (NOS) activity including the Yoga Practice Teacher NOS review meet NOS quality criteria. This is reviewed and agreed by government representatives from each of the devolved nations via a NOS panel.”

One of the requirements within the NOS quality criteria is to provide evidence of demand for the NOS to be translated into Welsh, we do this by asking a specific question during the consultation process.

During the development phase SkillsActive, where practicable, will always endeavour to ensure documents are translated into the medium of Welsh. Following the development of all NOS suites, SkillsActive will request funding to allow the NOS to be translated into Welsh the following year, however this is not for 100% of every stage.

25. Can you provide clarification on definition of terms used in the draft NOS?

The inclusion of a terms of reference document was suggested by the Expert Working Group as a means of clarifying the scope/parameters of the Yoga Practice Teacher NOS. Following consultation this has now been renamed to overview document.

The latest version is below.

Yoga Practice Teacher NOS Overview

The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means to “join” or “unite”.

In the context of this suite of National Occupational Standards, yoga includes, but is not limited to, breath and body practices, and the yoga of meditation. Through postures (asanas), breathing (pranayama), concentration (pratyahara), single pointedness (dhyana), meditation (dharana) and relaxation, the body and mind are brought into balance and harmony providing a powerful tool for physical and mental health.

Yoga classes take a wide variety of forms and may have multiple purposes, including promoting fitness and health, relieving common ailments, enhancing quality of life and managing stress, although for some, yoga is considered primarily or solely as a path to spiritual enlightenment.

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

The ‘classical’ concept of yoga is underpinned by many varied ancient texts, some of which come from India, that provide a strong and direct lineage that is followed by yoga practitioners.

26. Throughout the NOS there are certain references to generic or cluster words such as ‘sector’, ‘team’, ‘organisation’ and Governing Body which are difficult to understand.

We have used generic terms where possible and provided a glossary in all NOS to help with interpretation and understanding.

27. Why is Question 13 in the survey - ‘Should the standards be translated into Welsh?’

This is a standard question that is asked in all consultation as part of the quality criteria. This is specifically requested by Welsh government in the development of all NOS suites. Subsequently, SkillsActive will request funding to allow the NOS to be translated into Welsh the following year.

28. What do you mean when you say functional analysis?

Functional analysis is the main tool used to develop NOS. Functions are the main activities a person is expected to do, as part of their job.

There are 3 Stages to functional analysis:

  1. begin with a key purpose of the sector, occupation or role;
  2. identify main functions by asking ‘What needs to happen to achieve the Key Purpose?’
  3. identify possible NOS by asking ‘What needs to happen to achieve each main function?’

An example from a restaurant business is detailed below:

29. Why does NOS not take into account sole operators?

This was fed back as part of the June - July consultation. The NOS has now been reviewed and updated following this feedback and any restrictions and concerns expressed relating to the practicalities of sole traders have been considered and applied.

30. Insufficient consultation in June and July 2017.

Following the successful consultation of the Yoga Practice NOS in June – July, requests were made for further engagement from SkillsActive. Additional Industry Focus groups to update stakeholders on the development of the National Occupational Standards following consultation were held in the four nations as detailed below:

Scotland (Focus Group) Glasgow 20th November 2017 – Scottish Youth Theatre
Wales (Focus Group) Cardiff 23rd November 2017 – Marriott Hotel Cardiff
England (Focus Group) London 27th November 2017 – London Canal Museum
Norther Ireland Focus Group 29th November 2017 - Holiday Inn Express Belfast City Queens Quarter
Online Focus Group 24th November 2017 (1pm to 3 pm only)

Two sessions were held – one in the afternoon and one in the evening to allow additional opportunities to attend outside normal office times.

The locations were considered and venues were chosen which were in the capital city and within in easy access of public transport.

Registrations were from 2:30pm and 5:30pm and the meetings took place between 3pm to 5pm and 6pm to 8 pm.

A copy of all consultation documentation was available on the SkillsActive website

31. The NOS does not take into account the complexity, philosophy, history, culture, traditions and religious practice of Yoga

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. The NOS review will only cover the fundamentals of facilitating participants’ safety. As it is stated in the footnotes below, it is not meant to control or pigeonhole individuals and their practices and beliefs. 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 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 produce teachers who are regimented in their teaching methods, delivery and approaches.

We would like to draw upon a past example to illustrate how NOS development has worked in another sector, with a similar diversity of complexities, methodologies and applications; that of Sports Coaching. A whole host of sports covering swimming, tennis, water polo, synchronised swimming, rugby, hockey etc. all use the Sports Coaching NOS, to base their practice upon. Each professional sports coach uses their own disciplines and approaches with which to coach individuals and they modify their approach to suit each individual they coach, however, they all base their coaching approach upon that of the core Sports Coaching NOS. We respectfully ask you to consider the opportunity of drawing a parallel between this example of adaptation and tailoring how this could be applied to the NOS proposed.

SkillsActive has also received support for the NOS development from his Excellency Dinesh Patnaik, the Acting Indian Commissioner in London via Amarjeet S. Bhamra Indian Traditional Sciences.

Support has also been received from the Minister for AYUSH, MPs and Peers on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Traditional Indian Sciences and by Lord Stone who is setting up, with cross-party Parliamentary support, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga.

32. Questions relating to the letter received from Anne Milton MP to Peter Yates

SkillsActive are recognised and actively work with all governments within the four nations and maintain contracts to complete a number of UK wide activities.

Since the need for the development of the NOS for yoga was expressed, only the English government has prioritised the development of Apprenticeships standards (for England only not currently applicable to Yoga.) The NOS are UK wide and are reviewed by a UK NOS panel which is administered by Skills Development Scotland.

Here is the link to further information on the NOS on the GOV.UK website

Here is the NOS website where you will see SkillsActive listed as an approved SSC to develop NOS.

We have never claimed that National Occupational Standards can be enforced - they are a benchmark of good practice across the UK. Please see the presentation from the July focus groups.

33. How this affect UK based teachers who teach abroad or who might provide retreats abroad for UK based clients/students?

This would not directly affect these teachers as the NOS is not mandatory. If an organisation adopted the NOS as good practice or its standard, this would be then up to the organisation to quality assure.