Yoga Alliance Australia and Italia Introduced New Standards


Yoga Alliance® – Australia and  Yoga Alliance® Italia Yoga Industry leaders Introduced New Standards for Yoga Training

As the popularity of yoga in the world grows each year, so does the need for more rigorous yoga teacher training programs. That is why Yoga Alliance® International/Australia and Yoga Alliance®-Italia/International (sister organisations) believe that yoga teachers and training providers deserve a better support system in comparison to what they have had in the past. Let’s see how…

In 1987 the International Yoga Federation (IYF), the largest yoga organisation in the world, under the honorary Presidency of Indra Devi (a.k.a.The First Lady of Yoga) created standards to celebrate yoga teachings of all traditions and the diversity, harmony and integrity of yoga practices all over the world

The IYF implemented three yoga teacher training systems:

1) The Indian Traditional Gurukula System.
2) The American System or Standards by hours.
3) The European System by Programme and years.

Since 2000, the most significant independent world’s renowned Yoga Alliance organisations (Australia/Italy/International/Canada/UK-Professionals/USA) the yoga community’s primary advocacy organisations and Register of certified yoga schools and teachers, have adopted standards for teacher training by hours. The most commonly used and widely accepted 200-hour YTT international standard was created in 2001 to set forth the minimum hours required to become a yoga teacher anywhere in the world.

In January 2017, the Yoga Alliance® International/Australia and its sister organisation Yoga Alliance® International/Italia’s Educational Standards Committee (ESC) assembled a diverse range of experts within the yoga industry for a comprehensive review of the existing yoga teaching standards (most standards are voluntary in the sense that they are offered for adoption by people or industry without being mandated in law) supported by both organisations. The decision was based on the proliferation of low quality yoga teacher training, inadequately trained yoga teachers and unscrupulous providers who deliver substandard training,

The two organisations felt that their existing standards were out of date and restrictive in their breakdown of course content and hours. Rather than requiring a specified narrow curriculum, the ESC decided that keeping the bar high for training programs content, structure, the number of contact hours a program should incorporate, the experience of the teaching faculty, the course entry prerequisites and online learning, within a reasonable period of time would increase acceptance and integration of yoga teachers within the industry.

After exploring a variety of existing credentialing models, the ESC proposed to improve the foundation of the existing credentialing system by raising the Standards of Practice and level of professionalism of credentialed yoga teachers and yoga schools and thus provide consumers with independent assurance that yoga professionals who hold Yoga Alliance Credential possess the knowledge, skill, or ability to practice their occupation competently.

Meaningful Standards for Yoga Teaching from Australia to Europe to China

In April 2017, after receiving input from member schools, world renowned yoga experts and experienced yoga teachers, Yoga Alliance® International/Australia added to its existing credentialing system the 250-PLUS and 500-PLUS hours standards both designed to elevate the profession of yoga teachers a title that has no legal force as there are no legal requirements for yoga teachers and there is no statutory legislation specifically governing the teaching of yoga anywhere in the world.

While the 200-hour widely adhered-to standard is a relatively new concept,Yoga Alliance®-International/Australia and Yoga Alliance®-Italia/International believes that 200 hours is just not enough to teach yoga. Besides, it has become a point of contention within and outside the yoga community.

Although some experts may agree that the 200-hour model is more accessible for aspiring yogis, more studios and experienced teachers welcome the 250 PLUS and the advanced 500 PLUS hour standards instead. The “PLUS” standard enables training providers to incorporate more hours of study, practice and teaching methodologies into their programs so aspiring teachers can go more in depth into the study and teaching of yoga to prepare themselves to teach beginning and intermediate yoga classes.

On September 1st 2017, Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International signed a “Partnership Agreement” with the C.S.E.N (Italy’s largest National Educational Sport Organisation) and its sister organisation Benessere C.S.E.N to implement the “PLUS” standards in Italy. The C.S.E.N is recognised by the Italian National Olympic Committee C.O.N.I and by the Italian Paralympic Committee C.I.P.

The C.SE.N aims to promote and disseminate sporting activities with high social value, to establish favourable conditions for a wider development of physical education, sports and health as well as cooperating with autonomous organisations from other countries.

In 2015 as part of the organisation restructure, the C.S.E.N established the National Holistic Sector Benessere C.S.E.N a body engaged in the drafting of national guidelines and reference standards for the training of holistic operators and yoga teachers, defining training courses curriculum and minimum hours. With yoga  been practised by more than two million people in Italy, the Benessere C.S.E.N has become Italy’s largest Register of Yoga Teacher and schools.

The agreement between the C.S.E.N and Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International has given rise to a series of initiatives aimed at improving many aspects in the international and national Yoga industry. Among the first actions taken was the need of the C.S.E.N to equalise the training standards of the Yoga sector in Italy to the international ones.

Following the important decision by both organisations to raise the minimum training standards from the basic 200 to 250 and 500 PLUS hours,as of September 1st 2017, Italy is the first European country and the second in the world after Australia to have implemented new standards for yoga training courses. Upcoming projects and ongoing initiatives see the two organisations acting in constant and harmonious symbiosis.

The New Standards can be used freely by other Yoga Organisations
Although Yoga Alliance®-International/Australia and Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International Standards might be a great reference point for other organisations, they are not legally binding. In fact, both organisations permits its standards to be used freely by other organisations if they see fit.
Following the review of the standards scheme from Yoga Alliance®-International/Australia and Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International, miles away from Italy and Australia, a U.S-based organisation by the name of Yoga Alliance on September 1st 2017 (the same exact date Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International implemented the new standards scheme) announced on their website: “The New Standards Review Project”.

Yoga Industry Innovators

Yoga Alliance®-International/Australia and Yoga Alliance®-Italia/International were the first Alliance organisations to understand the importance and need for innovation. Bringing innovation meant being open to new ideas and being able to adapt to change.

Offering new credentials such as: RYS 250 PLUS/350 and 500 PLUS hours and new meaningful standards to those who meet the requirements of the standards means that a registered yoga teacher has met certain criteria and has made a commitment to becoming a safe and qualified teacher.


  Yoga Alliance e CONI Italia

Teaching Yoga

In composing the Teacher Training program, I came across a series of personal reflections … “Who is the Yoga teacher?”, “What does it mean to teach Yoga?”

Fundamental questions for those who decide to start a training course, which often go into the background, focused on finding a suitable course for hours .. for the subjects studied .. for costs.

But they are also fundamental questions for those who already teach, reflections that sometimes do well to face ..   And then I rediscover and remind myself that teaching Yoga does not consist in simple information that the teacher transmits and disseminates, keeping them detached from oneself and leaving them at the end of the day in a Yoga Shala.

What one theaches should be one’s own state of being, a way of life that is necessarily part of the teacher himself. In learning Yoga, the teacher can accompany and support the student only to where he has come himself, he can point a light only to those places in which he was willing to cross. It can empathize with the student’s research and with the problems that may emerge in the course of this research, just because he personally embarked on the same journey.

Here then teach Yoga is continuous research, a continuous discovery of themselves, those sides that every time we find new, fragments of us that from time to time, experience after experience, we bring to light to find that balance so difficult to reach .

And then I remind myself that the foundations of the Yoga tradition are closely linked to the conduct of a life in which our actions are congruent and consistent with our values ​​and with what we transmit to others.   If we present ourselves as

“Yoga Teachers”, which is science and the art of living, then we must put ourselves into practice that way of life. If, on the contrary, we only want to teach positions and postures, then it is better to give to what we do a name different from Yoga.

A long journey … towards the Heart of Yoga ..

Article by Amrita Ceravolo Yoga Alliance (Italia/International) Master Yoga Teacher, Vice president of “Sathya Yoga – International School of Yoga Studies”, in Milano (Italy) affiliated with Paramanand Institute (India). Honorary Director of “Paramanand Institute of Yoga Sciencese & Research” (India), Honorary Director of “International Association of Indian Yoga” to find more about Amrita’s events and Yoga Teacher Training Courses visit her website

Amrita Ceravolo Master Yoga Teacher

Amrita Ceravolo Utthita Astha Padangusthasana



Amrita Ceravolo Ustrasana Variation


The Light of Chakras

The Light of Chakras by Paolo Proietti Yoga Alliance Italia/International Master Yoga Teacher   

Paolo Proietti Master Yoga Teacher For the ancient Indians the celestial sphere was divided into 27 sectors or ‘Houses of the Moon’, called naksatra, literally stars or pearls.  Thirteen rays2 originate from each ‘House of the Moon’ and reach the earth. Four of these, perceivable as ‘light-sound’ are distinguished by the syllables A, I, U, E, O, BA, BI,  BU, BE, BO etc.

In total  there are 27×4=108 light-sounds corresponding to 108 building blocks of Matter. 108, like the grains of Mala, or like the elements indicated by the chemist Dmitrij Ivanovic Mendeleev in the Periodic Table of the Elements3, or by rsi Kasyapa4 at least 3,000 years before (or so they say).

  • See ‘Hatha Yoga, la lingua perduta dei Veggenti-simbologia e pratica della Serie Rishikesh’Aldenia Edizioni, Firenze 201
  • Precisely 13,3333… for a total of 27×13(3)=360 a ray for each degree of


  • Dmitrij Ivanovic Mendeleev (Tobol’sk, 8 February 1834-San Petersberg, 2 February 1907). A Russian chemist, was the inventor of the Periodic Table of the Element Unlike previous contributors to the Table, Mendeleev furnished a system of classification that provided for the characteristics of elements yet to be discovered.
  • Kasyapa, author of Kashyapa Samhita, one of the most important books on traditional Indian medicine. He was an astronomer, doctor and Yogin. He is considered one of the seven rsi, literally prophets, the patriarchs of the Veda religion. Atharvaveda ‘Shaunakiya recension’ Hymn 19.7

To these 108 perceivable rays another 252 must be added, for a total of 360 rays, one for each degree of the celestial sphere. The theory of the Indian poets5 is fascinating: the radiance of the stars, in Sanskrit, marici, not only brings life to earth and to all the undefined parallel worlds that form the Universe of Veda, but has the power in certain, specific conditions to increase the frequency of the vibrations in our cells favoring those levels of consciousness which are defined as Realization, Illumination, Liberation…

In human beings all these 360 rays are present: those which illuminate the cosmos, those which give life to matter and those from which thoughts, desires and emotions arise.

These rays are to be found ready to respond to the ‘Song of the Stars’, in the six fundamental Cakra of Yoga (perineum, genitalia, navel, heart, throat, the center of the eyebrows):

56 resonate to Muladhara Cakra, the perineum plexus;

62 to the Svadhisthana Cakra, navel plexus;

54 to the Anahata Cakra, heart plexus;

72 to the Visuddha Cakra, throat plexus; 64 to the ajna Cakra, forehead plexus.

At the moment of creation, the ‘Goddess of Dawn,, called ‘Marici’ by the Buddists, or The One Who Radiates’, lets fall the ‘Seeds of Light’ (or of sound or light-sound) into the depth of our soul. After having practiced Yoga, through a particularly emotional state or by fluke, we become sensitive to the ‘Song of the Stars’. The ‘Seeds of Light’ germinate and ‘the Cosmos alights inside us’.

Like harp strings, caressed by the wind, they create unexpected melodies so that our internal organs, bones and our cells harmonize with the voice of the Cosmos, sharing the Harmony of the Spheres. It is from the Seeds of Light that the Interior Universe blossoms.

For the ancient Vedas, inside each human being there sleeps an entire Universe with planets, stars and galaxies. See, eg, “Uttara Gita – or The Initiation of Arjuna by Sri Krishna into Yoga and Jnana” English Translation and Notes by B.K. Laheri, F.T.S. –

T.P.H. Oriental Series No. 9 – Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar,

Madras, India 1933 – Cap. II,15-16:  “15. Susumnã is a fine nerve that passes between the Idã and Pingalã. From this Susumnã all the JnãnaNãdis (sensory nerves) take their birth: hence it is called the Jnãna- Nãdi. 16. The Sun, the Moon, and the other Devatas, the fourteen Lokas of Bhur, Bhuvar, etc., the ten directions, East, West, etc., the sacred places, the seven oceans, the Himãlaya and other mountains, the seven Islands of Jambu, etc., the seven sacred rivers, Gangã, etc., the four Vedas, all the sacred philosophies, the sixteen vowels and twenty-four consonants, the Gãyatri and other sacred Mantras, the eighteen Purãnas and all the Upa- Purãnas included, the three Gunas, Mahat itself, the root of the Jîvas, the Jîvas and their Atman, the ten breaths, the whole world, in fact, consisting of all these, exists in the Susumnã.”

The Song of the Stars awakes this universe, changing each gesture into a cosmic dance and each thought into an astral voyage.

A poetic metaphor? Maybe not. Recently it has been discovered that astrocytes’, star shaped cells (hence their name) that form from 20-50% of the cerebral mass, and the microtubules, the supporting structure of the cells, communicate between each other, and create specific processes.

The neuronal microtubules, when stimulated by certain vibrational frequencies (sounds), produce energy in the form of light and heat. Energy that would be able to modify DNA.

In their turn, the astrocytes, which don’t communicate by electric impulses but through light, activated by the energy of the microtubules, start to regenerate nerve tissue by creating new neurons and therefore new synapses.

With this in mind, Yoga is the ‘Art of Vibration’. The aim of Asana, Mudra and Mantra is to make the energy of the stars vibrate in the body.

If this vibration stimulates the production of light energy in the microtubules, and energy that enables the astrocytes to generate new neurons, then the so-called illumination  would be none other than the contemporary activation of all the neuronal microtubules and consequently the stimulation of all the astrocytes that Yoga leads to cell regeneration and to the modification of DNA as suggested by some, is a fascinating hypothesis, but like all hypotheses it must be verified.

If you think of the disproportion between the number of people who practice Yoga (30 million in the USA alone) and the number of known cases of physical transformation or unexplained healing linked to the practice of Yoga, it leads us to think that it is just a hypothesis, fascinating but farfetched.

Moreover, the stars light everyone in the same way: in which way or for what reason are some people able to use this light whilst the majority of human beings cannot?


In forty-five years of practice and research I am convinced that in Yoga one has to go beyond the metaphor.

One must in many cases, if not in all, take the ancient teachings literally.

Speaking of illumination for example, many of us automatically think of the poetic description of a particular condition of the mind or a particular state of consciousness. But what if it is really a phenomenal explosion of light? If in fact it is the perception of stars that dwell in us? I have discovered that the asana are constellations, asterisms that are purely casual.

A few years ago whilst making a teaching video I was consulting Google to find images for Yoga positions that are named after birds.

I typed in ‘Peacock, Crow, Swan, Crane, Dove…’ and images of the Milky Way came up. This intrigued me and I looked for the names of the basic positions in the Indian texts on astronomy. And indeed, all the asana that I know, from Trikonasana (the triangle position), to Mandukasana (the frog position), from Garudasana (the eagle position) to the position of Natarajasana, all correspond to stars, constellations or asterisms.

Shiva, King of the Dance, (this means Nataraja) is none other than Orion the Hunter. To understand this one must just compare the images of the King of the Dance with those of the Hunter in love with the Pleiadi.

The asana are celestial bodies and phenomena and the traditional pathways are maps of the sky, maybe routes of ancient mariners. Apart from the eventual practical aspects it is however beautiful! Each time we assume a series of positions we are recounting the story of a voyage.

With its astral links Yoga reveals itself as a sacred dance that lets us live physically, that link between person (Microcosm) and Universe (Macrocosm). We often use this as a metaphor, this state of consciousness or poetic attempts to overcome our anxiety of incompleteness. Marvelous!

The identicalness between asana and the stars is the key to understanding the real sense of Yoga: the discovery of our celestial origin and the transformation of body and mind together. I said cellular regeneration, and DNA modification. Science fiction?

The Tamil’s Nath and Siddha, the creators of Hathayoga, have always spoken of this. Tirumular (known as Cuntaranatar) in the Tirumantiram7  (a book of 3,000 verses which narrates the deeds of the first siddha, Nandi, Patanjali, Vyaghrapada etc.) affirms to be at least 3,000 years old and Babaji di Hairakhan, who died in 1984, was Babaji Nagaraji, recorded in the annals of thousands of years ago.

Legends? Based on my experience with the Rishikesh series, on my research and on the documents furnished by Rupchand, one of Babaji Hairakhan’s well-known pupils, I am of the opinion that Hatha Yoga is something different from what is generally believed. Behind the accounts of paranormal phenomena there is more than just the desire to astound which animates many of its devoted disciples. ‘Tirumantiram’ – ITES Publications, Madras 1979.


Let’s imagine that there are really stars inside us and that millions of years ago our forefathers discovered a way to make them play by the ‘Music of the Celestial Spheres’.

Let’s also imagine that these stars inside us are those astrocytes that are currently being studied by Prof. Fred H. Gage’s team in California. (Salk Institute for Biological Studies). Astrocytes are sensitive to light and today we know that stimulating the neuronal microtubules with  sound vibrations the brain illuminates with its own light. (see: Stuart Hameroff, Roger Penrose. Consciousness in the Universe, Physics of Life Reviews, 2013).

Is it so absurd to think that it is possible to stimulate the neuronal microtubules and therefore the astrocytes, with sounds and vibrations produced by the Yogin? Not according to me, and I believe that there is a way of proving it.

First of all with the asana and the sequence of movements one must soften and in a sense expand the body.The voice must travel, between muscles, skin and bone, without obstacles, like the breeze on the ocean, slipping through the dozens of fissures, cavities and channels that are found in our cranium, to make the bones vibrate and to finally arrive at the cerebral mass.

With practice, every single part of the head can vibrate producing high frequency sounds called Overtones based on the theory of Overtone Singing.

In the production of the harmonics the role of the soft palate is fundamental (called in tantra ‘the dwelling of Rudra, the Roaring God’). One can say that the soft palate is the entrance to the superior levels of consciousness. The production of overtones is accompanied by a tactile sensation, a sort of caress or massage in diverse areas of the cranium.

Paying attention to this sensation, after a short time, an interior sound begins, a sort of pleasant insect’s chirrup that is neither linked to the heartbeat nor to the flow of breathing.

It is as if the brain starts to sing by itself. Often, light phenomena are linked to this chirruping, with flowers of light that form and disappear, following this rhythm.  Once one has become confident with this internal sound, the quality of work on the asana changes radically. The movement is softer, lighter and beneath the skin one is aware of a sort of effervescence (perhaps the divine caress that the tantric refer to, see the ‘Paratrisikavivarana’ by

Abhinavagupta). This condition, finding the alignment with the constellations and thinking that each articulation corresponds to a celestial body, is an experience that is well worth trying. The song of the stars sounds in each single cell, and the body cannot do anything other than dance. This is Yoga: a dance, ‘the Dance of the Gods’.(translated by Christine Elizabeth Hogan)

Paolo Proietti Master Yoga Teacher