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Virginia Yoga Instructors Fight Possible Regulation

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Yoga instructors say Virginia state officials are attempting to bend their will, with new rules. The regulations would require certification for anyone who trains yoga instructors in Virginia. Getting teacher certification in Virginia requires a $2,500 fee, annual costs and additional paperwork.

Maryum Ovissi a Yoga instructor in Reston, says she can't understand why a centuries old practice such as Yoga needs regulation.

"This is an ancient tradition," she says. "A tradition of passing it along from teacher to student."

Officials from the Virginia State Council of Higher Education say yoga teacher training is a vocation which must be certified under state law. Although identical regulations exist for trainers in areas like massage therapy and dog grooming, trainers who teach martial arts, according to Ovissi, are exempt in Virginia.

"Because it's a very Eastern model of education it doesn't fit the western model," she says. "So they've exempt the martial arts and we're seeking the same thing."

The director of private education for the Virginia State Council, Linda Woodley, says it's not a fair comparison.

"Our understanding of training in the martial arts world is different," Woodley says. "It is more like an apprenticeship program."

For Ovissi, yoga is not so much about business, as it is spritual transformation.

Elliott Francis reports...


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