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SYTA Code of Ethics
SYTA has provided a Code of Ethics for its members to follow. To view the Code of Ethics follow these links to:
Details of Code:Ahimsa
If you have a concern or complaint about an apparent breach of this Code of Ethics, please consult SYTA's Grievance Procedure for further guidance.
Summary SYTA Code of Ethics
1. Ahimsa — acting with careWe respect the integrity of all people with whom we are connected in yoga and act with care towards them.
2. Satya — speaking truth in the service of allWe use truthful and clear communication to all people with whom we are connected in yoga.
3. Asteya — behaving honestlyWe behave honestly in all interactions: financial, material, emotional and spiritual.
4. Brahmacharya — being wise and caring in sexual conductWe bring care and wisdom to our sexual conduct and avoid all forms of sexual exploitation.
5. Aparigraha — accepting only that which is freely givenWe use our yogic knowledge and skills for the benefit of all people with whom we are connected, and not to gain unfair personal advantage.
Full text of the Code of Ethics
PreambleSatyananda Yoga Teachers’ Association (SYTA) recognises that ethical behaviour is the foundation of all yoga practice and yoga teaching. The Code of Ethics is based on the principle that all members of the Association are collectively responsible for creating an environment of ethical behaviour, integrity and safety. The purpose of the Code of Ethics is to establish a standard of professional conduct that protects both yoga students and yoga teachers.
While codes of ethical conduct are presented in the texts of all major yoga traditions, the most widely recognised is that in the renowned Yoga Sutra by Patanjali. Patanjali divides the ethical recommendations into yama and niyama. The niyama pertain to one’s relationship with yoga as a spiritual path while the yama pertain to one’s relationships with other people. The yama are: ahimsa (acting with care); satya (truth); asteya (honesty); brahmacharya (wise and caring sexual conduct); aparigraha (accepting only that which is freely given).
SYTA adopts the yama as the basis of its Code of Ethics. It also provides specific guidelines for the application of these principles appropriate to our role as yoga teachers in the context of Western culture generally and Australian culture in particular.
This Code of Ethics was developed by the SYTA Ethics Committee after a process of extensive consultation in the yoga and wider community. It was approved in principle by Swami Niranjan when he visited Australia in October 1996.
The Ethics Committee has established a Grievance Procedure based on the principles of natural justice.
Within the context of this Code of Ethics, teacher refers to a current member of SYTA, and student refers to a person who has a contractual arrangement with a teacher to participate in yoga classes. Yoga associates refer to people with whom we are connected in yoga.
1. Ahimsa - acting with care
- We act with care towards all persons with whom we are connected in yoga.
- We respect the moral, social, cultural and religious values of our students.
- We do not discriminate against or refuse teaching to anyone because of their gender, age, sexual preference, disability, race, culture, religion or political belief.
- We take responsibility to decide whether or not we can assist a student in yoga.
- We take responsibility to make an appropriate referral if for any reason we are unable or unwilling to teach a student.
- We give priority to the teacher-student relationship which takes precedence over other personal or professional connections with our students.
- We recognise that the teacher-student relationship involves a power imbalance in favour of the teacher. We also recognise that a power imbalance may exist between yoga associates, either in a residential/retreat situation or within the wider yoga community. We do not use this influence for our own gain, or the gain of any institution or organisation with which we are associated.
- We do not verbally or in any other way abuse, harass, or coerce students or yoga associates.
- We hold in confidence all verbal and written information about students and yoga associates.
- We obtain consent from students and yoga associates if they appear in material for use in teaching and publicity including when they are not identified. This includes verbal and written case histories, and audio or video tapes.
- We do not claim to have or use ‘psychic powers’ in the course of teaching yoga.
2. Satya - speaking truth in the service of all
- We use truthful and clear communication with all people with whom we are connected in yoga.
- We communicate our teaching credentials truthfully and without misrepresentation to students,yoga associates and referral sources.
- We teach yoga within the limits of our training, experience and competence.
- We speak of other yoga teachers and yoga associates with respect.
- We negotiate with other teachers or yoga associates when we are considering establishing yogaclasses or programs in the same teaching area.
- We use the appropriate processes to respond to a complaint about unethical behaviour by another yoga teacher.
- We promote and advertise our teaching ability and our yoga classes truthfully making only realistic claims about the possible benefits and effects of yoga. We do not use false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or unfair statements, statements implying unusual, unique or one-of-a-kind abilities, including misrepresentation through sensationalism, exaggeration or superficiality statements intended or likely to exploit a student’s fears, anxieties or emotions statements concerning the comparative desirability of offered service.
- We claim only those levels of initiation that we have been granted. We use only those titles accredited to us by our lineage.
3. Asteya - behaving honestly
- We behave honestly in all our interactions: financial, material, emotional and spiritual, and use all resources with care.
- In all contractual matters we conduct ourselves in a clear, honest and professional manner.
- We conduct our financial affairs in line with recognised business, accounting and taxation procedures.
- Before requiring any commitment from students or yoga associates we provide full information on fees, refunds and other financial arrangements.
4. Brahmacharya - being wise and caring in sexual conduct
- We bring care and wisdom to our sexual conduct.
- We avoid all forms of sexual exploitation, harassment and assault.
- Sexual harassment is defined as, but not limited to:
- repeated and offensive comments, gestures or physical contacts of a sexual nature
- the implication that the teacher is a ‘Tantric’ teaching a Tantric sexual practice
- the implication that teaching/knowledge will be refused or withdrawn if a sexual relationship is refused
- the implication that a student or yoga associate has failed spiritually if a sexual relationship is refused.
- Sexual behaviour is defined as, but not limited to, all forms of overt and covert seductive speech, gestures and behaviour including physical contact of a sexual nature, as well as claims of being a Tantric, and/or teaching Tantric sexual practices.
- If a sexual relationship develops between a teacher and a student, the teacher must end the teacher-student relationship immediately and refer the student to another teacher. There must be a clear understanding from both parties that the student-teacher relationship has ended.
- Before engaging in a sexual relationship both parties need to allow a ‘cooling off’ period. A suggested length of time for the ‘cooling-off’ period is three months from the last formal teaching between them.
- We use our yogic knowledge and skills for the benefit of all people with whom we are connected in yoga and not to gain unfair personal advantag
- We respect the independence and autonomy of our students and yoga associates in making decisions regarding their spiritual life.
- We establish fair and clear guidelines for participation in our yoga classes and other services, the payment of fees, refunds and other financial arrangements, donations of time, money or goods in relation to our teaching or to any organisation with which we are associated.
- We give due acknowledgment to the sources of information, techniques and teaching materials used in our classes and courses, with full compliance with copyright where relevant.
- We do not coerce students or yoga associates to make payments or donations of money, goods or time to ourselves, another teacher or any organisation with which we are associated.