Kripalu Yoga Teachers offer experiential programs within a safe environment. The nature of yoga (union of the body, mind and spirit) - on and off the mat - is to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness in the process of opening the body and psyche, through which profound transformation can occur. As a teacher of any program or class, we are stewards of the trust our students place in us. It is our responsibility to uphold and foster this sacred, safe environment in which to allow this work to happen. It is essential that anyone teaching has a high degree of personal integrity and maintains clear boundaries in the role of serving the students.
Holding ourselves as teachers places us in a position of power in relation to students, however subtle or obvious. We become their mentors, facilitators, and helpers. Some students may idealize us or project that we are wiser or more evolved than they are.
As professionals, we must remain aware of this power dynamic and never exploit the vulnerability of a student for our personal gain or gratification. Professional organizations (such as the Insight Meditation Center, the American Psychological Association, etc.) require waiting a period of 6 months to 2 years after the end of a care-giving or mentor-student relationship before acting on an attraction that began during such a relationship.
In addition to awareness of the power dynamic, we ask our Kripalu Yoga Teachers to uphold the environment of inner focus. Over the years many students have expressed gratitude to have a place to come where they can safely open their hearts, observe their own deeper dynamics and be free from romantic or sexual distractions and conditioned behaviors. This is what makes the Kripalu experience unique. Because of this, we ask that all our Kripalu Yoga Teachers refrain from sexual and/or romantic involvement with any of their students.
Specifically, I agree to the following code of ethics within the time frame I am in relationship with Kripalu Yoga Fellowship as a Kripalu Yoga Teacher:
I agree to hold myself as a steward of safe and sacred space by maintaining clear personal and professional boundaries, I will continually be aware of my position of power and influence in relationship to my students, being specifically attentive to the non-projection of my own agendas, perceptions, and outcomes on the students. I will not seek to fulfill my needs at the students' expense. (Be they needs for money, sex, power, love, truth, insight or oneness.*)
I agree that my purpose as a Kripalu Yoga Teacher is to serve the student's personal exploration. I agree that I will avoid any activity or influence that is in conflict with the best interests of the students or is solely for my own personal gain or gratification.
I agree to hold myself as steward of safe and sacred space by refraining from romantic or sexual relationship with any student. I understand that any sexual or romantic relationship is potentially distracting and possibly even harmful for the student who has come to do inner work. I will not invite, act on, respond to or allow sexual, romantic contact with a student during the time that person is a student even if the student is the initiator.
If a romantic attraction does develop with a student, I agree to seek support and clarity from a member of Kripalu's Ethics Development Team before involving the student or acting on the attraction. I understand that the purpose of the Ethics Team and this agreement is to protect the environment of sanctuary for the students and to support the clarity, consciousness and self-responsibility of individuals. I understand that the Ethics Team develops an individual approach to each situation in a dialogue between the individual(s) and a team member or members.
I agree to represent my qualifications honestly and provide only the services I am qualified and certified by Kripalu to perform. I agree to refrain from recommending treatment, diagnosing a condition or suggesting a student disregard a physician's advice.
I understand that all actions that breach the principles of this code will be fairly investigated by the Ethics Development Team. I understand that if the situation warrants, my future involvement and/or certification as a Kripalu Yoga teacher may be revoked.
*For in-depth information and clarity on this list, the Teacher is referred to the Ethics of Caring, by Kylea Taylor.