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India, the land of Mythology, Spirituality and Ayurveda is also the birthplace of Yoga, an invaluable gift to the humanity. The practice of Yoga is believed to have commenced almost 5000 years back. The first reference to “Yoga’ is found in the Rig Veda, the earliest of all the Vedas and the earliest available scripture for the mankind.
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj’- which means ‘to unite’ or ‘integrate’. Yoga is most commonly known to be a spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced world over for attaining health,relaxation and mental peace.
The ‘Yogasutras’ of sage Patanjali are considered as the basic texts of Yoga philosophy (Yoga Darshana). Patanjali defined ‘Yoga’ as “Yogah Citta Vritti Nirodhah’ which means ‘Yoga is the removal of fluctuations of the mind. Citta is mind, Vritti are thought impulses, and Nirodhah means cessation.
Yoga is usually practiced around elevating the life force or ‘Kundalini’, which can be achieved through a series of physical and mental exercises. At the physical level, the methods comprise of various Yoga postures or Asanas that aim to keep the body healthy. The mental techniques include breathing exercises or Pranayama, and meditation or Dhyana to discipline the mind. It has been widely reported that since humans possess physical, mental and spiritual selves, Yoga helps in achieving the following:
People across the globe strive to practice Yoga for achieving a better quality of life. They need to be informed of credible and competent personnel for imparting training to them to practice Yoga. The honorable Prime Minster of India, Shri Narendra Modi had desired to spread worldwide, India’s traditional knowledge of Yoga, with credible systems in place to assure quality of Yoga practices across the world.
The ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), Government of India, in pursuance of the above and in the wake of declaration of International Yoga day in 2015 identified the Quality Council of India (QCI) to develop a scheme for voluntary certification of Yoga Professionals. QCI is the autonomous body set up by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
The scheme by the name of “Scheme for Voluntary Certification of Yoga Professionals” was launched on the 22nd June, 2015 by the Home Minister of India Shri Rajnath Singh, in the valedictory function of the international Yoga Day celebrations.
For this scheme, Ministry of AYUSH is the mentor and QCI is the Scheme Owner. The scheme aims to examine, observe and certify the competence of Yoga Professionals using the principles of third party assessment by:
QCI has designed the scheme for voluntary certification for Yoga Professionals by adopting the principles and requirements laid down in the international standard “ISO/IEC 17024:2012(E)-General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons.
In the early period of teaching of Yoga the student needed to go through the rigour of practicing and transforming into being a Yogi and only then the Guru would grant permission to teach. Moreover not many people knew about Yoga and its benefits to a humans, so there was no need for masses to choose Yoga as a career.
Today ‘Yoga’ is a popular word and many people want to learn Yoga and thus a large number of teachers are needed. Evolved Yogis are a rarity and also the common people are not keenly interested in higher Yoga. They are looking for much less which can be provided through some standardized courses to the practicing students of Yoga. Those who take to teaching of Yoga must do so with humility and passion and as a means to imparting this great traditional treasure of knowledge and skill.
An institution can be identified as maintaining the spirit of Yoga when all who come there:
Thus if an institution is offering Yoga to the society; It will reflect in the overall environment - facilities, the way in which the staff treats the people, the quality of interaction among the people and among the staff, the way the people treat the place and all that exist there. The way is such that it removes/reduces the hurdles in the path of self-growth and if possible also aids the growth of others they interact with. The environment promotes belief in maintaining Balance. In every little thing done the purpose is to thin the veil of Avidya.
Every Institute serves a certain kind of mind set (depending on factors like socio-geographical-cultural-economical etc.) and thus will require providing the Yoga learning with necessary emphasis to fulfil the specific need. Depending on what the polarity is, the counter balance is required. This may result into popularising different aspects for the beginners till one gets going into the real-stream Yoga. Hence the Institutes of Yoga require having a holistic approach attending to each and every area of life of the people it serves.
The Objective of the Scheme for Certification of Yoga Schools, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Scheme’ is to provide a generic model for quality professional practice and performance and a common reference for the Yoga schools and the various stakeholders in the design, development and delivery of non-formal education. The scheme needs to have a set of requirements as criteria against which the Yoga schools shall be evaluated in order to be certified.
The learning services provided by the Yoga Schools can be broadly classified as