Proposed bill could change yoga classes

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COLUMBIA - Yoga businesses could be seeing a reduction in fees and regulations in the future. 

Representative Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield) has pre-filed a bill that would exempt yoga teaching courses from regulation by the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

Haahr said the department’s regulations are proving to be harmful and excessively burdensome for the many small business owners who are now being forced to pay additional fees and requirements. 

The Missouri Department of Higher Education higher has begun regulating yoga teacher training programs under the Postsecondary School Certification Program. The program is intended to provide oversight for vocational or occupational schools. 

The owner of AlleyCat Yoga, Susan Mathis, said "I am happy to see this bill being introduced in Missouri.  In the past few years we are seeing the practice and teaching of yoga infringed on by the government, first by taxation of classes and now by the regulation of Registered Yoga Schools by the Missouri Department of Higher Education."

The Yoga Alliance is the largest nonprofit association representing the yoga community. The alliance has over 4,000 registered yoga schools. 

Yoga Alliance Chief Operating Officer Barbara Dobberthien provided KOMU 8 News with a statement stating: "Yoga Alliance is pleased to support HB 1681 and we are grateful for Rep. Haahr’s introduction of the legislation. HB 1681 exempts yoga teacher training programs from regulation intended for proprietary schools and removes the requirement that yoga teacher training programs around the state pay expensive fees in order to continue operation." 

Yoga schools typically require instructors to complete about 200 hours of training courses.