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Virginia yogis still will be regulated by authority higher than state

bikram yoga Yoga instructors will not have to bend to state regulators after all, thanks to a measure that two Northern Virginia lawmakers have guided through the General Assembly.

The bill -- HB703, sponsored by Del. David L. Bulova (D-Fairfax) -- would protect yoga training programs from being regulated as "higher education" by the Virginia State Council for Higher Education (SCHEV). Bulova's bill was merged with a similar measure, SB598, sponsored by Sen. Mark R. Herring (D-Loudoun).

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell signed the bill Tuesday night.

The legislation came about after SCHEV, which regulates vocational training of bartenders, dog-groomers and ballroom-dancing instructors, decided that existing law required them to regulate the training of yogis, as yoga instructors are known. Officials believed that regulating the training of yoga teachers would protect students who sometimes invest serious money in the programs.

But opponents argued that the regulations would add too much cost and interference in a recreational activity that is already governed by consumer protection laws. So the Northern Virginia Democrats crafted language that changes the definition of "vocation," which will also make sure that the SCHEV will not regulate Pilates, karate and other such activities.

The delegates appear to be generating some good karma already, at least among yoga practitioners.

"Without their legislation, many yoga studios would have been forced to close," Susan Van Nuys, director of Health Advantage Yoga Center in Herndon, said in a written statement. "Their bills allow us to continue to operate without the burden of high fees and complex paperwork."

-- Fredrick Kunkle

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  March 10, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly 2010  
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It is really unfortunate that our elected representatives have to spend time considering legislation imposing a measure of common sense on over-reaching regulators.

Posted by: jculfsr | March 11, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

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