What comes to mind when you think of yoga? Breathing, meditation, relaxation and spirituality perhaps. Rarely do lawsuits and compensation spring to mind.
Do you need yoga teacher insurance? Do business and profit have a place in the ancient art of yoga practice?
Yoga is an ancient practice that involves mastering physical postures with the aim of transcending the ego and becoming more in tune with your body and hopefully more flexible in the process. The origins of yoga lie in the East of the world, where Buddhism and Hinduism are the dominant religions. The ultimate goal of self-enlightenment through yoga practice is a key element of the goals of Buddhism.
There are a number of different yoga disciplines, some ancient, others newly developed. Similarly to dance instructors, yoga teachers provide the service of a class to paying students. They teach and advice the class in the poses, stretches, postures and breathing techniques particular to the yoga discipline.
There are high-energy, physically strenuous disciplines like Bikram, Ashtanga and Vinyasa. There are also slower, more meditative forms of yoga that focus more on breath, meditation and kundalini. These include Hatha and Iyengar.
Yoga Teacher Insurance: Indemnity
Insurance policies seem a million miles away from the ethics and purpose of yoga: a trusting exchange of skills and energy with the desire to reach a higher state of consciousness and physical being. Perhaps it seems contradictory to have a yoga teacher insurance policy in place to protect against students who might take legal action against a yoga teacher.
The big decision to make and serious question that yoga teachers must ask themselves is: do I really need an insurance policy? The answer to this question will vary from person-to-person, as it depends on so many things. Are you already insured through the studio you to teach in? How old are your students? Is your discipline challenging and so more dangerous (hot yoga!)? What is the real likelihood of legal allegations that lead to paying out large sums?
If you think through your situation, and come to the conclusion that it’s best to take out a yoga teacher insurance policy, the type of insurance you’d require is professional indemnity insurance. This protects those who provide a service and advice – the yoga teacher, to paying customers – the yoga students. If the service provided or advice given leads to injury, which leads to the inability to work and so income is lost, the student could take legal action to compensate for the loss of earnings. If an old injury is made worse because of negligent advice, a student could also seek legal reimbursement.
The nature of yoga, the types of people who practice, and the reasons why it is practised mean that legal suits should be few and far between, but with suing becoming as fashionable and popular as yoga itself, it can be sensible to protect yourself from yogis looking for a payout. Perhaps it is safe to assume that you could teach for years without worrying about paying legal fees or coughing up compensation, but there’s always the lurking “what if?”: the insurance companies’ trump card.
But if you teach a lot of classes to a lot of students, and prefer to err on the side of caution, there is always the possibility of taking out an indemnity insurance policy. With varying levels of cover you can ensure and insure against these unlikely and unfavourable scenario.
It’s worth noting that some studios and dance/fitness centres require individual insurance to allow you to rent their space. Obviously in this case you have no choice as to take out a policy if you want to use that teaching space.
Yoga Teacher Insurance: Public Liability
As well as professional indemnity insurance there is yoga teacher public liability insurance. This is more business jargon than “omm”, but if you’re a worrier or just like to be prepared for the worst, public liability is the other form of insurance you can take out.
Public liability can cover for trips and falls, malpractice (on the part of the instructor) as well as injury due to practice space or product use (e.g. oils) and theft. There is also a branch of liability insurance to protect against molestation allegations – a nasty thought, but a real possibility with the hands-on nature of yoga instruction. As is the norm, you can buy a tailor-made policy depending on all the elements and requirements of your teaching.