Swami Ambikananda Saraswati | Letters to Skills Active | Keep Yoga Free

Letters to Skills Active

Swami Ambikananda Saraswati

Dear Ms Larissey,
Thank you for your letter addressed to our General Secretary, Dr. Samman, laying out Skills Active's position on Yoga teaching and NOS.

It has created some confusion and I request clarification:

~ Is Skills Active saying that ONLY those teachers teaching Hatha Yoga (which originates from some medieval texts from the Natha ~ a Saivite sub-sect of Northern India) will be required to submit to the proposed NOS? This Yoga is based on three primary texts : the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Siva Samhita and the Gerhand Samhita, which between them cover only 32 posures ~ most of them seated. Is it these that Skills Active is seeking NOS for?
~ Does this mean that those of us teaching, for example, Ashtanga Yoga (originating from either the Yajnavalkya texts or Patanjali texts but which nonetheless include asana (posture or movement) and pranayama (breathwork, are exempt, as they do not come within the Hatha Yoga corpus? This would include, for example, all the schools of Yoga that originated with the South Indian teacher Sri Krishnamacharya, as he specifically stated he did not teach from any of the Natha texts. If schools which do not teach from the Natha texts are exempt, then most Yoga teachers will also be exempt and fall outside of the Skills Active NOS. It is for this reason we are asking for clarification.

This is such an odd and narrow position that I suspect it was taken with little or no knowledge of Yoga ~ which does seem strange for a body seeking to create a National Occupational Standard. It appears that you have mistaken Hatha Yoga for all Yoga that involves specifically asana (postures and movement) and pranayama (breathwork). As this is an erroneous assumption, we are seeking clarification.
A brief glance at even the Wikipedia entries on the Natha sect and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika will verify what I have laid out here in this email. You can find them at:


However, for a more detailed explanation, I refer you to ‘Saivism and the Phallic World’ by Professor B. Bhattacharya, published by Oxord University Press,1975, or 'Hindu World ~ An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism', published by Manshiram Manoharlal Publishers Ltd. New Delhi 1983, for verification.

In peace, Swami Ambikananda Saraswati Chairperson / Traditional Yoga Association