"YOGA THERAPY IRELAND"
YOGA THERAPY IRELAND. SUBMISSION TO THE NATIONAL QUALIFICATONS AUTHORITY BACKGROUND Yoga Therapy Ireland originally began its life as the Yoga Therapy and Training Centre, Dublin Branch in April 1999 and was so registered as a Business Name in May 1999. For reasons of simplicity, we re-registered our name as Yoga Therapy Ireland in February 2000. The Founders of Yoga Therapy Ireland, five in number, Linda Southgate, Elma Toland, Marie Lennon, Helen Morrow and Maureen Nightingale have each come from a long, established background of teaching Yoga and have a cumulative teaching experience of over 60 years. Our training backgrounds are also very similar - having trained with various organisations including the Irish Yoga Association, Yoga for Health Foundation -Bedfordshire, Jenny Beeken Yoga of the Heart, and the Yoga Biomedical Trust London (via Yoga Therapy and Training Centre, Northern Ireland). We might also mention that most of our Training Team has Teaching qualifications. Our Association was set up to be a non-profit making organisation, dedicated to the promotion and furtherance of Yoga in the community and all around the country - both as a recognised profession and career and an effective means for taking responsibility for ones own health and lifestyle. We are now also a Recognised Charity -No.14045 .The Aims of our Constitution, which was drafted in January 2000, include the promotion of Yoga as a means to health and well-being; offering training courses for the public at all levels; co-operation with and support for other bodies with similar aims; and the encouragement towards unity among all Yoga organisations in Ireland. (Our Constitution was presented for ratification at the first Annual General Meeting in October 2000). In its existence to date, Yoga Therapy has gathered over 200 paid up Members, with a potential of approximately 1000 members through our extensive Mailing List -and a network ofnearly 3000 clients/practitioners of Yoga per week through Yoga classes taught allover Ireland by Yoga Therapy Ireland registered teachers. We are also happy to mention that through the publicity received from the Irish Times, Ultimate Health magazine, R TE' s Health Report with T eri Garvey and Open House with Marti Whelan and Mary Kennedy that Yoga Therapy Ireland is now well established as a thriving Yoga organisation. We are also working closely with vm in their Stress Management campaign and have offered our services to BUP A, who will be happy to work with us when their own campaign begins. CURRENT SITUATION Yoga Therapy Ireland currently provides: I. Yoga classes reaching several thousand people throughout the country . (Client safetyis our priority and a written medical questionnaire is completed by each student beforeundertaking a Yoga class). 2. Workshops and Seminars for those interested in Yoga and Complementary Health. 3. Residential Weekends -to promote the building of social relationships -for those interested in further deepening their knowledge of Yoga and Health. 4. Open Days - covering more specialised topics, such as Yoga for Back Pain, Yoga for Arthritis, Yoga for Pregnancy, Yoga for MS and ME, Yoga for Respiratory Conditions, Cancer, Addiction Support and Parkinson's Disease. 5. Public Lectures at Health Exhibitions and Business Conferences. 6. Specialised Workshops for the National Maternity Hospital, St. Vincent's Hospital, Central Remedial Clinic, MS Society of Ireland, Young Parkinson's of Ireland, Rutland Centre, Curragh Prison, Cancer Support and the Mental Health division of the Eastern Health Board -thus showing that Yoga is available to all, both able and less able bodied 7. Yoga Teacher Training Diploma Courses: 17 Teacher Trainees are currently training to become Yoga Teachers. They will complete their Course and receive their Diplomas in June 2002. Yoga Therapy Ireland's Teacher Training Course is Accredited by the Guild of Complementary Practitioners. It is also awaiting Accreditation from the University of Middlesex - thus making this Yoga Teacher Training Course the only such course in the Republic of Ireland - accredited by an outside Body. We also have visiting Assessors from the Yoga Fellowship, Northern Ireland - the Governing Body for Yoga in Northern Ireland. 8.Yoga Therapy Training Course: In association with Dr. Ruth Gilmore of Queen's Universtiy, Belfast and Dr. Robin Monro of the Yoga Biomedical Trust, London -Yoga Therapy Ireland will facilitate a 2 Year Part-time Course for qualified Yoga Teachers. This will enable already qualified Yoga Teachers to further their training and become Yoga Therapists, the qualification for which is equivalent to that of Nursing standard and recognised internationally. Yoga Therapy Ireland holds membership of the following organisations: British Wheel of Yoga (Governing Body in Great Britain), International Association of Yoga Therapy; Institute of Complementary Medicine; British General Council of Complementary Medicine; Federation of Irish Complementary Therapy Associations and Aontas (National Association for Adult Education). UNITY Unity among Yoga groups has always been a priority and Constitutional aim for Yoga Therapy Ireland. In an effort to unite all known Yoga bodies in Ireland and look towards the regulation of Yoga standards, in preparation for forthcoming discussions with the Minister for Health, Maureen Nightingale, Chairperson of Yoga Therapy Ireland initiated the' coming together' of nine Yoga groups from north and south of the border. (There are twelve known Yoga organisations in Ireland). Meetings have taken place over the past two years -the result of which has recently produced the formation of an 'Umbrella' organisation, the Yoga F ederation of Ireland, which will work together to further raise the profile of Yoga and promote official recognition. It will also aim to find agreement in Training Standards and Accreditation Systems. In recognising the diversity among each group, it isanticipated that the road to true unity may be a long one. However, Yoga Therapy Ireland believes that the most positive way forward for Yoga in Ireland is to have a united voice, which provides a professionally run supportsystem for all members and Yoga practitioners of all ages -from children through to old age; able and less able. Yoga Therapy Ireland believes it has the professionalism, vision and foresight to see this initiative through to its conclusion and is full prepared to fulfil any further requirements from the National Qualifications Authority, in order for us to have, not only a University recognised Training Course, but also a nationally recognised accreditation. OVERVIEW of the DISCUSSION DOCUMENT AND SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS. Yoga Therapy Ireland believes that the aspirations of the Authority for a National Framework of Qualifications are admirable and the extent of the issues addressed is impressive. We look forward to a rejuvenated training and education system that generates renewed interest and enthusiasm. Chapter 5. Yoga Therapy Ireland favours the approach of the Authority in building a National Framework of Awards. We would hope that the collaboration with and co-operation between the awarding bodies and professional providers might be consistent with Equality, Accessibility and Transparency. We would look for the smooth transition and implementation of a National Framework -through regular and on-going seminars for all stakeholders for the duration of the transition. We would hope that the National Qualifications Authority might complete the development of the Framework within a reasonable time frame. Chapter 6. Complementary Therapy training and education incorporates a very broad spectrum of learning, not previously recognised by awarding bodies in Ireland. We presume that the Framework will be inclusive and flexible enough to accommodate the different and non-traditional ways of learning as they apply to complementary therapies. Chapter 7. Yoga Therapy Ireland believes that the grouping of awards is vital to the development of a Framework of Awards that serves the principles ofEquality and Flexibility. A more accessible and flexible grouping would be according to the level of achievement an award signifies. Provision for the entry of new fields of learning and accreditation needs to be made at the outset. Such a system would facilitate the giving of awards for learning and methods of learning not presently included in award systems. Chapter 8. Education and training through the use of learning units is the system best suited to the delivery of the education and training of complementary therapies. A number of units on related topics are delivered concurrently forming a module. Each unit successfully studied earns the learner a credit or credits. The accumulation of credits over a given period of time leads to an award module. The length of a Training/Learning course is very relevant to complementary therapy, as learners need time in which to grow and develop their skills through participation and contact. In-Service Training and Up-grading of skills is vital, in line with proposals from Department of Health. Chapter 9. In the interest of Equality and Quality, might it be possible for the ceiling on levels of achievement awards that presently applies to awarding bodies to be removed. The Council should further the development of education and training awards in areas of learning not yet included in the awards system. Chapter 10. Yoga Therapy Ireland is very much aware of the differences in education and training requirements throughout Europe and is guided by changes in Britain and the European Union. In developing international links, it is advisable to give due cognisance and regard to the authority of the Professional Bodies in Ireland, when setting the required standards of training and education of Practitioners of Complementary Therapy working in Ireland. Yoga Therapy Ireland would welcome a reciprocal arrangement between Ireland and countries in Europe, whereby any awards and recognitions already in place prior to the National Framework, would be accepted by the NQA. Chapter 11 We believe that a national standard that applies to all levels, regardless of the institution providing the required learning, would be very helpful to learners in making choices. Chapter 12. The accreditation and integration of all forms oflearning into the National Framework should not be confined to either further or higher education exclusively. Accreditation should be available through both. Chapter 13. The discussion document fonns a good basis, from which to work. It's principles, guidelines and suggestions, while visionary, do not yet address the diversity of learning providers and learners throughout Ireland presently. Both FETAC and HETAC need to take account of the fast growing body of people training in Complementary Therapy and assess, through consultation with course providers, means of offering accreditation and recognition for such training.