Data privacy policy

This privacy statement is intended to inform users about how this website complies with the General Data Protection Regulation in terms of the type, scope and purpose of data collection and use of personal data by the website operator, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Retreat House.

When visiting this website, the web server automatically records log files. These data includes, for example, browser type and version, operating system used, referrer URL (previously visited page), IP address of the requesting computer, server request date and time of access, and client file request (file name and URL). These data are collected only for the purpose of statistical evaluation. A transfer to third parties, for commercial or non-commercial purposes, does not take place.

The use of our website is usually possible without providing personal information. To the extent that we collect personal data, this takes place, as far as possible, on a voluntary basis. These data will not be disclosed to third parties without your explicit consent.

Keep in mind that data transmission over the Internet (for example, when communicating via e-mail) is subject to security vulnerabilities. Absolute protection of data from access by strangers is not possible.

Which data do we collect?

We collect personal data in order to process your registration for an activity which has been advertised on our website or in our brochures. In particular, this includes attending a yoga class, workshop, or other event organized by the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. This information – consisting most basically of name, address, telephone number and e-mail address – is considered personal data because it can be traced back to you.

When registering for one of our Yoga Teacher Training Courses, Advanced Yoga Teacher Training, Sadhana Intensive or Yoga Further Training, we collect additional data relevant to course registration and course completion. These include health data and third party data (emergency contact details). You should therefore ensure that all information relating to third parties is provided by you with the consent of such persons.

By completing an application form or registering for one of our events by email, by telephone, in person or by post, you consent to the storage and processing of your personal data for the creation, implementation and processing of your booking.

Data transfer to third parties

We only transfer personal data to third parties for the fulfilment of a contract. This applies to the companies involved in the execution of a yoga vacation or a yoga teacher training, such as seminar hotels, credit card companies, payment service providers, banks or transfer services. The basis for the transfer is Art. 6 paragraph 1(b) GDPR, which allows the processing of data to fulfill a contract or pre-contractual measures.

The transfer of your data to a third country without suitable guarantees is based on Article 49 paragraph 1(b) GDPR, which allows the transfer for the performance of a contract.

A further transfer of data will only take place if you have expressly consented to the transfer or if we are legally or officially obliged to do so, or if the transfer is necessary in connection with your use of the website.

Your data will not be transferred to third parties, such as for advertising purposes, without explicit consent.

Use of your data for advertising purposes

By post and by phone

In addition to processing your data to process your course booking, we also use this data to inform you by post about further offers. Furthermore, we use your data to inform you by telephone about related courses or further offers.

You may revoke the use of your personal data for advertising purposes at any time. A text message (letter, email) is sufficient. Use the following contact information:
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Retreat House, Bichlach 40, 6370 Reith, Tyrol, Austria

Information about the newsletter and consent

With the following information, we will inform you about the contents of our newsletter as well as the registration, shipping and statistical evaluation procedures as well as your right of objection. By subscribing to our newsletter, you agree to the receipt and the procedures described.

Content of the newsletter

We send newsletters, e-mails and other electronic notifications with advertising information (hereinafter “newsletter”) only with the consent of the recipient or a legal permission. Insofar as the contents of a newsletter are concretely described, they are authoritative for the consent of the users. Incidentally, our newsletters contain information on yoga vacation, yoga further education programs, and yoga teacher training courses (this may in particular include references to blog posts, lectures or workshops, our services or online presence).

Double opt-in and logging

The registration for our newsletter takes place in a so-called double opt-in procedure. After registration, you will receive an e-mail asking you to confirm your registration. This confirmation is necessary so that nobody can register with third-party e-mail addresses. The registration for the newsletter will be logged in order to prove the registration process according to the legal requirements. This includes the storage of the login and the confirmation time, as well as the IP address. Similarly, the changes to your data stored with MailChimp will be logged.

Use of the email marketing service provider “MailChimp”

The newsletter is distributed via “MailChimp”, a newsletter shipping platform of Rocket Science Group, LLC, 675 Ponce De Leon Ave # 5000, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA.

The e-mail addresses of our Newsletter recipients, as well as their other information described herein, are stored on the servers of MailChimp in the USA. MailChimp uses this information to send and evaluate the newsletters on our behalf. Furthermore, MailChimp may, according to its own information, use this data to optimize or improve its own services, e.g. for the technical optimization of the shipping and the presentation of the newsletter or for economic purposes, to determine from which countries the recipients come. However, MailChimp does not use the data of our newsletter recipients to write them down or to pass them on to third parties.

We rely on the reliability, IT and data security of MailChimp. MailChimp is committed to complying with EU data protection requirements. Furthermore, we have concluded a data processing agreement with MailChimp, which contains Standard Contractual Clauses. This is a contract in which MailChimp pledges to protect the data of our users, to process it in accordance with its privacy policy on our behalf and, in particular, not to disclose it to third parties. The privacy policy of MailChimp can be viewed here.

To sign up for the newsletter, it is sufficient to enter your e-mail address.
Optionally, we ask you to provide your first and last name. This information is only for the personalization of the newsletter. We also ask you optionally to indicate your interests. We only use this information to adapt the content of the newsletter to the interests of our readers.

Statistical survey and analyses

The newsletters contain a so-called “web-beacon”, i.e. a pixel-sized file that is retrieved from the MailChimp server when the newsletter is opened. This call will initially collect technical information, such as information about the browser and your system, as well as your IP address and time of retrieval. This information is used to improve the technical performance of services based on their specifications or audience and their reading habits, based on their locations (which can be determined using the IP address) or access times.

Statistical surveys also include determining if the newsletters will be opened, when they will be opened and which links will be clicked. For technical reasons, this information can be assigned to the individual newsletter recipients. However, it is neither our desire nor that of MailChimp to observe individual users. The evaluations serve us much more to recognize the reading habits of our users and to adapt our content to them or to send different content according to the interests of our users.

Online call and data management

There are cases in which we direct the newsletter recipients to the MailChimp websites. For example, our newsletters contain a link that allows newsletter recipients to retrieve newsletters online (for example, in the case of display problems in the e-mail program). Furthermore, newsletter recipients can store their data, such as correct the e-mail address later. Similarly, the privacy policy of MailChimp is only available on their page.

In this context, we pointed out that on the websites of MailChimp cookies are used and thus personal data processed by MailChimp, their partners and service providers used (for example, Google Analytics). We have no influence on this data collection. For more information, see the privacy policy of MailChimp. Please also refer to the possibility of objecting to the data collection for advertising purposes on the websites and (for the European area).

Termination / Revocation

You can terminate the receipt of our newsletter at any time, i.e. revoke your consent. At the same time, your consent to sending it via MailChimp and the statistical analyses will lapse. A separate revocation of the dispatch via MailChimp or the statistical evaluation is unfortunately not possible.

A link to cancel the newsletter can be found at the end of each newsletter.

Legal basis: General Data Protection Regulation

In accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will apply from 25 May 2018, we inform you that the consent to the sending of e-mail addresses is in accordance with Art. 6 para. 1 lit. a, 7 GDPR and § 7 (2) no. 3 and (3) UWG (Law against Unfair Competition). The use of the mail service provider MailChimp, carrying out the statistical surveys and analyses as well as logging the registration process, are based on our legitimate interests in accordance with Art. 6 para. 1 lit. f GDPR. We are interested in using a user-friendly and secure newsletter system that serves both our non-profit interests and the expectations of our users.

We further point out that you can object to the future processing of your personal data at any time, in accordance with the statutory requirements of Art. 21 GDPR. The objection may in particular be made against processing for direct marketing purposes.


(1) In addition to the aforementioned data, cookies are stored on your computer when you use our website. Cookies are small text files that are stored on your hard drive and that are assigned to the browser you are using and that provide certain information to the entity that sets the cookie. Cookies cannot execute programs or transmit viruses to your computer. They help make internet offerings overall more user-friendly and effective.

(2) This website uses the following types of cookies, whose scope and function are explained below:

– Transient cookies (see a.)
– Persistent cookies (see b.).

  1. Transient cookies are automatically deleted when you close the browser. These include in particular session cookies. These store what is known as a session ID, with which various requests from your browser can be assigned to a common session. This permits your computer to be recognized when you return to our website. Session cookies are deleted when you log out or close the browser.
  2. Persistent cookies are automatically deleted after a specified period, which may differ depending on the cookie. You can delete the cookies at any time from within the security settings of your browser.
  3. You can configure your browser setting to match your preferences and e.g. decline to accept third-party cookies or all cookies. “Third-party cookies” are cookies that have been set by a third party and therefore not by the actual website which you currently are on. Please note that disabling cookies may not enable you to use all features of this website.

Cookie banner

This page uses the Cookie Opt-in Cookie-Script from Objectis Ltd. For the purposes of statistics, a web beacon connects to the Cookie-Script server. When you accept cookies on this website via the cookie banner, you accept the Google Analytics cookie. This cookie is only activated with your explicit consent (opt-in).


We use the open source software Matomo to analyze and statistically evaluate the use of the website. Cookies are used for this. The information obtained about website usage is transmitted exclusively to our server and summarized in pseudonymous usage profiles. We use the data to evaluate the use of the website. The data collected will not be passed on to third parties.

The IP addresses are anonymized (IP masking) so that they cannot be assigned to individual users.

The data is processed on the basis of Article 6 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 Letter a of the GDPR. We are thus pursuing our legitimate interest in optimizing our website for our external presentation.

Google Analytics

If you have given your consent, this website uses Google Analytics 4, a web analytics service provided by Google LLC. The responsible party for users in the EU/EEA and Switzerland is Google Ireland Limited, Google Building Gordon House, 4 Barrow St, Dublin, D04 E5W5, Ireland (“Google”).

Scope of processing
Google Analytics uses cookies that enable an analysis of your use of our websites. The information collected by means of the cookies about your use of this website is generally transferred to a Google server in the USA and stored there.

Google Analytics 4 has IP address anonymization enabled by default. Due to IP anonymization, your IP address will be shortened by Google within member states of the European Union or in other states party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area. Only in exceptional cases will the full IP address be transferred to a Google server in the USA and shortened there. According to Google, the IP address transmitted by your browser as part of Google Analytics will not be merged with other Google data.

During your website visit, your user behavior is recorded in the form of “events”. Events can be:

  • Page views
  • First visit to the website
  • Start of session
  • Your “click path”, interaction with the website
  • Scrolls (whenever a user scrolls to the bottom of the page (90%))
  • clicks on external links
  • internal search queries
  • interaction with videos
  • file downloads
  • seen / clicked ads
  • language settings

Also recorded:

  • Your approximate location (region)
  • your IP address (in shortened form)
  • technical information about your browser and the end devices you use (e.g. language setting, screen resolution)
  • your internet service provider
  • the referrer URL (via which website/advertising medium you came to this website)

Purposes of processing
On behalf of the operator of this website, Google will use this information to evaluate your pseudonymous use of the website and to compile reports on website activity. The reports provided by Google Analytics serve to analyse the performance of our website and the success of our marketing campaigns.

Recipients of the data are/may be:

  • Google Ireland Limited, Gordon House, Barrow Street, Dublin 4, Ireland (as processor under Art. 28 DSGVO).
  • Google LLC, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043, USA
  • Alphabet Inc, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043, USA

It cannot be ruled out that US authorities may access the data stored by Google.

Third country transfer
Insofar as data is processed outside the EU/EEA and there is no level of data protection corresponding to the European standard, we have concluded EU standard contractual clauses with the service provider to establish an appropriate level of data protection. The parent company of Google Ireland, Google LLC, is based in California, USA. A transfer of data to the USA and access by US authorities to the data stored by Google cannot be ruled out. The USA is currently considered a third country from a data protection perspective. You do not have the same rights there as within the EU/EEA. You may not be entitled to any legal remedies against access by authorities.

Duration of storage
The data sent by us and linked to cookies are automatically deleted after 2 months. The deletion of data whose retention period has been reached occurs automatically once a month.

Legal basis
The legal basis for this data processing is your consent pursuant to Art.6 para.1 p.1 lit. a GDPR.

You can revoke your consent at any time with effect for the future by accessing the cookie settings and changing your selection there. The lawfulness of the processing carried out on the basis of the consent until the revocation remains unaffected.

You can also prevent the storage of cookies from the outset by setting your browser software accordingly. However, if you configure your browser to reject all cookies, this may result in a restriction of functionalities on this and other websites. In addition, you can prevent the collection of data generated by the cookie and related to your use of the website (including your IP address) to Google and the processing of this data by Google, by

a. not giving your consent to the setting of the cookie or
b. downloading and installing the browser add-on to disable Google Analytics HERE.

For more information on Google Analytics’ terms of use and Google’s privacy policy, please visit and at

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a solution that allows us to manage so-called web site tags through one interface (including, for example, Google Analytics and other Google marketing services in our online offering). The tag manager itself (which implements the tags) does not process users’ personal data. With regard to the processing of users’ personal data, refer to the following information about Google’s services. Usage Policy:

Google AdWords and conversion measurement

We use the services of Google LLC, 1600 Amphitheater Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043 on the basis of our legitimate interests (i.e. interest in the analysis, optimization and economic operation of our online service within the meaning of Art. 6, para. 1 (f) GDPR), USA (“Google”).

We use Google’s online AdWords marketing tool “AdWords” to place ads on the Google advertising network (e.g., in search results, in videos, on websites, etc.) so that they are displayed to users who have a probable interest in the ads. This allows us to more specifically display ads for our online offering so that we only present ads to users that potentially match their interests.

Remarketing is when a user e.g. is shown ads for products he’s been looking at on other websites. This works as follows: when a user accesses our and other websites where the Google advertising network is active, Google will immediately execute a Google code and incorporate so-called (re)marketing tags (invisible graphics or code, also known as “Web beacons”) into the website. These enable an individual cookie, i.e, a small file, to be set (instead of cookies, comparable technologies can also be used). This cookie or file records which websites the user visited, what content interests him and what the user has clicked on, as well as technical information about the browser and operating system, referring websites, visit time and other information on the use of the online offer.

Furthermore, we receive an individual “conversion cookie”. The information obtained through the cookie is used by Google to generate conversion statistics for us. However, we only see the anonymous total number of users who clicked on our ad and were redirected to a conversion tracking tag page. We do not receive any information that personally identifies users.

The data of the users are pseudonymously processed within the Google advertising network. This means that Google stores and processes e.g. not the name or e-mail address of the users, but processes the relevant cookie-related data within pseudonymous user profiles. Thus from the perspective of Google, the ads are not managed and displayed to a specifically identified person, but to the cookie owner, regardless of who that cookie owner is. This does not apply if a user has explicitly allowed Google to process the data without this pseudonymization. The information collected about users is transmitted to Google and stored on Google’s servers in the United States.

For more information about Google’s data usage, settings and opt-out options, please read Google’s Privacy Policy ( and Google’s Ads Ads Settings (

Targeting with Google Analytics

We use Google Analytics to display advertisements within Google and its affiliate advertising services to only those users who have shown an interest in our online offering or who have certain characteristics (e.g., interest in specific topics or products that may be determined by the websites visited) that we transmit to Google (so-called “Remarketing”, or “Google Analytics Audiences”). Remarketing Audiences helps to ensure that our ads match the potential interests of users.

Integration of Google Maps

(1) On this website we use Google Maps. This allows us to show you interactive maps directly in the website and allows you to conveniently use the map feature.

(2) By visiting the website, Google receives the information that you have accessed the corresponding subpage of our website. In addition, the data collected when visiting our website are transmitted. This is done regardless of whether Google provides a user account that you are logged in to, or if there is no user account. When you’re logged in to Google, your data will be assigned directly to your account. If you do not wish to be associated with your profile on Google, you must log out before activating the button. Google stores your data as usage profiles and uses them for purposes of advertising, market research and/or tailor-made website design. Such an evaluation is carried out in particular (even for users who are not logged in) to provide appropriate advertising and to inform other users on the social network about their activities on our website. You have a right to object to the formation of these user profiles, for which you must turn to Google directly.

(3) Further information on the purpose and scope of the data collection and its processing by the plug-in provider can be found in the provider’s privacy policy. You can also find out more about your rights and privacy settings here:

Google Recaptcha

This site uses the “recaptcha” function to detect bots when submitting online forms. This service is provided by Google Ireland Limited, Gordon House, Barrow Street, Dublin 4, Ireland. Please refer to Google’s Privacy Policy:, opt-out:


Our website features embedded videos from YouTube. This service is offered by YouTube, LLC 901 Cherry Ave. San Bruno, CA 94066 USA. For further information, see the data privacy policy of YouTube.

Data collected to manage your flatrate

At checkout, we will collect your name, email address, username, and password. This information is used to setup your account for our site. If you are redirected to an offsite payment gateway (Stripe) to complete your payment, we may store this information in a temporary session variable to setup your account when you return to our site.

At checkout, we may also collect your billing address and phone number. This information is used to confirm your credit card. The billing address and phone number are saved by our site to prepopulate the checkout form for future purchases and so we can get in touch with you if needed to discuss your order.

At checkout, we may also collect your credit card number, expiration date, and security code. This information is passed to our payment gateway to process your purchase. The last 4 digits of your credit card number and the expiration date are saved by our site to use for reference and to send you an email if your credit card will expire before the next recurring payment.

When logged in, we use cookies to track some of your activity on our site including logins, visits, and page views.

Privacy policy for online yoga classes and online meditation via “Zoom” in the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres

We would like to inform you in the following about the processing of personal data in connection with the use of “Zoom”.

Purpose of the processing

We use the “Zoom” tool to conduct online yoga classes and online meditations (hereinafter referred to as “Online Meetings”). “Zoom” is a service of Zoom Video Communications, Inc. which is based in the USA.

Responsible person

The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres are responsible for data processing directly related to the holding of online meetings.

Note: If you access the “Zoom” website, the provider of “Zoom” is responsible for data processing. However, to use “Zoom” it is only necessary to call up the website in order to download the software for using “Zoom”.

You can also use “Zoom” if you enter the respective meeting ID and, if necessary, other access data for the meeting directly in the “Zoom” app.

If you do not want to or cannot use the “Zoom” app, the basic functions can also be used via a browser version, which you can also find on the “Zoom” website.

What data is processed?

Various types of data are processed when using “Zoom”. The extent of the data depends on the data you provide before or during participation in an “online meeting”.

The following personal data are processed:

User details: First name, last name, telephone (optional), e-mail address, password (if “Single-Sign-On” is not used), profile picture (optional), department (optional)

Meeting metadata: Topic, description (optional), participant IP addresses, equipment/hardware information

For recordings (optional): MP4 file of all video, audio and presentation recordings, M4A file of all audio recordings, text file of online meeting chat.

When dialing in by phone: Information on incoming and outgoing phone number, country name, start and end time. If necessary, further connection data such as the IP address of the device can be saved.

Text, audio and video data: You may be able to use the chat, question or survey functions in an “online meeting”. To this extent, the text entries you make are processed in order to display them and, if necessary, log them in the “online meeting”. In order to enable the display of video and the playback of audio, the data from the microphone of your terminal device and from any video camera of the terminal device will be processed accordingly for the duration of the meeting. You can switch off or mute the camera or microphone yourself at any time using the “Zoom” applications.

In order to participate in an “online meeting”, you must at least provide information about your name to enter the “meeting room”.

Scope of processing

We use “zoom” to conduct online meetings. If we want to record online meetings, we will inform you in advance in a transparent manner and – if necessary – ask for your consent. The fact of the recording will also be displayed in the “Zoom” app.

If it is necessary for the purpose of recording the results of an online meeting, we will log the chat content. However, this will not be the case as a rule.

In the case of webinars, we may also process the questions asked by webinar participants for the purposes of recording and follow-up of webinars.

If you are registered as a user at “Zoom”, reports of online meetings (meeting metadata, telephone dial-in data, questions and answers in webinars, survey function in webinars) can be stored at “Zoom” for up to one month.

The possibility of a software-based “attention tracking” in “online meeting” tools like “Zoom” is deactivated.

Automated decision making within the meaning of Art. 22 GDPR is not used.

Legal basis of the data processing

For employees of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, the Austrian Data Protection Act (DSG) is the legal basis for data processing. Should data not be required for data processing in connection with the use of “Zoom”, but nevertheless be an elementary component in the use of “Zoom”, Art. 6 Para. 1 letter f) GDPR is the legal basis for data processing. In these cases, we are interested in the effective implementation of “online meetings”.
For other participants in “online meetings” – insofar as the meetings are held within the framework of contractual relationships – Art. 6 Paragraph 1 lit. b) GDPR is the legal basis for data processing.
If no contractual relationship exists, the legal basis is Art. 6 para. 1 lit. f) GDPR. Here too, we are interested in the effective implementation of “online meetings”.

Recipient / passing on of data

Personal data processed in connection with participation in “online meetings” is generally not passed on to third parties, unless it is specifically intended to be passed on. Please note that the contents of “online meetings” as well as personal meetings are often used to communicate information with customers, interested parties or third parties and are therefore intended to be passed on.
Other recipients: The provider of “Zoom” necessarily obtains knowledge of the above-mentioned data, insofar as this is provided for in the context of our data processing agreement with “Zoom”.

Data processing outside the European Union

“Zoom” is a service provider based in the USA. Processing of personal data is therefore also carried out in a third country. We have concluded a data processing agreement with the provider of “Zoom” which meets the requirements of Art. 28 GDPR.

Further information can be found in the privacy policy of Zoom which is available under

Disclosure, correction and deletion of personal data

You may request, free of charge, information about the data we store about you if you wish to verify what information we store about you.

You have the right to correct inaccurate or incomplete data that the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres have stored about you.

You have the right to request the deletion of your personal data if it is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was collected. However, we would like to point out that the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres are subject to legal obligations that do not allow us to delete certain information immediately. These obligations result from accounting and tax laws. We may, however, anonymize your data, thereby preventing processing for purposes other than those required by law.

In addition, you can amend or revoke your declaration of consent at any time without stating reasons, with effect for the future. You can submit the revocation either by post or by e-mail to us. You will incur no other costs than the postage costs or the e-mail transmission costs according to the existing base rates.

A text message (letter, email) is sufficient. Use the following contact information:
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Retreat House, Bichlach 40, 6370 Reith, Tyrol, Austria

Misconduct policy statement

The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre (“ISYVC”) is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that fosters personal and spiritual growth. Accordingly, the ISYVC has adopted the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Misconduct Policy (“Policy”), which is designed to create a positive atmosphere for employees, volunteers, students and guests that reflects the spiritual values of the ISYVC. In furtherance of this Policy, no ISYVC employee, volunteer, student, guest or Executive Board Member (“EBM”) may be subjected to misconduct on the basis of race, religious creed, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability or caste. This Policy will serve to: 1) prevent misconduct through education; 2) provide procedures for the prompt and thorough investigation of misconduct claims; and 3) ensure that a violation is remedied immediately, fully and fairly.

We take complaints of misconduct seriously.  Violations of this Policy are unacceptable, as is retaliation against anyone because he or she has made a complaint regarding such conduct or because he or she co-operated with an investigation into allegations of misconduct.   Our zero-tolerance policy for violators means that every instance of misconduct will be investigated promptly and thoroughly. Violation of this policy will involve appropriate action.  

This Policy applies to all employees, independent contractors, volunteers, presenters, students, guests and EBMs, and will be administered by ISYVC’s Executive Board through its designated representatives. All employees, volunteers, students, guests and EBMs are expected to help create and maintain an environment that is safe and sacred and free of any type of misconduct.


I. Definitions

Appeal: Either Party has the right to appeal the findings of the Investigation with the ISYVC or its designee.  Basis for appeal is limited to: (a) significant procedural lapses; or (b) the appearance of substantive new evidence not available at the time of the original decision.

Complainant: A person who reports a grievance regarding the Policy.

Grievance: Any allegation of a violation of the Policy.

Investigation: The fact-finding process conducted by the Investigator that determines whether there is sufficient, timely information to determine whether there has been a Policy violation.  This includes but is not limited to:

  • Explaining the Policy and investigation procedures of ISYVC to the Complainant and the Respondent;
  • Ensuring that both the Complainant and the Respondent are aware of the seriousness of any violation of the Policy;
  • Investigating the allegations and determining whether or not a violation of the Policy has occurred;
  • If the allegations are substantiated, the Investigator shall inform the EBM or its designee and recommend the appropriate remedial action to be taken.

Investigator: The person designated by the ISYVC responsible for accepting, reviewing and investigating Grievances. To contact the Investigator please see Section III “Reporting a Grievance” below.

Misconduct: any form of discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, or caste including sexual misconduct as defined below.

Notification of Decision: The written communication from ISYVC that notifies the Parties of the findings of the Investigation. In the event of an adverse finding, the Notification will also inform the Respondent (but not the Complainant) of the disciplinary action(s) to be taken.

Notification of Investigation: The written Notification to the Parties informing them of the initiation of an Investigation.

Party: The Complainant or Respondent and collectively referred to as the “Parties.”

Preliminary Review: The Investigator’s initial review following receipt of a complaint to determine whether to initiate an Investigation.

Respondent: A person who is alleged to have violated the Policy.

Retaliation:  An adverse action taken against a Complainant or Witness in response to their submission of a complaint and/or participation in an Investigation. Examples of adverse action include withholding a certificate of completion; firing or refusing to hire an individual; or expelling an employee/guest/student/volunteer or EBM from the ashram/centre.

Sexual Misconduct:  Sexual misconduct is a form of discrimination and is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, whether or not the person is a paid employee or a volunteer, or the terms and conditions of any part of a guest’s or student’s use of the ashram/centre; or when rejection of such advances or conduct is used negatively as a basis for any decision;
  • Sexually-oriented conduct, whether so intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or enjoyment of the ashra/centre or participation in ashram/centre programs by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive work environment.
  • Non-consensual sexual touching: a broad term that refers to any deliberate non-consensual touching of a person’s body, which conduct can range from unwanted touching such as fondling, up to and including non-consensual sex; or
  • Verbal: Use of sexually suggestive or explicit statements, whether through speech or written form, that create a hostile environment.

Sexual misconduct encompasses a wide range of conduct, some examples of specifically prohibited conduct include but are not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual advances whether or not they involve physical touching;
  • Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life, comments on an individual’s body, or comments about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;
  • Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications anywhere on ashram/centre grounds by employees, guests or volunteers, such as sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or cartoons;
  • Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, and suggestive or insulting comments;
  • Unwelcome inquiries into one’s sexual experiences;
  • Unwelcome discussion of one’s sexual activities;
  • Stalking; and
  • Comments or conjecture about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Witness: A person whom the Complainant or Respondent identifies as having first-hand or other relevant information about the alleged violation that would assist in determining whether the grievance may be substantiated.

II. Application of this Policy

The ISYVC has created an environment in which employees, volunteers, students and guests may feel safe and comfortable reporting a Grievance.  All supervisors who become aware of any such misconduct within their departments whether or not there has been an oral, written or formal complaint, are required to report it to the Investigator immediately.  Supervisors who knowingly allow or tolerate misconduct, sexual or otherwise are in violation of this Policy and are subject to discipline.  Any individual within the scope of this Policy who violates this Policy is subject to appropriate action.  Any question regarding the Policy or about a specific situation should be brought to the Investigator.

III. Reporting a Grievance

Any employee, volunteer, student, or guest who believes they have been subjected to misconduct, may file a Grievance with the Investigator at or with a senior staff member, counselor, or swami at the location where the alleged violation of this policy occurred. Reports must be initiated by the individual who has personally experienced sexual misconduct as defined in this policy. If the individual is a minor at the time of the report the individual’s parent or legal guardian, should one have been appointed, can report the misconduct on the ward’s behalf.

Since many employees, volunteers, students and guests stay at the ashrams and the centers for a brief length of time, to assist in any investigation, we encourage those who believe they have been subjected to misconduct to file their grievance as soon as possible after the alleged violation but not later than two years after the alleged violation of this policy occurred unless ISYVC determines that an extension is warranted.

To report an allegation of a violation of this Policy, the Complainant must provide the following information to the Investigator:

  • Your full name;
  • Your email and phone number, including any international extensions;
  • Full name of the person who you allege violated the Policy;
  • A full and clear description of the conduct alleged to have violated the Policy;
  • The date and location of the alleged misconduct;
  • Names and contact information of Witnesses; and
  • Any tangible evidence available to support the allegations

The Investigator may request additional information from you during the course of review or Investigation of any Grievance.

To ensure a fair process to all those involved, we will not investigate anonymous reports.

Publicizing information about an alleged violation of the Policy without following the reporting procedures, or filing a reckless or frivolous complaint will be considered misconduct and the person will be subject to disciplinary or corrective action.

IV. Preliminary Review

The Investigator will review the Grievances to determine whether or not: 1) the Policy applies to the subject of the complaint; 2) the Grievance is timely; and 3) the alleged conduct is covered by the Policy. If the complaint does not include all the information required by Section III, the Investigator shall inform the Complainant, who will then be given the opportunity to provide the required information. If no response to this request is received within ten (10) days, the matter will be closed.

V. Initiating an Investigation

After Preliminary Review of a Grievance, the Investigator shall determine whether or not there is sufficient information to proceed with an Investigation.  The ISYVC may also initiate an Investigation on its own behalf if, for example, a supervisor informs the Investigator of a possible violation of the Policy or if an indictment has been issued or charges filed with the relevant law enforcement agency.

Once an Investigation is commenced, ISYVC will provide the Parties with written (email) Notification of Investigation. In the event that either Party does not have an email address on file with ISYVC, the Investigator will call or speak directly to that Party to notify him or her of the investigation.

VI. Appointment/Status Suspension

ISYVC reserves the right to suspend or remove any employee, volunteer, guest or student pending an investigation.

VII. Confidentiality

We appreciate that participating in an Investigation – whether as a Complainant, Respondent, or Witness – can be difficult. Although ISYVC strives to balance the desire for confidentiality with the need to conduct a thorough and fair Investigation, anonymity cannot be maintained; therefore, the Parties’ names will be disclosed to each other during the Investigation.  We understand that a witness may be uncomfortable giving information and will also desire confidentiality.  Accordingly, to the extent possible, we will attempt to maintain the content of a witness’s statement confidential.

VIII. The Investigation

Once the Complainant and Respondent are contacted by the Investigator each Party will have an equal opportunity to be heard, to submit information, and to identify Witnesses who may have relevant information. The Investigator will notify and seek to interview the Complainant, the Respondent, and identified Witnesses and will gather other evidence and information relevant to the determination as to whether a Policy violation has occurred. Witnesses must have information deemed relevant to the Investigation, as determined by the Investigator.

IX. Findings

The Investigator will consider the totality of information gathered in the Investigation to determine, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) whether or not the Respondent violated the Policy. In reaching a Finding, the Investigator will consider things such as:

  • Party participation;
  • Details provided;
  • Timeliness of the report;
  • Corroborating or conflicting information;
  • Plausibility of information provided;
  • Relevancy of information; and
  • Omission of information.

X. Notification of Decision

At the conclusion of the Investigation, the ISYVC or its designee will notify the Parties as to whether or not there is sufficient information to establish a violation of the Policy (“Notification of Findings”).

XI. Appropriate Remedial Action

If we determine that a Respondent has violated the Policy, we will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Such action may range from the mandatory minimum action of a written reprimand to, in the case of serious or repeat violations, termination of employment, or in the case of volunteers, students or guests, being asked to leave.

XII. Appeal

Both Parties have the right to request an Appeal of the results of the Investigation. The right to Appeal is limited to 1) significant procedural lapses; or 2) the appearance of substantive new evidence not available at the time of the original decision. Appeals shall not be based upon, or granted to, dissatisfaction with a Finding or discipline. Note: deliberate omission of information by the Appealing Party in the original Investigation is not grounds for Appeal.

Each Party has thirty (30) days following the receipt of the Notification of Finding to request an Appeal. Requests for Appeal, with reasons, should be emailed to the EBM’s Appeals designee.  If this is not possible, the Party requesting an Appeal must speak directly with the Investigator who will forward the Appeal to the EBM’s Appeals designee.

The EBM Appeals designee will grant Appeals only in cases where the procedural problems or new evidence are considered substantive enough to potentially affect the outcome. If the Appeal is granted the Director of Standards will (i) affirm the findings, or (ii) alter the findings only where there is clear error based on the stated Appeal grounds. The determination of the ISYVC is final and will be issued within thirty (30) days to the Party requesting the Appeal. If the finding is altered, both parties will be notified of the final outcome.

XIII. Amendments

International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre reserves the right to amend the Misconduct Policy and Procedures at any time by posting the revised version on its website. The most current version of the policy will apply upon receipt of a Grievance.