Yoga Alliance – Grievance from Asheville Yoga Center

Melissa Driver at Asheville Yoga Center that has never met or spoken with me filed a grievance with Yoga Alliance that is the registrar for the RYT500 certification I was about to complete at Asheville Yoga Center, and Trinity Perkins at Yoga Alliance requested a meeting:

Hi, Jim

My name is Trinity and I’m an Accountability Advisor with Yoga Alliance. I hope this message finds you well and staying safe, thanks for your time.

My department handles grievance, concerns or inquiries regarding our membership and potential violations of our Code of Conduct, Scope of Practice and Standards. We strive to mediate between all parties involved to find a resolution, including education on the requirements of membership.

I’d like to schedule some time to speak with you this week as it was recently brought to our attention by Melissa Driver of Asheville Yoga School that you were removed from their teacher training program. She also shared screenshots of an ongoing conversation in a FB group regarding an apparent financial dispute. I’d like to hear your side of this situation and see how Yoga Alliance might be able to offer support.

I’m located on Eastern Time with hours M-F 8:30-4:30pm ET. My earliest availability via phone or Zoom is tomorrow at 11am ET. What’s your time zone and availability for a call? Do you have a preference of Zoom or call?

Thank you in advance for your time. I look forward to talking with you, Jim, and hearing your side of this matter.

Take good care.

In Service,

Trinity Perkins, M.S.Ed, RYT 200

Accountability Advisor


email 9/28/2020 2:26 PM

I replied the next morning, and set up a Zoom call with her.


I am surprised to hear from you, have not yet submitted my grievance, and do not know Melissa Driver. However, I did plan to submit a grievance about Sunny Keach and Stephanie Keach that are the studio owners. I have been advised by counsel to not further engage with them, and had rather handle matters amicably if possible instead of filing a civil suit against Asheville Yoga Center.

May we schedule a Zoom call on your first available 8:30 AM day? 11 AM is right in the middle of my business day, and not convenient.

Here is the complaint I have submitted to the Better Business Bureau that sums up my grievance, and I am not surprised that Melissa Driver filed a grievance against me to try to make me look bad:

Thank you for using the Better Business Bureau’s Online Complaint System.
Your complaint has been assigned case # 577969.

Filed on : September 21 2020

Filed by :
James Ray

Filed against :
Asheville Yoga Ctr
211 S Liberty St
Asheville NC 28801-2334

Complaint Description:
I had started training in 2016, and was about to graduate. They dismissed me as client after spending $10,000, and will not let me get my RYT500. I had taken a virtual teacher training module on Bhakti Yoga with Michael Johnson 9/11-9/13, and had previously taken others modules with him as well. After the module was over, he said he would stick around if anyone had any question, or would like to have a discussion. He gave me permission to speak, and I asked him for a reference, and told him why (a personal issue completely unrelated to Asheville Yoga Center). When I called him to discuss the details, he had an authoritarian tone, said people complained, went back on his word to give me a reference, said management would be contacting me, and then I received the attached dismissal letter with no cause given. I have a pristine life time track record, and passed a strict background check to serve as a volunteer yoga leader for the NC Department of Public Safety at Franklin Correctional Institute to help inmates find peace in their environment. I also served in Charlotte North Rotary Club, Raleigh Rotary Club, and Cary McGregor Rotary Club for 20 years with 10 years perfect attendance and 3 Paul Harris Fellows. I am an ordained minister, and founding member of the Marriage Matters Sunday school class at Edenton Street United Methodist Church. All I ask is for Ashville Yoga Center to refund all monies associated with the RYT500 certification since, or give me the certification without prejudice after I complete the last few modules necessary.

Your Desired Resolution:
I’ve spent $10,000 since 2016 when I started the advanced yoga teacher training, and seek a complete refund since they dismissed me as a client without cause, I am unable to transfer credits elsewhere, and I am unable to get what I paid for, the RYT500 certificate. I had planned to graduate in a couple of months. Stephanie and Sunny Keach that own Asheville Yoga Center will not answer the phone or respond to email.

This case will be reviewed by a complaint specialist at the Better Business Bureau, and then forwarded to the business for their response. It is our policy to allow the business 10 working days to respond to your complaint. You will be notified when the business has responded.
BBB CASE#: 577969



Here is the video recording of the Zoom call between Trinity and I about the complaint from Melissa Driver at Asheville Yoga Center that has since then been dropped:

video with Trinity Perkins at Yoga Alliance 10/1/2020

I also forwarded to Trinity Perkins documentation that provided a detailed explanation of the fabricated Assault on Female charge where I was found Not Guilty with or without any reference from Michael Johnson, Asheville Yoga Center, or anyone else. Furthermore, that fabricated charge had nothing to do with yoga, Asheville Yoga Center, or Assault on Female. Consequently, Judge Monica Bousman ruled in my favor, declared me Not Guilty, and said the Cary Police Officer Howard did not have probable cause.

9/23/2020 Not Guilty verdict


I look forward to our meeting 10/1/2020 at 8:30 AM for a Zoom call about the complaint from Asheville Yoga Center against me, and had previously failed to send you the letter from my attorney indicating that the Assault on Female charge the State of North Carolina because of the Cary Police Department had nothing to do with Asheville Yoga Center. I am going through a divorce, my wife of 20 years assaulted me, I pushed her away and called the police, and she told the police she did not provoke me. It really has nothing to do with Asheville Yoga Center, is none of their business, and I have not done anything wrong. I just asked for a reference that I had been working on my RYT500 for 5 years with intention of graduating soon after class from the yoga teacher, Michael Johnson, to use in the court case last week when I was found Not Guilty:

I am shocked at how Michael Johnson said he would be happy to provide that reference yet allowed people to talk behind my back and fabricate fear leading up to my dismissal without cause. They judged me, and broke a trust. According to Michael, people complained about me for something that never happened. Furthermore, it was a virtual teacher training module. How could people possibly be scared of me harming them over an Internet connection?

Whatever Asheville Yoga Center and their personnel do behind my back is their business, and their karma. I know I have never said or done anything in their yoga studio, in any other studio, or outside any yoga studio that I would not share with my own mother, a mediator, or a judge should we not reach a settlement with dialogue.

Asheville Yoga Center either needs to let me finish what I started without prejudice, or pay every penny back that I’ve spent nearly completing my RYT500.



Trinity Perkins at Yoga Alliance followed up with Michael Johnson at Asheville Yoga Center, and Michael Johnson went back on his word to provide me with a reference plus slandered me by stating he “had concerns over your behavior during your time in teacher trainings.” There have never been any complaints from anyone at Asheville Yoga Center about me, and Asheville Yoga Center employees are fabricating stories instead of admitting an error. Consequently, Asheville Yoga Center needs to make financial restitution.

Thank you for your message, Jim

I hope you’re doing well so far this week. I appreciate your patience while I spoke with Michael Johnson and sent a follow up emailed summary of both calls to Melissa Driver.

Michael was a key witness listed by both you and Melissa. My call with him was helpful to fill in a few gaps regarding your dismissal and the statement from AYC, and possible next steps within Yoga Alliance scope. Michael did have concerns regarding how the school handled your dismissal but he also did not feel that he could, in good faith, write a letter of recommendation for you upon learning more of the concerns over your behavior during your time in teacher trainings. Michael did not share tapes of his conversations or screenshots of his emails with you – he read and briefly described them all on our call.

Michael said that he did not share your personal story of the assault but that it was recorded at the end of one of his classes while 15 students were still logged into the class.

At this time, AYC is not seeking any additional support from Yoga Alliance. I shared with Melissa that you have two requests – allow you to finish what you started and earn the RYT500 credential or, issue your refund in the full amount you are asking.

Melissa said that she spoke with the Keach’s and they will be responding to your BBB complaint shortly.

Jim, do you need any additional support from Yoga Alliance regarding this case?

Thank you for your time.

In Service,

Trinity Perkins, M.S.Ed, RYT 200

Accountability Advisor

email to Trinity Perkins at Yoga Alliance 10/7/2020

Ironically, I had been a dues-paying member in good standing since 2014 with Yoga Alliance, filed a grievance with Yoga Alliance about wrongful dismissal from Asheville Yoga Center, and Trinity Perkins, a female, took no action against Melissa Driver, a female, at Asheville Yoga Center. Furthermore, Trinity Perkins refused to escalate the issue to Shannon Roche, the female president of Yoga Alliance.

Michael Johnson has the burden of proof on his slanderous comment, “concerns over your behavior during your time in teacher trainings,” and there have been no times during my time in or out of teacher trainings for which I am ashamed or would not repeat. I have absolutely nothing to hide.

There is very much of a cause/effect relationship from the phone call with Michael Johnson as if he were ashamed that I was in his virtual class after going to jail for a crime I did not commit. Michael Johnson admitted to drug use in a former teacher training module that may be affecting his ability to reason, did not keep his word, and does not have sufficient source credibility to judge my behavior.

Asheville Yoga Center – question after class from Jim Ray

After the Bhakti Yoga teacher training class was over, Michael Johnson, the instructor, said he would stick around to answer questions, or to have discussion. I let him know I had a question, waited patiently for 18 minutes for others to have the floor, asked him for a reference as a yoga student, and let him know why in this recording I made of our conversation: