10 Easy Steps to becoming a Yoga Celebrity.

Via on Mar 2, 2012

Yoga / Celebrity / Famous / Money / Career / Teacher

10 Steps to becoming a Famous Yoga Teacher.

Thanks to social media, it’s easy! Now you can do something you love, or at least that’s relatively easy—and make really, really good money doing so. You can get flown around and put up in hotels and be of benefit to others.

Read on!

1. Create a Facebook Page. Don’t title it anything creative like “Yoga Flow with Joanna Westby”…just title it your name. Consider that you’ll want to use it for the rest of your life, or until Facebook gets Myspaced by the next Facebook.

2. Change your name to something Eastern sounding. Joanna Westby? You sound Western. Change it to something Sanskrit. Doesn’t matter what. A buddy of mine changed his name to something that means “heap.” You know, like pile of shit. But no one knows! Or cares. It just sounds cool. But Joanna Westby? No one’s paying $500/hour for a private with you. That shit don’t fly. So what do you change it to? Just google “sanskrit” words and choose something pretty. But first! Read on…

Mysore Palace— where Krishnamacharya taught the Maharaj.

3. Go to India. Duh. Doesn’t matter what you do there, go to the beach, whatever. Just make sure to get some photos of yourself doing yoga in Mysore, or someplace that looks like Mysore, and post those on your new Facebook Page. Find a guru, or just anyone who looks like a guru, stare in her or his face until you have a spiritual moment, then talk about that on facebook in hushed, humble, broken tones. Now, you’re ready to change your name to something-or-other that is inspired by that guru, even if they’re just an ordinary layman you wilfully mistook for a guru.

4. Are you hot? If so, congratulations. If not, that’s okay, just accentuate your lack of hotness. If you’re an aging middle-aged guy, for example, just wear awkward tight yoga shorts and let your paunch bulge beneath your prAna. Be proud of yourself, whatever you look like, and it’ll work out. Wear scarves.

5. Make sure you have a twitter account. Don’t tweet often, or folks will think you have nothing to do. Unless you’re Deepak, you can’t get away with tweeting all the time. Publicize your twitter account a ton and say wise things, quotes, and offer discounts and advice.

6. Get a publicist. Tell them you’re sponsored by ___________ (pick a few smaller sponsors of Yoga Journal conference). Get the publicist to get you teaching at Omega, Esalen, Kripalu, and hopefully soon Wanderlust, Tadasana, Hanuman. Don’t try for Yoga Journal conferences, they’ll be onto you. Once you’re teaching at a few conferences, tell all those sponsors that aren’t sponsoring you to sponsor you. Or rather have your publicist do so. Make sure you’re pictured in their ads, looking beautiful and humble. Close your eyes, put your hands in anjali, that sort of thing. Anjali might make a great name, btw, I don’t think it’s taken.

7. Oh, right: learn how to teach yoga. Start off with a few easy ones: a teacher training at a hodunk studio that will give you the tools and a certificate. Then, do Corepower or something corporate–Yogaworks, Pure, Equinox, something like that. Take the easiest possible, unless you’re fit, then really go for it so you can learn some awesome poses to reluctantly show off in your new ads. Once you’ve done that, do a third teacher training. This shit is expensive, but don’t worry, you’ll make it back, and daddy and mommy will pay, anyways, just assure them you’re gonna be huge. The third training should be with someone hardcore. Richard Freeman would be perfect. Ana Forrest. Someone serious and well-respected will give you bragging rights that will shut up the haters and give you street cred.

8. Now that you know how to teach, teach at a studio when you’re home. Most of the time, you’ll be traveling. Time to write your bio, if you haven’t yet. Mention that you’ve been studying for 15 years, no matter how long it’s been, and get Jasper Johal to take some naked photos of you if you’re hot, and if not do it anyways. Yoga people love the idea of imperfect bodies being beautiful—it’s almost better if you’re out of shape. Also mention your guru in India who gave you your name (but don’t define it).

9. Okay: you’ve got a publicist, teaching gigs, spiritual retreats and conferences publicizing you, a booming yoga page and burgeoning twitter following. You’ve paid back your parents or your credit card bills. Time to hire an assistant to refer everyone to. And get a yoga mat deal. Brand that shit. Talk with Gaiam. Get them to make you some DVDs. If they don’t, move to LA or spend some time there and work with some video outfits there, there’s a ton. Get some DVDs out. Don’t worry about the money. It’s all about having yoga DVDs—no one will use them, but some people will buy them…it’s analogous to being a professor, where you have to publish an academic book that no one reads. Finally, get on yogaglo or GaiamTV. Post a ton of daily videos to youtube. In addition to your sponsorships, get some commercials and iPhone apps going. Your publicist and agent will nail that down. Make sure they do.

10. Finally, in a hotel in Australia where you’re leading a retreat for some yoga studio that’s paying you too much and flying you there and putting you up, have a nervous breakdown. Realize all this means nothing. Just sit with yourself. Learn to meditate. Make friends with yourself. Practice maitri. Practice tonglen. Take a break and go on retreat at a Buddhist center.

Now, you have a choice.

A: And here’s where it gets good: for the ultimate in Spiritual Success, use this breakdown and newfound loneliness and love for oneself as a story in your seminars and classes and videos.

B: Or, learn from the burn out, stick with your loneliness and realize that celebrity is all noise and bullshit.

But don’t quit it…transform it. Use it as a bullhorn to spread the good news about waking up from ourselves, just as you have done. Smile, sadly, and just be yourself and work in service of others. Of course, our ego’s too smart for all that, so keep meditating, allow your mind to reawaken itself, again and again, to the present moment.

> Bonus: Here’s what to wear and buy.

> Here’s some real advice for those of you who are genuinely interested and came here expecting a serious, practical article.

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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131 Responses to “10 Easy Steps to becoming a Yoga Celebrity.”

  1. Lorin Arnold Lorin says:

    Are you saying no one reads my book? Dayum. I'm crushed.

  2. West says:

    You nailed it Waylon! Good BLOG!

  3. DaveTelf says:

    Brilliant. Funny 'cuz it's true.

    Now, for a real challenge, how does one become a celebrity Buddhist? I hear I can have all the women and drugs I like so long as I do them "mindfully." Do I still have to learn funny words?

    • yogasamurai says:

      Celebrity Buddhist? That's easy! Set up a Yoga Blog with a cool photo. Ingratiate yourself with anyone and everyone who is someone — or just thinks they are. (You never know). Interview them, stroke them, extol their spiritual wisdom and their ever-lasting contribution to the future of man (and don't forget woman) kind. Then rinse and repeat with the next interviewee. And the next. And the next. Ooo-and-ahhh, and occasionally even coo. Let them shamelessly promote themselves, too, with bios that read like press releases. Post only their very best photos – even if the images are ancient – and always make sure they say sweet things about you on the record!!!

      • yogasamurai says:

        Love ya dude!

      • elephantjournal says:

        It might be easy to become a Buddhist celebrity, but it's not worth it. Buddhists don't buy anything. It's a lackluster demographic. They just meditate, they don't buy too many meditation cushions, and these days they don't even buy many books (they read online). And, unlike in yoga, most Buddhist teachers discourage fan-club-ness, so there's not a ton of product. Yoga, on the other hand, is exercise…so everyone does it all the time, and we "need" clothes and props and we travel to do workshops.

        But if you're being serious beneath that sharp and right-on humor, we here on elephant do allow folks to promote themselves in bios–so that they won't do so in blogs. We actively discourage that, and reject articles that cross the line (unlike some other publications I could mention). We publish plenty of criticism, and while we're friends and all with many we interview, naturally, we ask them whatever we want to ask–everything's on the table.

        That said…my bio photo is, what, four years old, and my bio fails to mention that I'm pretty bad about doing my dishes. ~ Waylon

        • yogadivina says:

          Wayon, I love you , but if you dont do dishes I cant pay for you.
          thats how it works. right?

        • yogasamurai says:

          Waylon, why are there so many angry Buddhists? Meditation doesn't mean stuff your feelings! Have you ever seen a group of Buddhists at a paint ball facility? It's like watching a Special Forces assassination team. Thank God there's no live ammo.

  4. Jason Gan says:

    Why is modern yoga all about publicity and paying an agent?

    You know, instead of jumping in lotus pose and calling that technique "levitation"?

  5. tll224 says:

    OMG; this was hilarious!

  6. fil tata says:

    all these tactics are against the basic yoga principle of SATYA(truthfullness),they ignor Yoga as spriritual path doing business and gain material profits..and because a real yogi never follows these ways,deceivers become well known in the west as yoga teachers.this attitude harms!

  7. Vero Barnes says:

    Bahahaha ! Thanks, had a good laugh !

  8. Vision_Quest2 says:

    "Yoga people love the idea of imperfect bodies being beautiful—it’s almost better if you’re out of shape. Also mention your guru in India who gave you your name (but don’t define it)."

    Burning question of the day: "But how does the teacher whose name in Sanskrit means 'pile of cow dung', actually TEACH?"

    • elephantjournal says:

      He doesn't teach. He started a successful business that sells indigenous goodness in plastic wrappers.

  9. Vision_Quest2 says:

    And, incidentally, if it's not too hard for the average non-Gumby to follow … I would use the celebriyogi's DVD. Better yet, putting out streaming (such as yogaglo, yogavibes, myyogaonline, yogadownload.com, etc.) is the new DVD …

    It's cheaper and more convenient than hitting their classes or workshops any time soon.

  10. SQR says:

    You nailed it, brah!

  11. sadieyoga says:

    Dang! I forgot about the nervous breakdown! Buying my ticket to Australia now…:)

  12. Hamish says:

    I'm a middle aged guy, but I have a six-pack not a paunch. Looks like a three month pizza diet is on the cards.

    • elephantjournal says:

      No paunch necessary! Probably easier to be idolized without it. Just saying if you got it, flaunt it.

    • catnipkiss says:

      mmmmm, no baby, keep that 6 pack, it will do you more good than the pizza diet. There is always thin crust…. call me, we'll share one ;) – Alexa

    • Vision_Quest2 says:

      Let's hear it for the 3 month pizza diet!

      Seriously, don't you think America (and the world) now needs the Bizarro John Friend–you know the slightly pudgy, accessible (but Turbo-charged!) Tantra/Iyengar-inspired teacher – but without anything much in the way of vices?

      That style is not my cuppa …

      But I think I'm right about most other Americans …

  13. Valerie Carruthers ValCarruthers says:

    The name of the game! Posted to Popular Lately on Elephant Spirituality home page.

  14. Visarga says:

    makes me want to start a bank to fund these endeavors, there should at least be a credit card called Amrit, rotating monthly discounts for festivals, pants, etc. some copy from the ad: Who is Tathagata, whose rainbow smile inflows the six worlds? Let Amrit™ be your rainbow, become Arjuna's bow and bring your unique vision to this struggling world. Integrated with iWisdomé©, Amrit's™ streamlined patenting process, stretch your nāḍi to the limit!

  15. noisepop says:

    I think it’s funny when Waylon Lewis says that celebrity is bullshit. It makes me laugh.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Well, you're soundbiting me, friend. Read the next sentence up there. ^

      Celebrity for celebrity's sake is bullshit, just look at reality TV.

      Celebrity for others' sake is vital, and we need more of it. I'm sure you could think of 100 examples presto of famous folks using said fame for good, like the Hole in the Wall Gang camps, or Sundance, or the satellite over war zones in Africa, or Mother Theresa, or Leo DiCaprio trying to help the tigers from going extinct, or…

      • yogasamurai says:

        In theory, it's one thing to be a celebrity from the glamor, fashion, or film industry – and then to use that celebrity for constructive good. No one is really kidding themselves that their celebrity is grounded in a spiritual quest – it's about being good at what you do, and making money, and perhaps extolling other "virtues" – for example, if you think promoting certain standards of fashion or beauty is virtuous – which some do, on aesthetic grounds

        Probably quite another argument to take a spiritual enlightenment pursuit and to build a larger celebrity around it. But in fact, the people involved make mainly the same arguments. I am spreading the virtues of what I do – and what it might do for you – to a broader audience, through the mass market, and that's a positive good.

        At some point, the sense of a dividing line simply disappears, though. That's the logic of the capitalist marketplace – over time?

        Another distinction might be — publicity is not celebrity. Many organizations aggressively promote and publicize their causes but they do so without celebrity. Their leaders, even their public leaders, are not celebrities.

        Yoga seems t foment an unusually strong degree of narcissistic celebrity seeking, it actually draws the most narcissistic people to begin with, I think, and then creates a highly narcissistic culture to support them.

        I am a trained sociologist and would love to see a decent study of the peculiar demographics and psychographics (lifestyles, philosophies, values and attitudes) of the new yoga sub-culture.

        But most of the people in the field – the women – are probably too into yoga to study it with any sense of genuine detachment!

        • yogasamurai says:

          We have yoga teachers here who have a promotional banner on their web site asking that people vote for them as "Best Yoga Teacher of DC" in the local, widely read arts and culture newspaper.

          They then turn around and use the results – if favorable – in their marketing. I was voted 2nd or third best ypoga teacher in DC – after doing all this self-promotion. No one thinks anything of it.

          Now what would be the real purpose of that, in spiritual terms? I see none. It's just narcissistic self-aggrandizement – also known rather colloquially these days as being selfish and greedy?

          • yogasamurai says:

            And the truth is, they are n such thing. I know most of the people,who have obtained these highly prized "statuses." In fact, they are not even the best teachers in their own yoga studios, let alone citywide.

            At what point does an industry self-regulate to the point where it literally says, as part of our bylaws and your certification, certain marketing and promotional activities are prohibited?

            You can do them, but you lose our endorsement. Can it be enforced?

          • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

            We still really need to meet for coffee. ;-)

    • elephantjournal says:

      Upvote for implication that I'm a celebrity. Finally!

  16. anastasia says:

    HAHAHA! AWESOME!

  17. bo forbes says:

    Good one, Way! xo

  18. Jerry says:

    funny, funny bullseye stuff!

  19. Yoga Divina says:

    SOOOO TRUEEEE!!!!

    If ya swing it .. swing it big.. or fake it huge!

  20. This is fucking hilarious.

  21. You forgot: seek out sheeple to build your flock.

  22. Christina says:

    I find this funny but a bit disrespectful (not a teacher, but know great ones)

    • elephantjournal says:

      It's disrespectful of those who "use" yoga, which I guess is all of us. If we "use" it long enough, of course, it will bite back and we'll have a happy ending.

    • The diatribe is not about teaching. It's about celebrity.

      • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

        Precisely.
        When you go about changing your name and deciding you can now gain an entire flock of people around you because being a yoga instructor suddenly makes you "important" and "relevant", you have abused the concept of celebrity.
        It is only disrespectful if one knows intrinsically that they are one of the people described above and is not willing to admit it to themselves.

  23. Yogini Di says:

    If you teach yoga, why the hell would you want to be a celebrity? I'm not getting it.

  24. catnipkiss says:

    Very funny…. but I forgot to go to India, do I have to start all over, or just resign myself to not being famous?? Even funnier as I read an elephant post from someone who apparently mastered all these steps (!) earlier today! Not naming names, but she needs to raise her private session price, I guess……

    • elephantjournal says:

      You could just not go to India and say you did. Find a green screen.

    • I read that one. I'm going to practice restraint and self control and not even comment…
      :))

      • Waylon: Yep, true. Everyone at ej believes that I live in India, that I do yoga, and that I'm always going offline to go to Calcutta or that the village internet is down. In truth, I'm living on the 3rd floor of a brownstone in NYC, even speaking about yoga makes me tired, and I just pretend to go offline so everyone will leave me alone.

        • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

          My estranged wife, Mukti Yogini (I still love the irony of that in relation to her) DID go to india and tried to live off of that for about 3 months before she began to realize it wasn't going to get her students.
          Last I heard she had no choice but to go back into the accounting she abandoned a year ago, because she wasn't happing doing it.
          Guess not everybody can pull off being a celebrity. lol!!

          • Vision_Quest2 says:

            I agree. Maybe the "day job" is not so bad …

            Until the American government (or wherever you're writing from) start commissioning yogis, yoga is just another "winner-take-all" art … http://www.amazon.com/Winner-Take-All-Society-Muc… … though there will be teachers who might earn a living adding it to their acting or school teaching, etc. skill set …

  25. elephantjournal says:

    Michele Bollo Street cred. That's what I'm allup into…….

    Kristine Falck-Pedersen We had to take Sanskrit for our certification at Kriya, decades ago, what a beautiful language! Now, am thinking of brushing up on all I've forgotten. Thanks for the reminder!
    Ha, no seriously it is a beautiful language.

    Elyse Cornett This is hilarious

    Scott Chisman Funny article. I also liked the links at the bottom to ten items for a spiritual materialist, and on becoming a yoga teacher. I got certified three years ago, and set out to teach a lot of classes. I taught over 500 the first two years. Most of my students were beginners, so I worked on my teaching and routines. I stayed out of the yoga scene and culture for two years and developed my own stuff, reading and learning. I got in great shape, though now I am nursing some injuries for pushing so hard. And I have met many who drop names, get pictures taken with famous instructors, make a pilgramige to India, etc. Heh. For those two years I worked at a laundry mat/mini- mart owned by a family from India – does that count? Their hometown is close to Mysore…

  26. melis says:

    Laughing my asana off!!

  27. Unwonderment says:

    Who leaked this information from Anusara HQ?

  28. DAVID says:

    that s a big bull shit article —–YOGA CELEBRETY !!!! ONLY IN AMERICA … BULL SHIT ..!!

  29. Dayz says:

    I think you're famous Waylon!

  30. Locayoga says:

    I love how "Learn how to teach yoga" is number 7. Having a Facebook account, being hot, and changing your name to 'Guru Goddess Aanandini' is way more important! Fun article :)

    • Vision_Quest2 says:

      Oh, and making sure you enter the annual Yoga Journal cover model contest each year …

      I've found some fast-trackers in the local yoga scene (though not yet anyone generous/talented/unique enough to put out a DVD/streaming) do that …

    • elephantjournal says:

      I was wondering if someone would notice that. I was kinda proud of that one.

  31. Ambroyogini says:

    Oh my goodness! I have SO much to catch up on…! Perhaps being behind the curve will be a benefit – kinda like lacking 'hotness'…! Thanks for the giggles!

  32. Ilana says:

    Regarding one of the teachers and the “change your name” point, uh, hate away but Shiva is actually her birth name and the reason she delved into the practice of yoga.

    this post sounded really petty and jealous. why do I read EJ again? I’m starting to think this is just a support group for people looking for a lot of validation that they don’t get on the mat or in real life.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Soooo serious. I loooooooooove Shiva. Who doesn't? BTW, she has a wonderful sense of humor…you should study more with her.

      Here's every mention of her on this site. I challenge you to find a single "demeaning" one. http://www.elephantjournal.com/?s=%22shiva+rea%22

      As for being jealous, I'm not even a yoga teacher. This is not meant to be…oh, nevermind. Explaining humor ruins it.

  33. Sharon Marie says:

    Keen and funny and too true! No trips to India, no publicist, but I am a full time yoga teacher making a humble living. I love my job and to help others. I would like this path that I have chosen to one day financially support my family; take the financial burden off of my amazingly supportive husband. Is that wrong? I love this article Waylon, and actually great tips! LOL. Thank you for writing it!

    • elephantjournal says:

      Not wrong at all! I don't even think it's wrong to be famous and be a yoga teacher, as you'll see here at the end! http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/03/top-10-soc… In fact, it's verrrry right. I'm a big fan of Shiva and Seane and Tiffany and Kathryn and Sadie and Hemalayaa and Richard and Patricia and Rodney and…there's a few I wouldn't put on that list.

      I guess for me, to be serious, it comes down to intention. This post was designed to make fun of those who think of it career first, instead of following their bliss first.

      That said, in Buddhism it's said to be a responsibility and virtue to pay your bills on time and have a strong foundation for your life. Yoga teachers, like teachers generally, should overall be making more money for their great work.

  34. Craig says:

    I like the line of "Go to Mysore or someplace that looks like Mysore" ")

  35. Liz says:

    This is really good….it's so true!

  36. Tim I says:

    Funny! We need to be careful when selecting teachers.

  37. You've nailed it Waylon! But moving to LA? No thanks…for now

  38. Dang it! Got the Twitter, Got the Facebook, No India yet… Bloody hell they're dang expensive!

    So I found a 2 yogis on YouTube who I resonated with before or while they really got all popular and became celebraties in the yoga community. Guess What?! These two cyber teachers transformed my LIFE from being absolute shit to actually me finding a sort of light from within. These two teachers are very well known and both write on EJ, have twitter accounts, very successful YouTube pages, Facebook Pages, Books, DVD's and yes; Sadie Nardini has released her first DVD with Gaiam just recently.
    Yes, Sadie Nardini and Dashama Konnah are two very successful yogis who rock the social media and with that reach a wider audience than they useually would with out it… not to mention saving me thousands of dollar in the long run to fly all the way over to the US to do yoga with them. Perhaps one day I will do so just to meet these two incredible women and to give them a nice fat hug and smooch, to say thank you for sparking my agni!

    Other teachers who are celebrities which inspire and touch that special place… And I'm talking about teachers who are not just in it for attention & popularity sake but who really care & share:
    Elana Brower
    Sheva Rea
    Michael Taylor
    Tara Styles
    Kriss Carr
    Amy Ippoliti
    And there are so many other who deserve to be on the list!

    Including you Waylon ( I love the way you bring these things to light to make us check that we are doing them for the right reasons) Hopefully others will be smart enough to discern who the real teachers are; who have something real to share and to do the work; their calling better through the social media that is available to us in this age. May it be used for good!

    Loved reading this! Loved all these comments.

    • Vision_Quest2 says:

      And, while we're on the topic, don't forget those teachers of fusion yoga:

      Tony Horton
      Zuzana Light (of bodyrock TV)
      Jonathan Urla
      Mr. Yoga

      and at least a half dozen streaming websites that feature teachers of same … one of which I use sometimes for regular yoga …

  39. Alicia says:

    This is so funny, and from the 'image' I get of the yoga scene through facebook. So true. Its all about image but its not about image!

  40. Shawna Turner Shawna says:

    Ha! Hilarious! I love how learning to teach yoga is #7 on the list. :)

  41. Funny! I am not a yoga teacher, but I tell people to go to Mexico instead of India. Mexico is awesome. It's cheaper. They have ancient stuff there too. And you can wear a bikini and not get masturbated on. I kid, I kid…kind of.

  42. Tasha says:

    A bit cynical for someone who is "Not Spiritual, but just trying to be a good person".

    • elephantjournal says:

      Cynicism is very spiritual. And your "comment", putting things in quotes and all…is a bit cynical, yourself. Cynicism is a positive thing, within limits!

  43. bflatbrad says:

    This is funny. and depressing at the same time. So, because in astanga no props are allowed, I guess that means no zucchini in the yoga shorts.

  44. Jack Daniels says:

    This is why I have absolutely no respect for the practice of yoga any longer. To me, it has turned into exercise. Too many phonies around.

  45. steve wilinglcox says:

    really funny waylon! Sounds like you lifted some material directly from Valerie D'umbrainsio/Yoshi Aonus.

  46. Kirsten says:

    Hilarious. But, my ego wants to try it, seems like a good idea.

  47. Jessie Paul says:

    I'm actually feeling really sorry for John Friend right now……such a hard choice…….which path will he choose?

  48. [...] of all, the article was titled: 10 Easy Steps to Becoming a Yoga Celebrity. Quotes like: “easy”, “celebrity” “$500/hour”, “Are you hot?”, “you’re [...]

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