10 Easy Steps to becoming a Yoga Celebrity.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 2, 2012
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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!

Urgent Update: obvi #5 is totally out. Focus on Snapchat, and Instagram. Frankly, these are key to this whole list so save yourself time ’cause time is money and that’s what yoga is about: money. And skip this list, because reading blogs isn’t gonna get you any of that fabulasana. ~ ed.

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, instagram and snapchat in hushed, humble, broken tones while walking down a sidewalk in Mysore or someplace that looks like Mysore. 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.

Sample tweets for your little followers to get excited about:

What do I like to wear to bed? What beauty products do I endorse? How do I sculpt my body? What are my secrets to my divine presence?

Why am I so lonely?

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.

Relephant bonus:

The difference between “Vice” vs. “Onion.” [imgur]


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 | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


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

  1. Anonoymous says:

    Visarga you are too funny….You described this whole modern yoga realm perfectly. Thanks.

  2. Cathy Woods, Yogini says:

    Love it…funny…but somewhat true….

  3. Kathy says:

    Right on Waylon & Elephant! Had me laughing out loud at the sad but accurate truth about today’s yoga. Once you’re there, you hopefully realize the absurdity of it all. Unless you don’t have feelings or give a rat’s ass about the rest of the world and how you affect it.

  4. federicavalabrega says:

    Wow, this is great, man! I am a yoga teach and, thank G-d, I am nothing like the ones you describe here. This ancient discipline of self-knowledge has been completely "ruined" by all the trademarking, publicity, miss-guidance, TV shows, and,idiots who give out teacher trainings to just about everyone everywhere without the right guidance and knowledge *(not everyone is Richard Friedman or Ana Forest indeed who used to be so real and I think they may have started to buy into this industry a bit too much themselves). It is a money-making industry and we all get paid, but, there is a good way and a bad way to TEACH and DO yoga and there are also the RIGHT and WRONG reasons to make such a fuss about it when it should all be about being humble and quiet. I heart you, Waylon and I agree with you 100%. Where is the CLASSIC yoga gone!?

  5. jody-ji says:

    Love it, Waylon! How did I miss this? You mean the folks who use their time and brainspace to write for you for free, right, and bring in lots of subscribers to EJ? Those very ones? That's so cool that they told you all their secrets.

  6. @yogatwit says:

    Now that is super! All that good advice!
    Thanks a lot, what a lot of fun. :))

  7. Jessica says:

    Hahahahaha Sheeple is the funniest word ever!!

  8. Oxygen says:

    Loved it!

  9. I love the part about having Jaser take your naked photos, too perfect!

  10. My Sociopath says:

    I just received my Yoga Teaching Certificate from a real college, not fly by night studio. It was under the Kinesiology Department and I have to say this article is RIGHT ON! The Yoga Teachers teaching the courses actually called themselves "Professors" in which they all only had B.A. degrees. And would try to sell their fellow students (me) additional "workshops" at the great rate of $30.00/hour and the workshops would have 20 people in them! Do the math! How the college even allowed this rip-off exploitation is beyond me. Then their rambles about their trips to India and sitting and rubbing the feet of dirty old pervert "gurus." I knew half-way through the program that I would fight ever been like these crazy people! Great Article!

  11. Deborah says:

    Serious question though for a serious and passionate individual: what is the "right" way to become a yoga teacher? As in cut-out the crap training and certification.

  12. i loved this… still laughing. i think i have a plan now. haha.

  13. bridgetmcgahen says:

    For a site that I've always thought was positive-minded, optimistic, and enlightened, this is a pretty sarcastic and negative article. Pushing others down for being full of themselves isn't the yogic way. Pushing people down doesn't really fit with yoga at all. Neither does sarcasm. I get that you're trying to be funny and I get your point that trying to be famous as a yogi is pretty lame, but this is not a good way to convey that thought in my opinion. Forgive people and lift them up.

  14. Boodiba says:

    I love it! How did I miss this article?

  15. ALW says:

    I thought part of yoga was accepting everyone – not poking fun at people. So yogis use Facebook …. big deal. I'm tired of hearing all the bashing of "celeb" yoga. My personal belief is, if you don't like it, don't join it, there are classes I avoid for that very reason. Do your own thing, Why waste the energy constantly putting others down?

    I suppose what really gets under my skin about this article is who it's written by. I hoped for so much more from the Elephant Journal. I found Elephant back in 2008 in Boulder. I found it inspiring, loving, positive and educational. Now all I feel I read is negativity, sarcasm, supposed "wit" that isn't even all that funny, and a 'holier-than-thou' approach to every topic. To read it from such a high figure within Elephant … just really disappointed.

  16. Christina says:

    you know this was a joke right?

  17. elephantjournal says:

    I did!

  18. elephantjournal says:

    Agree. But we love the "idea." Not the same as the "reality."

  19. Yash says:

    Hahahaha! Funny insights, and the pic at the top makes me laugh! I love yoga but find yoga culture in the U.S. a bit silly especially in places like Boulder where people take themselves too seriously and are too preachy.

  20. 1137Solvieg says:

    Money. DUH! Fat Stacks O' Cheddah, Yo.

  21. laura says:

    Hahaha, this is awesome. Great article!

  22. Susanna says:

    Get a fashion spread with your stud muffin in Yoga Journal

  23. Kimberly says:

    This makes me laugh. I went to India several years ago and a yogalebrity who now often graces the cover of yoga journal, has her own tour, claims to be a master yogi has an agent etc etc etc. she went for photo ops and to say she studied in India. Even told a mutual friend that she studied yoga in India with me. You hit this one out of the park.

  24. Ian says:

    Cynical, discouraging, and not funny. Why spread this around? To set yourself apart?

  25. Stealthy says:

    Great, great, great article! You hit it right on the nail.

  26. elephantjournal says:

    5a. Make sure you hashtag every tweet with things like #loveandlight and #gratitude. Also, be sure to refer to all of your friends as "Soul Sisters." AND DON'T FORGET THE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT, for the love of god!

  27. elephantjournal says:

    OMG OMG a yoga celebrity! xoxoxox

  28. elephantjournal says:

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

  29. elephantjournal says:

    OMG OMG I loooove you Sadie you're my favorite yogacelebrity!

  30. kay says:

    Wow. Very Cynical. Definitely going to stop following elephant journal. someone needs to do some soul searching…..

  31. Brandy says:

    My thoughts exactly! Very disappointed to see such a negative and sarcastic article. I was just about to sign up for a subscription, but now I am rethinking it. There is a fine line between humor and negativity, and right now I just need positive in my life.