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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. Craig says:

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

  4. Liz says:

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

  5. Tim I says:

    Funny! We need to be careful when selecting teachers.

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

  7. 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 …

  8. elephantjournal says:

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. elephantjournal says:

    Chris, you'll never be a sell-out, I mean star, with an attitude like that.

  12. 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. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. Shawna says:

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

  16. 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 …

  17. The article is meant to be funny, David, and poke fun at yoga celebrity. 🙂

  18. 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.

  19. Tasha says:

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

  20. 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.

  21. bflatbrad says:

    but Iyengar – Oh yeah ! laughing out loud, smiley face wink wink….

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

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

  25. 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.

  26. steve wilinglcox says:

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

  27. Kirsten says:

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

  28. Jessie Paul says:

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

  29. […] 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 […]

  30. Sharon_Marie says:

    love. bless. re-sharing on facebook.

  31. […] only been practicing yoga for 13 years. I am still in the infancy stage. Every single class is a learning experince for me. I […]

  32. Harleigh Quinn says:

    We still really need to meet for coffee. 😉

  33. Harleigh Quinn says:

    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.

  34. 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!!

  35. 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 …

  36. […] to a letter posted on elephant, admitting to as much, right out in the open was this total mess—The Paris Hiltoning of yoga lifestyle culture—that continues to pass into the shadows without creating more than a few raised eyebrows, proving […]

  37. […] Go up to every yoga teacher after class: see and be seen. Say how wonderful they are and how they touched your […]

  38. tommyboy says:

    most teachers think they are the hot stuff. but most of them are vacuum cleaners. ..haha!!!!!!!!!

  39. […] my deep cynicism towards the notion of a yoga celebrity, Seane Corn’s words and work have resonated with me since I first allowed myself to be dragged by […]

  40. cathy says:

    it was funny til the nervous breakdown..

  41. kconnorsd says:

    ……. it's sarcasm. That's the point

  42. @Yogalody says:

    Oh My Gosh!!! How come I haven't read this before. I am Laughing so hard right now. Brilliant simply brilliant.
    I love it!!!

  43. yogafirsthand says:

    Been there. Done that…Doesn't work! Haha. Seriously – there's a lot of noise out there and it takes some effort to cut through it all and remember who I truly am! …Funny stuff.

  44. Natalie Baginski says:

    crap. master's in vedic philosophy isn't on there. darnit! stupid sanskrit and in depth study of the vedas…i should have just learned how to do a good handstand and gotten more yoga tattoos…why didn't you write this a year ago!

  45. […] a more or less serious list of real reasons I don’t accept friend requests on Facebook…I write silly social media things, more often, since this whole subject begs two […]

  46. kris says:

    Yoga people love the idea of imperfect bodies being beautiful—it’s almost better if you’re out of shape.

    please, "yogis" hate ugly.

  47. Vernon says:

    This is gold, I love how actually learning to teach yoga in number 7 behind changing your name to something that sounds cool and getting a twitter account 🙂