3.8
March 19, 2012

How 70s Porn Got this Yogini 10 Million Views on Facebook.

 

It all started in my Brooklyn apartment.

I woke up from a nap, and, just like that, decided I wanted to make an, um…home video, of sorts.

I was too embarrassed about my lack of technical knowledge, so I went to the electronics store and picked up some cheap model. A canon, I think, under $200.

Then I want back home again, put on my best outfit, assumed the position, and turned on the camera.

Hence, my first-ever yoga video was born. What did you think I was talking about?

Wow…you sure have a dirty mind.

But since we’re on the subject of porn, have you ever seen the 70‘s classic Deep Throat with Linda Lovelace?

Of course not. We’re yogis! But trust me…this post has everything to do with you.

Anyway, if you can try very hard to imagine it, I’m sure you’re not thinking about a James Cameron-worthy, slick production. Maybe visions of brown and yellow paisley velour couches and too-dark lighting are more the image that comes to mind.

Well, that’s exactly what my first videos looked like.

And by “first,” I mean the ones I did from 2006 for the next 5 years.

 

My shoebox apartment was the one space in New York City I could control and jump onto the mat any time I wanted. But in order to clear a space, I had to single-handedly tip my couch up on one end, scoot it into the kitchen, and remove all my furniture from the living room. Sometimes I just kept it like that for days if I was in a particularly creative mood. Or, I would figure out things to do elsewhere in the apartment, like in bed.

Yoga things, mind you. Yoga things.

 

For lighting, I set a table lamp on its side, and pointed it in my general direction.

From there, it was all trial and error. If it was too bright outside, I’d be a shadow on film. I looked better with a slightly elevated angle so I grabbed two yoga blocks and put the camera on that. There was no one to help me, so I developed a style of framing the whole mat, and then instead of the camera zooming in on me, I just got up close to the lens, said my intro, and then I backed up to begin. Even when I upgraded my camera, my location and lighting, I kept this signature whenever possible.

To edit them, I taught myself iMovie. It’s a simple cut and paste of beginning and end usually, unless something goes wildly wrong in-between, like the time said couch un-tipped itself and came crashing down, upsetting the whole block-camera tower situation, along with the neighbors.

So yes, my beginning videos had the production quality of 70’s porn. The DIY (do-it-yourself) factor was, shall we say, very high.

However, once I posted them on YouTube, I was surprised by people’s response:

They frickin’ loved them.

The information was what they wanted most, and I gave it to them. Then again, I hear from so many online viewers, and one common area of feedback I get was that they are actually attracted to the quality of the videos because they feel they are right there with me, intimately, in my home, getting a private lesson.

I usually speak live, engage with the people I know are watching, and not provide creepy, disembodied voice-overs unless I have to. I tried to honor that relationship even as I progressed and began trying new things—other studio spaces, new lights and a better camera. If the studio was too echo-y, the viewers told me they couldn’t hear so well, I would then voice them over the next time.

 Detox Fists of Fire Practice with Voice Over

Surprisingly, on the other end of the spectrum, if I made the material too highly-produced, they started complaining that it didn’t feel personal anymore. Whenever my community feels distanced from me, they respond negatively. So I’m careful to put that aspect at the forefront of anything I do.

Even when I’m getting a little crazy:

By keeping it real, I was rewarded by a community of yogis who have watched my channel over 10 million times, with nearly 32,000 subscribers at last count.

From 10 million views came a robust Facebook Page, sales of my online DVDs and trainings, and offers to make DVDs with bigger producers. Of course, I had already made successful DVDs myself, but that’s another post.

I’ve never been someone to wait for permission to put my truth and my work out there. I just go for it, even if I don’t have any idea of how to go about it. I take the lead. I figure it out. And I share it with my community, like the free 30-minute Weight Loss and Whole Body Toning video I did at home last week.

Yet I always strive to evolve my production value without sacrificing human connection.

In the next few weeks, you’ll see more professionally-produced content coming out from some new partners I’ve been working with, yet I will work to maintain a sense of closeness within whatever I do next.

All this is to say that when it comes to your voice…wait for no one. Get started, today.

No matter what you have to share, you, too, can get a simple camera, use outlets like YouTube, Facebook, blogs like elephant journal and more to offer your expertise, personality and thoughts to the world. Nobody can stop you, or tell you when to start, for that matter–and you don’t need much money to do it, either.

If you feel like you have to wait for a big DVD distributor to knock on your door in order to get your message out on a broader scale, think again. In fact, when you, Miss or Mister DIY, have your own 10 million views on YouTube, who knows? They might come calling for you too. But by then, you’ll be so successful and prolific that you might not even need to take the call.

Now that’s self-created freedom.

~

Editor: Kate Bartolotta.

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