A big thanks to Elephantjournal for posting another one of my articles…
There is a serious misconception yoga students have about becoming a famous yoga teacher.
Somehow we seem to think that achieving the cover of Yoga Journal (or something like that) is the barometer of a teacher’s skill and talent.
Honestly, there are hundreds, if not thousands (especially in L.A.) of gifted, highly educated, experienced yoga teachers that you’ve never even heard of! Many of these teachers prefer this anonymity.
But for those who got into this for the fame and fortune, here’s my 11 step programme to achieve overnight celebrity yoga teacher status. Get your #handstand on, let’s dive in:
1. Change your name.
A famous yoga teacher needs a name that comes directly from nature or is representative of a Hindu deity. It also helps to have two first names. Your birth name is fine for your tax return and other legal documents no one but you, your parents and your significant other will see, but the yoga world needs to see the spiritual you. So leave the New Jersey native from Italy named Franzoni at home, go out there and get yourself a stage-name worthy of your inner yogi-celeb.
2. Befriend a famous photographer.
Robert Sturman & Jasper Johal are just two of the talented artists who have taken beautiful professional shots of their yogi buddies. Your yogi self will never look better (or get better publicity) than when a famous photographer friend takes the most astounding pictures of you the world has ever seen. Make sure you’re looking off to the sky as if you are connecting with the universe to really bring it home. You should look almost surreal—almost like yourself but better!
3. Make social media your best friend.
The world needs to see you—a lot of you! They need to see even more of you than your significant other wants to see. Upload several fancy, hard to perform, cirque du soleil inspired postures of yourself as you can. Exotic locations are a huge plus! Make it look effortless and pretty. Make endless videos of you doing yoga. Getting as close to naked as possible is another huge plus! Also, everyone loves cats and yoga, so add a few felines to your posts. Even better, get your cat to interrupt your yoga video by walking in front of the camera. Hilariously adorable! Instant online fame.
4. Partner with a brand.
If Luluemon, Manduka, Gaiam or any other famous brand of yoga wear doesn’t know you, the yoga world will not know you. Throw out the cheap hippie wear and comfy clothes you’ve been teaching in for years and pony up! Time to invest some serious dollars that you don’t have to become a famous yoga teacher. Sadly, it takes about one private session to pay for one pair of yoga pants, but it’s worth it!
These stores will offer you discounts and maybe a freebie from time to time but, you will need to practically buy shares in their brands. Nevermind, you can use the financial investment as a write off for your famous yoga business.
P.S. If you can’t afford their luxury yoga clothing, take out a zero percent interest credit card and create some debt!
5. Get an acting agent.
What’s the similarity between an actor and yoga teacher? I don’t know either! But, every famous yoga teacher I know has a killer entertainment agent! I’ve seen many yoga teachers go from nobody to somebody over night with a good agent. A great agent will book you on yoga retreats, with pricey brands, arrange special events, help you get your own DVD and even get you on T.V! Bonus points if you get a book deal and publicist!
6. Get a stalker.
Nothing screams famous like a stalking yogi who’s obsessed with you. If you can get someone so hooked on you that they can remember the name (and date of departure) of your favorite pet who died several years ago, you’re a winner! Get more than one stalker to really beef up your famous yoga teacher status. Their constant calls, posts and praising is free publicity and will help elevate you into the stratosphere of yogi celeb-dom.
7. Build your brand.
If Bikram did it, so can you! Personalize pre-existing yoga postures, meditations, literature and classes you’ve loved and make them your own. Don’t worry, it’s not stealing. It’s public domain! There are over 150 different styles of yoga out there and growing. Yogalates anyone? New postures and sequences are popping up quicker than the personalized Sushi rolls at your favorite sushi joint. If “Nick and Tina” can have sushi rolls named after them, you can name yoga postures after you! While you’re at it try applying for a copyright—just because it didn’t work for Bikram or YogaGlo doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.
8. Share uplifting quotes.
Post as many nature scenes (think oceans and sunsets) incorporating self-help-book-influenced and/or Rumi quotes (the more obscure the better) as you can on all your social media. You can find several on Pinterest. The more you inspire peace, love, kindness and health in others the better. It’s as important to have people like and share the positive thoughts emanating from your mind and heart through social media as it is for them to admire how perfectly your body can imitate a pretzel or a flying crane or whatever that one is called. Quotes by Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Wayne Dyer, the Dalai Lama and the Buddha are all winners—bonus points for cool sounding quotes that they didn’t actually say!
9. Teach prison yoga.
Getting involved with any charity will do, but prison yoga is really taking off these days as a cause to get behind (no pun intended). Prisoners are often seen as unfixable and yogis are willing to disagree by showing up and donating their free time to teach convicts yoga. You wont have to worry about any cell phones going off in class too, which is always a stress-factor!
Whether you choose to support curing cancer, childhood diabetes or prisoners in need, it’s makes no difference. But bear in mind that if you really want to be a famous yoga teacher, the more controversial the choice the better. You know the saying, “If it bleeds it leads!” And you want it to all lead back to you, my famous yoga teacher in the making!
10. Take a famous teacher’s workshop.
Yeah, they are too expensive but, they are also the Chanel of yoga. Attending a famous teacher’s workshop can get you “in” with the celebrity teacher and give you great material for your yoga resume and social media shout outs. Basically you can ride their coat-tails until your celebrity yoga status sets sail!
11. Be the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit.
If it worked for John Friend, Bikram Choundary, Dechen Thurman and Muktananda, it will work for you! No publicity is bad publicity, right? Being a little too “hands on” in (and possibly out of) the studio has its benefits. In fact this strategy might tie really well into #5 as it would take a smart agent or publicist to come up with this plan. But be aware, this is costly way to become a mega-star. The legal fees alone will mean you’ll have to cut back on #4.
There are also lot of emotional repercussions for both the subject of your over-friendliness and you. Please be sure you consider the particular balance of fame versus notoriety that you are seeking before engaging in this kind of publicity.
So how did you score?
If you have read this check-list and found that you are doing at least seven to nine of these key things, you are well on your way to becoming a famous yoga teacher.
Four to six: you’re almost there, don’t give up yet!
Three or less and you may want to add my bonus-item on the famous yogi’s to-do list: pray. (I mean manifest!)
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Rafael Montilla/ Flickr