I love the word “yogalebrity.” I’m not sure where I heard it first, but the word stuck in my mind instantly and has often made me think about what it means to be a famous yogi or yogini. We are a culture of celebrity watchers, after all, and we enjoy watching the antics of the rich and famous.
And just like any other industry, yoga has its fair share of standouts or “yogalebrities.”
My Very First Yogalebrity Experience
My very first exposure to a true yogalebrity was when Bryan Kest came to my city for a master class. Over 100 people paid upward of $80 to sit at the feet of a yoga master for a little over two hours. I laid out that money without even flinching. Wow, that is some power.
The class itself was a pandemonium of yogic proportions. It was held in an old church hall that could comfortably hold about 90 people, max. One hundred and fifteen yoga practitioners packed into the space anxiously awaiting the profound words from the power yoga master.
The church itself is over 100 years old and had that stale old building smell of everything that has ever happened in that space.
The two hours I spent being intimately close to 115 other sweaty yoga bodies, packed like sardines in a non-climate controlled room, with no air circulation and no real ventilation, was illuminating to say the least. It was certainly not the best time to experiment with natural deodorant.
This experience opened my eyes to the advantages and pitfalls of being a yoga groupie.
The Cult of Personality
I’ve been in awe of the yogalebrity for years. Their star power is truly amazing to see. I’ve travelled far and wide to sit in the energy of such charismatic beings as Baron Baptiste, John Friend, and of course, Bryan Kest.
I practiced and studied Anusara yoga for a number of years, have studied with some great teachers, and have had lots of opportunities to connect with yogalebrities. One of the pitfalls of being a yoga groupie that I’ve noticed is that you sometimes forget yourself.
What always struck me is how much we all wanted to be seen and to connect with the teacher, sometimes to our own peril. I have watched yogis forget their good graces and actually fight to get a seat in front of John Friend.
I have personally pushed myself beyond what was available to me in my personal practice because I wanted to impress the teacher. There have been times when I totally forgot the true nature of what yoga is for me because I was star struck.
The Truth About Yogalebrities
The attraction to the great energy of a celebrity yoga teacher is intoxicating. It can certainly become a drug. You can spend outrageous amounts of time and money taking countless workshops, retreats and teacher training just so you can be close to them.
The important lesson is to remember that yogalebrities are people just like you. Take a breath and contemplate what it is exactly that you want to learn from them. How will this experience fulfill you?
As a recovering yoga groupie, I have learned to take only the trainings that truly interest me. I try not to repeat the same training over and over just because I am infatuated with the teacher. I take the time to study myself and figure out my true intentions.
Handling Your Yogalebrity Admiration
I now follow popular teachers that are accessible. I feel we all teach yoga and we are all serving the greater good and doing important work. I want to connect with those teachers who are interested in truly connecting with their students.
I am thrilled when a yogalebrity engages me as one colleague to another. I love it when I have a yoga question or request and the celebrity yoga teacher takes the time to get back to me. I am inspired by the yogalebrity that truly serves and who takes the time to be available to his/her students.
There is something magical that happens to a teacher who shares a class, teacher training, or retreat with students truly interested in learning from him or her. The student’s devotion and excitement fuels the teacher’s creative abilities, making the teacher better at teaching his or her offerings.
The energy flows between teacher and student in this beautiful, illuminating, and comprehensive way. It is this connection that keeps us coming back for more. Remember: yogalebrities are people just like you and me who happen to share a love of yoga.