I'm going to go out on a limb, here, but I think the days of the Celebrity Yoga Superstars are coming to an end.
Certainly the days of trying-to-make-a-buck-out-of-yoga are still completely with us (see Yoga Inc.), but I think the notion of an iconic Spokesyogi is so very last decade. Sorry gang, I really don't think there is another Shiva/Rodney/Seane/John/David/Gurmuhk out there.
It's not because they're irreplaceable--it's just not the same world that it was in the 1990s, when yoga instructors were few and far between. For a regular practice, you had to turn on the VCR. As we moved through the last two decades, yoga's popularity exploded (look at Roseanne's yoga timeline for the 2000s' developments). By now, almost everybody has access to a yoga class, whether at the nearby YMCA or neighborhood studio or on iTunes. Nobody needs an introduction to yoga, because it's everywhere. And people are getting the word from their friends and relatives about yoga's benefits--they don't need some scrawny, stretchy kids showing off their pincha mayurasana skills to serve as an introduction (like that would make you want to take a yoga class, anyway).
Maybe it's time for the sexy bendies to start focusing on something else besides building up their "brand." Seriously, where will it possibly lead? Even with the support of the yoga industry behind them, the trademarked, merchandised yoga business model doesn't have much of a future. Herding cats, baby. Like every other subculture on the Internet, you can find just about any type of yoga to practice--for Athletes, for Mothers, for Golfers, for Christians (dear god--Son Salutes?). There's no way to build up a critical mass of followers without exhausting yourself shilling shoes and lip gloss, appearing on talk shows (in competition with rock star wives) and, perhaps every once and awhile, teaching a 200-person workshop. You might make some money at first, but it's not sustainable--and are you really helping anyone deepen anything with the headsets and adjustments from assistants?
I say all of this is very, very good. No one should have a monopoly and everyone should have access to the close attention of a trained instructor. I hope the days of the Superstar are over. Those crowded workshops are fun like a rock concert is fun but is anyone really improving their practice during one of those?
I'm not sure what set me off, but it seems like we're heading into the next round of look-at-me/shop-with-me YouTube yoga moments. Maybe it's time to move onto something new.
Friends, it's 2010, let's keep it local and personal. If the foodies can do it, why can't we?!?
(P.S. For re-presentation of some of these points, see 1/29's post..."What I Meant to Say...")