A big thank-you to all the comments on Monday's post. After reflecting on many of them, I think some clarification is due.
I don't think "celebrity yoga" has come close to running its course, unfortunately. What I meant, is that I don't see the A-list yogis (to borrow terminology from Yoga Dawg) being replaced any time soon. That crowd came of age in a time when there was little opportunity for mainstream America (or anywhere else) practice with a qualified teacher. If you weren't near a good-sized city, you had to do yoga with your VCR. These yogis delivered the goods consistently, so you could take an effective class with them every morning in your living room and enjoy a conference class every once and awhile. Anyone interested in yoga had been exposed to their teaching and, as a result, they became famous for their expertise. Thus, A-list.
Not to say that they didn't deserve the attention. And they all use their position for the greater good of the discipline (for the most part), so I don't begrudge them their fame.
But now yoga is everywhere. And everyone wants a piece of the pie. So there are lots of inspiring, wonderful teachers with large followings, but not on the scale of the A-list. That's what I meant. These days, for every calm, clear, student-centered instructor, there seems to be a goofy, overreaching striver who will do anything to get some attention. Market saturation is being reached.
I hope there are some great teachers who do get the national attention they deserve. And I hope the strivers shut up after their 15 minutes and figure out some other fitness trend to exploit. It's a much bigger field now, so there will always be a greater number of notable teachers because of the higher demand and varied audiences. I just wonder if that kind of A-list longevity is still possible...
My wish is that people would realize that and stop shooting for the sun, publicity-wise. Be happy with the attention you do get and the DVDs you do sell and stop pandering to the advertisers and the media that want more skin, more products, more self-loathing. What about focusing on teaching? How's that for a novel idea?
Or better yet, bail on yoga altogether. It seems like the martial arts could use some new spokesmodels--plus that's a better place to jump-start an acting career. Steven Seagal is getting a bit long in the tooth, doncha know...
[If you persist on ignoring my advice, at least pander correctly--with Yoga Dawg's Steps to Yoga Stardom]