Read our first article for YogaCityNYC! A little slice of YAMA pie. Not familiar? Read on, yogadorks…and check out related links below.
It’s ethical discipline you say! One of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, the ‘Ren’ to niyama’s ‘Stimpy’. It’s also known as the god of death: the postmortem judge of nobility, ethics and general evilness. Yikes. But hey, if you said that YAMA is the premier talent agency behind a variety of aspiring yoga teachers on the road to yoga rockstardom, you’d also be correct!
Need help with your tour schedule? Assistance launching your new DVD series? Guidance landing an endorsement deal with a big honcho corporate sponsor? YAMA’s got you covered! The brainchild of former Lululemon marketing agent Ava Taylor, YAMA (Yoga Artist Management Agency) is the first of its kind in yogatastic representation, powered by Taylor’s yoga industry connections, a presentably earnest “spread the love” attitude and a built-in team of office interns from partner Jeff Krasnos’ Velour Music Group (management company).
YAMA, still in its humble teeth-cutting phase, is a small operation with Ava as the main liaison between teacher-yoga studio/producer/ad agency/etc., and chief of marketing, PR and general day-to-day in NYC. The rest of the team includes Nick Cuevos, a yogi and tour management guru on the West Coast, and Velour co-founders Jeff Krasno and Sean Hoess tying it all together with the managerial skeletal structure. Regardless of the limited staff, the talent agency’s official spring launch earlier this year debuted with a bountiful roster of 30-some odd ‘artists’ ready to manifest some profitable eminence, the yogic way of course.
Many of these teachers got that chance last year at the yoga and music festival Wanderlust, which, coincidentally on purpose, is co-founded and curated by one Jeff Krasno. This summer, in its second year, the Wanderlust Festival was once again a perfectly procured venue for the YAMA roster, including appearances by Sadie Nardini, Annie Carpenter, Ashley Turner, Duncan Wong and Schuyler Grant (Mrs. Krasno), and featuring brand tie-ins from sponsors like Adidas, Anusara, Inc., Prana and Vitamin Water.
Ava Taylor, a practicing yogi with a foundation in Anusara, might see this as the perfect integration of yoga and commercialism for the benefit of everyone involved, including the yoga talent who won’t have to deal with all that nuisancy fine print. Because if there’s anything YAMA has set out to do it’s combat the “duality between being a teacher and living in the real world,” as Ava described during a phone interview, was the major burden her very first client Agustin Aguerreberry was facing.
In an interview from earlier this year on YogaDork.com Sadie Nardini echoed the yoga teacher’s lament in response to nonbelievers, “If they knew the amount of work it takes to organize just one teacher training at one studio, then multiply that by a hundred for all the classes, workshops, trainings, retreats and travel we are asked (and want) to do each year, just to be able to reach and then teach all our students, they might see past the apparent quest for stardom, and into our desire for plain old sanity!”
Ms. Nardini, a bona fide yoga pop star-cum-YAMA darling, has something to complain about – she built her fame, or recognizability, and handled much of the cumbersome business-y hoo-ha of being a “fierce”ly active yoga teacher and personality on her own.
But wait, is that what we’re moving towards in this grand business that is the yoga industry? Yoga personalities? We already have Shiva Rea, Rodney Yee, Seane Corn and the newly crowned yoga mogul John Friend. Do we need another hero? According to Ava, as the (favorite statistically referenced) $5.7 billion yoga industry continues to mature, “with that inherently comes a new world with a new level of business and we’re here to help them navigate that.” YAMA is positioning itself as the hub for “authentic” yoga representation in the media, advertising and pop culture. Stay tuned for the yoga push: promotional coverage of gigs etc. on blogs, facebook, twitter, traditional print, paper and posters, says Ava.