“All the world’s a stage.” – William Shakespeare
Let us preface this with the title of an oft overlooked Moby song and say “We Are All Made of Stars” (emphasis ours). Now…are you ready to be America’s Next Top Yoga Star?
The colliding of Yoga and today’s culture of launching everyday people into instant celebrities is a fascinating thing. Nevermind the almighty guru debate, however relevant these days. We’re talking about the rise to yoga fame, rather than the road to reverence. When someone known as the Winnebago Man can become a national phenomenon via tirades on youtube for bringing us joy and comic relief, it’s not overly surprising that we raise our yoga teachers, the people who bring us joy and sometimes spiritual relief, to pedestals of celebrity status.
And as yoga grows in pop culture, the popular powers that be in the yoga world are taking it all to the next level. Yes, in yoga there is still The Man. Perhaps, The Yogi Man? And beyond the man is the machine. And what lies beyond the machine? The sparkle and shine of the Yoga Teacher Celebrity. If you need an agent, we know a guy.
We opened up our Gallery of Diversity last year in response and as a shadow to the Yoga Journal Talent Search. At the time, readers had asked for a place to share their version/vision of yoga however perfect/imperfect with no restrictions attached (YJ required entrants to ‘show your whole body’, ‘Wear something form fitting and bright’ etc.). We were proud, and still are, to host such a varied array of practitioners in the YD gallery. But that’s simply all it’s meant to be, a gallery of all types. (Also see Curvy Yoga Gallery.)
This year the YJ Talent Search is back, and in its wake follows a hoard of contests, talent competitions and fabulous opportunities for you to have fun sharing your yoga or to grab that attention you so deserve! Here we’ve taken the liberty to review your most recent chances in finding minor to quasi-major yoga fame and have given them a run through our very own Yoga Fame Meter. The ratings are 1-5 stars, 1 star being innocuous and mostly just fun and 5 being obnoxious and cloying and your real chance at yogi stardom. Here we go!
Contest: Wanderlust Festival Yoga Photo Ticket Giveaways
Details: Last year the Wanderlust Festival had their own teacher talent search where hopefuls sent in 1-2 minute videos of themselves for the chance to teach at the fest. The rules asked contestants to post their videos on facebook and the winner was chosen by the highest number of facebook votes (“likes”). Note: not hard to notice that if you have a lot of fb friends this sure gave you the edge! This year they’ve gone a different route and are simply giving away free tickets for your pics – “Bust out a pose, and post a photo of it on the Wanderlust facebook wall, and get your friends to “Like” it. The photo with the most “likes” will win a pair of 4-day tickets to ______.”
Yoga Fame Meter Rating: 3 stars. While this is a fun way to get people excited about yoga (read: good marketing) the winner depends on how voracious and facebook savvy your friends are. In other words, an internet popularity contest within the realm of yoga. But you could WIN! Visions of hooping and slackliners already dancing in your head.
Contest: Yoga Journal Talent Search 2012
Details: Send in a photo of yourself with a description. Be sure to:
- Make sure we can see your whole body in the frame.
- Show us your face, if possible.
- Wear something form fitting and bright so we can see the pose and so that you stand out from the background.
- Show off a pose you’ve mastered rather than something more advanced that you can just barely do. Feel free to modify poses and use props as necessary. Great alignment impresses us more than difficulty and we encourage all levels of practitioners to enter!
In order to win and get your mug in the October issue you have to get the most online votes (up to 5 a day per IP address) and THEN get the approval of inhouse YJ editorial judges who will critique based on “skill of pose, alignment, creativity of written answer, personality and suitability for Yoga Journal.”
Yoga Fame Meter Rating: 3.75 stars. You COULD be a star in the pages of Yoga Journal, a publication still circulating to millions, but slowly reaching less. We love that this is essentially open to all yogis at any level or age, students to teachers. And it tends to become a rather fascinating and beautiful, sometimes scary, gallery of all kinds, sort of like a museum of 21st century yogsters. If you’re wondering why the higher rating, ask yourself why you want to be in YJ in the first place. If you said fun, eh ok. If you said fame, there’s a high chance you could get lost amongst the sea of yoga bodies in adverts, so fame could be short-lived. Chances of discovery are slim, but you will be able to buy out all the October issues and hand them out to friends with big proud/smug smile.
Contest: YogaStage Yoga Teacher Search for the Rasa-Lila Yoga Festival in Orlando, FL
Details: The folks at YogaStage, a new-ish yoga site providing resources and “talent services,” have secured a teaching spot on the main stage of the festival for one lucky winner. Entrants were asked to send in a photo and bio. We’re not sure how the entries were paired down as we can’t find a set of rules anywhere (the link provided doesn’t work), but the eight teachers to choose from now are up on facebook begging for your “likes.” When voting is up in August the five finalists with the best PR skills highest amount of “likes” will be put through another round of judging by the Rasa-Lila Fest based on yoga teaching skill, creativity of written answer, personality and suitability for Rasa-Lila Fest.
“This is a great opportunity for a teacher who is ready to break out and reach a larger audience.” Miss Yoga America!
Yoga Fame Meter Rating: 4.5 stars. A chance to teach at a festival! That’s like at least a few hundred students who have never heard of you and will probably never take your class again. Why are you interested in this again? You believe you have something special to offer, we get that. And perhaps you do. We bet the students at the studio(s) you teach at now will appreciate what you have to offer far more, and on a regular basis, and actually learn something other than how to squeeze body painting and hair feathering in before the next yoga sesh with the hottest new teacher on the market.
Contest: Manduka’s “You” Series Sweepstakes
Details: You have to be a Manduka mat owner in order to share which one is your “soul mat” along with a memorable moment you’ve had on or off it (though it’s sweeter if it’s on it, isn’t it?). Along with normal name and email stuff, those first questions are required, and are followed by a string of optional questions ranging from how long you’ve been practicing yoga, to your favorite teacher, to your favorite cause, to why your photo illustrates your unique uniqueness. Enter and “you just may be featured on their website, blog, and next Yoga Journal Ad – you could also receive $500 worth of Manduka Gear.” 20 prizes in total will be handed out.
Yoga Fame Meter Rating: 2 stars. They bait you with prizes and yogi fame in a roundabout way, but we appreciate the concept and “you”ness of the sweepstakes. Points gained for random winners, although the official rules state that entries are also evaluated and judged by Manduka. What’s better, to be judged by a jury of your social media adept peers or the supreme court of yoga matislature?
Final Note: We’re not perfect and readily admit it. We have no intention to demean the efforts of those who entered these contests. In fact, we blame the machine. Like we said, sure this can all be pretty fun and hell, you can win money and prizes! But let us return to the Billy Shakespeare quote posted above. We raise you the question, If all the world’s a stage, what are you seeking one for?
Stay tuned for the yoga reality series. No, really.