Sunday, 5 August 2012

Why do some yoga teachers have "spiritual names"?

I am publicly admitting it.

I think poorly of teachers who publicize their "Spiritual Name."

Very poorly.

As poorly as I think of "Snooki" or "The Situation."

There is disdain, judgment, and scorn thrown in there.

Don't get me wrong. I think most yoga teachers with spiritual names are probably good at their job.

And maybe that's why people don't guffaw when they announce that they want to be called Sunshine Child of the Everlasting Elephant.

To me, the "Spiritual Name" is like a label. It screams, "I'm so legit, I'm oh-so-legit, now pay me more money to teach you some simple postures that you can find online for 1/4 the price!" It's a marketing gimmick.

Which leads me into the whole marketing gimmick of The Yoga Teacher. The earth-friendly products. The perfect skin. The eternal youth and bulging deltoids (yes, I'm jealous). The demi-gods who don't have one negative thought, whose response to a hard question is always easy and flowing but doesn't really make any sense, whose actions are in perfect harmony with YOGA.

It's not fair.

And worse of all, I realize the necessity of playing into this marketing gimmick. Most teachers work very hard for very little, and any sort of publicity that will give them work (i.e. food, rent, bills, dog toys), is part of the work.

But no one sees this.

I'm not saying that Oh-My-Life-Is-So-Hard-Pity-Me-I-Lack-A-Spiritual-Naaaammmmmeee!

No, no. I just wish more people would be willing to show the world that yoga, teaching it, doing it, is not easy.

So I propose this: a marketing gimmick that shows yoga teachers doing everyday things. Things that people do, like:
  • - struggle with body image and diet
  • - fail at forgiving someone
  • - feel lonely and friendless
  • - forget important things 
  • - lack appropriate tact (a.k.a. say the wrong thing at the wrong time) 
  • - spill secrets
  • - rail on someone for some stupid inconsequential little thing and then regret it later
  • - regret, regret, regret
  • - not have enough money and get a second job
  • - get on their hands and knees and clean their bathroom
  • - get hungover
  • - watch The Real Housewives of Vancouver (that shit's addictive!)

I want a marketing campaign so far away from the enlightenment of "Sunset Sea Turtle In the Mist" that it looks like normal people doing normal things and sometimes f*king up. Because that's what being human is all about.

And humans are far more interesting than "Loving Lotus Blossom In Harmony with the World."

What would you like to see yoga teachers do in my awesome new marketing campaign?

Anyone else think "spiritual names" are stupid?


  1. Watching the real housewives of Vancouver should be a mandatory prerequisite for all yoga teachers.... actually, everyone should just watch it. Gives some perspective to the important things in life.

  2. Usually, my intention is "not to fart in class", or "to be super awesome and make everyone envy me" yeah, I love your new Yoga Marketing Campaign. Sometimes reading yoga blogs makes me feel so...phony. Of course, I am not a teacher...but I practice enough I should be a bit more Zen than I am, right? Eh, whatever.

    And yes, the names are silly...but like you said, making money as a Yoga teacher isn't easy, so I guess one's gotta do what they gotta do!

  3. i see where you're coming from. for me, yoga is all about breathing through my toes. try it with me now. HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM [YES, that's what breathing through your toes sounds like, in case you're wondering]