Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2017 issue.
“Influencers” are a thing in the yogasphere now. In marketing, individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship are called influencers. And given that we’re in a 16 billion dollar a year industry, companies that sell products, services and experiences are honing in on Yoga Influencers with a quickness. Many are identified by the size of their social media following and are offered anything from in-kind trade to five and six-figure salaries! And though this is how “the market” works and most of us yogis will never wield enough influence to make a six-figure salary from a major brand, maybe it makes perfect sense for us to all get around this idea of embracing the title influencer and do more teaching by example.
A thread that runs through all styles and systems of yoga is consciousness. In most modern postural yoga classes, we are taught a particular physical alignment, a particular breath and a particular sequence and are asked, in a multitude of ways, to essentially, pay close attention. Great teachers may also ask you to additionally pay attention to the effects of all your paying attention — in a nutshell, this practice we love heightens our awareness and elevates our consciousness across the board. Practicing this day in and day out is bound to have an impact on how we perceive ourselves, each other, the world community, technology, global dynamics, social issues and the environment. Could we step more powerfully into our position as students of consciousness and be of greater influence regardless of whether a brand ever notices us?
This practice we love heightens our awareness and elevates our consciousness across the board.
YES. One step yogis can collectively take is to use the consciousness we cultivate every day to examine our habits and routines and look for the small changes we can make to raise awareness around human impact on our shared environment and influence others by example. Yogis love their tea and coffee drinks. Did you know that each plastic-lined disposable coffee cup will exist around 450 years and cannot be recycled? Could we collectively influence others to use reusable mugs because of our commitment to always carry one? Could we cut down on the 500 million plastic straws used every day in the US by saying “no straw please” when we’re out? How about choosing only the drinks we love in glass or aluminum instead of plastic? Or how about committing to reusable bags at all stores (not just grocery!) no matter how many times you have to go back to your car for them? Every time we make one of these conscious and visible choices, somebody learns by example, whether it is the business or the people with and around you.
Could we cut down on the 500 million plastic straws used every day in the US by saying “no straw please” when we’re out?
Nothing we do is in a vacuum — we are all people of influence even if we never get tagged or paid as one. As students of consciousness, we know our thoughts, words and actions have an impact on the people whose lives we touch and the planet that sustains us all. Let’s rise up together and show the market what a yogis influence is all about.