But how did this happen? Considering that yoga wasn’t as popular in the USA until a few decades ago (even though it has existed for many centuries), it’s safe to say that it didn’t gain traction just because all of a sudden we decided to hop on a mat to do some poses. To drive yoga’s popularity up, there must have been a group of opinion leaders who helped in spreading the word. And that’s where the yoga influencers come into play.
Yoga gurus like Indra Devi, B.K.S. Iyengar or Pattabhi Jois brought yoga to America during the 60’s, but the way the internet has boosted yoga’s popularity has changed everything.
Nowadays, there is a myriad of videos on YouTube that enables you to practice at home, thousands of magazines, blogs, podcasts and many more resources online exclusively dedicated to yoga.
How much do people really use the internet to practice yoga?
A recent survey that we at BookYogaRetreats.com conducted, found that 34% of the yoga practitioners have a subscription to do yoga online; 65% of them use it at least once a month and 33% sign in more than 3 times a week. And if you focus solely on respondents under 35, a whopping 76% use the internet to do yoga from time to time.
Although the vast majority’s favorite way of practicing is either in a studio, a park or on a yoga retreat, it is clear how important the influencers on the web can be in its development. Indeed, the same survey revealed who are the most influential yoga personalities; over 430 respondents casted their votes and here are the results:
1. Adriene Mishler
Photo credit: mmmyoga.com
To the surprise of no one, Adriene Mishler is considered the top yoga influencer by the majority of our respondents.On her channel Yoga with Adriene, she inspires over 2.7 million followers to find what feels good. Through her free classes online, she has brought thousands of new practitioners into yoga; thousands of people who probably thought they had to go to a studio and didn’t know that all they needed to get started was Adriene and a mat.
Adriene started over 5 years ago on YouTube and has since taken the yoga world by storm. With her weekly videos, her yearly yoga challenges, a newsletter that makes you feel as if you were the only recipient, and a heartfelt style of teaching, there’s no doubt of how much she’s contributed to the development of the yoga community!
Want to take a look at Adriene’s very first video? You’ll be surprised to see how she’s evolved. Maybe she didn’t seem as confident in front of the camera back in the day, but her charming personality and authenticity have always been what sets her apart from the pack.
2. Rachel Brathen (9.42% of the votes)
Photo credit: aol.com
Better known as the Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen is a super popular yoga personality with more than 2.1 million followers on Instagram. But what started as a young Swedish yoga teacher taking nice pictures of herself doing acrobatic yoga poses, has evolved into one of the most influential modern yoga celebrities.
Rachel has made good use of her fame on social media and has worked hard to become a New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, and founder of one of the most successful crowd-funded yoga projects on the web, oneOeigth.com. It is a platform that offers tools for a healthy, happy and balanced life, where you can create your own yoga experience.
And as if she didn’t have a full schedule with all her projects, she’s also mother of one pretty girl named Lea Luna. She’s adorable!
Photo credit: Yoga Girl Instagram
3. Kino MacGregor (12.01% of the votes)
Photo credit: KinoYoga.com
You probably won’t find a more prepared and educated yoga influencer than Kino MacGregor. The Miami born is a Pattabhi Jois-certified Ashtanga Yoga instructor, life coach, author of four books, founder of the Miami Life Center, and co-creator of Yoga Pro Wheel. She also has Ph.D. studies in Holistic Health and a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies from NYU… just in case you thought yoga celebrities weren’t more than pretty faces and flexible bodies.
Kino also offers hundreds of yoga classes online on OmStars.com. A platform that she accurately describes as the “Netflix for Yogis” where you can find lessons for all levels of practice and learn from top yoga instructors with an affordable monthly subscription.
Check out this interesting interview with Kino Macgregor and get to know better this huge contributor to the yoga community.
4. Tara Stiles (9.74% of the votes)
Photo credit: TaraStiles.com
Tara is a former model who changed her career path to become a yoga instructor. Also a ballet dancer and choreographer, she incorporated all her background into her yoga teaching style, and combined with her partner’s studies of mind-body medicine, they created a great approach to the practice called Strala Yoga.
She’s one of the most important yoga authorities in New York City, which should put her on this list by default, but she’s also created a network of over 1000 instructors who teach in 15 different countries. Tara has also written several books, contributed to the Huffington Post, Women’s Health, and has been the cover of prestigious magazines and media outlets like Time Out, Shape and Fit Yoga.
Did you know? Tara Stiles was one of the first yoga personalities who used social media to attract students to her studios. So, all new yoga influencers can thank her for paving the way for the yoga boom.
5. Jason Crandell (5.19% of the votes)
Photo credit: YogaGlo.com
Men are represented on this list with Jason Crandell making it at number 5. At first glance, he doesn’t seem like the typical spiritual guru that some would expect from a yoga personality –especially when you realize that he’s a former hockey player and skateboarder. But Jason is a very authentic instructor, a natural teacher and a light-hearted person whose main interest is just to help others to become their best selves.
A teacher’s teacher who has led countless teacher training courses, and has become a very respected conference speaker who has talked in many places all over the world. He’s one of the main contributing editors at Yoga Journal and is the creator of the Jason Crandell Yoga Method, a style based on power, precision and mindfulness to get stronger, move more skillfully and witness yourself without judgments.
Curious about Jason’s teaching style? Here’s one of his classes for beginners:
Want to check what other yoga influencers have to offer? Check out the top 50 yoga & wellness blogs on the web!