Yoga Buffs Get Another Yama–And It’s Not What You Think
For serious yogis, the term “yama” means the intense ethical discipline practitioners undertake to enhance their practice and achieve the ultimate union between mind and body. But it’s also the name of one of the yoga industry’s most intensely capitalistic ventures yet: a talent agency for yoga teachers aspiring to guru status.
YAMA, which stands for Yoga Artist Management Agency, is the first yogi-only representation firm. Founded by Ava Taylor (a former Lululemon marketing agent), it’s a small but powerful operation. YAMA is meant to help rockstar yoga teachers manage their schedules: planning teaching tours, juggling speaking engagements and launching DVDs—all the things a traditional talent agency does, but with a yoga twist.
Critics will say that it’s a ploy to maximize profits, but Taylor says her motivation behind YAMA was to reconcile the “duality between being a [yoga] teacher and living in the real world.” And in an interview with YogaDork.com, client Sadie Nardini defended her involvement with the agency as necessary to maintaining her “sanity”:
If [people] 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!
The fact remains that yoga is a $5.7 billion industry and is only growing. Are endeavors like YAMA necessary to keep up with the growing demand for yoga, or are they merely symptoms of our yoga industrial complex?
But, whatever the response, there seems to be no stopping YAMA. At the time of its launch in spring 2010, it already had bicoastal representatives and a roster full of heavy-hitter clients, and has only grown since then. You can definitely expect to hear more from them in 2011.
Yoga Dork has more coverage here.