In response to the “Vote for me” Yoga Journal contest

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Will you please vote for me? I’m running for the Yoga Journal Talent contest

A first-time yoga student named Sandy (from Secaucus) approached me after my 6pm yoga class.

“Hey will you vote for me?” she asked rather bluntly.

“Sure, what are you running for?”

I relished the thought of getting involved with local politics and expected her to say city government or state senate or maybe even something big and dreamy like President. I thought to myself…wow could this be a famous politician I didn’t recognize?

“I’m running for the Yoga Journal Talent contest,” she said.

“But you just told me this was your first yoga class,” I replied

“I know but my friends told me I was hot and I should try out.”

Lesson 1: According to Tim Ferriss, you are the average of the 5 people you associate with most. Bless her friends’ hearts! We all need friends like that to pump us up!

I continued, “Sandy, yoga is a 5,000 year old tradition. You can’t just be on the cover of Yoga Journal because you’re hot.”

Sandy pointed to her chest and said stonefaced in her Jersey dialect, “Honey look at my tits. Are you for real?”

Lesson 2: A wise one said, “Success comes in cans, not can’ts.” Confidence is EVERYTHING!

I needed clarity, “Sandy…so you never did yoga before yet you just submitted a photo of yourself doing a yoga pose that you learned from where…from a book?”

“Nah. My friend saw what you did (see above), and fused my face to a picture of Dharma Mitry’s body,” Sandy answered.

“Do you mean Dharma Mittra? But that’s a man.”

“Whatever it takes,” Sandy replied. “You got a problem? I got the parts.”

I’m not sure what she meant by that and I refused to look down as a more curious soul might, wondering if Sandy might actually be a Shim (she + he = shim). But I admired her toughness.

Lesson 3:  Da Vinci said, “Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. She who is fixed to a star does not change her mind.” Passion and perseverance are tough to beat.


Sandy was the most charismatic of the 37 people seeking my vote in the Yoga Journal Talent Contest, a very controversial contest with the winner getting to be on the cover of the widely distributed Yoga Journal magazine.

Given yoga’s purity and tradition, many are wondering if this kind of talent contest is ruining yoga.

It’s sort of a sad thing because this contest is less about the merit of a contestant and more about one’s social networking prowess to garner votes.

My Vote

For what it’s worth, I’m not against the Yoga Journal Talent Contest.

The yoga world needs to grow some balls and this kind of contest is good for the vitality of industry, attracting the interest of ad dollars which create more exposure and visibility for yoga.

Lots of people earn a living through yoga these days, and if you ask me, exchanging a little purity for a vibrant industry is not such a bad thing.

But as a yoga teacher, it’s frustrating.

Because to succeed, one needs to be popular. And seeking popularity is counter to why one does yoga in the first place.

The Secret to Success

There’s something more powerful than popularity.

One who’s in touch, inspired, in love…is more powerful than one  with a finely tuned yoga practice, or voluptuous body parts.

This last week I asked my friend Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges Chocolate, about her creative process. She described so simply and precisely what I believe is the secret to success not just in yoga, but in life.

She said, “Fall in love. And spread it.”