The Rise Of Yoga Influencers On Instagram

Social savvy fitness pros are creating content to feed the growing interest in health online. They’re creating videos on YouTube, sharing images and videos on Instagram, and experimenting with platforms like Periscope. What’s more, this growing crop of fitness influencers is delivering across a variety of modalities including yoga, which is one of the fastest growing fitness trends of the year.

Indeed, social media has become an effective way for yoga teachers to share their expertise, their passion, and connection with the community. Yoga is especially well suited for visual social platforms, allowing them to show off their practice in both static images and timelapse dynamic clips.

Influential yoga teachers have taken a particular liking to Instagram. In fact, Instagram is the foundation on which Rachel Brathen became @yoga_girl, attracting 1.6 million followers with pictures of beachy yoga poses and inspirational messages. Brathen launched her Instagram account in 2012 and within the first year, people were recognizing her on the street. Most recently, she ran a Kickstarter campaign where she raised $100,000 in 24 hours.

Sadie Nardini is known for her rockstar style and instructional videos. While her following is considerably smaller, Elle still gave Nardini the top billing as one of the best Instagram yoga accounts to follow. She was also one of 10 yoga teachers to make thelist of the top 100 fitness influencers, along with Tara Styles and Kathryn Budig.

While Nardini is the globetrotting transformer and Brathen is the far flung Insta-celebrity, other yogis like Jessamyn Stanley have becomepart of a movement for #curvyyoga, promoting positive self-image and busting the “yoga body” stereotype.

Yoga teachers can now be found on other platforms as well. For instance, you can follow Kathryn Budig, one of the most prolific modern yoga teachers on Snapchat. Others are taking advantage of Periscope's live-stream capabilities to broadcast live classes. Not to mention the increasing ranks of fitness specific platforms like Powhow and FitMoo.

What all of these yogis have in common? They are all industry experts, on the cutting edge of new media marketing for yoga professionals. Each has their own unique message and style, enabling them to connect with highly engaged audiences on a medium that demands the kind of authenticity encouraged in yogic philosophy.

They also use their influence to make recommendations for everything from books to yoga gear. However, unlike many Instagram influencers, yogis are often teachers first, which means they won’t back a product they can’t connect with. Brands hoping to work with influential yoga teachers for social campaigns need to provide an opportunity to try the product and be prepared for an authentic endorsement.

Here are two examples of yoga influencers going beyond the yoga and fitness sphere: 1) @beachyogagirl Kerri Verna who has 851k Instagram followers partnered with Barefoot Wine to help promote a beach-cleaning cause initiated by the nonprofit Surf Rider. 2) @yulady Yulady Saluti who has 75.4k Instagram followers helped promote organic green tea Steaz.

With the growing social cache of yoga teachers, smart brands are teaming up with rising yogi stars who connect them with a growing demographic of consumers. As the demand for health and fitness apps grows, so, too, will the demand for fitness experts who use social platforms to share tips, wisdom and inspiration with mobile and digital audiences.