Famous Yogis You Need to Keep on Your Radar!
Traditionalists are dedicated to lineage, specific guidelines, and following in the path already carved out by those who came before them. Trailblazers don’t know what a box is they think so far outside of it, finding their own sincere, outspoken voice to share and dare others to leap out of line.
Meet 4 Yogis who landed on their own islands with an open invitation to visit, perhaps even setting up camp for a while. These originals found yoga and developed a style and approach all their own. But they espouse all of their influences and found a way to meld and cajole a new experience as a result of all the various avenues they’ve experienced and profoundly come to love, including yoga.
They have heart, charisma, and a desire to share their interpretations with open-minded and hearted folks. The underlying message of love and the philosophies we all cherish are the foundation for the roots that grew and flourished into new styles and a unique way of experiencing the practice of yoga. The clear message from each of these incredible teachers is to best honor the world, we must choose to fearlessly be ourselves.
Tamara Levinson, aka, Cuchira
This lady. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a minute now, and calling her unique is just a silly understatement. Watching her move will make your hair grow in different directions. What her body can do is exquisite and somewhat of a mystery.
She was born in Buenos Aires, grew up in NYC, and represented the US when she was just fifteen years-old in the 1992 Olympic Games held in Barcelona in rhythmic gymnastics. If that’s not a big enough deal for you, she’s had a thirty-year successful career as a choreographer, professional dancer which includes three world tours with the one and only Madonna, actress, and teacher of various forms of movement.
She created Yogance, free-form movement that’s not limited by labels or a specific sequence. Cuchira doesn’t understand the concept of TMI. She bares her soul, life, and loves for the world to see and interpret as they will. Because she’s so unencumbered and fearless, 169K followers study her life, choices and reactions to the world.
She’ll astound and surprise you, and you’ll feel her love and gratitude even through your phone screen. She travels the world teacher her exceptional style of movement and you can take classes with her any time you like on the Cody App.
I’m already so in love with this woman, and I’ve only yet had the pleasure of a Face Time interview. Her yoga focus is to make yoga much more inclusive and accessible to all, specifically the marginalized, under-represented, and excluded folks. That’s what Dianne brings to the table as a body-positive, knowledgeable, and compassionate instructor who will call you out on your assumptions and entitlements.
Full of bubble, fire, strong, well-thought out opinions and knowledge, she wants us all to understand that if we have a body, we can do yoga. She offers dynamic, accessible, and inclusive classes via her perfectly named online studio, Yogasteya. She shares her struggles but ultimately offers a strong message of devoted self-love, and you can’t leave her presence not feeling basked in the radiance of her positive messages and sincerity.
She doesn’t pretend it’s always easy or that changing perceptions and attitudes will happen without a lot of effort and patience. She strives to help others understand yoga is about unity and connection, and language can and will devastate.
Dianne travels all over the world spreading her positivity and love for the practice. She’s another one to follow on Instagram. Check out her podcast, It’s Not About You, a discussion of yoga, inclusivity, accountability, privilege, and politics of course! Dianne will make you think, feel, and smile daily. Even before I had the pleasure of a long conversation with her, I knew she’d be my next teacher.
Duncan Wong does not give a fuck. Kind, profoundly respectful of tradition, and playful, yes, but he takes his uniquely developed craft and dedication seriously with staunch devotion and commitment. He doesn’t care if you get it because he’s clear on who he is, how he lives, and how he incorporates yoga into his nonconformist style.
He’s never been a sheep and is incapable of blindly following someone else’s well-worn path, however much it’s influenced and informed him. Duncan developed his trademarked Yogic ArtsÔ system, which morphed into Yogic Flow Arts, creating Yogic Love Warrior communities all over the world.
Born in California and raised among yogis, mystics, and artists, Duncan began with kickboxing, but his investigative nature led him to explore dance, yoga, Buddhist martial arts, body work, and meditation. According to Duncan’s website, “Flow Arts is perhaps best defined as a ‘cross core counter spiral wave motion source power transpersonal fluid motion dynamics flow therapy.”
Yeah, don’t try to interpret it. Just experience it by either jumping on a plane and heading to the forests of Kyoto Japan where Duncan lives and teaches his passion, or if that’s not quite in the budget, you can find him on Instagram where he posts occasionally, YouTube, or go on and buy an old-school DVD endorsed by Shiva Rea.
He’s teaching a workshop in Austria this February 7-11, 2018. He’s only semi-accessible, but well-worth the extra effort. And he’ll surprise you too. He taught at Lululemon in Shanghai in November, so don’t go thinking you can pigeon-hole this man. Like any true maverick, he’s unpredictable.
You know those people who have ideas, really big ones, and they never stop coming? Yeah, that would be Jocelyn. She’s a dreamer, but understands how to go about making her dreams come true. Her path began with an early childhood apprenticeship in massage. This lead her to Integrative Movement Education which blends yoga, touch, dance, passion, play, and hooping.
Yup. Jocelyn created HoopYogini, a fusion of yoga, meditation, and hooping. She offers videos, teacher trainings, and travels the world spreading her style and love of movement. Her emphasis is on self-care, pleasure, and breath work as self-care tools.
She’s a Master Level Hoop instructor and can be found on Gaiam providing a Bhakti Boogie. Jocelyn is a wellness expert and has been sought out by numerous media outlets such as the Washington Post and The Dr. Oz Show. Like the other trailblazers, she’s married to expressing herself in an authentic way and continuing to offer her love by teaching and mentoring others.
The List Doesn’t End Here
We are not limited to who is within twenty miles of us. The world is big, wide, and full of talented people offering the goods in a way only they can. Explore and open up to wise words, new perspectives, and creative expression. It just might create a spark in you to become our next yoga trailblazer.