Many spiritual leaders and yoga teachers are responsible for spreading the concept of yoga and meditation all across the world. Particularly, they all worked to the best of their abilities to spread and establish yoga in the western world. There are people like Krishnamacharya, K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. lyengar, TKV Desikachar, and Indra Devi who are no more alive but are still remembered for their contributions toward spreading the teachings of yoga on an international level.
They have had a lot of influence, and one can never say no to that. In fact, they had so much influence that even now modern and contemporary style of meditation and yoga are influenced by them. After their passing away, the new generation of yogis and they are all set on a mission in order to spread the modern yoga that we witness and recognize today. If you search and research about the history of yoga, you will come to see various styles and methods. The method and style of yoga has evolved and become more contemporary now.
Yoga and other meditation practices are becoming increasingly popular in the modern world. The hype is there for a reason and many people are now switching from gym classes to meditation retreats and yoga centers. Even though there are a lot of controversies, contradictions, celebrity endorsements, advertising campaigns, and the urge to get a sleek and flexible yoga physique, the importance of yoga and the blessings it brings to your overall body and health can never be emphasized enough.
One thing you will notice about the influential and “wealthy” yogis in this list is that several sell a lot of books and/or DVDs. Others managed to build up a small fortune by opening up several successful yoga studios (no small feat).
It’s safe to say that a yoga career is very likely not going to make you rich. The richest yoga teachers, authors and studio owners don’t have all that much compared to the wealthiest people in other industries.
Our list is speculative at best. There are likely unknown studio owners who have made large fortunes. Perhaps other authors as well. This list is based in part of influence as well as wealth.
1. Bikram Choudhury: $75 Million
The founder of Bikram Yoga, Bikram Choudhury had more than 600 yoga studios to his name worldwide in 2012. In the United States of America, he had 330 yoga studios, with 86 yoga studios based in California.
However, after several lawsuits against him and his company for sexual assault, his financial situation is not good. In 2017 Bikram Choudhury Inc. filed for bankruptcy. Up until the legal troubles errupted, he had amassed a considerable fortune from selling books, DVDs and teacher training programs.
Bikram Choudhury is still instructing students. His fortune is diminished, but he is one yoga teacher who really did amass a fortune in the business. The extent of his fortune now is unknown.
2. John Friend
The Anursa database has about 580 yoga instructors listed on it. However, over the past few years, John Friend’s popularity has declined due to a number of sexual harassment allegations against him. As a result, his yoga business has taken a severe hit.
3. Kathryn Budig
Budig also owns Aim True that runs yoga training programs for those who want to become yoga instructors. She became a victim of scandal for doing a naked ad for Toesox. There were already controversies about sexuality and nudity in yoga advertising.
She also advocates for body positivity and has become a symbol for this movement.
4. Donna Farhi
5. Tara Stiles
She is known in the world to be “the coolest yoga instructor ever” by Vanity Fair, and has 157,123 likes on Facebook, 623000 followers on Twitter, and 126,000 videos on YouTube.
6. Duncan Peak
Through his studio, Duncan Peak has been able to train over 1000 yoga teachers. He also conducts retreats quite regularly for those who want the Power Living immersion experience without the teacher training.
Duncan is, in fact, the second most impactful yoga trainer to teach yoga teachers in Australia over the last ten years.
7. Paul Grilley
He also gives out DVDs named Anatomy for Yoga, which provide training videos on comparative skeletal anatomy.
When you want resources or training videos on yoga, you can buy his DVD as it helps understand tension, compression, orientation, and proportion within yoga poses.
8. Shiva Rea
Shiva has 10 CDs and 25 award-winning DVDs to her name.
Shiva Rea has a total of 216 teachers or more that are registered on her website. There are many students who graduated from her 200 to 500 hour teacher training videos.
9. Baron Baptiste
Baron Baptiste is also the founder of the Africa Yoga Project, which empowers the young crowd in Africa by using special techniques of yoga. He has trained over 50 teachers who are equipped with the knowledge to teach over 5000 students a week.