February 8, 2016
These deeply dedicated instructors have shaped the way Americans practice from coast to coast. Learn about their impact and what they can teach you.
True teachers remind us of what’s most important. They remind us how to practice when we lose our way. They illuminate our paths, they challenge us to grow, they delight in our evolution. A teacher-student relationship is one of the most sacred ties we have. In his seminal book, Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar implies that this connection between teacher and student is the most central in our lives.
The following list highlights the top 100 influential yoga teachers in America, who have dedicated their lives to spreading the practices of yoga, and in doing so, have impacted millions of new yogis around the globe. We measured influence based on a variety of factors, such as depth of study, community impact, social media following, and contributions to yoga’s many aspects, from philosophy to physiology, tradition to innovation. These teachers each play a profound role in the dissemination of the practice from its roots, and the perpetuation of modern day parampara, the acceleration of lineage and teachings passed down from teacher to student over time.
While this feature is extensive, it is by no means exhaustive—yoga’s landscape is vast and more multifaceted than ever, and there are more inspiring teachers doing good work than we can name here. But by highlighting the following influencers and innovators we hope to guide you toward people and perspectives that may deepen your practice in whatever direction you choose. We also hope to provide some contextual understanding of individual experiences in studios from coast to coast. The manner in which we all practice has been molded by the following individuals, through contributions both sweeping and subtle. Read on and let them show you the ways.