Our friends at Sonima have put together a list of the 100 most influential yoga instructors in the yoga world, and it’s one you shouldn’t miss.
Much like for our roundup of The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness, the editors conducted extensive research to determine who is making the biggest impact not just when it comes to toe stands, crow pose, and savasanas, but also yoga as we know it in America today. (And not just those that happen to be YouTube-famous.)
We’ve highlighted seven of the instructors below (in no particular order) who will inspire you to take your practice to the next level. Be sure to head over to Sonima to check out the rest.
1. Patrick Beach
Seattle, WA With over 275,000 Instagram followers, Patrick Beach’s gravity-defying handstands, adventurous spirit, and nearly Olympian physique precede him. Trained by Annie Carpenter and Brock and Krista Cahill, Beach teaches a rigorous Vinyasa flow class with an emphasis on strength, alignment, and inversions. Based in Seattle, Beach travels around the world teaching workshops, intensives and trainings, and presenting at conferences. Beach has been featured in top yoga magazines and websites and is in the process of creating a men’s yoga apparel line, launching in April 2016.
2. Bo Forbes
Cambridge, MAA regular presenter and contributor for Yoga Journal, and involved in some of the most innovative work happening at the Mind and Life Institute, the non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the intersection of science and Buddhism, Bo Forbes is a truly unique teacher in today’s world. A clinical psychologist, mindfulness teacher, and scholar, Forbes is focused on integrating neuroscience and connective tissue research with psychology and yoga. Forbes writes frequently for some of the world’s leading magazines, and is the author of Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression. Forbes is also the founder of Embodied Awareness, an online education company geared towards embodied education. Forbes leads workshops, intensives, and trainings in yoga therapeutics in Boston and around the world.
3. Anna Guest-Jelley
Nashville, TN Founder of Curvy Yoga, a training and inspiration platform for yoga students and teachers of all sizes, Anna Guest-Jelley has filled a massive gap in the yoga space, championing and celebrating yoga for every body type. Guest-Jelley’s message for women’s empowerment has reached hundreds of teachers and thousands more students worldwide. Through her work at Curvy Yoga, Guest-Jelley leads teacher trainings to help instructors understand how to best serve larger-bodied practitioners. In addition to her incredible work on the mat and in yoga studios, Guest-Jelley is a writer, who’s been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and national yoga publications. Additionally, she is the co-editor of the book Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body.
4. Jason Crandell
San Francisco, CA The former hockey player and skateboarder is not your typical yogi, which makes him so relatable. The Ohio native trained in Vinyasa yoga under the legendary Rodney Yee, who had him practice 20-minute headstands as part of his rites of passage into the yoga community some 15 years ago. Yee has said, “[Crandell] is taking the art of teaching yoga to its next level.” Crandell has taken his contagious passion for the education of this practice on the road, leading teacher trainings and workshops, primarily in Asia and Europe. He also regularly contributes to Yoga Journal, writing articles and creating DVDs, like “The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Yoga.”
5. Desiree Rumbaugh
Southern California Desiree Rumbaugh is proof that yoga heals. After tragically losing her 20-year-old son in 2003 , the then Phoenix-based yogi turned to her practice, which she began in 1987, to help her cope with the deepest grief of a bereaved parent. Certified in both Iyengar and Anusara yoga, Rumbaugh began traveling the world teaching yoga workshops and retreats. In the process, she found an inner strength that allowed her “not only to survive, but thrive,” as she writes on her website. “My spiritual journey had officially begun and after almost two years, and thousands of frequent flyer miles, landing into the open hearts of friends and strangers, I realized my son’s death could renew my own life and purpose.”Rumbaugh is the creator of “Yoga to the Rescue,” a DVD series designed for people who lack flexibility and fitness and/or live with chronic pain (i.e., neck, shoulder, and back pain). She is also a regular contributor to Yoga Journal.
6. Faith Hunter
New York, NYA yoga practitioner and teacher for over 20 years, Faith Hunter teaches her own style of yoga called Spiritually Fly, which merges Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Kundalini. Owner of Washington, D.C.- based studio Embrace DC, Hunter serves as director of teacher training. Hunter has traveled around the world teaching yoga and has been featured numerous times in the world’s leading yoga magazines, both on the covers and as an expert source. Hunter has participated in several online yoga courses, including a partnership with Gaia.
7. Kino MacGregor
Miami, FLWith a highly advanced physical practice and a strong connection to Mysore and the Ashtanga yoga lineage, Kino MacGregor is one of the most popular and well-respected Ashtanga yoga teachers in the world. At 19, MacGregor began practicing Ashtanga yoga and making yearly trips to study with her guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India. At 29, she received certification to teach. MacGregor continues to travel annually to Mysore to study with her teacher Sharath Jois, grandson of Pattabhi Jois. With her roots in Miami, MacGregor co-owns the Miami Life Center with her husband Tim Feldmann, while also traveling and teaching all over the world. MacGregor is the author of three books and six yoga DVDs, as well as the owner of a YouTube channel featuring yoga classes and tutorials with a subscriber base of 320,000. MacGregor has also developed one of the largest social media followings of any yoga teacher, offering advice and teachings on poses as well as frequent Instagram challenges for her nearly 1 million followers.