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    adriene mishler

adriene mishler: the people's yogi

Adriene Mishler may seem familiar to you. It’s highly likely that you have even welcomed her into your home — with her endearingly corny jokes, her affable demeanor, and her deep (but accessible… and lovably goofy) inner knowing. Adriene, Co-Founder of Yoga With Adriene, teaches free yoga to more than four million people on her YouTube channel, and has cultivated a community platform of her own creation: Find What Feels Good. Deemed ‘The People’s Yogi’, Adriene’s mission has always been to provide as much free, high quality yoga to as many people as possible. And somehow, giving away nearly seven years’ worth of weekly content for free has led to a sustainable business. That’s some good karma right there.

the business of giving content away for free

Although, karma and business savvy are at play here. In recent years, yoga has transformed into an 80 billion dollar industry worldwide. Adriene is now one of several online yoga teachers bringing the age-old practice to the internet masses. For the first three years of Yoga with Adriene (YWA), however, Adriene and her business partner — Chris Sharpe, whom she met on the set of a horror film called The Spiderbabies — made no money and saw “no movement”. “We had no idea it would become a business,” said Adriene in her me Convention talk. Other yoga channels at the time offered a brief segment of a guided yoga or meditation practice, just a glimmer of inner zen and chakra alignment, and then directed viewers to a separate platform where they would be charged a pretty penny. Not so with YWA: Adriene and Chris decided to “give it all away for free and see what happens”.

Of course, the experiment not only worked, it was and continues to be an absolute sensation. According to Adriene’s feature in the The Guardian, her fans are known for sentiments like “I’m not hyperbolizing when I say she changed my life.” Of the thousands of comments on her YouTube channel, hardly any are negative… a true internet anomaly. Beyond her millions of YouTube subscribers, Yoga With Adriene has hundreds of thousands of casual viewers. So what’s her secret? For one, Adriene strives to come across as a friend with a particular skill set, not an expert or a celebrity; and she encourages self-love in her viewers as a friend would, too. “What’s the point of looking good if you look in the mirror and you don’t love who you see, and you don’t know who you’re looking at?,” she often says, without pretense. Unlike the aforementioned yoga experts and celebrities, Adriene is aware of the responsibility she bears in holding space for her viewers… a great many of whom “can’t afford to go to a yoga studio, or pay 165 dollars for yoga pants... or who are too far in a dark place to show up in public and stick their butt in the air.” Yoga With Adriene doesn’t take advantage of anyone’s vulnerabilities: It helps people care for themselves, under all circumstances, in the comfort of their own homes.

finding what feels good

Adriene wins fans with her approachability and sensitivity, and she keeps them with consistent, free content. After three years, her viewers began to share their positive experience with loved ones, and her audience has since grown from week to week. From YouTube, Adriene invites these viewers to her website, where they can sign up for the ‘Weekly Love Letter’. From there, Adrienne finally touts her subscription service, ‘Find What Feels Good’, which costs $10 USD per month — about half the cost of a typical drop-in yoga class — and offers the entire Yoga With Adriene library plus additional monthly content, access to a like-minded community… and more good karma. By paying for a monthly membership, Adriene’s community is actually funding the continuation of free weekly yoga for people in need, and putting the karmic philosophy of ‘giving to receive’ into practice.

Every January, Adriene offers ‘30 Days of Yoga,’ “The biggest, most beautiful thing we do all year”. Millions of people, many on an initial quest for six-pack abs or the ability to wriggle into tighter jeans, join in on the ‘yoga journey’ each new year; and many will later tell you their lives are forever changed… not just their bodies, but their lives. So in 2019, how can you change lives? Take a page from Adriene’s book and commit to a social impact mission of your own. In business and in life, you’ll have karma on your side.

If you’ve been meaning to give yoga a try, consider practicing with Adriene this January. Or watch her me Convention talk ‘Giving to Receive: Building Community & Meaning’, and sign up for our newsletter for early access to talks like these.

Disclaimer: The views of me Convention speakers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either Mercedes-Benz and/or SXSW.