Yoga Journal

Unapologetically, Kathyrn Budig

"That’s me," Kathryn Budig says, almost in a whisper, nodding at a merch display.

Budig, 36, takes a swig of water on the sidewalk outside Method 29403, a pilates-based studio in Charleston, South Carolina, where she has just sweated, squatted, and lunged her way through a 40-minute class. The advertisement adorning the check-in counter is of Budig in an advanced back-bending yoga pose.

The other women in the class, most of them anyway, had been unaware that they had just worked out with someone who, to millions of devoted yogis, is famous.

The surge in yoga’s popularity in the United States over the past two decades—especially on Instagram—has resulted in the most American of concoctions: the yogalebrity. Among famous yoga instructors, Budig’s star may be the brightest.

She has become known to, and loved by, legions through almost a decade’s worth of classes on YogaGlo, the monthly subscription streaming platform; the books and magazine articles she has written; the social media presence she has built; and the workshops she teaches around the world. She is thought of as someone who takes alignment and mindfulness seriously, but not herself. Making silly faces as she demonstrates Bakasana (Crane Pose) or Navasana (Boat Pose) sit-ups with ease and humor, she has endeared herself to yogis and marketers alike as an all-American-yoga-teacher-next-door, Debbie Reynolds meets dharma.

Some time ago, Budig may have wished to have been recognized in that pilates class, or almost anywhere. She studied theater and literature at the University of Virginia and moved to Los Angeles after college, hoping to make it in Hollywood. But she ended up finding fame on a different sort of stage—the world of Western yoga, which has become inhabited by avid, even rabid, students who look upon favored instructors as gurus and travel hundreds of miles to attend workshops as if they are rock concerts. As her renown grew, Budig also became a savvy entrepreneur, forging partnerships with Under Armour, cosmetics companies, jewelry designers, and more, becoming what is today known

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