You can almost get lost in the deep, futuristic illustrations for “The Future of Yoga“ article in the Summer 2022 issue of YJ. To express the complexity and eclecticism of yoga’s path from the East to the West and around the world, collage artist Vanessa Compton chose images of people who are involved in yoga and mindfulness practice—including historical figures, contemporary leaders, and community activists.
Compton says, “When I was first approached with the opportunity to create artwork for this article it felt incredible.” After reading the article, she reached out to friends and teachers in the yoga world. “My printer never ceased pouring out photos that filled me with the kind of creative inspiration that fills the soul’s cup,” she says.
While many of the subjects are from her native Vermont, she included people from a diverse range of experiences. “The generosity that was afforded to me, especially as a cis, white artist, leaves me on my knees.”
She offers “deep bows of gratitude” to the participants. She calls them “incredible humans who gave me their consent and loving words of support to use their beautiful, powerful imagery and inhabit the worlds I created for them to live in.”
Read on to learn about people who are making an impact in the world of yoga.
Sages and Advisors
Swami Vivekananda represented India at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893, credited with introducing Hinduism, yoga and vedanta in the West.
V. Nanammal, known as India’s oldest yoga teacher, was 99 when she died in Tamil Nadu in 2019.
Candace J. Taylor, they/she, yoga teacher, and creator (with partner Tony Berry) of Conscious Homestead, an urban farm, botanica, and wholeness retreat space that centers the BIPOC community. @conscioushomestead
Rebecca Padnos, she/her, licensed acupuncturist, yoga practitioner, and health counselor based in Burlington, Vermont.
Hope Elliott, she/her, yoga teacher, retreat designer, and wellness travel advisor. hopefj.com, @hopefj
Coco Shah, they/she/he, clinical social worker, therapist, organizer, and founder of Marigold House. Offers free community support groups, counseling, and workshops for people of the global majority (BIPOC), the queer community, and other marginalized groups. Badindianwife.com @badindianwife. With Rita Casper, her mom.
Rhiannon Kim, RYT 500, YACEP, she/her, doctoral student in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Taught meditation and yoga for nearly 10 years, rooted in anti-oppressive and healing-centered practices. loveattheroots.com @loveattheroots.
Matthew Remski, he/him, meditation and yoga practitioner, “heart centered skeptic,” and host of the “Conspirituality” podcast. Author of Practice and All is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics and Healing in Yoga and Beyond.
Olivia Hsu, she/her, yoga teacher and professional rock climber. @olicow, @ashtanga_collective. With her son Walker Phillips.
Ben Clark, he/him, “the wheelchair fitness guy.” Founder of Adapt to Perform, a fitness program designed to be fully inclusive and adaptive. adapttoperform.co.uk. @adapttoperform
Vanessa Santos Eugenio, she/her, meditation and trauma informed yoga instructor. Executive Director of We All Rise Yoga & Meditation, which offers inclusive and accessible yoga and meditation classes. @vseugenio @we.all.rise
Activists and Meditators
Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD, he/him, immunologist, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President.
Susanna Barkataki, she/her, “yoga unity activist” and leading voice in the movement to reclaim yoga’s South Asian culture and diversify the practice. Author of Embrace Yoga’s Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice. Susannabarkataki.com. @susannabarkataki
Gail Parker, PhD, she/her, psychologist and yoga therapist educator. President of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance. Author of and Transforming Ethnic and Race-Based Traumatic Stress with Yoga. drgailparker.com. @drgailparker
Swami Kripalu, a student and teacher of yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation born in Gujarat, India. Inspired by the teachings of Swami Kripaly, the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania became the Kripalu Yoga Fellowship in 1974, and evolved to be the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts.
Russell Brand, he/him, a U.K.-based comedian turned meditation leader and mental-health activist. Author of Revelation: Connecting with the Sacred in Everyday Life and a weekly meditation podcast, “Above the Noise.”
Briana Martin, she/her, yoga instructor, social worker. Leads wellness, community care/self-care, and mindfulness practices. @neferbribri @theinnergcollective
Matthew Remski, meditation and yoga practitioner
Vanessa Santos Eugenio, @vseugenio @we.all.rise
Candace J. Taylor, @conscioushomestead
Hope Elliott, @hopefj
Coaches and Oracles
Frank Baptiste, he/him, strength coach and mobility specialist, @FranklyFitness, FranklyFitness.com. Husband of Hope Elliott.
Ben Clark, he/him, “the wheelchair fitness guy.” Founder of Adapt to Perform, a fitness program designed to be fully inclusive. adapttoperform.co.uk, @adapttoperform
Mercedes Mack, also known as DJ Crystal Jonez, author, medicine keeper, coach, and digital oracle. @shaktimonster or @blkyarrow
Candace J Taylor, @conscioushomestead
Susanna Barkataki, @susannabarkataki
Gail Parker, PhD, @drgailparker
Olivia Hsu, @olicow, @ashtanga_collective
Coco Shah, @badindianwife
Vanessa Santos Eugenio, @vseugenio, @we.all.rise
Briana Martin, @neferbribri, @theinnergcollective
Rhiannon Kim, @loveattheroots
Hope Elliott, @hopefj
What will yoga look like in the next decade and beyond? Read “The Future of Yoga” for views from futurists, teachers, and forward thinkers.