Insight and thoughts on how Yoga Teachers and Practitioners can use NFT to engage with their community. Let’s look at these Yoga NFTs to illustrate my point.
Having been a Yoga Teacher Trainer for the last 25 years, there are some unusual point of view about the NFT Space, that I am able to pass along. NFT, which stands for Non-Fungible Token, acts as a digital tracking of ownership for digital media. NFT relies on new Blockchain technology, and the rising value of crypto-currency. By placing a digital certificate of ownership artists can ensure their original work is recognized, registered and profitable.
From digital artist Beeple’s $69million sale of an NFT, which combined 5000 images created over 13 years, to the celebrity fueled Bored Ape Yacht Club, which is a collection of 10,000 unique Bored Ape NFTs, this new technology is beginning to enter the wellness, fitness and yoga fields.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I have a hunch that, for many in the Yoga field, the idea of NFT and Yoga can seem far fetched. Let alone if this is the first time you are reading about it, or connected with Yoga. What is generative NFT? How can it be used in cultivating yoga community and improve regular practice? Who is even doing anything with Yoga and NFT? It can definitely feel overwhelming and disconnected from Yoga Lifestyle. So, how can any yoga teacher or practitioner really benefit from NFTs?
Let’s look to the well known mystic Osho (1931–1990), for a unique perspective on technology. Here is a picture of him:
Answering a question in his Ashram on 14 February 1987, he says something prophetic:
… We need a better technology —
better than modern technology…
It is this last line that strikes me again and again — better than modern technology. In my mind this is a key piece of advice in the revolution of NFTs. Arguably NFT is better modern technology. Technology that aims to empower communities, put financial power in the hands of users rather than large institutions, as it aims to address real world challenges. Do you know what is ‘Move to Earn’? Do you know how to create a collection that can serve your community? Have you thought of bridging the digital world and the physical one? This is only the beginning and the reality is, there is an abundant room for more Yoga and Wellness projects; it’s your style and imagination that distinguishes itself as amazing / original / relevant.
As a way to demonstrate this point, just this week I saw a new NFT project targeting the Yoga community. Made me ponder, how many Yoga type NFT projects are out there? Check out what I discovered:
There is YogaNFT, which has yet to launch it’s mint ability:
There is NFT Gurus:
There is Yoga Poses by Luminiferous Meditation:
Then there is the collection I helped work on, by NFT Yoginis:
See, there are less than half-dozen viable examples of NFT Yoga projects out there. The wellness and fitness industry are already well on their way from sneaker NFT collections to NFTs of Super Star Athletes highlight videos. My intention is to both inspire and motivate You (teacher or practitioner) to create something that serves your students and community.
If you are a teacher — come up with a unique art image for a collection that allows your students to access your online videos, join your retreats, or have access to Web 3 features. Your project can connect with another project, allowing for shared Metaverse studio space, attend Kirtan events, or take online classes.
If you are a practitioner you could create a unique image or video of your pose, like this Yoga Mindful NFT by stanman.
While I know I could have described exactly how NFT utilize the new Blockchain technology, and wrote to you about Smart Contracts that are used to validate NFT, I had a different epiphany that I wanted to touch on. In that same 1987 evening, Osho said:
“It is just people’s imagination that in the past, when there was no technology, everything was beautiful and good.
That is absolutely wrong.”
When first stepping into the NFT technology world, it can feel very overwhelming and scary (does that remind you of your first yoga class?). I remember my first NFT creation. After an initial interest in this new technology I took the online MIT course, ‘Blockchain and Money’ taught by SEC Chairman Prof. Gary Gensler. By the end of the course I wanted to test and apply this new technology. I learned that any digital file can become an NFT, so why not make a popular audio class into an NFT? The mental challenge that followed in order to connect a digital wallet. Or the panic I experienced when I had to pay with crypto-currency, only reminded me of the first time I saw a picture of a person in a Yoga pose.
And true, connecting and choosing a digital wallet can be challenging, and understanding generative code and smart contract deployment can feel like stress. This is what we say in Yoga ‘good stress.’ Like when we are in a new Yoga pose, or with a new teacher. This is the kind of stress that makes you grow. And like I tell my students when I teach BikYasa Yoga; ‘there is no ‘right or wrong, only right and left.’ You might screw something up, but the world will not collapse.
I promise you. And you will seek out answers and meet new people. Your confidence will grow and as you will find yourself inspired to create an NFT from your most viewed Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook image/video, or build a collection that serves your students. Yoga teachers and practitioners create daily digital content in the form of images and videos. Why not capitalize and incentivize your work and expand your community?
I first started Yoga in 1993 with a library book (‘Dreams of the Soul: The Yogi Sutras of Patanjali’ by Daniel R. Condron), when the word Yoga was unknown, and the idea of doing “poses” was foreign to most people in North Carolina. Surprisingly, there is no mention of Yoga poses in Patanjali’s Sutras. Yet, today the word Yoga is used in commercials and common language. In the same fashion, the term NFT is growing and is poised to be part of modern life.
Mind you, in 1994, when I was in college there were no emails, and even on CNN the hosts were debating how do you pronounce the ‘@’. Yet today, we use Internet vocabulary daily, and seek to both monetize and connect with others thru it.
Osho talked about better technology. Blockchain is hailed as the better internet technology. I laid out a few Yoga NFTs projects in this article, each with a different approach on how to apply this new technology.
This perspective of NFT, if I am being brutally honest, excites me to connect and create in this digital space. Working with NFT projects is building community, inviting others to learn something about themselves. Convincing my fellow college Rugby players to try the Yoga warmup sequence, known as Sun Salutation, and inviting others to participate in an NFT project (like NFT Yoginis) require the same imagination.
I will leave you with a Walt Disney quote that, in my mind, summarizes why I practice Yoga and find technology fascinating.
“It’s kind of fun to achieve the impossible.”