- Gaia is one of America’s most popular yoga brands – but it has an unusual history.
- The former parent company is now peddling wild conspiracy theories about aliens and New Age mysticism.
- Insider has researched the origins of Gaia and Gaiam, and you can read the full investigation here.
Gaiam is one of America’s hottest yoga brands. It also has a very unusual story.
Gaiam has its roots in what is now a Netflix rival, specializing in conspiracy theories, new age mysticism, and yoga, that streams a wild assortment of video content to roughly 700,000 members around the world – called Gaia. His library ranges from conspiracy theories to the 9/11 terrorist attacks to false claims about vaccines, along with extraterrestrial taxonomies, the alchemists’ secrets for converting gold, and the founder of JPMorgan’s clandestine plot to sink the Titanic. Insider recently released a research on Gaia that examines how the publicly traded video streaming company emerged from a lifestyle brand that promoted yoga in the U.S. before relying on fringe theories and deeply alternative beliefs. Serial entrepreneur Jirka Rysavy founded Gaiam in the late 1980s, helping popularize the ancient Indian practice and building a business that included yoga equipment, mail-order training videos, and other “conscious” products.
Around 2009, Gaiam began developing his own streaming service – and eventually decided to outsource his yoga business with yoga stones, mats and the like.
The Gaiam brand and yoga equipment unit were sold to Sequential Brands Group for $ 167 million in 2016. The video streaming service, meanwhile, continued Rysavy’s direction and traded under a new name: Gaia.
Freed from the yoga business, Gaia leaned more towards his alternative beliefs, and rumors and conspiracy theories spread around his workplace. Some panicked workers have speculated that the CEO is using supernatural means to invade their dreams and that they are being manipulated by crystal energies, sources told Insiders. Amid the pandemic, business is booming and the company has finally started turning a profit as its user base continues to grow.
Meanwhile, Gaiam continues to be successful. Its products are available in 38,000 stores today, according to its website. It can be found anywhere from Target to Amazon and is recommended by the New York Times’ renowned Wirecutter review site. It is patronized by legions of yoga-loving Americans – who are probably completely unaware of the connection between their yoga mat and forbidden alien secrets.