It took me a great deal of time and thought to decide on what I wanted to write about for my first 2020 post. Usually I try to start the year off with intention setting or invite you all as readers to join in on a new year reset yoga challenge. While these things are still happening in the background of my own personal life (Adrienne came out with another 30 day yoga playlist, if you haven’t checked it out, here it is: Home) I thought I would start this year with a different intention. I want to write about more challenging topics. Similar to my recent post about cultural appropriation, I was to discuss issues that matter to me that readers might relate to. Of course, I will keep bringing in posts about specific poses or yoga props, but I also want to dig a little deeper.
So for my first post in 2020, I want to discuss yoga and social media…
Many of you might scroll through your favorite social media feed and find someone doing a yoga pose. Maybe it’s a celebrity sponsor of a yoga clothing company, maybe it’s your favorite yoga celebrity, or maybe it’s simply a local yoga instructor. Maybe you yourself have posted photos of yourself in yoga poses.
That is great!
Let me state very clearly, I’m not here to judge anyone for anything you have or will do on social media. If you post pictures of yourself regularly in yoga poses…great. If you don’t, that’s great too. What I want to discuss is what the intention is behind these posts.
I have noticed a trend in yoga instructors and yoga celebrities posting photos of themselves in advanced poses. I find accounts online called “Yoga Inspiration” highlighting a very specific type of yoga student or teacher showing off their skills in handstands, scorpion pose, and other advanced poses. So again, I ask, what’s the intention behind these? Is it truly to send inspiration to students around the social media world that they too can get there? If so, that’s great! If it’s to show off a skill you’ve worked hard to achieve, that’s great too! More often than not, I get the sense that this type of imagery creates an unrealistic idea of what yoga is. I also think that these images might actually discourage students because they may not be able to achieve certain advanced poses yet or at the same time as their peers and they may give up. Unlike many other activities, yoga isn’t just about achievement in the physical sense, it’s more (to me) about achieving alignment with yourself, mind, body and spirit. So I think to myself, what is the point of posting these images to show others what poses you can get into when the practice itself is about getting more in tune with yourself? I worry about the long term impact on yoga students as well as the yoga practice itself. I believe that yoga in the western society has already become warped and appropriated in certain ways and I don’t think social media is really helping.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I myself have posted many pictures in yoga poses. My true intention is not only to inspire students and friends, but also to educate on what yoga might be good for or help with. Part of my recent journey has been to create more awareness and intention around my words and actions. So I’ve toned down on my yoga pose photos and tried to highlight life, the reality of it. I don’t want to promote myself and only my achievements. I want to promote the world and it’s beauty. Especially in these times.
So, I challenge you…the next time you want to post a picture of yourself in a yoga pose, pause. Ask yourself why…then decide whether you want to or not. The choice is yours and yours alone. No judgement, no foul.