Honestly, I think some people must sit around, brainstorming things they can find fault with, or be offended by. I’m sick of reading about seemingly-uncontroversial things suddenly becoming a huge internet controversy because someone decides they’re offensive or inappropriate. Does everything have to be such an issue? Live and let live, bro, kumbaya.
The “issue” that’s bothering me right now? Yoga selfies.
I recently read an article (several articles, after I’d been intrigued) about how so-called InstaYogis are ruining the ancient art of yoga. According to the haters, the rise of #yoga on Instagram and other social media is taking the sanctity out of yoga. True yogis would never be so disrespectful and vain.
I’ve already proclaimed myself a Bad Yogi, so I might as well dive headfirst into my defence of the yoga selfie.
To a point, I can see some merit in the argument against posting your yoga achievements all over Insta. Yoga is meant to be a personal, meaningful practice, aiming to unite the body and the mind, and find peace within oneself. It is meant to be a spiritual journey, going much deeper than the physical asanas.
I get it. My yoga practice is something I consider very personal and dear to me. It’s connected me to my mind and body, and brought me peace, in a way I couldn’t properly explain even if I wanted to. On the deeper, spiritual, mental level, yeah, I consider yoga to be a pretty private thing. (Most days) I’m not gonna spurt my private, post-savasana, meaning-of-life thoughts on Instagram.
On the flip side, the physical aspect of my yoga practice is far from hush-hush private. I’ll be the first to admit I am THAT annoying girl, the one who’s always asking “hey, can you take my picture?”. My Instagram (and Facebook, and Twitter, and generally my entire web presence) is primarily yoga-centric, with no shortage of yoga selfies. If I master a fancy new pose, or happen to be at a picturesque locale, you’re gonna see it.
And what’s wrong with that? Most things in our lives have parts that we keep to ourselves and parts that we share with the world. Why should yoga be any different?
If anything, I think sharing our yoga practice through social media is a positive thing. Yoga may have elements that we keep private, but it’s also about belonging to a community. I think meeting and bonding with other yogis is an important part of the magic of yoga. Through social media, I’ve connected with many yogi friends, whether to ask a question, give a compliment, or share some encouragement. Scrolling through #yogaeverydamnday leaves me amazed at what some people can do, and gives me inspiration to try new poses. Sharing a yoga selfie I’m proud of, along with some words of positivity, just feels like a way to share my happiness with the world.
And none of that does anything to devalue or disrespect my yoga practice. My quiet, alone time on my mat is just as precious to me as it is to any of these holier-than-thou private yogis.
I think the phrase “promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate” is applicable here. Whether you choose to share your love of yoga with the world, or keep your practice under lock-and-key, that’s yogi’s choice. And that choice has absolutely no bearing on how “real” a yogi you are! You do you, boo; I’m gonna keep at the #yoga -ing.
mai pen rai;
thanks for reading!