Yoga is everywhere and so is the yoga selfie. We see them all over social media, and in the community, this issue is a hot debate. So, are our #yogaselfies good or bad?
Social media connects us with so much, and yoga is no exception. Yoga challenges often encourage participants to photograph or video themselves performing asana. Participants then link their photo to a catchy title and are sometimes offered validation, if not the chance to win prizes. Large challenges are hosted by yoga celebrities and are sponsored by companies who sell yoga products, all of which utilize the #yogaselfie to spread the word.
While some uses are admittedly commercial, others might just be an authentic way of sharing with a community. Yoga is about exploring and examining the present moment, so capturing a snapshot of these moments could be a very helpful way to engage in a practice. Here are my five positive ways that #selfies encourage us to do yoga.
1. Highlight Our Practice in a New Light
The yoga selfie is a form of art which allows individuals to express themselves and their practice. While some photos may be considered suggestive, many more yogis highlight their form, transitions, new variations, beautiful or artful surroundings, or creative photography.
Some selfies feature yogis inside their homes surrounded by children, pets, and life. Others show yogis fitting in a quick practice during a break at the office. All of this can inspire people to create art, try something new, or just give permission to be ok with nontraditional ways of exploring yoga.
In today’s busy world, finding more ways to inspire yoga practice is a good thing.
2. Document the Process
The 15 second Instagram video is my new favorite way to document a yoga practice. Clips can be at normal or double speed, and they can show a new way to get into a pose, a new way to transition between poses, or a clip of a practice.
These clips are honest. Where a photo can highlight the split second that a pose is in top form, a video can show the struggle, stability, and journey. From these videos, I’ve discovered new ways to enter poses, and that can translate into better personal practice or new ways to challenge or assist students.
3. Offer a New Yoga Community
Instagram can be a fun way to share your practice and progress with others. Enjoy keeping in touch with friends from around the globe or follow a yogi who inspires your practice. I have celebrated the success of distant friends, been inspired by others, and hopefully have inspired the practices of others along the way.
Yoga on social media offers people a chance to encourage or celebrate a friend or stranger by liking or commenting on what they’ve posted. This sense of community, through challenges or friends, can be just the thing to get you on the mat when you’re tempted to skip practice.
4. Discover New Aspects of a Pose
Yogis get pretty creative with some of these social media challenges. Just scan some of them, and you’ll find a variety of creative props, transitions, and variations of the poses.
Read the captions, and you’re likely to learn something that the photo is demonstrating. These discoveries can bring variety, ease, comfort, and success in your own practice.
5. Highlight Diversity
The yoga selfie offers the chance to take the glossy fabrications out of the yoga images that we see. I love to be able to see real, inspiring people on their journey.
Yogis come from a variety of cultures, ethnicities, sexes, ages, sizes, and abilities. The beauty of a practice doesn’t always have to look the same and doesn't have to be perfect. The diversity in the yoga selfie can demonstrate that yoga really is for everyone.
While I still encourage a personal practice, as well as a practice under the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher (always a good idea for safety), don’t rule out the yoga selfie. If you are looking for self gratification, you'll get that, but you'll also get much more.
Community, inspiration, and diversity, and many more great ways to share and connect come together through social media. Just like our practices, social media is what we make of it. Feel free to share with me a selfie of your favorite pose below!