There is a lot of recent debate going on about the “Yoga Selfie,” from the New York Times to Yoga Journal.
Within this debate lives an animated discussion and, unfortunate judgmental heat, which is being blasted about something that appears quite innocent, and creative.
To explain, a “Yoga Selfie” is essentially defined as a photo of a yogi, striking a pose, taken by them. Be it at arms length or if set up on a tripod, the camera has taken on a larger role than ever before in what we call today’s version of self-expression, the “selfie.”
Instagram is quickly becoming the open-air field of expressing oneself in various “yoga selfies.” And, really—what is the problem with all this? We have been watching people “tweet before they eat” and see all the inner workings of people’s weddings, births and other daily personal declarations online. Now we have the “Yoga Selfie,” which can be considered another personal expression of one’s yoga practice, their journey, and essentially—their inner selves.
As acclaimed artist and dedicated yoga practitioner, Robert Sturman, who is well known for taking beautiful photos of yogis in various poses, says “we artists have been doing ‘Selfies’ (self-portraits) since the beginning of time. It’s not just a way to document where we are. It’s also a way to grow into and become more of who we are. I am all for the ‘Selfie.’ And, if you feel like sharing it with the world, what’s the harm? Make yourself vulnerable—it inspires others to do the same.”
I cannot agree more with this perspective, and want to let you know that in case you think this statement is just for artists, you are right—it most certainly is!
Well, thanks to genius photography apps, tripods, timers and technology in general—we all are artists because we are creating something that shares our voice.
For example, remember how much debate you may have had with yourself for your own initial social networking or [maybe!] online dating profile photos? These photos defined you. You were the creator, the artist, of the message, tone, impression that you wanted to put out there. That takes a lot of courage, something that is also underrated in this world of putting everything that we feel some emotion about, on the line—in the form of being online!
You may have been a little vulnerable when you first started putting your voice out there, but now how many online photos of yourself do you have out there? How far you have come, how much you have grown!
And, when looking at the “yoga selfie” from a expression standpoint, it is just that, another language that is woven into our ever expanding form of communication, information and inspiration that we call the internet. Putting ourselves, our voices, out there to share with the world is an act of courage, and also vulnerability.
While allowing the subject to experience these emotions, and navigate their own self-love, it may just stimulate and inspire others to do the same.
Imagine this, yogis: we celebrate that sense that we love ourselves enough that we can share this selfie photography medium with one another—complete strangers, and close family and friends. Duality disappears, love emerges and, viola! We have union! This is the definition of yoga = union = we are all in this together.
And go ahead—take a new photo, because you love your own selfie!
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Ed: Bryonie Wise