Gwen Bell: Yoga = Social Media?

Via Waylon Lewis
on Apr 30, 2009
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Laptopasana, anyone? Gwen Bell on what yoga can teach us about…social media?

Gwen Bell has one foot in the yoga world. The other in tech. How does she keep her balance? By seeing through the form, and realizing that asana and meditation and cyberspace and Twitter have all got lessons for one another.

Sounds good, but what’s that mean? Facebook equals the primary series? Using props (like blocks, straps, blankets) is akin to using Tweetdeck? Well, sorta—Gwen Bell, my favorite yoga teacher slash social media mistress (as in Master; feminine) just hit another ball outta the park…er, stilled the waves of her mind via scorpion pose. Excerpt:


gwen bell

When Patrick (pictured above, inverted) and I decided to open a yoga studio in Japan, we were met with a wall of doubt. Other foreigners in Japan thought we were crazy to give up our high paying jobs to start a company. The Japanese folks we talked to thought we would burn out and bail out on it. People back home refused to invest, thinking it wouldn’t succeed.

We celebrate four years in business this July.

This is social web by the numbers. 
There’s a simple formula for getting involved with social media. We use it in yoga and it’s applicable in every aspect of our lives.

Social media, like yoga, is 99% practice, 1% theory. 

If you want to know how to do forearm balances, you practice forearm balances.
 It helps to have a teacher model Crow for you, but the basis of your practice eventually shifts from a focus on the teacher to a focus on your breathing.
To a focus on your form.
To a focus on your practice.

The same holds true for engaging in the social web. It helps, if it’s your first week on Twitter, to check out what those with thousands of followers are up to. How do they tweet? What do they tweet about? What gets the most retweets? But that’s just a guide.

What you can do with social media is going to come from your gut, not from someone claiming to be a social media expert.Mind you, it doesn’t bother me that some do claim expertise. In the yoga world, the equivalent would be Bikram Choudhury who famously said, “I have balls like atom bombs, two of them, 100 megatons each. Nobody fucks with me.” Then he proceeded to sue yoga studios that he felt infringed on his special brand of yoga. It takes all types…

…for the rest of Gwen’s great article on Yoga = Social Media, click to


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


7 Responses to “Gwen Bell: Yoga = Social Media?”

  1. greenergirl says:

    I love this. Like you, I have been living in both worlds for some time, and am thrilled to now see them converging. On a personal level, I feel like all of my "me's" are more in harmony than ever before, and I'm using what I know from my tech side to meet and think and share with like-minded people I would never have had access to. To keep it in context, I am grateful!

  2. gwenbell says:

    Thank you for sharing that, greenergirl. I am right there with you – trying to find the balance of all of my various "selves." I teach "Laptop Yoga" at tech conferences where it just feels amazing to get out of our chairs/out from behind the laptops for a few minutes. (I say laptops are optional & we simply do basic, accessible asana to help prevent the dread hackerback.) Anyway, I think we're all like-minded… at the end of the day – we all want to take care of our bodies & each other. Love hearing your story. – @gwenbell

  3. Joana Smith says:

    Gwen, thank you for putting social media participation into terms that I can understand, finally! BTW, I'm feeling a tweak in my cyber-neck!

  4. gwenbell says:

    LOL, Joana. Lean through the screen and let me give your neck an e-massage… waka waka…

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