Social Media: Dancing Along The Edge.

Via Julian Walker
on Feb 15, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

My sense is that social media can be a powerful tool for growth. I am all for the call to mindful communication – but only if it still cuts against the grain of relativism and conflict-avoidance that often makes spiritual community so lacking in critical thinking and well reasoned ideas…

So I would say it is important to notice when we are getting emotionally heated and going into ad hominem (attacking the person instead of the ideas.) But rather than the pious restraint that says “oh you can’t do that because it is against the yamas and niyamas” etc, I would say rather that we can mindfully take it as an opportunity to ask – if we are getting reactive and shifting away from considering the ideas being expressed then, hmmm, what is that really about?

Probably a little gem there for each of us each time in terms of becoming aware of our own shadows – but of course we have to be courageous and curious!

The more we practice this kind of awareness the more we can engage in adult conversations with depth and curiosity, even if we are disagreeing – and recognize the difference between someone pointing out the potential problem with certain beliefs or ideas vs attacking you personally as an individual.

I am cautious about the emphasis on “yogic communication” because I think sometimes it is code for the kind of communication we learn in dysfunctional families – like “if you can’t think of anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” My concern is that this can perpetuate denial, inauthenticity and superficiality rather than genuine philosophical inquiry and personal growth.

So, yes to mindfulness and sticking to the point, not attacking with unkindness, but no to butterflies and ponies and smoothing everything over with sugary faux “non-judgment.”

In a free society and in a free press we must feel we can disagree, debate and make strong well-reasoned arguments – as this is a privilege and a massive step up from the religious, political and psychological censorship of previous eras, and which is still in full effect in so many cultures.

In response to Angela Arnett, Jennifer Cusano and Kate Bartolotta’s thoughtful videos, and by request from Jessica Durivage, here are some thoughts inspired by the topic of mindfulness in social media:


About Julian Walker

Julian Walker is the founder of where he supports new and established yoga teachers in living their dreams through business development. He is a writer who has been teaching yoga since 1994, and co-teaches the Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind Yoga Teacher Training in LA with Hala Khouri.Julian's writing is featured in the book 21st Century Yoga available on


13 Responses to “Social Media: Dancing Along The Edge.”

  1. Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for this Julian. Seeing you as a "real person on a Wednesday afternoon" was the highlight of my day.

  2. Yay! Thanks Julian! I agree–let's dig into the debate, but do it in a caring, respectful way.

  3. \mb says:

    In regard to the Anusara/John Friend "tragedy", in case anybody missed this article that showed up in the Huffington Post about 3 days ago, it's worth a read:

    Especially noteworthy is the still ever-growing comments section below the article. The article's author is bit caustic and opinionated (though I am in general agreement with his points), which rubbed more than a few respondents the wrong way, for various reasons, some of which you touch on in your video above.

    Also, what are the links for the "thoughtful videos" you mention above? I can't readily find them through EJ's search box.

  4. Jessica says:

    Hi! Here is a link to several other videos that were created not in response to the Anusara situation (although, very timely) but in response to the online radio show, Where is My Guru, presenting at SXSW Festival with Waylon Lewis and Seane Corn on Yogic Philosophy and how it relates to how we show up online.

    Here is another article about our journey to SXSW –

  5. yogijulian says:


  6. yogijulian says:


  7. yogijulian says:

    added them in the article above for you mb!

  8. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Julian, are you saying I can't be mindful with butterflies and ponies? What?? 🙂 I need to re-think my strategy then, but maybe not. The unicorns keep me mindful. 😉 xoxox

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  9. Great Julian! Just posted to the elephant main facebook page. Cheers!