Photo: used by permission, via Rachel Brathen, @yoga_girl, who retains a sense of humor and delight in sharing her practice and shares many of her articles and photos on this here independent media platform. ~ ed.
I am often asked why I’m not on Instagram, because after all, Instagram is the place where a 24-year-old who can balance on a paddle-board can achieve worldwide celebrity and a book deal.
Media coaches, literary agents, book publishers and my mother all want to know: Why no Instagram?
And being something of a hypochondriac, I am sure that Instagram Envy would kill me.
The millions of people affected by Instagram Envy are probably residents of the First World. Instagram Envy is up there with “I-Need-A-Louis-Vuitton-Envy,” neither of which has been known to kill anyone in Chad or Sudan, for example, where they are desperately trying to find food.
But I live in a #firstworldplace with #firstworldproblems, although on a much smaller scale. Currently, I am suffering from #Ineedmorefryeboots and #Dothesepantsmakemybuttlookbig?
I have a reason for why I’m not on Instagram, and that is yoga. To me, yoga is a path that leads inward. I have a problem with outwardly smiling for the camera when I do yoga poses, which is probably ridiculous.
In a recent photo shoot I was very clear that I did not want to smile because I have enough trouble with people who think I am not yogic. This is how it sounded between me and my very helpful friend:
Me: I don’t want to smile.
Friend: You have to smile.
Me: I’m not sure smiling is yogic.
Friend: Smile or I’m leaving.
I want everyone to know that even though I smiled, I was trying to go inward. I just didn’t want to lose a friend, or completely waste the photo shoot on principles.
This brings me to the very real #firstworldproblem of Instagram Envy. When I look for yoga poses, I generally go to my dog-eared copy of Light on Yoga, where the only person older than me still practicing is doing the poses in black and white because color was not yet invented. In Light on Yoga, Mr. Iyengar is not smiling. In fact, he is often grimacing, but he is mostly in perfect alignment.
I also study the Yoga Resource, where my friend and teacher Darren Rhodes does the poses.
Darren has a Mona Lisa look on his face. Is he laughing? Is he dying? This is very yogic.
On Instagram, the yogis are beautiful. They are smiling. They do handstand effortlessly on the cliffs of Majorca overlooking a great blue sea. They are on paddleboards off of Bali. They eat pretty green things somebody made for them on a beach. They are always on vacation.
I am always doing the laundry and making dinner, with an hour to practice yoga in my basement. I had to get my enlightenment the old fashioned way, at home.
But, here’s the thing. I recognize defeat. I know when I’m out-numbered. So, starting in 2014 The Yogi Muse is going to be joining the selfie crowd on Instagram. And I’m going to smile.
But no matter how cute I may look standing on my head in a matchy-matchy outfit, I will probably still be in the laundry room because I wouldn’t want to you suffer from Instagram Envy.
Bonus: Waylon Lewis & Eoin Finn: How to put the Heart back into the Instagram Yogalebrity Craze
Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?
Editor: Rachel Nussbaum