I recently have taken up a hobby that many yogis are familiar with these days: Instagram.
I have become an “Insta-yogi,” taking filtered photos not only of my meals, cats and lattes, but now of my practice. On the street, in the studio, from a friend or on self-timer, I am finding myself inclined to show off my yoga moves to the world.
This morning while documenting my morning yoga flow, I started to have some questions about what I was doing. Why do I take Instagram photos of myself?
To feed my ego?
To encourage and inspire others?
To show off how good my butt looks in my new yoga shorts?
While each of these is the case from time to time, they all lead me to even larger questions.
What kind of image am I presenting to my students and followers with my photos?
How will this change or affect their personal practice?
These questions have no easy answer. Many people have written about the pros and cons of documenting a yoga practice on Instagram. Rather than try to define this act as good or bad, I want to simply state my intentions, and make a vow to my students and followers on how I will approach my yoga selfies.
For my students and followers, I vow to:
Show the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I will take photos not only of postures I feel good in, but postures in which I have a lot of room to improve. I am not dressed in a cute matching yoga outfit every time I practice. I promise to show you the ratty old sports bra and pajama pants I practice in almost every morning. I vow to reveal my real practice.
Encourage inspiration rather than intimidation.
I will show the development of my progress in different postures. Goals that I have achieved and feel good about. And yes, sometimes these will be more advanced postures. But I promise to show these photos not in an act of intimidation. Rather, one of inspiration. Encouraging all of us to share our goals with each other, and support one another on our journeys to reaching those goals.
I will reveal that my practice is not comprised of handstands all day every day. Some days I’m tired or sore. I use blocks, bolsters and blankets to assist my postures often. I want to show that the most “advanced” yogi is the one who is not only committed to their practice, but is also compassionate toward themselves and others.
Check my ego at the door.
My Instagram is not a place to showcase my ego. Rather, it is a way for me to inspire not only myself, but hopefully others as well. To share my personal growth with a larger community.
I want to encourage all “Insta-yogis” and yoga teachers to take up a similar oath. Remembering to be mindful on our mats, in the world, and on the web.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Chrissy Tustison / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Courtesy of the author.