The yoga selfie sure has gained itself a crappy reputation.
I’ve heard the conversations in yoga studios and I’ve seen the articles online. They all say that yoga is not all about asana, that our yoga photos are self-indulgent and that none of them represent what yoga actually is.
We need to put some clothes on and we need to stop giving people unrealistic expectations of what their bodies are capable of, they say.
And they are probably right.
But before you as a yoga teacher throw your social media baggage overboard, you may want to consider the consequences of abandoning the yoga selfie.
There are over 8 million photos with the hashtag “yoga” on Instagram right now. Those are 8 million photos posted by people who are interested in what you teach. Now, before you get all preachy telling me that you don’t teach THAT, let’s not forget that most of us came to yoga for the fancy asana and stayed because we found something deeper.
The Insta-yogis are onto something: community.
Those 8 million photos are a product of an ever-growing community that you can get in on. I often hear from yoga teachers who are resisting Instagram that they don’t want to get in on it. But if there were 8 million people outside your house right now who wanted you to teach them yoga, you would not be able to contain your excitement— don’t even lie to me.
Why, then, are we turning up our noses at millions of people who are (for the most part) totally open to what we want to share?
Yoga teachers are also entrepreneurs. And, for every yoga teacher out there saying she’s not in it for the money, there are 3 more who need that money to pay their rent. Entrepreneurs have to do more than just what they love. They have to keep the books, cash the checks and do the marketing that brings in the money—which allows them to keep doing what they love.
Your yoga selfie is one of the most powerful forms of authentic marketing and it costs you absolutely nothing but a few minutes of your day.
You could post your yoga schedule on Facebook all day long but, because of the way Facebook plays the social media game, the chances of anyone seeing it are slim to none. And if a post doesn’t have a photo—of you—to accompany it, it hardly even matters.
Or you could genuinely start to build community on Instagram, a platform that actually allows you to be seen and forces you to get creative by sharing parts of your life with your following. When you share, you connect with people and when you connect with people you build trust.
Trust the foundation of your yoga brand and when it comes to social media:
Let’s start with your bio:
The first thing people see when they head over to your Instagram page is your bio. What are you telling them? Do they even know what you do or where they can find you? If the answer is no, it’s time for an update.
The world’s easiest bio formula: tell them who you are, where you love, what you love and who you serve.
Then your photos:
You don’t have to be a pro photographer to garner some attention on Instagram, but you do have to put some thought into what you’re posting.
A consistent look will help your followers instantly recognize your posts and train them to stop and pay attention. To achieve consistency, stick to the same one or two filters and try to take your photos in the same type of lighting (always super bright or always a little bit dark, for example).
Mimicking some of your favorite Instagrammers is a great way to start to uncover your style.
If you’re not much of a photographer, never fear. Use the simplification strategy. One subject and a big blank wall never fails.
This is your opportunity to elicit engagement and call your followers to action—it’s where the community building happens. We often spend so much time working on crafting the perfect photo that we forget to say something meaningful.
The caption is an opportunity to share who you are and invite people to join you for classes and workshops. Be sure not to abuse this privilege though. If every post is a call to action, people will unfollow the 24-hour advertising network that is your account.
The yoga community on Instagram is booming. It’s a platform where it’s easy for you to find fellow yogis, make friends and build your following both online and on the mat.
Stop judging. Start smiling.
Author: Laura Dos Santos
Editor: Caroline Beaton