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April 18, 2018

The Instagramization of Yoga. ~ Waylon Lewis

Yoga has been Instagrammed.

16 years ago, what you know as Elephant was, in another life, Yoga in the Rockies. After a year-and-a-half I renamed it “Elephant,” after the founder of YitR and my partner in crime left for sunnier shores.

So I’ve been in this business for. a. long. time.

Western Yoga’s always had a body-first, trendy-fancy-wealthy aspect to it—or at least for as long as I’ve been around.

But nothing like today. Today, it’s all about the poses. Sometimes, it’s not even about alignment, but just about looking fabulous in some fabulous locale.

The captions can be redeeming—thoughtful little essays. But all too often captions are yet another opportunity for self-touting. Selfselfselfself.

Same thing with Stories.

That said, I get it: if you’re a yoga teacher, it’s hard to make a living. Ain’t nothing wrong with using Instagram, or Facebook, or Snap or Twitter to build up your following and career. In fact, that’s what we teach in our Elephant Academy, use social media to find your right path, and make a living being of benefit to this world in need.

But if we let social media use us, we are lost. How many of us (including me) have ruined a moment by sticking a phone in between us and it? In trying to make sure we capture the moment (to show it off to others we often barely know), we often lose it.

In trying to capture a moment through social media, we often lose it.

But that’s fine, too. From a Buddhist point of view, losing our minds and building up our Selves is just another opportunity to come back to this present moment and rededicate ourselves to others, and our planet.

Recently, the whole Dana Alo Cody Kino thing went down, and up, and I saw how yoga culture had changed. Now Instagram was where folks mostly went to argue and hate and defend and beseech, and photo and caption. Those arguing against Alo, a big corporation, often did so through a vast huge corporation (Instagram/Facebook). Those defending Alo did so, too. And, too often, constructive dialogue was lost.

On the other hand, Elephant—indie, community-driven media—made space for constructive dialogue, or tried to—in the belief that facts matter (journalism, truth, and all that) and, more particularly in this case, that as long as people were talking, and listening, war could be averted.

This Thursday, I’ll talk things over with Kino. I’ll share my views, you’ll hear hers, and we’ll talk about where yoga culture can go from here. Has it been overly Instagrammized? And if so, what’s the way out? If you’d like to watch, and ask questions/comment, click here.

If you’d like to join what you love with your work, to find a way to make a living doing what you love, join Elephant Academy, here.

PS: you can follow us on Instagram, and see how we use it.

PPS: When mindful thought leaders & ethical businesses talk “support the little guy,” then turn around and spend their ad dollars with The Man—Google Ad Words & Instagram/Facebook…that way lies more flame wars & invective, less dialogue & resilient community. Let’s invest in one another!

Relephant bonus round:

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