Any yogi with an Instagram knows that social media has become a place to share yoga inspiration and her practice. But the question remains: are these photos empowering or sexualizing the ancient practice? Last week, we republished the article 'I Don't Do Yoga and It's All Because of You'. Below New York-based yoga teacher Jamie Dickow weighs-in in defense of yoga selfies. ~ed.
I am a 22-year-old female yoga instructor and studio owner. I am a tall, long-legged lululemon ambassador, who is usually in their clothing. I also post pictures of myself in arm balances and inversions in interesting, beautiful places on Instagram. I am everything that an anti-yoga selfie person loves to hate.
With what seems like endless articles bashing the yoga selfie and those who post pictures on social media, I have been slouching behind my computer hoping that the community would one day come back together as one and stop judging each other.
It wasn't until the recent article I Don't Do Yoga and It’s All Because of You that I decided to share my thoughts on this controversial topic.
In a nutshell, by posting a yoga selfie on Instagram, whether it be Astavakrasana (Eight-Angle Pose) or Tadasana (Mountain Pose), we're doing what we want. We want to post a picture, so we do it. We wanted to edit it with filters, so we did. The beautiful thing about this world, and one of the major teachings of yoga, is that what feels right for you, may not be right for another, and guess what? THAT IS OKAY!
There is no Yoga Sutra that says we shouldn't do #yogaeverydamnday, there is no sutra that claims we cannot express ourselves artistically on our own social media page.
However, this sutra exists:
“By cultivating attitudes of friendship towards the happy, compassion towards the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and equanimity towards the non-virtuous, the consciousness returns to its undisturbed calmness.” (Yoga Sutras I.33)
What happens when we don't do this? We become judgmental, angry, and maybe even jealous.
Often we find ourselves justifying our posts by saying we are inspiring others, promoting our businesses, tracking our progress, ad nauseum. And most of the time that is exactly what we are doing, but we shouldn't have to constantly defend ourselves and give eighteen reasons why we post what we post.
Sometimes I just want to post a picture because I am proud of myself. Maybe I just feel really beautiful in Bakasana (Crow Pose). We don't need to answer to anyone any more; we don’t n
eed to justify why we do what we do.
And so, I will leave you with this, for those of you who say the famous yogis of social media are not real yogis: the fundamentals of what yoga really is, lay in these three things:
:: Accepting one another
:: Not being judgmental
:: Understanding each others differences
By practicing those three things in our every life, on and off the mat, we start to find the true nature of what being a yogi really means.
So please, everyone, #LetTheYogiBe. Accept each other for being individuals and for what we want to post. Don’t be judgmental toward those who post a headstand in their underwear. Understand that this world is made up of beautiful, different and unique people. Try opening up Instragram right now and enjoying the fact that we have the freedom to post, the freedom to move, and the freedom to be who we want to be.
Jamie Dickow @jamie_surya_yoga : The owner of the Jamie Surya Yoga Studio, 200hr E-RYT and lululemon ambassador, began taking yoga during college and had her life changed by the spiritual and physical practices of yoga. She went on to receive her 200 hour certification learning of the deep spiritual connections between the body and mind. The philosophy behind yoga is deeply important to her and she incorporates a focus on inner awareness and spiritual growth in each of her classes. With experience teaching all ages, Jamie encourages her students to be present in their practice and honor where they are in their journey.