Each day, thousands of yoga students snap pictures of themselves practicing yoga and post to the photo sharing app Instagram and other social media sites for all to see. It’s a trend recently explored in a New York Times article “Yoga PractitionersGaze at Their Inner Selfies.”
While self photographs might be a fun way to express yourself, inspire others, and demonstrate yoga’s versatility (yoga can be practiced anywhere, and Instagram provides lots of proof!), the article brings up an important question: Why is this trend becoming so popular when the practice of yoga is supposed to be about self reflection, not self broadcasting.
“Besides, everyone knows the ultimate reward of having 250,000 Instagram followers is to feel completely whole and content with ourselves in the world,” quipped YogaDork in a blog post referencing the article. “It’s definitely on like half of those 5 million top 10 lists on how to be being happy and fulfilled.”
Furthermore, does spending time looking at others’ yoga photos inspire viewers or cause people to compare themselves or strive to reach an unrealistic version of poses? Do all of these photos of beautiful people contorting their bodies give people the wrong idea about what yoga is?
As yoga teacher Leslie Shipper pointed out in a MindBodyGreen post: “When we focus on what we look like, we start fanning our already firing egos, risking injury and losing connection with our breath. And while it's great to be "inspired" by what your neighbor is doing on their mat, we have to remember that we all come to our mats for different reasons and at various levels.”
What do you think of this trend? Have you ever posted pictures of your poses on Instagram or anywhere else online?