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We’ve all heard yoga teachers encouraging us to push past our comfort zones during class. Yoga, after all, is a practice of self-evolution. But some yogis may be taking the phrase “find your edge” a little too far. Case in point: We all collectively gasped this summer when a woman was spotted doing Vrksasana (Tree Pose), backbends, and a series of inversions just inches from a notoriously unstable chalk cliff in England, known as Seaford Head.
Kamala Thiagarajan, a yogi in India, says this type of daredevil exercise is at odds with the yoga tradition. In her home country, yoga is a way of life beyond the physical asanas. “I’m all for people learning yoga the right way,” she says. That means no barns, goats, kittens, or other gimmicks. “As for cliff yoga in particular,” she says, “I think it’s attention-seeking and severely lacking in common sense.”
The Seaford Head spectacle is not an isolated incident. Instagram has given rise to more yogis than ever practicing poses that are more daring than dharma. Here are just a few examples of practitioners who have found their own edge—from Wedding Cake Rock in Australia to the isle of Cyprus to the Flatiron mountains in Colorado.
Check out the images here and then tell us: Do you think Instagram pictures like these are admirable and inspiring—or an example of how yoga is getting further and further away from its roots?