We’ve all seen them, and we’ve all subtly mocked them: those bandwagon-jumping yogis who only post a pose when it happens to make them look great in a bikini (OK, kind of fair), when they’re in Tulum and want to show off that sunset, or they’ve hopped on a yoga challenge over on Instagram (#yogaeverydamnday).
Social media challenges can get a bad rap, for obvious reasons. Yoga shouldn’t be about self-indulgence or gaining followers—it should be about personal development, flexing our muscles and our minds, and, for some, stretching our spirituality, too.
I always felt like I was too cool for a yoga social media challenge. I’d been practicing yoga therapeutically for a decade, before Instagram was a thing. Why would I ever need to post about it? Until one day, my local yoga studio—owned by a friend of mine whom I love and respect (and who is not social media showy)—happened to offer a simple, seven-day challenge.
Each day, we were charged with posting a simple pose, along with modifications, intentions, and mantras to go with it. To participate, I just had to get on the mat and post a picture of myself in that pose—and tag the studio (@yogahabit), along with the hashtags #7daysofyogahabit and #inthehabit. “No judgment, no pressure, just presence,” the studio owner urged.
For whatever reason, at the time I felt compelled to participate. I think, looking back, it was because I was struggling so much with finding some stability: I had just made a major job switch and returned from several weeks of travel in India. I felt all over the place, and I needed something to make me feel reconnected with my body and my purpose back home in Philadelphia. So, I gave up on my hang-ups about yoga and social media posting, my concerns about image and how it would come off, and I gave it a genuine, heartfelt try.
Here’s what I learned. (Oh, and spoiler alert: I won the whole damn challenge: a free month of unlimited yoga, chosen at random from those who participated. How’s that for good karma?)