I got on Instagram a couple years ago to start following the people and activities I am interested in. I’m a very visual learner and find imagery the way I am most engaged, so it only made sense.
One of my interests is yoga, and there is a big yoga community on Instagram. For a while, I really thought I had hit jackpot. You can follow all these different yogis and learn from their practices. You can also keep up with the latest styles, gimmicks, and trends. I was hooked.
But these days, I’m not so much enamored. Everywhere you look, it is beautiful sun kissed and mostly white young women doing impossibly difficult and beautiful poses in exotic or sleek locations. Of course, the beach. But also in front of the Eiffel Tower, or on a busy boardwalk, or in front of a mountain range. The pictures are always accompanied by a quote or an affirmation about loving yourself. Or shining your inner light.
I am all about empowered women. I think you should let your confidence shine. Freaking own it, yes. But is that really what yoga is about?
To me, yoga is about transcending the ego. The photos I see everywhere only serve to reinforce it. The whole purpose of these photos is ego based. They are posted to satisfy the ego of the model. Or worse, to make money. Because a lot of these accounts are sponsored. They are bought. They play on our desire for what is in the picture, telling us that if we buy the bra we can have the “yoga” in the photo. This is a play on our unconscious – that very thing we are trying to transcend by practicing yoga.
The images also perpetuate the unrealistic standards we are slammed with every day. Getting a firmer butt might be one of the benefits of yoga, but it is not the purpose of your practice. If it is, it’s not yoga. If you want to be a fitness model be a fitness model. But you’re not really a yoga teacher. Woman face images that feed our insecurities and feelings of inadequacy from advertisers at every turn. Yoga should be a practice that validates our bodies no matter their shape. It should affirm our caring and our service to ourselves and others. It should bring women together, not be used to set some of us apart.
So by all means, post the sexy beach photos. Own your sexy self. But please, stop calling it yoga.
Ok, rant over. Thanks for reading.