I was reading earlier on another blog how the author had started a little movement called #realpeopleofashtanga – it was post about how social media can make yoga (she writes specifically about Ashtanga Yoga) seem like it’s just for very slim, very tall, and VERY flexible people. In other words, fitness models.
Which is makes me sad. Because the meaning of Yoga – is union, it’s coming together as a tribe, and it’s coming together with yourself, and accepting yourself for what you are. I’m wondering how you feel about this? Does seeing pictures of model-turned yogi in advanced asana deter you from starting your yoga journey or make you feel inadequate in your own ability as a yogi?
For me I see both sides of the argument. Social media is an international platform to showcase your business, and many of us are in the business of self promotion. I know that some of my most liked Instagram posts are yoga selfies. I totally respect the dedication to the practice to be able to achieve those advanced asana (poses) But I also have deleted a few of the accounts I used to follow as I did start to feel that I was not good enough in comparison to them.
Of course, living by the motto ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ (more on this here) is sometimes easier said than done. I know that Kino McGregor gets tons of negativity from the Ashtanga world, but if you bother to read her comment she really is a truly devout Ashtangi, has studied for many years and dedicated her life to her practice. I personally find her an inspiration, but maybe that’s because I know her back story, something many people don’t bother to find out, they just see her doing crazy postures in skimpy shorts. Go figure.
Back to my main point – does this affect you, if you are not already a yoga practitioner to WANT to try yoga or TO SCARED to try yoga because you thinks it’s just for skinny white girls wearing expensive sports clothing?
I can’t tell you the amount of times someone, once they find out I am a Yoga teacher say ‘oh I would like to do yoga but I’m so inflexible, I can’t even touch my toes’ and I reply ‘and that is exactly WHY you should start taking yoga classes. The benefits are waaaaay more than being flexible. And not all yogi’s look like the fitness models that the clothing brands use. We come in all shapes, sizes and colours and are all capable of different things with our bodies. If you want to start yoga, ask yourself this. Can you sit and breathe? Yep, just sit, in any position comfortable to you with your spine straight and breathe, inhale and exhale? Then my friend, you are doing YOGA. The rest is just a circus!
I would love to hear feedback – please comment below with how social media etc has affected your decision to start or not start taking yoga classes.
*I have chosen not to use graphics in this post apart from the feature image, which is a statue in the Museum of Modern Art in Saigon.