Confessions of a sort-of Yoga Selfie

And…the latest yoga brouhaha is “yoga selfies”. A recent guest blogger on YogaDork posted this gem: How to be a Beautiful Yoga Selfie Star, after the NYT ran this other gem, Yoga Practitioners Gaze at Their Inner Selfies. (I particularly like yoga photographer Robert Sturman’s tip to “stay away from the crotch area”. No happy baby pose please, or yoganidrasana.) 

One yogi I know posted on Facebook: Yoga. Yoga class. Yoga pants, yoga mats, yoga festivals, yoga “stars” both local and international, yoga stores, yoga parties, yoga status updates, yoga selfies, “my” yoga teacher, yoga photo shoots, yoga retreats, yoga blogs, yoga workshops, yoga in parks, yoga on water, yoga on a roof, yoga on someone else doing yoga, yoga on a stage with a mic, yoga bands, yoga dj’s, yoga books, yoga meme, more yoga selfies and photo shoots but with famous yogis, yoga DVD, yoga tatts…”Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah”. Exhale.

And another complained in response to the NYT article: Let’s just get back on the mat…quietly. 

Uh oh. Am I yoga selfie?! Sort of. Ironically and amusingly, the day I read this post was also the day I changed my Facebook profile pic to the one above. But hey – I have no guilt (nor am I on Instagram). For me, it comes back to something I always told myself back in the day when I first opened my yoga studio, and one person would show up for class. If I was able to inspire that one person, I would prefer that to having a packed class full of people who leave uninspired. If a professional, unique picture of me in a yoga pose (often in cowgirl boots) inspires one person – same idea. Call me narcissistic, but I feel good about what I do, and the fact that I work hard to keep it real. 

I also have a business to sell. And I am part of the product, like it or not. I have ideas about pictures that might capture and convey what we do out here on our yoga retreats…and what am I going to do, hire a model to pose for them? And to YD’s guest blogger’s point about beautiful yoga pictures running “the risk of confusing certain people into thinking all yogis have to be young, thin women doing fancy tricks” – I ain’t no Kathryn Budig. I am 42 and I have back problems, among other things. The closest I will ever come to some poses is looking at them in Light on Yoga or Hard Tail ads. But yoga has enabled me to become stronger and healthier in so many ways over the last 15 years. It is also fun. That is what I am trying to sell. That is what I want to share with people.

So what to make of the yoga selfie rising stars of Instagram? Let them have their fun. And if taking pictures of their practice inspires them or others to get their on their mat, what’s not to like about that? I’m not into Instagram, but I peruse yoga eye candy on Pinterest, and I will never forget when I first got my copy of Sharon Gannon and David Life’s The Art of Yoga; I can’t count the number of times that gorgeous yoga coffee table book has inspired me. I say, if you don’t want to look at beautiful yoga pictures, then you have a choice: focus your drishti on your mat. Let’s all get back to practicing now. Yeehaw & Namaste.