Everything I know about myself suggests that I would think yoga selfies are dumb. I’m a notorious hater & generally disagree with everything, but I just don’t dislike yoga selfies. Yeah, yeah, yeah – there is more to yoga than the poses. Yeah, yeah – we all have our opinions about the motivation of the people taking these selfies. And yeah, this is kind of old news (so 2013!), but I’ll talk about it anyway because everything is old news on the internet and I have a full time job I need to unwind from before I can even start to think about the things I care about and what I want to write about. Sometimes, that means I’m a little behind the game.
There are a lots of articles written about this already. Some are pro yoga selfie. And some aren’t. I like it when people write about any subject matter I care about – whether I agree or disagree. And like I stated earlier, as a hater, I disagree with lots of things. In fact, I often have this reaction:
But I don’t hate engagement. I like it when people are engaged whether I disagree with them or not. Well, for the most part… I mean, I grew up as a rare liberal in a very conservative town. Somewhere along the way I learned to enjoy a good debate and learned to be quite diplomatic! That doesn’t mean I’m not opinionated though.
I think I may have started as a yoga selfie hater. Likely, looking at a photo with an eye roll and some judgment. But when I force myself to think about why I don’t like yoga selfies – I don’t really have a good reason. When I get annoyed about a yoga selfie its often because of some unfair assumption about why I think someone is doing it, or because I get caught up in some weird body image shit that has nothing to do with the person taking the photo. What I mean is, it often comes back to some issue I have with myself. Sometimes I pretend like it’s because I think there is more to yoga than people doing poses and these people aren’t properly representing that, but I don’t really feel that way. I mean, there is more to yoga than poses, but yoga is allowed to change and manifest however it wants according to the people who adopt it. Some of it is tangible and photographable and some of it isn’t. Some people only practice yoga poses, some people only practice meditation, some people don’t practice any yoga, some people practice all the limbs of yoga. Whatever.
For some reason it seems many of the people who have a found a deeper meaning and deeper yoga practice get really offended when people only do asana or when other people are in awe of those people. And honestly, it offends some of my sensibilities too. It makes me want to scream “but there is so much more!” and “don’t think you can’t do yoga just because these people don’t look like you!” and “omg, there are other angles form which you can photograph your forward fold that don’t show me your ass!” But that’s just me making weird assumptions about the people taking the photos & about how somebody should react to seeing one. And, guess what, asana is a really amazing entry point for finding a yoga practice. If a person never embraces anything but asana that is fine, but despite our protestations about some of the physical practice I think it is still the best and easiest way for people to access the rest of yoga. I would bet most of us started with asana. And don’t tell me it doesn’t take focus & self-discipline to nail some of these poses and that the focus & self-discipline doesn’t carry over into our everyday lives!
The point is who cares! I don’t think seeing a yoga selfie really affects somebody’s opinion about yoga that much, or their opinion of themselves - just how me talking about chakras in my yoga class will not make somebody who doesn’t care about them, care about them. If people want more out of the practice they will find it, and if they don’t it’s not my place to force them to. Yoga selfies are pretty harmless, in my opinion. And people post them for so many different reasons it is really hard to generalize the effect they have. I’m just not going to get caught up in psycho-analyzing and assuming that I know anything about the person taking the selfie. I really don’t think they are all cries for attention nor do I worry about somebody getting injured trying to get into a pose they see a photo of, like that person’s choice would have anything to do with the photo anyway. And honestly, I like to look at them. I want to see everybody doing yoga, cuz’ I think it’s cool. I think ALL parts of it cool. So, yoga-selfie away my friends. Yoga-selfie away!