Processing My Yoga vs Social Media Yoga

15 posts in this topic

I needed a place to put this...  and this seemed the best place.

I know that there are a lot of topics of Yoga in Social Media... and they aren't wrong, they just aren't for me.
Maybe, in my previoius practice...  maybe.

I love seeing all of the various  "challenges"..  a whole month or two weeks of balance, strength and other poses that might help to shake up a practice out of a rut. 
Because we are all in danger of "ruts" in our practices and hobbies.
I really enjoy watching people experience yoga....  from the very beginner to the most advanced instructor. 

I have been invited to join in several of the "pose a day" challenges and I constantly drag my feet  to join...  I watch... but almost never do you see me in a photo or a "selfie".

Maybe I am at a place where my practice is truly between my mat and I.......  not between me and anyone else.
My mat knows that I am struggling to get back to the most basic of head/hand stands....  I am not compelled to share it with anyone.

I'm okay with talking about my practice, the physical challenges I am expereincing and where the world me and the mat me join to move through the world together.

I love watching...  but I am just not compelled to share. 
I'm alright with this, honoring the place where my pratice is....   I suppose I need to spend some more time letting go, of the things that don't serve me or my practice.

I don't expect a response.... but I did need to share this with other people on the mat....  because you might get it more than someone who doesn't make kissy friends with the floor.

Edited by SJP42

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SJP42, your post really speaks to me. I have been doing a lot of contemplating lately - and a lot less sharing - about the direction that my yoga practice, social media presence, and blogging are headed. I find myself not wanting to post what is becoming an increasingly personal practice to me. I even find myself not being inspired by others' yoga selfies like I once was.

In the end, we get to choose what our yoga is about and whether and/or how we want to share it. Keep doing what feels right to you! You can always do what others are doing in the challenges without posting pictures or updates if you want :)


yogafire, SJP42 and YogaByCandace like this

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I had a conversation with my sister in law about one of the "challenges" I was invited to take part in.

Having not ever tried yoga herself, she admitted that she was fasincated... and felt that she might be able to do maybe 3 or 4 of the poses.... 
We talked about how starting a yoga practice can be as easy as trying 1 basic pose daily, then after a bit, learning to string them together. 
She was legitimately curious about yoga as a potential weight loss activity.
  We had an honest conversation about it.

I admitted  that I would probably let my wife take pictures of me stringing together the first 11 days of this challenge.... and then  take 10 more....  and then 10 more, but one pose a day....   was not where I am... and I am not about to call my wife to my mat for a picture mid or end of my practice. 

I like that this social media yoga has people curious.
I like that it has helped folks to get onto a path of wellness and body awareness.

I like that it has pushed us to really think about our individual practices and make a point to honor where our practice really is.

I get to go deeper...  that is important

afriske, Kerri, robert and 3 others like this

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SJP, I feel similar with you on many fronts!  I didn't participate in any of the challenges until last month, when the theme spoke to me the most because it was focused on mindfulness and reflection.  I felt I wouldn't beat myself up if I couldn't follow the schedule or not make any visual progress. 

It's been almost 5 years for me to finally take video of myself to really see what I looked like (in September's challenge here on YBC).  I would warn that pictures may reveal something physically that doesn't match what you're feeling internally (i.e. I felt better than I "looked").  But, it's an informative process, especially when comparing poses that have two sides since our bodies can be asymmetrical, and I can then pinpoint visually what areas are weaker on which side.  However, if you don't want to process all that info, no need to take a picture or share it!

But, I would say if you change your mind or just want to take pictures for yourself and not share, Candace's photography tip #3 to use the video feature and then take a screenshot is a great way to take a selfie without interrupting your sequence.

Social media is one avenue for picture taking, journaling your own progress and looking back at the videos is another, among many other creative options. I sense most find it easier to just post it rather than start a private blog.  I guess my point is, don't get turned off from taking pictures of yourself just because of social media because there are other benefits for yourself that don't require sharing.  But, don't bother doing it though if looking at your own form is discouraging or creates a disconnect from the experience you already feel on the mat.

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While I appreciate that social media can be a huge positive influence in many people's practice, it just doesn't work for me. I'm super self-conscious and avoid having my picture taken even under the best of circumstances. I tried sharing a few images during one of Candace's earlier challenges and while it helped (I wasn't where I thought I was with a certain pose), I can get the benefits from having an external perspective on my practice without sharing it with the rest of the world. It doesn't help that I love photography and thus would end up stressing out over the quality of the photo, the untidy background and so on.

I sometimes get tempted to make a video of certain poses every now and then, but I can't find a decent angle to capture myself doing the pose and I'm not going to break out the tripod just to see if that would help, nor do I want to ask other people in the room to take my picture. I don't want to feel like I'm performing yoga rather than just doing yoga, if that makes any sense.

I'm with Robbie and Robert here. As Robbie suggests, what pictures I take of myself live on my tablet and tablet alone. And like Robbie, I'm best friends with the floor: lots of kissy times between me and the floor :)


At the end of the day, we have to do what's most helpful to us.

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I love the conversation this has started, and thank you, SJP, for sharing your thoughts, and thank you, everyone, for chiming in with their own thoughts. I've loved reading this thread.

I have definitely been there, SJP, and sometimes still find myself there. I think that's been the hardest part, for me, about making something I love my job. At some point, it really does become work. I sometimes feel like if I need to post because it's part of my job. And a lot of times I feel like a fraud because I am struggling with whatever I'm struggling with and yet sharing my personal practice as if it hasn't taken years and lots of falls and whatever else (although I do try to acknowledge that during breakthroughs). When I'm in the mood, I do enjoy sharing my struggles and progressions on social media because I get to connect with people and feel less alone in my struggle. I get to hear from others who are in the same boat or who have been there before, and that makes me feel really connected to the people in my social network. 

I love to watch certain people's personal practice. I get inspired by super creative flows and I don't know, sometimes you can just tell what the motivation is behind a post. There are some people who just have the most lovely practice - and I don't mean just the asana, but the whole outlook and way they approach the practice. I really am drawn to that. And other accounts feel like it's solely about publicity (which I understand on one hand, especially if it's for work), but I'm not moved by it or inspired by it so I usually unfollow. When I share my own personal practice, I like to share two types of things: 1) a really cool flow that I think might inspire others who have hit a plateau in their practice or teaching, or 2) something I am struggling with or just learning. I appreciate those types of shares from others, which is why I share those types of things on social media along with other stuff from the blog and my personal life. But I have to be in the mood for it, and sometimes I'm just not. Especially lately - there have been a few nasty comments and I just found the whole thing draining, so I've taken a little break from sharing my personal flows.

I have never been a fan of "challenges" on social media because I do feel like they're mostly about the end result and feel they often focus too much on one specific pose rather than the practice as a whole, so when people began requesting "challenges" I called them 'projects' and wrote them up as 'programs' (although Greg has called them 'challenges' here on the forum which I keep bugging him to change haha). Somehow in my head the name made a difference. Since so many people are visual, I had the focus be on how one specific pose changes over the course of a month with consistent practice and invited people to share their journey on instagram or forum if they liked. This served two purposes: 1) it was kind of a nod to the 'challenges' people had asked for and 2) it helped promote the yoga practice, and I'm not going to lie, the blog and video content I've created. But truth be told, it's just one of those things where 'challenges' doesn't sit right with me, 'programs' or 'projects' feels better to me, and ultimately, if it gets people to the mat, then I feel like I've done something good. But yeah, I completely understand not wanting to share, and feeling turned off by the emphasis on sharing on social media. Sometimes it just feels too saturated. 

When I get to that point, I just take a step back, turn the phone off, and focus on my breath and strive for balance. Thanks again for sparking this convo.

Edited by YogaByCandace
robert, Robbie, scottcraft and 6 others like this

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I think you hit a nail smack on the head for me.
"It's mostly about the end result..."

I often feel that the beginnng levels of the asanas are left out.
Use of various props to help get a beginner to the correct form.

I often look at the strings of poses and think two things.
1)  I'm not ready for that 
2)  One pose every day....  I am not going anywhere near that without a warm up or focus.

I could get behind a....  Daily Short Flow or a modification practice. 

This is something I have been chewing on since I returned to the mat, and started dodging the "challenges".

I can't tell you how comforting it is to realize that I am not alone in my thinking and realizing that sometimes, unplugging... is the smart thing to do.


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I have to admit that I love doing the daily yoga challenges because somedays I need that extra motivation to get on my mat. I also like to think that maybe sharing my practice with the world will help to inspire someone to begin their own yoga journey. However, I completely respect the side that prefers not to participate in that because it is indeed a deeply personal practice. Or at least it should be. Most of us who have been practicing for years know that it's not about attaining one pose. In fact, while my instagram feel has some flashy arm balances in it, if you ever show up to my class, you can be sure I won't put you in one of those poses. It's so so so important to start slow and learn each pose from the ground up. I am always shocked when I walk into an "all levels" class and find that they are already teaching arm balances. Yikes! The same goes for social media - it's not about getting into the most advanced pose you can - it's about learning more about your body through yoga, and some days, for all levels of practicioner - that means slowing down and doing a seated asana practice only.

I find social media to be a source of inspiration for me, however I also recognize that you can't just show up on your mat and hop into koundinyasana safely. It takes years of practice. That's the part that I think is missing. It's really all about the journey afterall!

SJP42, Hildegard, EricaKaye and 3 others like this

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Hi guys! 

My opinion on this matter is that everything needs to have a limit and posting or not posting photos/videos of your personal practice should only depend on your mood/will...

I'm a person that works better when there is a program in my life... and this also goes to my yoga practice. I practiced better through the months that Candace had a Yoga Program that I would follow through the week, than the months she didn't, where I have to visit her channel and scroll through the videos and search what video I feel like doing today... I just like it this way.

I've participated in a few challenges in Instagram (I'm on my 3rd currently) and what I like the most is the feeling I get from the yoga community. People supporting and inspiring each other. I've "met" a lot of people with who I have the same struggles, fears, even people that have RA like I do. 
And although I have very few followers I have already indpired a couple of people who saw my posts to start yoga..and this felt really awesome!!
Not to mention that through challenges I've tried poses I never thought I could do.

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