Why should we address unrealistic standards?
I can't express how good and bad social media has been for the health and fitness industry in general. On the one hand, it has given a lot of people a great platform to express themselves. It's given yogis a platform to promote their work and grow their businesses, as well as grown beautiful communities with people around the world who share in their passion and joy.
Instagram has also damaged yoga in some way. Instead of seeing it as a deeply personal practise that feels good, it's now a public event that needs to look a certain way. You can be a yogi and have aesthetic goals, a physical practise will always link some way to how we want to look and feel physically. But I have seen so many yogis come into the studio worried about how they will look in class recently that it's something we need to talk about.
The thing is Yoga is not high intensity exercise, which makes it ideal for:
- people recovering from injury
- people with unseen disabilities such as endometriosis/SIBO
- people seeking to take care of their mental health
- people looking to begin physical exersise
But by being slaves to the instagram algorithm, we are propagating the use of advanced yoga poses which create unrealistic standards in yoga, putting off the people who can benefit from it most.
As a yoga teacher, I've realised that most peoples goals are not headstands. Sure, they can be but many of the clients I teach simply want to be able to move without pain.
This is why I am moving away from images and into videos. Images serve a great purpose - because I love taking photos and they ca be a good showcase for the thoughts underneath. But primarily I want to educate my yogis and help them understand more about their own bodies and how they can help themselves - because yoga is not watching someone else's journey, it's engaging in your own.