Yoga, Social Media Pressure, Celebrities and Body Shaming? The Yoga Community Is Speaking Up

Different forms of social media, such as Instagram, SnapChat, and Facebook, have made the yoga practice quite unbearable for many. The virtual world has made many in the yoga community vulnerable to nearly unrealistic, virtual-yoga pressure.

Many yogis practitioners feel the ability to snap a shot of yourself, using an ultra magical, whimsical, spiritual-like filter has altered the way the actual yoga practice is carried out. Living up to social media standards as a yogi can definitely be job in itself. Many yogis may practice in locations just to capture the essence of a certain pose, or “asana.”

New York City ???? Need I say more? ???? . . Photo by @ifilmyoga

A photo posted by Kino MacGregor (@kinoyoga) on

Many yoga practitioners have noticed professional models and professional athletes execute difficult yoga poses—these photos will surely receive the most likes and result in more engagement—leaving the practitioner wondering if they need to up their “yoga social media game.” Pressures of taking the perfect yoga photo is very apparent. In Shape Magazine tells viewers how to “Master Instagram-Worthy Yoga Poses.

A video posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

Others in the yoga community feel pressures may arise from celebrities and models in bikinis showing off their yoga skills on Instagram. An article by Elle magazine mentioned the new “Instagram trend” of what many now call, “celebri-yogis” in various yoga poses.

Lady Gaga demonstrated how she rids herself of a hangover through yoga.

Social Media Can Also Incite Change Within Yoga Community and Beyond

Popular Palm Beach, Florida, yoga instructor and Instagrammer, @beachgirlyoga was recently “body shamed” for wearing white shorts. The harsh criticism made her become self conscious and question her own body. After some reflection, she posted reasons to end body shaming on the internet and beyond.

People magazine reports @beachgirlyoga who has amassed over 1 million followers, went as far as deleting her photo.

“I immediately deleted the photo and began to look closely at all my photos. Not that I thought I was ‘fat’ but I began to question wearing white and if it ‘made me look fat.’ “

While many in the yoga community report being upset about fellow yogis using their phone to SnapChat their yoga practice, of course—this is a huge distraction and invasion of privacy.

When Yoga and Instagram Collide

YouTube personality, AwakenWithJP made a parody of yoga practitioners doing incredible things to get the perfect Instagram photo. The comedian takes quips on how relaxing it must be to take photos doing a head stand on concrete or doing a yoga pose on a jagged rock, on the edge of a cliff. JP also jokes about the most important things in a yogis life.

“The most important things in my life are God, my family and my Instagram account. And not necessarily in that order.”

yoga and social media
People do yoga in Times Square as part of the International Day of Yoga celebration. [Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images]

“Taking yoga photos for Instagram is more purposeful than being on purpose in your life. Becoming Instagram famous by living the yoga life and presenting your yoga art in picture form is by far the most effective way to give back to the world by helping people. I take you behind the scenes during one of my world famous Instagram yoga photo shoots shot by yoga photographer Brian Crawford. The results are at a world class level.”

Yoga Teachers and Social Media

Many feel teachers have even more of a responsibility when it comes to their social media presence. Many teachers can struggle with staying up to date with social media trends and hashtags while having to document their practice via photos and video.

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A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

Is The Use of Social Media Taking Over Yoga Practices?

While yoga is a practice to quiet the mind; it can be harmful to your practice when you are consciously posing in a shot for a photo—instead of withdrawing and being present within your practice, you become present in your appearance during practice.

In other ways, the use of social media in a yoga practice can be incredibly helpful to the yoga community and personal practice. Social media also allows teachers from around the world meet students and receive instruction. Many yoga studios, especially smaller ones will only advertise in their local areas. Online, yoga instructors have more options available in holding private, public and live classes.

yoga and social media
Singer Pink attends the Kate Beckinsale Yoga fundraiser. [Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]

Instructors can easily advertise their experience in yoga via photos. Social media is a great resource to promote a yoga teachers personal practice, to sell merchandise and sell “yoga songs,” or mantras.

Since the use of social media, many self-taught yogis have also gained massive followings. This is a huge revolution from the way things used to be. Due to the immediate photos taken on social media, a yogi with seemingly little to no training can intrigue prospective students.

yoga and social media
International day of Yoga. [Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]

Yoga practitioners of all shapes and sizes have joined the social media revolution. Those who were once too shy or embarrassed to attend a yoga class receive encouragement and instruction from those in their social media community. Those in the yoga community who cannot afford expensive yoga classes have jumped on board with others using various hashtags ranging from #yoga #asana to hundreds of others. Social media has also proven to be a valuable resource in inspiring and connecting with the yoga community.

Is social media harmful or helpful to the yoga community and personal practice? Leave your thoughts below.

[Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images]
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]
[Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]