Instagram and authentic practice

Instagram is one of my favorite places for yoga inspiration; I follow several yogis and watch them bend, contort, handstand, and wax philosophical. However, part of me thinks that Instagram gives me a somewhat distorted idea of asana practice. I see people pressing into handstands with ease and forget that my own millisecond hold is still progress. I see people sliding effortlessly into splits and forget that my own evolution with this pose is pretty rad too. In viewing these yogis, I can forget that most people who practice yoga don’t do so with impossibly lithe bodies in well-lit rooms. Most of us practice in a studio or at home, with straps and blocks, and frustrated grunts punctuating our ujayi breaths. This messy practice is yoga, too.

And so, I’m challenging myself to be a little less “aspirational” in my own Insta pics. I like to post progress pictures of challenging poses that, after many attempts, I’ve managed to attain. But, I think if that’s all I post, I run the risk of either 1) falsely giving the impression that yoga is all about crazy poses or 2) that my practice is flawless. Asana practice has plenty of room for straps and blocks and grunts and people who can’t touch their toes or don’t know their left from their right. This typical practice deserves some space in social media, too. Touching your toes may not seem Instagram-worthy, but why not? Isn’t progress still progress? And shouldn’t people know the range of experiences before they attempt yoga?

I’m going to try to do a better job showing the full range of my practice while on Instagram. The times I nail crow and the times I topple out. The times I attempt a handstand and the times supported bridge pose is as inverted as I care to be. In so doing, I hope to reach more people who want to try yoga, but feel as though they are somehow inadequate. They’re not. You’re not. So let’s do this!

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