Is social media ruining your yoga practice

If you have a yoga practice that is older than the smart phone, you might remember a time when cultivating a home practice did not involve a camera, and self-timer.  Can you remember when “sharing” what you did with virtual strangers and “checking-in” at different locations did not take up any space in your day or in your brain? This article is meant to break us out of the realm of the daily social media grind and carry us into a place of observation and awareness.  A place where we can ask ourselves if our actions are serving our highest good or, if we are swept up in a tangled web of comparison and wasting of time. We all fall of the train of self- awareness. In list below, if you see any tendencies that you yourself possess can you, without harsh judgment, admit that some of these habits or (others which are similar) might not serve your practice or improve your ability to yoke your mind body and soul?

My personal story of “crossing the line” of conscious poster to instabeastcomes from attempting to take part in a handstand challenge last fall. The idea is through daily postings of progress and setbacks one creates an online photo journal of her journey into handstand. While this is not an inherently bad idea, it became an issue for me. I did practice daily, and I did see improvement. However, the daily exercise became more about the image and less about an authentic self-practice. I found myself constantly retaking photos and spending time seeking out new and unique locations to take handstand pictures. While this may not be a problem, this sort of action is way out of line with positively using my time to serve myself and others.  I had crossed the line not because of the daily posting, but because it was not in sync with the substance of my heart. 

At heart, I believe yoga is a deeply individual practice. We start by simply seeking to unite the different layers of the SELF. Often times we seek inspiration from others in the form of energy and come together in studio settings to practice. For me I had lost the connection to my daily practice and was too attached to the image so I stopped. Do I still post on social media, yes of course, it’s my business.  However, I now focus conscious posting mitigated with hours, meals, and trips where I can completely disconnect. What is right for you? Truthfully you have to find that answer inside. 

However, here are a few signs you might have crossed the line. 

There are pictures of you in meditation. 

Ok, fine if you are making a point, or posing for the cover of yoga journal. However, meditation is an inward journey with no destination, no hash tag, and no need to share on the Internet. Get free, and unplug!

You focus on mastering poses that photograph the best for Instagram rather than what feels best in your body. Ask yourself, who or what are you practicing for. Is yoga about what the pose looks like to your friends and “followers” or is it about the space you can open up in your body and mind?  You are constantly looking for ways to get more “followers” for your IG site via #hash tags and “follow for follow” 

Question your motives. What will more followers really do for you on a day-to-day basis?

Your primary focus for practicing is capturing a graceful yet bad-a$$ 15 second video for Instagram. True practice is a gentle unfolding of the mind and body in self-discovery. True self-discovery can only happen in an environment that is removed from any need to rely on the approval of others to measure success. 

There is a trail of your every yoga move

From daily check-ins where you teach and practice, to what you are reading, eating, thinking, evening sadhana, meditation, and finally nighttime practice. Take time to live your life.  You only get one and if all of your time is spent letting others know what you are doing, how much time do you truly have to be #greatful.