I read the following article from Yoga Journal about the ongoing argument of yogis taking yoga “selfies” and thought I’d share it….as I have a few comments to make!
“Yoga Is Now”
“Patanjali’s first sutra pretty much says it all. My favorite translation of it is: “Yoga Is Now.” He doesn’t say, “Yoga Is Asana” or “Yoga Is Crow Pose,” he says it’s “Now.” Being here now—not in the throes of your mind’s painful stories, judgments, and patterns—that’s it. Since none of us can be here now all the time, we need practice to strengthen our skills of concentration first. The poses help us do that. When it becomes easier to see our minds’ stories and patterns, we can begin to eliminate the parts that cause suffering and amplify the parts that bring us ease, presence, and connection to ourselves and to others. That’s yoga.”-from Yoga Journal.
This IS yoga. YOGA is NOT about being able to do a handstand or even touch your toes. And unfortunately there are Yogis out there on social media posting selfies in very advanced postures, which make a lot of people intimidated by “yoga” , making them feel that they can’t do yoga because they can’t do those advanced “poses”.
Pressing into handstand, doing complicated arm-balances, and experimenting with deep backbends make for good social media photos! The photos can be inspiring, but to most people they are intimidating. I hear many new students at Lotus Yoga and Fitness say they are not “doing” yoga because they will never be able to do a handstand. My response is always this : being here in this room, sitting on your mat and connecting to your breathing is DOING YOGA. And that is ALL I care about as a teacher. To get someone to make that connection with their breath and their body, and find some quietness in their mind. THIS is the goal and purpose of yoga…TO QUIET THE MIND.
Please remember that most yoga selfies poses are not terribly realistic for the vast majority of students. It’s always fun to experiment with your edge and “play” with challenging poses. But don’t think that harder poses provide more benefits than simple poses. The basic fundamental postures of yoga are HARD, and the benefits are numerous! So please stop comparing yourself to the Yoga “selfies”. Compare yourself to yourself. Is your breath slower and smoother? Is your Warrior II more relaxed? There is something to be said about simplicity in thoughts, words, actions….at my yoga studio in Ormond Beach the emphasis is doing YOUR best on that given day. I will NEVER care if you can touch your toes. I only care that you show up, that you breathe, and that you are able to get out of your head for a little while every day. And I can safely say that every yogi can ROCK their SAVASANA!