Yoga isn't about the image
I am a passionate believer that yoga is for everyone, but I fear the the images on social media are sending the opposite message. That yoga is for skinny, good looking, flexible people that can do crazy shit with their bodies...no this is what marketing has done to yoga, but the real practice is much more raw, real and inclusive! Not all yogis are posers hehe :pop:
That might be a bit of tongue and cheek, but seriously, I am getting a bit over of the image of yoga I see on social media. The cliche photo of a bikini girl with a sculpted sandy bum doing a tricky pose in front of a beach or mountain... is start starting to seem strangely absurd to me. Its all a little weird and its just not resonating with me. The image just doesn't match the messy inner experience yoga. It doesn't match the everyday people I see coming to the our studio. I have a healthy respect for the art and beauty of the human body…but what I am seeing is an image or ideal of yoga that may scare people off or attract them for all the wrong reasons.
This really sunk in recently when I was scrolling through a long run of images just like this and I saw a post from a Middle Eastern photographer. It was a photo of a Shepard boy from Afghanistan, who was displaced and without a home. His eyes were honest and revealing the truth of his experience. His face was almost expressionless he wasn’t presenting himself as anything. He just was. He was standing in nothing but dirt and I stopped and looked at his picture for a long time. After this, it was so easy to see that everything else in my feed that day was all about a projected image and mostly this image doesn’t match up with real life.
I see increasing amounts of nudity and lingerie in yoga pictures, under the guise of “body love”. Beneath those images I see that people are just using sex and sexualised images to compete for attention and to sell their brand which is nothing new. I’m not exactly outraged, I guess I just wanted to point out that this stuff isn't real. That you are welcome in the yoga community even if you are nothing like these images, if you are curvy, or inflexible or totally unglamorous and extremely human. Yoga isn't about being hot and tanned and drinking green smoothies all day and its certainly not about being sexy (despite what Instagram might have led you to believe :p )
Yoga is actually about getting real with YOU and touching that perfect being of light within; It’s about wholeheartedly becoming yourself and finding those unique treasures that you have to offer. Although I don’t begrudge yoga being in the market place and getting word out about how awesome it is…I would just like to see more inspiration and less manipulation to engage our audiences. If we are just presenting people with ideals to measure themselves against, we are no different to the fashion industry using pretty models to sell clothing and make up.
This is why I wholeheartedly wanted to create a studio where its not all about the pose, its about the person. Yoga isn’t just a physical practice. It’s a practice of self-discovery. Yoga poses are just one aspect. Its important to me that the images we use connect to real life and real character. Authenticity has its own beauty.
Yoga is not glamorous, its messy, you make mistakes, sometimes you ace something new and sometimes you don’t. You don’t have to be perfect, don’t be misled by the image. You just have to be yourself. It’s the perfect opportunity to be yourself, to be held by a space that says it’s okay to be you; yoga accepts you for who you are. Yoga wants you to be who you are, it doesn’t want to mould you into a contortion. it doesn’t need you to be skinny, it doesn’t even need you to be peaceful. You can start with chaos inside; you can start if your body and your mind are a total mess. Yoga will accept you as you are and help you to accept yourself. Yoga can lie there with you when you hit rock bottom without trying to change how you feel, and it will be there when your spirits lift up again. Yoga honours your own inner wisdom and journey. Yoga accepts your gifts and also your limitations so that you can to; so you have the freedom to be real; so you have the freedom to be true to your nature.