Exercise · inspiration · Instagram · Love · Meditation · photography · Spirituality · Yoga

Dear Instagram Yogis, This One is For You

I am so tired of having to think about what to post on Instagram

I am uninspired

I know there is so much ego involved, but I have to do it

I am inspired

I know my followers expect me to post at least two pics a day

I am uninspired 

I wish I didn’t have to do this

I am inspired

Reflection
Reflection

Let us be real, we are in the age of digital marketing and an online presence is a vital component for our businesses. However, the past few months, I was plagued by the total resentment, indignation and dissatisfaction with the world of Instagram yoga. Before I move forward, let me take a moment and admit that I am a contributor to this culture.  I was completely tired and uninspired to share, because I noticed the level of emptiness associated with posting yoga asana photos. The sexualization and the sexualized nature of marketing to attract students into classes brought me to multiple tiers of questioning how the practice has evolved and whether or not I wanted to be a part of it all. For months, this became my focus of meditation and thinking. Throughout this process, I carefully made sure there was no judgement placed on anyone as I accepted this as the nature of our current reality. Most importantly, I had to refrain from self judgement. However, I allowed myself to be discerning and critical. I assessed my own involvement in this culture. Months later, my thinking brought me right back to why I began this Instagram yoga journey myself.

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Using Instagram and my blog was an outlet of creative expression. It was a time of discovering a new passion and letting go of a career I had spend years building up to. Finally being able to tap into my creative side, which I did not even know existed, writing became that outlet. Then, it slowly  was  amateur photography. I used these two to tell my story, which was a process at times driven by ego, but most often, when authentic and pure a need to express. In my mind, I had no intention of being an “inspirational figure” or an “influencer” or a “brand ambassador.” To me, it was purely a creative expression. Throughout the years, the creative “umph” faded, but thankfully my  yoga practice, that true expression through asana, breath and meditation remained. With a more mindful approach to social media content creation and sharing, knowing that this part is vital to bring students into my classes, which ultimately results in bringing food to my table, I decided to just ask myself whether or not my ego is involved? What is my intention with each post? Why do I need to share this? Who cares? What is the driving  force behind this post? These are just some questions I try to keep in mind.

The past four weeks, I have been more cognizant. With this, I have found the same level of joy I had when I first began. Even if I’m not using a photo taken at the moment, I try to relate the captions to my current mental and emotional states of mind. Even if the photo is “sexualized” or considered to be as such, I ask myself if this is the art I want to put out there. There is less judgement this way, because I am putting out there what I am truly feeling and thinking critically about. I am putting out there what is authentic and true to me. The moment I doubt it for even a second, I pull back and sit with it.

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Imperfect Side Crow – Parsva Bakasana

That said, the past two weeks I have been dealing with an upswing of my emotional self. It’s been great. I have used Instagram as a portal to express the beauty and colors of Spring in Los Angeles by juxtaposing the beautiful and bright colored spring flowers in Black and White. The photos of asanas, not always perfect and aligned, as I like them to be, express the interactions with people and experiences that I am going through. Without revealing too much, I invite you to check out my Instagram page  and perhaps read the captions that accompany them. The last 9 black and white photos was my personal renaissance, a rebirth that took months of ruminating and reflecting.

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Orchids

To see all nine photos, click here.

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www.instagram.com/packyourmat
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7 thoughts on “Dear Instagram Yogis, This One is For You

  1. “The sexualization and the sexualized nature of marketing”
    Thanks. That phrase made me feel I’m not the only one questioning and who does not understand the need of posting shirtless asanas pictures when you’re trying to promote yoga values. Yes, we get it, you spend hours trying to look good but the message you’re sending through with your image doesn’t match what you’re writing. Thank you for making me feel accompanied on that thought (or at least in questioning the sexualization if yoga, in a way)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t practice yoga to try to look good. I don’t think many people do. Also, posting shirtless I became judgmental about, but it’s what we attach to it and intention of the post that really determines it being sexualized. No? I’m guilty of sometimes posting shirtless, but it’s definitely not to sexualize. But, for example there is a instagram handle called hot men’s yoga and oh boy! But, I’m going to try to be understanding of them. It’s difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes…even if it’s imperfect. I think what I’m arguing in the post is that whatever the creative expression is of the yoga practitioner or teacher should be respected by the viewer and the one who posts. I used to be very particular about postures which are inaccessible or incorrectly aligned, because those who view it would get intimidated or learn it incorrectly, but quite frankly instagram should not be a substitute for a good teacher in a safe space. Thanks for chiming in.

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      1. I couldn’t agree more. We cannot take all that on, no more than Dharma Mittra could have worried about making the cool yoga poster with all of the different asanas for fear of people think it was “sexual” for him to have his shirt off or that it was reckless to post such adavanced asanas. No more than Mr Iyengar could have worried for the same reasons making Light On Yoga. I’ve heard he spoke later about how many of the poses in Light On Yoga where not aligned in the way he would do them now. Truth is, taking on the burden of trying to be perfect is just an impossible goal. That’s not to say we shouldn’t ask ourselves why we are posting and whom or what is it serving. I ask myself this every time. I have gotten in wrong many times no doubt. At times my ego posted and I probably came of that does not represent my highest self or ideals as a yoga teacher. That being said, if yoga teaches anything it is compassion, kindness and understanding that all reality is just illusion/play for the benefit of moving our souls along their journey. To that end, I think it best not to take it too serisouly or judge ourselves or others too harshly. We are all just doing the best we can with what we have in this moment. In the same way I don’t expect or demand that my students or I do every pose perfectly every single time we get onto the mat, (otherwise, we’d never make it through a single yoga session) I also realize there will plenty of “getting it wrong” and that is okay. ❤️🙏🤗Thanks for this beautiful post Matt and bringing up a very relevant and important topic! Love ya, hope our paths cross again soon!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for reading and chiming in love. 💛 I just have one correction to make in your thoughtful feedback. Its Armen who wrote this (not Matt). 😘😂

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