Has social media changed the practice of yoga:

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The social media takeover:

The global takeover of social media, especially platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Meaning we are living in technological-driven modern world. On the plus side, there is an endless pool of yoga advice, poses and online classes we can get involved in. When it comes to modern yoga, social media now offers us unique opportunities to improve and deepen our knowledge of yoga. However, is it all good? As we have become more attached and dependent on our phones and social media, has it had a bad affect on the practice of yoga? Let’s discuss how social media has changed yoga.

The good side of social media:

Being a part of a global yoga community – Within minutes on our high-tech phones, we can now access anything imaginable. We can seamlessly communicate with people living in different cities, towns and countries with complete ease! Social media allows us to connect with fellow yogis from everywhere! Every day we can see a diverse range of new perspectives, styles, and techniques. This exposure expands our existing knowledge and keeps our personal yoga journeys fresh and inspiring.

Virtual yoga classes – Social media has completely taken over how we take classes and how accessible classes now are for people. Yoga instructors use social media to help promote themselves and their classes. Most yoga teachers and studios now offer live-streamed or pre-recorded classes. Instead of facing the potential trials and tribulations of searching for new classes in your area. We can now take yoga classes from home via links on Facebook and Instagram accounts.

An inclusive space for expression – Social media offers us the chance to tell our personal and unique experiences with yoga. It is a platform where we express ourselves authentically. Yoga communities can be inviting, cheerful and accepting of everyone’s personal yoga journey. We can connect with similar mindsets. Mindful sharing can cultivate a sense of vulnerability, promote self-reflection, and deepen our connection to ourselves and the yoga community.

The bad side of social media:

Lack of class diversity – The accessibility of online classes can sound like a golden opportunity. However, it can also be a burden in itself. With the yoga industry online being predicated by social media following, it means many quality practitioners are underappreciated and lack the exposure to help grow their classes. The more popular social media accounts often times take an overwhelming amount of interested potential yogis due to their popularity instead of what they’re teaching. It means the heavy focus of classes online can be tailored towards a few forms of yoga. Whilst neglecting other forms of yoga practices taught by lesser known yoga instructors.

Oversexualisation of yoga – Not everything posted online related to yoga, focuses on the true essence of yoga. Yoga has in some ways become manipulated into a sexual fantasy. There is an uncomfortable amount of focus on tv shows, movies and now social media accounts on making yogis and yoga clothing as sexual as possible. And people know that and use it to their advantage. There are endless amount of accounts on social media who use ‘yoga’ as an decoy to do provocative stretches to gain followers and attention. Yoga is about the physical, mental and spiritual benefits we can gain from it and not a ploy to gain followers on Instagram.

Less in-person yoga classes – Fortunately, online classes can help resolve geographical limitations for those interested in classes. On the other hand, less people may start going to actual classes in person. There can be a motivating/welcoming feeling sometimes when physically engaging in a yoga class with others. An online class is usually performed alone but when you’re at a class with people you see often. You make friends, physically socialise with others during the week and the teacher is there first-hand to help you with your poses and techniques. With how easy online classes can be, there are so many things you miss out from not being physically at a class.

Final statements:

Although we may prefer a world without social media sometimes. Where being more mindful/being more present is concerned, social media is here to stay. Instead of viewing social media as a tool that destroys all peace. A more optimistic approach should look towards how we can improve our yoga practice development and mindfulness through social media. Including, doing things like joining yoga communities and learning about yoga discussions online, to share techniques and advice with each other.

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