Ashtanga Dispatch: In Defense of Yoga Selfies

I’ve seen a few discussions around the web that talk about whether a yogi should or shouldn’t take selfies. I haven’t discussed this much with anyone nor had I put a lot of thought into it.

Thinking back, when I first restarted my yoga journey a year ago, I videotaped myself a lot on the iPad. Mainly, the focus of it was to give myself feedback as I was developing proprioception, especially in my inversions, such as headstands. I had no idea how my torso was aligned or where my legs were. I posted my progress and attempts of new asanas on Instagram; it was helpful to get feedback and support from friends and family.

As my practice grew, I started taking yoga selfies and posting them as celebrations to my own achievement. I remember doing my first unsupported chinstand. This was HUGE! I had a good strength in the back; not to forget, I had just injured my back on TRX three months prior. So I was happy to celebrate my own success. I didn’t have to share it on Instagram or put it up as my Facebook profile picture, but it allowed my good friends and family to celebrate with me.

Those who don’t practice yoga might not realize this, but practice comes and goes.

The reality is that I can’t do a chinstand right now; I haven’t been working on my thoracic mobility lately. Just because you “got it” once, doesn’t mean that an asana will be accessible anytime you want it to. Did you warm up? Do you have a major restriction that prevents you from going into a pose safely? Are you scaffolding your practice with blocks / straps / supports, etc. before going into the full expression?

And I don’t expect to return to the chinstand this week or next week, but it makes me happy to look back at my success. It reminds me that I am capable when I’m feeling a little down. It reminds me that asanas I feel are inaccessible can come with time, patience and practice. It reminds me that my body can do some amazing things. It reminds me that I am human.

My Instagram account is still where I track my yoga practice. In fact, I don’t even advertise my Instagram account to many people, but slowly, a few people have found it. If people want to see my yoga poses, great. If they don’t want it in their face, they don’t need to look at it. But ultimately, what I post is for a small community of people who practice and want to celebrate my practice with me.

Meghan Powell’s* mini essay, “In Defense of Yoga Selfies”, which is posted through Ashtanga Defense, also put it into good perspective. I also like this quote from Chris Lucas.

So to be clear, I won’t stop taking selfies anytime soon.

*She is the daughter of Ashtanga Dispatch’s Peg Mulqueen.

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