feeling selfie conscious ...

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Cast your mind back to July when I wrote the post who you lookin at?, explaining why I don't post many yoga selfies. Two pictures and a couple of hundred words later, it boils down to a) laziness b) the inability to contort my body, and c) bafflement as to why any one would want to look at me.


Talking of which, look at me:

Smiling woman sitting in cafe holding coffee in paper cup and a mobile phone
Photo: Pictorial Photography Clothing: Model's own

Not bad, huh? Totally vibing with the specs-on-head intellectual look. Drink it in. Go on.


Last week, I had some headshots done for a new website I'm putting together for my copywriting work. I posted one on socials because:

a) it was something out of the ordinary and made me feel slightly interesting

b) I wanted to give a shout-out to the photographer

c) I wanted to show I am something other than a yoga teacher

d) it looks like me and not like someone emerging, blinking, at the end of a two stretch.


So this scientific analysis demonstrates that away from the yoga mat, selfies can entertain, support, educate, market, reaffirm and authenticate. They ~ hurrah! ~ could be viewed as a positive.


Am I then a ghastly, hypocritical selfie snob not to imbue yoga selfies with the same hurrah-ness? How is me clutching an oatmilk cappuccino against an artfully distressed backdrop any more legitimate than someone #yogaeverydamnday-ing backlit by a tropical sunset? It's an interesting question, and one worth exploring.


As a middle-aged cis woman inculcated by society from birth to wage war with my body, I whole-heartedly own the fact that I experience little slaps of envy/nostalgia/regret when viewing youthful, beautiful bodies moving in youthful, beautiful ways. But I'm self-aware enough to realise this so can have a fruitful inner-dialogue with my Head Bitch whenever she steps in to label anyone a Big Fat Fucking Show-Off.


So, green-eyed monster successfully soothed by reassurances that everyone loses their looks and dies, let's take a look at how yoga selfies can be considered a ~ yay! ~ good thing.

 
  • Education. I've learnt some amazing stuff from some truly brilliant yoga teachers via socials, drawn into the deeper discourse of a post by an eye-catching image. And sometimes I take a yoga selfie to illustrate a point we've been working on in class or what we will be working on. Many people have a visual learning style and yoga selfies are perfect for conveying information clearly and quickly.

  • Accountability. I've taken part in a few Instagram yoga "challenges". For those who don't know, these are hosted by yoga "influencers"* who set a range of poses, usually with a theme, for followers to try, take photos and share via hastags. While for me personally they're a bit of a faff requiring a selfie a week for a month or two, the regularity of these challenges serves as a great way to stoke motivation. There's the visual inspiration and accountability of having to show up, plus there's the ...

  • ... community. Selfies provide access to a vast network of knowledge and creativity to tap into whenever your practice feels stuck. On the whole, communities that mushroom around yoga challenges and hashtags are wonderfully kind and supportive, and this encourages noobs and oldies alike to keep practising and learning.

  • Fun! No, honestly. If you hack a path through the extreme poses, there are little clearings full of people doing normal poses, like in a shopping trolley or their car boot or a kids' paddling pool while rocking baggy-arsed joggers and gardening Crocs. Silly, joyous and relatable.

  • Advertising. Yoga selfies play a useful part of any marketing strategy if you're trying to run a yoga business. There's often squeamishness when using yoga as a way of making money, but bills need to be paid and the strong visual impact of yoga selfies can bring new customers your way.

 

Wow, so many positives! Who knew? Despite my better judgement, I think we've conclusively proved that there *is* a place for the yoga selfie.


Or have we ...?


Next time: We'll be examining that age-old question: If a tree pose happens in a forest and there's no-one around to see it, what is the point of my existence?

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@boyand?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Yayan Sopian</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/tree-pose?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>
Must not fall over, must not fall over, must not fall over ...

*a yoga influencer is someone who posts selfies of contortion with product placement of free stuff, but elevates both to the spiritual plane with a quote from the Upanishads.


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