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why we can't have lovely positive things ...

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

I am queen of deferred gratification. Ever since I learned it was far better to save the chicken until last than eat cold peas and cabbage, I have been at pains to reserve, protect and ring-fence the things I most enjoy until the time comes when I can wallow in their sensual pleasures fully and without the distraction of congealed gravy.

In this final instalment circling around the divisive issue of yoga selfies, yes or no, I stake my flag in the NO camp.

Quelle surprise, huh? However, what has been surprising is whereas before I thought along absolutist lines ~ in that any yoga selfie was a red flag for Narcissistic Personality Disorder ~ I have noticed my stance has become more nuanced.

At first I put it down to falling oestrogen, but through the process of writing these posts I have discovered that yoga selfies can be a good thing when, to recap:

  • Teaching

  • Inspiring

  • Community-building

  • Marketing

  • Fun

Lovely, positive things because yoga is a lovely, positive thing.

These five LPTs cover a lot of ground, ground that may not qualify as yoga yoga ~ for instance, yoga in high heels, yoga on top of a motorway gantry, yoga involving a petting zoo and a bag of wine. I think we're all on board with the idea that none of these is yoga yoga and fall into the "bit of a laugh" and the "I need validation please like this" categories. Both human, both reasonable, provided ...

... the caption supports this. Like, don't pass off your SUP* or karaoke yoga as something channelled by the Rishis. Let's own our low boredom threshhold and need for endless novelty. Stand proud. By thus authenticating our inauthenticity, I have discovered that I am totally onboard with yoga selfies! Yay!

Humans are a collection of atoms held in the embrace of chance. We are so tiny and stupidly fragile and the Universe so elegant in its violence it's understandable that sometimes we simply want reassurance, a reminder that we're here and seen, that we count. So hell yes, I'm there with a like, a comment, a share whenever the weight of our shared smallness feels intolerable but can find solace in a clapping hand emoji for something improbable on a yoga wheel.

If, however, @enlightenedyogi** captions a close-up of their crotch "Yoga citta vritti nirodhah" and waxes lyrical on how Patanjali's sutras have blossomed inside them, I tend to pause, if only to marvel at the lack of ingrown hairs and labial/testicular escapees from a gusset clearly under strain.

"This", we can say with confidence, no longer standing in the reassuring grey of the five LPTs, "is not real yoga. Because look, the likeness between their genitals and Han Solo at the end of the Empire Strikes Back is remarkable."

And then you're labelled a body-shamer instead of just being factually correct, both mortal offences under cancel culture statute.

Really, the whole argument over the right or wrong of yoga selfies comes down to how you define yoga. And whereas the five LPTs offer a pleasingly vague and flabby structure by which to legitimise our yoga selfies, Yoga itself would disqualify them as creating further mental turbulence and therefore further separation. Our Lovely Positive Things turn out to be expressions of the effect of social media itself. How very meta.

If you love yoga selfies there's no reason why you should stop indulging. But it might be worth gently asking why you feel the need to post and to listen to the honest response. And then mebbe just call 'em selfies before posting away to your heart's content.

Trood Morrison, Berwick & Borders Yoga, in handstand variation
Please love me.

*Stand-Up Paddleboard yoga. For those who can't decide which activity they like best.

**Haven't the faintest idea if this is a real account or not. But if it is, they're not. Happy to have cleared up any confusion.

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