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A popular trend in yoga right now is the yoga-selfie. When I had this idea for the post a few weeks ago (yeah, it takes me a while to go from idea to execution), I was ready for a full on rant.

The Universe likes to help when we let it, and about a week after I had this idea, one of the groups I’m a member of posted a discussion thread about yoga selfies.

With some very interesting results that made me re-think my full on rant.

About 50% were for and okay with the yoga selfie and 50% were opposed to them.

The reasons FOR the yoga selfie ::

1. “With the picture, I was able to see where I could improve the pose.”

2. “To show my students a pose they were interested in that is accessible to them physically or mentally. To show my fellow teachers a posture I’d been working hard to accomplish and I finally did it.”

3. “Yoga is about you and your MAT! You have no idea the intent or purpose behind a pose that someone posts.”

4.  “I‘ve found that the beauty I see in my (or any) body in any asana is so freeing from what our crazy body focused world wants is to see when we look at each other- which drives competition. I LOVE that yoga looks different on every BODY and I love that through the asanas I can actually teach people to love their imperfections.”

The reasons AGAINST the yoga selfie ::

1. “I believe it has to do with where you are with your ego and why are you posting yoga selfies.”

2. “Yoga is a personal practice of bettering one’s self from the inside-out. I feel it is narcissistic and egotistical to take pictures of yourself doing yoga and then post them for the masses to leave comments of adoration congratulating you on your accomplishments.”

3. “Because they only demonstrate one–ONE!–aspect of yoga.”

My issue with the yoga selfie ::

To other yogis, the pics are beautiful and we get what it takes to achieve them in terms of balance, focus, and a consistent practice.

But to the uninitiated, to the ones seeking to try yoga for the first time, it can be a DEATHBLOW. It perpetuates the misconceived ideas around what yoga is (it’s ALL about the poses) and isn’t (a tool to gain concentration, clarity and peace).

Last night on Pinterest I entered ‘yoga’ into a search and the pics that came up were . . .well, discouraging. Even for articles about a beginning yoga practice, the chosen pictures were of people in seemingly impossible poses.

Some of my favorite conflicting message pins are:

  • 25 Yoga Asanas for Beginners and has a woman in handstand, and I found another one with a woman in full standing splits
  • The Basics of Becoming a Yogi with a woman in full king pigeon
  • 10 Simple Poses with a woman in a pretty difficult bow pose and another one using the adjective simple with an advanced dancer’s pose
  • And ALL the articles that focus only on poses for weight loss (lose those love handles, fight the bulge, get a beautiful booty, lose weight quickly and easily, and bye bat wings)

The See-Me-At-My-Worst Revolution

I rarely see yoga articles with raw, candid, I’m-never-going-to-get-there poses.

I decided to change that.

Thank you to Andrea, Shelby, Teresa and Misty for agreeing to be photographed in poses that even after years of practicing and working on them, they’re still far away from where they’d like to be.

Here we are in our every day yoga wear (no the fancy pants), without makeup (cause it gets wiped off) and “showing off” the other side of the yoga selfies. While I find these images to be beautiful, accessible and true-to-life, we probably won’t ever see them on the covers of yoga magazines.


Teresa Bybee – RYT500

A life-long dancer, she began practicing yoga almost 20 years ago. She’s been teaching yoga since 2010 and completed her 500-hour teacher training in 2012. She currently owns Alternative Yoga Therapies.

Her Struggle-to-Get-There Pose :: Fire log

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Photo credit: Andrea LaVasseur

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Michelle Sirianni-Gacki – 200RYT

Michelle (affectionately known as Shelby) has 10+years practicing yoga. She’s been teaching yoga since 2009 and is currently working on her 500-hour certification. Additionally, she’s been riding and racing bikes since 2010.

Her Struggle-to-Get-There Pose :: Cow Face

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Photo credit: Andrea LaVasseur

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Photo credit: Andrea LaVasseur

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Andrea LaVasseur – 200RYT

Andrea began practicing yoga in 2002 in a little place called Esprit de Yoga. She’s been teaching yoga for almost 10 years and enjoys rock-climbing. For a few years, Andrea was in the roller derby, and her latest adventure is pole-dancing.

Her Struggle-to-Get-There Pose :: Warrior 1

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Photo credit: Michelle Sirianni-Gacki

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Misty Green — 200 RYT

Misty has been practicing yoga for several years. She started her 200-hour teacher training in 2009, but two major bicycle accidents delayed her progress, completing her certification in 2013. **Even after her accident, she had to hunt for a pose that was a struggle for her.

Her Struggle-to-Get-There Pose :: Reverse Triangle

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Photo credit: Andrea LaVasseur

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Shannon Caldwell

I’ve been practicing yoga since 1998. I just hit the 16 year mark for teaching and have been training and certifying yoga teachers since 2003. In the 17 years I’ve been practicing and teaching I can tell you one thing for sure: your yoga journey ebbs and flows and evolves as you do.

My practice was never beautiful, I struggled every step of the way for every “next level” I achieved. I’ve always had T-Rex arms and now I carry around an extra 25 pounds since I brought my kiddo into the world. At almost 44, my yoga asanas are vastly different than what they were at 27.

Whereas Misty had to hunt for a pose, I had more than plenty to choose from to showcase.

My Struggle-to-Get-There Pose :: Eagle

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Photo credit: Andrea LaVasseur

 

What do I want to accomplish with these pictures?

  • That some newbie will come across the photos and see teachers with 10+ years struggling (and that it’s okay), and they’ll be a little less intimidated to try a class.
  • Yoga is more than the fancy, pretzel poses. Simple gets it done too.
  • Yoga teachers are more than expensive yoga pants and size 2, floating through the air. **And I know AMAZING size 2, floating through the air teachers.** But there are also amazing size 8, size 10 and larger teachers guiding students of every shape and size through the vast glacier of knowledge and practice that is yoga.

I’d love see my news feed blow up with YOUR Struggle-to-Get-There pose.