When you’re featured in the news for Instagram
It’s been a while since I’ve written, largely because of my injured wrist – acute tendonitis – which means I am mainly typing with one hand, but honestly, enough about that, it’s boring me to tears just to hear about my wrist again! Fingers crossed, after a painful cortisol injection into the wrist joint, it may be getting better.
Over the last few months I’ve been focussing on my yoga practice and on building up my teaching, and thankfully, I am seeing some rewards, although sometimes in surprising places! I teach 4 days out of five, which I absolutely love, and early mornings are now something I look forward to to find time for myself and my meditation and self-practice.
Last week, I had a surprise which unfolded today – Monday. I was contacted by the Evening Standard a week ago, a fairly big London newspaper, who were putting together a piece about London yoga teachers on Instagram. It was lovely to be asked, and when I received an email today to confirm that the article was in today’s paper, in print as well as online, it was a real surprise.
Cue delighted and supportive friends and family sharing and sending sweet messages, and yes, big smile from me. I post regularly on my yoga instagram page, and it’s genuinely something I love doing. It’s not only fun, but I actually occasionally receive emails or messages from people who say that they’ve been inspired to get back on the mat and take up yoga again, or get back to their practice – job done! Or at least some of it! I’ve also made some genuine connections through Instagram, with people I have met in real life, or now have “offline” conversations with.
Of course social media can end up being a bit like a popularity contest – who has more likes/followers/comments, and in reality, being popular on social media is a bit like being rich in Monopoly – it’s fun, but then you have real life. The only difference is that in today’s world, opportunities can arise to impact your real life from social media, take blogging as a prime example!
What I have noticed regularly though, and also on the Evening Standard website today, is the vitriolic comments that people leave about the narcissism of social media, and also that the pictures of Instagram yogis isn’t representative of people with “real bodies”.
So first off, yes, of course there is an element of “look at me”, or perhaps more so “look at what I’m sharing” – it depends on your perspective of things. There is lots of carefully posed imagery, and I can see why people might view it as narcissism. But turn it another way – I wonder why it bothers people so much? Is it because they themselves are uncomfortable with showcasing themselves? Does it actually do them any harm that someone else posts pictures on Instagram, Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat, or anywhere else of themselves? Yes, there is the fear that by continually presenting yourself in a certain way, you encourage the objectifying of women, but on the flip side, I also feel that there is value in women defiantly owning their bodies, and refusing to be meek and mild. In a lot of the Instagram accounts that I follow, the captions below the images in bra tops and short shorts are often thought provoking, sharing observations or informative about poses. Again and again, we need to stop judging other people and their stories because of our own.
The yoga world – actually, scratch that, THE WORLD is full of visual stereotypes, and of predominant images of beauty being a certain shape, colour, size, but there are a vast multitude of beautiful bodies and people out there, it depends on what we choose to focus on! The article I was included in was called 10 Instagram accounts you need to follow – and guess what, they got in touch with 10 yoga teachers, all London-based as it’s a London newspaper. Yoga teachers come in all shapes and guises, and in my case, I don’t think I fall into a neat category – I’m no willowy leggy blonde; I’m 5’1″, French Creole, curvy and a mother of 2! Thanks to daily yoga practice, I happen to be in the best shape of my life, but that’s down to, yes, daily yoga practice and running around (literally) after two bambinos!
So to those people who think that Instagram, and particularly yogis on Instagram is just posing and showing off, I’ll smile and think that it’s a reflection of their own stories, and that they are not interested in seeing the positive effect sharing your practice can have to encourage and motivate others, as well as your own self-improvement.
They also fail to realise that social media – any social media – is only a snapshot of someone’s life, and in this case, of a yoga practice. It isn’t the hours spent practicing, reading, meditating, teaching, studying, it’s only a moment shared.
To those people who think that all that you see is a certain size and shape of yogi, then check out this post – What is a Yoga Body – I wrote a while ago to prove that wrong.
Now, let’s put all that aside, and I can honestly say that I’m pretty happy to have been included in this piece, it’s a moment in time, and that I’ll savour!