My Facebook page & Instagram are always filled up with yoga photos. I follow interesting people, so accordingly I see what they are up to. However, lately I started to notice that a lot of the photos are of people in the most insane and difficult poses. Most of these poses will never be conquered by the majority of people (even amongst other yogi’s). And don’t get me wrong, I love looking at those pictures, being amazed and wondering if I will ever be able to do it one day.
But that is also the part that bugs me. Yoga, from its origin is not about competition, it is not about showing off and enlarging your ego with likes on social media. Yoga is about making the journey inwards, figuring out what is happening inside you: what are your issues? How to deal with these issues? What effects do they have on your mind and body? What do I feel? How does my body and mind react to small corrections in my poses? And so forth.
Nowadays, it seems to be less about this and more about who can squeeze herself into the craziest poses. Is it bad when people show what they can? No, not really. However, the part that doesn’t sit well with me is that these difficult poses create a reaction amongst other practitioners – one of competition or one of defeat: ‘I want that yoga body she has’. ‘I want to be able to do that pose’. ‘I want to be the best’. Or we have the counter reaction: ‘Have you seen that, I will never be able to do this, so yoga is not for me’, ‘I will never have that flexible or reach that level, so why bother to even start’. And exactly that is what yoga is NOT about, that is the exact opposite of what yoga is trying to accomplish.
How I see this, being a crazy pose picture lover and passionate practitioner, we have to separate the pictures from our practice. The beautiful pictures are a form of art, they are a part of your imagination. We can look at it and be still for a moment, we can praise the people who are able to do this. Feel appreciation for the art they bring into this world, because it is this art that makes people look at yoga, even the ones who normally are not interested.
And then we have yoga as a practice. Yoga to discover yourself, calm your mind and focus on synchronizing breath with movement. Yoga is about you and your personal discovery and so we keep going, until maybe one day we do a crazy pose too, or maybe never at all. Whichever way you go, don’t let go of your practice.