First of all, please allow me to defend my very un-yogic judgemental attitude that I'm about to admit to. I have been opposed to the "yoga selfie" for quite a long time. The seemingly borderline narcissitic act of taking photos of oneself in yoga poses, seemed to be the exact opposite of what my yoga practice represents. To me, yoga was all about finding the steadiness of the mind, and what I learned about myself during the process.
My recent experimentaion with selfies was strictly a tool to evaluate my own practice. When combined with some inspiration from friends, my attitude has shifted. Here are a few of the benefits to the yoga selfie.
1. Selfies can help you check your alignment. You can attempt to feel these actions all you want, but when attempting to refine alignment, a picture is worth a thousand words. You don't even have to show them to anyone else if you don't want to.
Imagine my dismay when I, with 3 years of teaching and 15 years of practice experience, actually saw my alignment issues in downward facing dog. OMG how have I managed to even function? No wonder my teacher keeps telling to stop bringing my chest so close to my thighs.
A quick selfie allowed me to realize that what felt like my chest hovering up way too high was actually a more properly aligned downward facing dog. Who knew? My teacher did, because she saw what I was doing, and with a quick yoga selfie, I could too. Now I can see the difference between my perception and reality.
2. Selfies can help you share your practice with yogis near and far. Let's face it, for those who actually post their own photos, it takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there. Rather than being a way to brag, it can be a way to create community. Sharing selfies can connect people from near and far who share techniques, tips, and progress with each other.
3. Selfies can inspire people to try new things. Maybe the most interesting aspect has been wathcing the instagram account that belongs to my friends at mommycrossing. I have seen how individual each person's practice really is. Some poses that I find easy have been a challenge for them, and some that I find impossible, they post downright amazing photos. Some of the photos include their mini yogis, which is really pretty great!
4. Selfies can teach you a few new techniques. I've been inspired to try a new prop or assist for a few tricky poses. I've googled poses that I've seen, and have found new ways of entering poses. Trying new things helps me to build to my own practice, and helps me develop tips to pass on to my students.
In conclusion, if you are inspired to take yoga selfies, they don't have to be perfect, after all, this is a practice. Please, no judgement of yourself or others. Selfies can help refine alignment, build community, inspire and teach. Check out my instagram page here, and consider sharing your own photos. Who knows who you'll inspire.
Namaste - Beth