A few weeks ago I was at a reggae festival with my son. We were backstage, and I thought how cool it would be to do a headstand on the grass with the stage in the background: “What yogis do when backstage.”
I asked my son if he could take a picture of me, which he thought was pretty cool, and then I started looking around for the perfect place. All of a sudden, I was taking way too long to figure this out and I heard a “come on mom, this is perfect!” At that moment it hit me: why am I having a picture taken here? What’s the point? Is there any educational value in it? Any growth?
The answer was NO.
Yes, it would have been a cool picture to post on Instagram, and everyone who knows me, knows I place a very high priority on having fun, but this just wasn’t me, it’s not who I am. In the Bhagavad Gita, we are told to question the motivation behind actions. Are we doing something to solely benefit ourselves and gain adulation? If the answer is yes, then we’re not being true to ourselves and our purpose, and we’re not servicing our community in a meaningful way. The picture would have probably gotten a lot of likes, but at the end of the day, it holds no value. My practice is my sacred time, my movement, my connection with breath, and as a teacher, my goal is to help guide my students so that they may be able to find their own unique and beautiful relationship with their practice. It’s not about how fancy your poses are, or if you can twist yourself into a pretzel, its about how you treat others, and more importantly, how you treat yourself. Yoga is self love, it is a union between body, mind, soul, and the universe that surrounds you.
Yoga pictures, whether selfies or taken by someone else, should at least have a greater value and worth than self aggrandizement. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think all yoga selfies or pictures are bad; in fact, most of the ones I see are quite beautiful and inspiring. The question I’m asking is for all of us to dig a little deeper and ask ourselves how this particular picture we’re about to post benefits our yoga community.
If the only reasons you can find are of a selfish nature, maybe consider the motivation behind the action.
Here’s a pick we ended up taking instead 😉