The internet is flooded with beautiful yoga pics. Inspiring images of a challenging pose in a scenic location to be seen by as many people as possible. Ideally, it will be passed around on social media, liked and commented on. This is the way of the present and may be the way of the future, but a true yoga selfie is for the self. It’s a picture of where we are in our personal practice, a moment in time to be observed and evaluated as a means of deepening our connection to the inner self.
What is Yoga?
Yoga, along with everything else it offers, is about self discovery. Certainly, a picture can be a useful tool in seeing what the physical body is up to; how it can be adjusted and refined to move closer to the ideal form of each pose. Being aware of physical form and alignment is an important part of preventing injury and getting the maximum benefit from each asana.
At the same time, the most important observations happen inside. What does the pose feel like if particular refinements and adjustments are made? How is the breath in the pose? Is the mind present and observant or has it wandered? These are the things that - in most cases - the camera will not capture.
Yoga Photos - What do You See?
There is a lot of value in looking at photographs of yoga asanas. Pictures of yoga masters and advanced practitioners reveals much about the correct actions and alignment of each pose. Such photos are useful tools for yoga students. After all, yoga instruction books would be much less informative if they did not have pictures.
It is important, though, for the viewer to discriminate. Be cautious when you see yoga pictures on social media. They may or may not be a good representation of the pose.
Take Your Own Yoga Selfie
Consider taking a Yoga Selfie just for yourself. Take a picture and use it to evaluate your pose. Compare it to a picture of the same pose in “Light on Yoga” or another yoga instruction book. See where your pose is different and how it can be improved.
Then do the same pose, but take an internal “picture.” What effect does the pose have on your body, mind and breath. How do subtle adjustments in the pose change how you feel? Can you change the pose so it “looks” better from the inside?
As with all things, there is both good and bad in the abundance of yoga images on the internet and other forms of media. Spreading awareness of yoga, increasing its popularity, is a very positive thing. Regard yoga selfies and the like as a fun thing to do, but remember your best yoga selfie is the one you take from within each time you practice Yoga.