How I feel about ‘Yoga Porn’

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There is a big debate going on in the social media yoga sphere at the moment about “Yoga Porn” which is essentially pretty, thin, young, white women posting pictures of themselves in advanced yoga poses. I’ve read a few articles that have popped up into my newsfeed and like most things in life I don’t think it’s black or white.

Is yoga more than advanced asanas? Yes. Is yoga for more than thin, flexible, white women? Yes. Absolutely. But do I have a problem with these pictures? No most definitely not.

What someone else posts is their business. Who am I to say that how they portray yoga is wrong? The first of the Yamas (Yoga Principles) is Ahimsa meaning ‘non-violence’. Of course this can be in terms of physical violence but also it includes our thoughts. So if I have critical or violent thoughts about somebody posting ‘yoga porn’ I’m not doing a great job of ahimsa.

I think we all have a responsibility every time we post something on social media. We might influence another person in a positive or negative way but if someone is coming from a good and loving place instead of a place of fear and hate then I have no issue. I also believe if we equipped our younger generations with the skills to be able to think for themselves instead of being brainwashed by social media it would not be such a problem.

I see negative comments everyday on the Instagram and Facebook accounts of people that I follow. Recently, someone I follow posted a pretty picture and something like ‘Have a nice day!’ and someone had a problem with it saying that it was a catch phrase for a strategic business plan. I mean come on! You are damned if you do, damned if you don’t in that situation.

I think it’s time people took personal responsibility for the messages they receive from social media. If you don’t like someone, then unfollow. Unlike. It’s simple. And from time to time I will unfollow. But not before I check in with myself.

If I see something and a negative criticism comes into my head, I turn it around. Everything I see is a reflection of how I feel about myself. Sometimes I just don’t like that particular page anymore and sometimes it’s a great lesson about myself.

I am definitely a big believer in yoga for all. I think yoga has something to offer everybody. The practice originates in India thousands of years ago and because in the West, it is mainly practised by white women one could argue that it’s lost something. Or equally that the West had gained something. If it wasn’t for a power yoga class in a gym I would not have found my way to the heart of this practice.

I’m very grateful that I’ve had the chance to go to India a number of times and do my teacher training with incredible Indian teachers. It’s an experience I will forever be glad I had and I offer my love and respect to my teachers regularly. I also have two Australian teachers who I offer a great deal of love and respect. For me, it about what is in the person’s heart and not where they come from.

I don’t have a typical ‘yoga body’ but if I did would it make me any less or more of a teacher? I really don’t think so. I sometimes post photos of myself in a yoga pose- I’d be ahead of myself to call anything I do ‘advanced’ but regardless I do it for fun, because I’m very grateful for what my body can do and I hope that somebody might be inspired to give it a go.

This conversation is not limited to women but I definitely see a lot more women involved in the debate so I end with a quote that resonates with me:
“I don’t understand all this female jealousy and competition. If we all rise into the light, Does anyone’s face feel less of the sun?”

Do your own work. Rise into the light!

Comments

  1. niamh Thornton on April 27, 2015 at 8:13 pm said:

    Well said Gill! Social media definitely has its positives and negatives. You are never going to like everything you see & read but like you said unfollow what you don’t like and do your own thing it’s much less stress!!!! And P.s if those headstands you do aren’t advanced then I don’t know what is!

  2. Rachel Seoighe on April 27, 2015 at 9:49 pm said:

    Love this Gillian! Your grace and generosity towards people is is inspirational x

  3. oksana on April 28, 2015 at 1:13 am said:

    You tell it how it is! Being in a place of gratitude and perspective is where the real work is.

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