I get it. I’m a yoga person, and I reveal parts of myself in a public forum via social media and on this website. Right here. The one you’re reading (and thank you for that). I do crazy yoga poses. I drink green things. But, I clearly missed the memo that people like me should use social media outlets like Instagram to catalogue extraordinary yoga poses, the more often and less clothing the better.
To be fair, I’ve posted a bikini clad handstand photo online (precisely twice in nearly 6 years) and happily oblige yoga lovers with fun, advanced poses when the mood strikes and, more practically, I have someone to take the photo for me. However, I wonder if I am inept if a quick browse of my feed reveals how sparse the standard yoga fare actually is. Am I doing it all wrong?
I also wonder if my friends and peers have interns specifically entrusted with photographing their yoga practice or gnomes who trail their every move and recommend spontaneous arm balances in public. Am I the only one who has a laptop on my back, a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen, and shit to do when I’m out in public? Gravity-defying Liz Arch, for example, has a feed that’s full of stunning asana-driven images with impeccable alignment, often in seaside locations. I respect her a ton and enjoy following her. I should ask her how she does it. She lives in LA where the climate is more conducive to beachy handstands, but between the awe-inspiring acrobatics (e.g. walking a hotel hallway on her hands) and need for a photo gnome, I still don’t know how she pulls it off. The whole thing seems so natural for her that I’m starting to think she might sleep upside down, like a bat– albeit a gorgeous one born in Hawaii.
I missed the memo intentionally. Because I can only capture what inspires me and feels authentic to me. Liz Arch is authentically a bikini clad yoga ninja who lives in a warm climate and artfully uses yoga postures to tell her story. I’m part yogi, part writer scrambling toward my first book deadline, and part athlete/maker of healthy meals/occasional buyer of baby onesies (once causing suspicion among commenters that I’m pregnant). I AM NOT PREGNANT. I live in Boston, where the climate both meteorologically and temperamentally, is chillier. We wear too much clothing too much of the year. We’re less carefree, a little more obsessed with foliage and sunsets over the Charles River. Above all, what I want to say about yoga or life on a given day is sometimes captured in a pose but not always. I’ve also never wanted what I’m saying about yoga on social media or elsewhere to be dominated by what one body, my body, can do. I think it leaves out too many people and too much of what I personally love about yoga (and life) beyond the mat.
More often, I’m looking at the world through a lens of yoga at what’s beautiful, stylish, or delicious in daily life, what moves my heart or stops me in my tracks. Recent favorites include the scene when Bostonians poured into the streets near Fenway after the Red Sox won the World Series, a creative photo booth snapshot with Boyfriend at a concert sponsored by Converse, holding a friend’s new baby, or exploring the frigid but breathtaking coast of Maine. These photos aren’t asana, but, in some way, they’re snapshots of what lights my truest self. Connecting to that is the essence of yoga. Whatever it is for you, however you see it or choose to share it.
I’m more than my yoga practice. We all are. I’m more than my abs or my bum or my green smoothie. We all are. I don’t have tens of thousands of followers or a gnome to take my picture, and I’ll probably never make a list of Amazing Yogis You Need to Follow on Instagram, but you might dig my feed anyway.
Who knows, maybe someday I’ll get it right?
You can follow me at instagram.com/omgal.