This blog has been a long time coming. Let me first say what it is not. This is not a commentary on “insta yogis ” everywhere, or any sort of criticism for how anyone else chooses to express their own practice or evolution. This is mine. My own decision and reason for it.
Ok, so let’s get this one out on the table early. Social Media of all types (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat) have been INVALUABLE and for the most part FREE marketing tools for so many of us to launch amazing platforms that do great work in the world. We raise funds, we raise awareness, we pull together, we share stories and we unite in solidarity. The power of social media to unite (yoga) us is truly astonishing. I will still continue to use all media platforms to connect important issues regarding social change as well as my business, LoveYoga. Staying relevant and connected is important and I certainly don’t diminish that. My studio has its own page, and yes, yoga will still be a heavy presence there, but as it always has been… To advertise what we do.
Moving right along. Over the past few years (until recently) I have become fairly obsessed with cultivating the “right” kind of following on Instagram in order to conjure the perfect image of the yogi I am in order to get an audience. Pause. Let that sink in.
I’m tempted to repeat it for effect right now but the nausea is overwhelming.
I’ve been practicing yoga for 22 years. Teaching for 12. I own my own studio, I have an amazing community of students, all with their own beautiful practices and stories and they sustain me. This practice, and what I’ve learned thus far on this path is NOT that a pretty backbend or killer pincha (with photo proof and chrome filter) will get you noticed. It will get you noticed because you are HAPPY. You radiate life, you let things roll, you forgive, you feel, you fuck it all up, you remember that you get to try again. THAT is yoga. I began to recognize that I was obsessed with sharing my perfection, not my progress. I was so interested in how my numbers were looking that I began to ignore comments or questions about poses or posts simply because that wasn’t my focus. My focus was on MORE. I went back to the sutras, specifically the Yamas and Niyamas and for me personally, it always comes back to SATYA. The tiffanymaloney being so carefully crafted on social media into a powerful, well-known and respected world-travelled yoga teacher was not truthful at all. Slowly, I began to back away, and like an addict unsure of what that next day is going to look like, it was terrifying. NOW, let me be clear in saying I’m not paid to post, I don’t have sponsorships or responsibilities in that way. I wanted them. But what I was doing to “build a brand” was taking away from the truth, the SATYA of my practice and the joy of simply sharing regular life without the added concern of “how many likes will this get? How many new followers today? Did so and so retweet my blog?” So, I began posting photos of my garden, my cats and foster kittens, my husband and me on a rare weekend away together, way too many selfies because I do silly cosplay. I began to post my LIFE. Sure, I lost followers, sure, I’ve become less relevant in the “insta yogi” world, but for the first time in years, I don’t care! I HAVE to return to the essence of what brought me to this practice, which is acceptance, not perfection and in order to do that I need my practice to be mine. If I’m going to tell nervous first-time yoga clients that “no one is looking at your pose and judging you because they are too wrapped up in their own practice” I have to mean it. I have to live it.
My social media will still be social. There will be shameless selfies, photos of cats, moments with friends, maybe even YOGA friends! But what you won’t see is a beautifully filtered Savasana that’s FaceTuned and snap seeded into an unrealistic moment. Nope, that moment is mine.