What Do Yoga Teacher’s have to say about recent news articles?
Recently there has been a few news hitting headlines about Yoga related injuries and negativity around the subject. I have had a few class attendees address this to me and asking my opinion before class. It is important to stay informed and I felt motivated today to talk about this. I am going to talk about my personal experience as a Yoga Teacher and also social media’s impact.
The truth is, yes. You can of course have injuries from doing too much yoga. I include myself in this statement. The truth is, you are more likely to experience injuries from any repetitive movement whether that is boxing, tennis, running or even sitting at a desk all day (back, shoulder and neck pain is real for 9-5 workers). My best advice is everything in moderation. Mix up your workout routine as much as you can. A little of yoga here, a bit of cardio and weight lifting there. Most of my routine is yoga, pilates, bodyweight training, etc. I do my best with my job – as does those with 9-5 jobs. All we can do is our best with our time. If you are only interested in one form of exercise 3-4 times a week is enough. Otherwise I strongly advise against doing 1, 2 or 3 hours of the same thing everyday. Am I a hypocrite, as I use the hashtag #yogaeveryday on instagram? I will come onto that next.
The truth is, I don’t enjoy posting pictures of myself online doing yoga poses. It makes me feel narcissistic, self-centred and insecure all at the same time. Also, its hard to find the time with a nice backdrop. Why do I do it then? Well, before social media you would advertise your classes and fitness-related services on posters, local magazines or maybe putting leaflets through doors. I have done all of these forms of advertising but without a doubt the most successful form of advertising is online. Where are people looking? Most of the time on our phones. At the end of the day, we have bills and mortgages to pay. To put it briefly, a girls got to eat. We need an income to survive. I have to advertise to get business like everyone else.
Have I felt pressure to post certain yoga poses online?
Of course! Everything on Instagram is visual. When you look at yogis with lots of followers, the pictures they are posting are extremely impressive! But are those the poses they are teaching in general classes? Most definitely not. You have to be realistic when teaching the general public and consider their needs first. I have briefly mentioned on social media about yoga-related injuries and I purposely avoid teaching particular poses:
As previously mentioned, I won’t go near headstands. I want every person in my classes to be safe. That is my priority number one. The advanced poses need one-to-one attention in my opinion, and when you have classes of 12-30 people you cannot offer that. Instagram is not real life. Now a days we are very much living our lives on social media. I don’t love it but that’s the truth and I can’t change that. The only part of posting online I enjoy is to connect with others in the comments. When will we realise a lot of what we see online is either not real or not maintainable? Barely anyone is posting their worst days and failures online.
I have felt the pressure of comparison, doubt and low self esteem when I can’t achieve the “advanced poses” to post on Instagram
I do the best I can, with my abilities but don’t push myself into being unsafe. On social media, you are looking to impress. In real life, you are looking for connection; that’s what makes group fitness classes special. I want everyone in class to feel successful and that means making the exercise/pose personal and unique for you! Go to the place where you feel the stretch, not to where you hurt in the stretch. I offer lots of modification and options because I am teaching real people and they are all different. Authenticity and uniqueness is much more interesting then all the smoke and mirrors online.
Instagram needs ‘pretty pictures’, as that’s what it runs on. I confess, I post the most visual stimulating poses on my account to keep up with the other yogi’s. And it still doesn’t look as good. Mostly all businesses have Facebook & Instagram pages. I am playing ball to create engaging content where I can connect with people who I can work with and help. My real “why” of teaching is this: Yoga, Pilates & Barre is about feeling good. I’m not a dancer by any stretch of the imagination (no pun intended), but I love how Barre makes me feel like an elegant ballerina. The buzz (endorphin release) I get after teaching a Pop Pilates class. Seeing the progress of regular participants. Best of all when someone doesn’t need to pay for weekly back adjustments anymore! My summary is this: Do what makes you feel good, be yourself always and understand your body has limitations. None of us are superman or superwomen. Take care of yourself, be sensible in your limitations and be grateful for what your body can do.