3 Truths about Yoga and Instagram

by Arielle Miller Cohen

Instagram has become a place for the average person to find stardom regardless of where they live or where they are from so long as they have access to a phone and a data package. With one’s follower count being a way to secure endorsements, ambassadorships, products and so much more; by the throngs, people post pictures with the hopes of becoming “InstaFamous.” But at what cost? At what cost is all this double tapping having on society and its participants? I offer you 3 truths about yoga and Instagram.

Personally, as a yogi and yoga instructor, I see these long, lean bodies, making gorgeous shapes and then I notice I feel badly about myself. I have even found myself monitoring fellow yogi’s follower counts and gawking over their photos. While pouring myself into coveting something I see on a four-inch screen I have come to realize through my own quest to share my pictures with the world: IT IS NOT REAL. Here in an honest dialogue, I lift the veil behind those beautiful beach pictures we see and covet on Instagram.

3 Truths About Yoga and Instagram

  1. It’s Hard

Yoga by itself is hard enough. Let alone adding the uneven and squishy terrain of sand. The downward slope of the beach as it meets the ocean while the sand giving way beneath your hands makes it immensely challenging for someone who’s attempting handstands and arm balances.

Moreover, beach or no beach, when trying to capture that perfect shot one must pose, shoot, check alignment, shoot again. Pose, shoot, check again—the sun wasn’t right. Reshoot. It’s never just one shot. That means, re-shooting the same pose sometimes over and over and over again to get it juuuuuuussssst right. For the yogi, it’s physically demanding and certainly exhausting. Being outside lends itself to many other factors beyond one’s control. For example, trying to frame flawless photos in the ocean is always exciting since the sand erodes under your feet, making it nearly impossible to gain any sort of traction in standing poses, and then BOOM! There’s a wave and you end up flat on your butt.

Arielle 1

No filter: That didn’t work out as planned. Almost swept out to sea while making silly shapes in the waves. Here, my husband captures reality for the world to see

  1. The sun is bright 

I mean, who does yoga wearing sunglasses? Every time I try down dogging in my massive purple Dior’s they end up on my forehead so what’s the point?

So while setting up for that perfect shot, I’ll wear my glasses, and then take them off at the last minute. Sometimes, I wear them because you know; I practice yoga with my sunglasses on. But really, in the bigger picture it’s all a ruse, because no one actually does yoga wearing sunglasses so it’s contrived and grossly impractical.

Arielle 2


No filter and experimenting: Maybe if I hold my sunglasses, they’ll look like a cool prop. That said, the world of social media wants to see your face, so you take off your sunglasses. You close your eyes to make it look like you’re deep in meditative thought (while chillin’ on the sand or in the mist of the waves). Nope, you’re not. You’re just trying to not look directly into the blazing sun.

  1. It’s Not Real

What you see isn’t what you get, that’s for sure. Instagram and its many apps have made it a wondrous world of creation. Everyone and their mother is an editor. Don’t like your skin? No need to airbrush: Filter it. Cellulite? No need to airbrush it: Filter it. Not enough light? Add it! Want beams of light radiating like the sun from your heart’s center? Add it! The magic of filters is they allow the creator to masterfully deceive the world into thinking something is what it isn’t. There I said it, it’s all a damn lie.

Arielle 3

No filter, completely unedited

Arielle 4


Instagram has allowed the world and its amateur photo-enthusiasts to create masterpieces or illusions—you decide. In the land of Instagram when it comes to those beach yoga photos there’s hair, make up and wardrobe. The people posing, work hard to share poses they’ve mastered—maybe even spent years working on some of them. And while they are on display for all of the world to see, they are sharing their best version, on their best side, in the best clothes, styled by the best hair and make up team money could buy.

The photos we see on Instagram are a work of art. However, like any art form; they’re carefully curated to elicit an emotion from the viewer. And in many cases with respects to the land of yoga and fitness, people are promoting themselves, a brand, classes, retreats and a partnership. View and double tap with integrity. Your self-worth and confidence cannot be tied to how many likes you acquire or how many followers someone else has. Stay true to yourself, do you, and be you. Remain grounded in your pursuit for InstaFame and know that life on your phone is not real. Look up and look around—that’s life, now start living.

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