The first time I discovered that people posted yoga selfies to Instagram, I had no clue how on earth they even did it. You can read my blog post about thishere. Shortly after discovering the world of Instagram yoga, I discovered the world of Instagram yoga challenges. This was during a busy and somewhat stressful time in my life, and I decided to give participating in a challenge a shot. It seemed like a good way to ensure I got in even just a short practice every day, and gave me an excuse to take a break from everything else that was going on.
The challenge gave me a few things that I wasn't expecting too. For one, it opened my eyes to an entire community of yogis I had no idea existed. They gather from all over the world on Instagram and they share their thoughts, ideas, practices, small businesses and sometimes even the stories of their lives. They connect to each other from far and near and offer support to each other. Many of them are stay at home moms who are self-taught yogis with home practices looking for a community to share their journey with. They are beautiful. They ARE inspiring. And for most, the inspiration they offer has precious little to do with the fancy poses or unattainable body types I see brought up so often in criticisms of "Instagram yoga."
The other discovery I happily made was that participating in a yoga challenge helped to do more than get me on my mat everyday. It challenged me to try new poses (some of which I'd never seen). It took me out of my comfort zone and inspired me. It was about WAY more than the vanity of selfie taking it gets boiled down to so often. It did help me to grow my practice and I often found myself frankly writing about how many tries it took to get an actual picture of a posture or sharing a picture that was not a "perfect" expression of the posture. I found it a good tool for breaking through ego - not a way to serve or feed it.
At the beginning of July, feeling a bit stagnant in my practice and wanting to keep inspired, I joined another challenge. This one simply gives you a word and you choose the posture that it inspires you to share. It has been a great way for this pregnant yogi-momma to keep up with her prenatal practice. It won't be the last time I turn to this online community to enrich and inspire my practice. Accuse me of vanity all day long. I'll just be over on my IG account with people too busy walking their own yogic path to be casting judgement on what, where or how others choose to carry on with their practices.