To Yoga (cat) Selfie, or Not

Should I take a Yoga selfie with my cat or not?

I will admit that I am very behind the times and quite stubborn when it come to certain aspects of technology and modernizing.  I did research at the library at my first job, and built a 300 strong VHS library with my ex boyfriend. I begrudgingly handed over my disc-man for an iPod and my trusted Nokia (only last year!) for the Iphone, because my husband said it was getting ridiculous.  I still, and always will, prefer my pen to a keyboard, write notes by hand and keep an agenda (a day-per-page one) because I can’t handle digital calendars.

Most of all I abhor this new idea of sticking your arm out in front of you, striking some stupid pouting pose for the egotistical need for a selfie!  There’s no landscape, monument, memory or view.  Just your face staring back at you, reminding you how great you can look in that never-to-be-seen-again unnatural expression, as if the occasional mirror isn’t enough.  Don’t get me wrong, I have NO issues with a selfie that has more than 1 person in it or something in the background that implies it is capturing a memory you want to keep.  Many times traveling alone I didn’t have someone else to take a photo of me, but I personally prefer all memories without me and my big nose in them, just as I saw and remember it out of my own eyes.  And in regards to ‘yoga selfies’, I had only ever asked people to take photos of me so I could occasionally check on my posture and correct myself..

So my youngest sister threw my rolls of film away, got me into digital and then forced me on to Facebook because she’d moved to Australia. And now one of my kids yoga groups recently made an Instagram page for me.  They had been going on about it for nearly a year, I was ‘really uncool’ and I gave in as a bribe because they were in a particularly annoying mood!  I’ve ‘had’ to set up a LinkedIn profile, business Facebook page, website, email accounts, a blog, and now my webmaster has put me on Twitter as well!  It’s exhausting, confusing, time consuming and the sad fact is, I’m not enjoying any of it as much as everyone else seems to be!  Am I missing something?  I think of it as meaningless digital connections and still don’t understand the value in having 400 Likes, Connections, Followers or ‘Friends’ compared to just 4 that really matter?

However something strange happened a few months ago that changed my fuddy duddy thinking.  My husband posted a photo of me doing some yoga one Saturday, when our 2 cats had gotten on my mat.  I then shared it on my Indiv Yoga page and it got an insane amount of ‘Likes’.  People I’d never met were asking me questions about yoga and people that I did know, that had never shown any interest in the subject, were engaging the topic too.  I can only assume there’s 3 reasons anyone would look twice at the photo:

1) They like looking at photos of yoga poses, especially more advanced ones

2) They like looking at photos of beautiful cats

3) I wasn’t wearing a lot of clothes..

Either way I suddenly woke up to where the world is and where it’s heading.  And with babies understanding touchscreens now, as adults we have a lot of catching up to keep doing!  Information is no longer passed down verbally anymore, let alone from the elders to the young.  If anything they’re teaching us everything now and there’s a lot more to keep constantly on top of.

So one of the hardest aspects of my life in yoga, has been explaining its benefits and those of mindful meditation to others (and in today’s society no one has to listen to anyone else, they can just grab their gadget or get in their car).  I’ve tried to convince narrow minded extremists, stubborn marine soldiers, and traditional orthodox societies, of the completely secular benefits of yoga and meditation for men and women (traditionally practiced in India by men, yoga in much of the world today, is still considered more a woman’s sport).  Leaving it’s spiritual and philosophical roots aside, yoga is good for you on an anatomical, physiological and emotional level.  Something all humans benefit from regardless of where you’re from or what you believe.

So if a yoga selfie is actually showing something yoga related, not advocating anything physically dangerous and NOT selling the concept that everyone can or should be able to achieve the same, then I don’t see any harm in it. What we need however is a lot more photos of the ‘simpler’ yoga poses, to balance out the advanced looking ones, so the image of yoga remains all rounded and accessible to the majority.  Those who continue to fuel the debate on yoga selfies are invariably jealous that they can’t achieve the pose or think their body doesn’t look as good…  As yogis we should accept and embrace ourselves and each other for all our strengths and limitations, and forget everyone else when making our own decisions

If a yoga photo is inspiring others, encouraging people to practice more or opening up the concept of yoga to newbies,  then it can only be a good thing.

Of course the ancient teaching and principles of yoga can not be passed on in a photo.  Neither will the photo show the devotion, time and commitment it took for the selfier to perhaps achieve that pose.  But maybe it interests or inspires someone to understand their body better, or the body-mind connection and focus required in yoga.

So to anyone that has an issue with my yoga selfies, my husband takes them, and I’ll get him to beat you up 😉  You reserve the right to not like or follow me, as I have the right to accept and embrace this modern digital era, and am thankful for all the beautiful photos out there.

Either way, lets remember not to disconnect from the few important people close to us, just to connect with so many far away.

Charlie's signature xx



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Charlie Stewart-Brown

Charlie began practicing yoga over 27 years ago as a recommendation for her severe anxiety, and has been teaching for over 15 years to people of all ages and abilities. With over 1300 hrs of training and 22,500 hrs of teaching, she is also the lead trainer on the Indiv Yoga 200 hrs YTT & RCYT Kids Yoga Teacher Training Courses, having certified over 400 students worldwide.  She is the voice of the ‘Yoga and Mindfulness Program’ on British Airways long-haul flights, has spoken at many seminars and corporate workshops, and runs exclusive yoga and meditation retreats during the year.

Originally from London and having worked in New York and Lisbon after her Psychology degree, she has since settled  in Switzerland with her husband, and dedicated her life to expanding her knowledge of the science of yoga, mindful meditation and better physical and mental health.

Over the years Charlie has trained with some of the most renowned yoga teachers around the world (David Swenson, Shiva Rea, Anne-Marie Newland, Leslie Kaminoff, Sadie Nardini, Sonia Sumar etc) certifying in Hatha, Sivanada, Ashtanga, Childrens and Family Yoga, Yoga for the Special Child, & Inner Engineering with Sadhguru. She has become highly respected for her successful work in yoga therapy, especially for Autism, ADHD and other behavioural and developmental syndromes. She has also talked at some of the biggest corporations in Switzerland and the annual SGIS (Swiss Group of International Schools) Conference on implementing Mindfulness in the work place and the education system.

Charlie holds the highest yoga qualifications as an ERYT500 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher), RCYT (Registered Children´s Yoga Teacher), RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher) and YCEP (Yoga Continued Education Provider) with the Yoga Alliance, and has developed Indiv Yoga™ to bring a more physiological, therapeutic and individual approach to yoga. Indiv Yoga™ Switzerland is a RYS (registered yoga school) and RCYS (registered children’s yoga school) providing Yoga Alliance teacher training certifications of the highest professional standards.

The focus of Indiv Yoga™ is to provide the benefits of yoga to every type of individual, using its teachings to achieve physical and mental balance, and diminish the anxieties of modern life for adults and children.

Read her online testimonials and qualifications for a feel of her knowledgeable and friendly professionalism.

charlie meditating by lake

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