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Yoga in the age of social media and Abstract fitness programs

My first memory of Yoga, is when my parents practiced it with an old teacher from Rishikesh. You won’t find him in any yoga studio; he wore Dhoti-Kurta while teaching the basic asanas in sync with pranayam. The yoga my parents did, looked nothing  like the #yoga; you see on social media these days.

While no one has authority over this 5000 year old science. We know contortion when we see it. So what happened..?

Until the 1990s, yoga was mainly practiced by older people. And yoga was not in vogue. Thus, to attract people; Bryan Kest, who studied Ashtanga Yoga  under  Pattabhi Jois. And Baron Baptiste, a Bikram enthusiast;  put their own spins on the style and branded it “Power Yoga”. And that was the beginning of a multi-billion industry called Yoga.

Yoga in the age of social media and Abstract fitness programs

In this age of Instagram and social media; visuals have become important.  In fact, many people are moving into yoga from dance or gymnastic backgrounds. As they can easily adapt to the asanas. These skills are amazing but is it enough to be called yoga?

And due to the increase in yoga influencers on social media. The yoga teachers are pushing themselves to do handstands and twisting  into asanas that seem impossible to achieve. Thus, there is more focus on using yoga for fitness.

Also, in the last decade everyone is upping their fitness game. When you go to a gym; you want to try all the workouts. And, social media records it all. Social media is used for sharing and it has become a means of personal gratification. Thus, with the influencers and fitness enthusiasts; yoga has become asana-centered.

Combining yoga with other fitness regimes is awesome. To increase footfalls, yoga is being done on hammocks, on paddles or with goats and beer, etc. I like the yoga remixes once in a while. But, my daily practice is more traditional. As yoga works on the body, mind, breath and the subtle layers of energy.

We all want fitness and long-term health. But what’s being taught/practiced  now days; has short-term gains with potential damage to the nervous and immune system.

We all are bombarded with so much information; that, there is a sense of confusion about what yoga philosophy. But, we need to remember that Yoga is a holistic approach to life. 

Finally, yoga is a spiritual philosophy which embodies that body and mind. If your yoga practice is helping you with it, then that’s awesome. But, if you end up with repeated injuries, acute pains and lack of body-breath awareness. Then, take a breath and align your goals with your practice for better results!

Iti Jain

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Yoga in the age of social media and Abstract fitness programs


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