Confessions of a social media addicted yoga teacher
I am a yoga teacher and a yoga therapist - I confess that I have been carried down the river of social media and I’m addicted. I pretend I need to do social media because my marketing team told me I should! I have set myself a challenge to switch off all social media after 8pm but I often find excuses to take my phone into the bedroom and have a peak if I’ve posted something to see if anyone likes me or even loves me! Social media can be replace relationships with real people, affects mood and self-esteem.
For social media users that are constantly checking their likes, followers and views on various social platforms, they can often believe that the meaning of ‘connection’ and ‘empowerment’ stems from how many likes they get on a Instagram post. As a society, this can mean that we seem to drifting away from real connection that happens away from a screen, an image, a projected Self.
For many heavy users of social media who feel the need to get the perfect images or the perfect post, the pressure of this perfection can lead to unconscious anxiety, stress and constant a need to feel a social ‘connection’ for approval and love with emojis.
How yoga can help you ‘switch off’ from social media.
Life is about connection – we all have a basic desire to be loved, to be met with kindness, to be listened to. Often people find they have changed as a result of practicing yoga, breathing and meditation, their priorities and the meaning of life has shifted back to connection of all kinds – with people, nature, the universe… It’s difficult to know what or how this has changed, and it’s another thing to define growth that is not in our verbal language and is often described as ‘connection with our authentic self’, ‘coming home’, ‘interconnectedness with all sentient beings’.
With the social media boom, putting this into words has spawned a multitude of inspirational quotes, images and messages of our passion for our practice whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual and we want to share it with our peers. Yoga teaching can be a lonely business so we want to share our love, our successes, our offerings with people out there and social media can connect us, offer a platform to discuss issues and concerns, and help us share what we’re up to.
It’s said that a picture is worth a thousands words and with social media, we can reach many people with powerful messages of peace, empowerment and inspiration, however as the bond becomes stronger, it can disconnect us from communicating with others and numb our authentic selves.
Our social interaction online allows us to edit, filter, crop, and delete and frame our lives to make them seem more exciting, joyful, miserable, or more spiritual than they actually are. Many people have become addicted to doing this and, at the same time may suffer FOMO (the fear of missing out) or become disillusioned by comparing themselves to others.
If this sounds familiar, yoga can help us to return to sensitivity, centered-ness and the healing power of nature and connection with human beings and animals.
Yoga has never been so important. Moving from postures or asana towards meditation, there is a process of withdrawal from the outside world and external stimuli to the inside landscape of the body and mind. Self-observation and self-understanding draw the mind towards an openness and quality of self-acceptance where we no longer crave attention online or approval from people we don’t even know.
When we practice yoga, we become more aware of our surroundings and its effects on our body and mind. Yoga helps cut through the layers of illusion and mis-identities that can arise in response to our various actions, feelings and experiences. Yoga brings us back to a natural flow, the cyclical nature of life, and connect with our spirit that brings us home to ourselves.
Once you get to this point, you’ll look back and understand that social media was an obstacle, an illusion, a distraction, even a fear that prevented you from remembering your true self.