Bad Yogi: Instagram vs Real Life

We had a lot of fun with this video. I spent a whole day running around town embarrassing myself in public to get these scenes, haha! You’ll have to tell me what you think!This video was inspired by social media. Ever see something on social and think, “Wow, I WISH I could do that!” or “That’s so perfect!” Yeah, trust me, we all have, and I include myself in that. The thing is though, you never know what the behind-the-scenes footage looks like. Sure, it might not always be an epic fail, but many times there’s an unseen struggle that we don’t see on the end product.

Moral of the story: Remember to think twice before you covet those pictures! Instagram and Facebook only capture a single snapshot. And if you’ve ever tried ANYTHING, you know that the end result is barely the tip of the iceberg. A half second of action hardly shows the whole story… and you never know what that looks like πŸ˜‰

Over to you: Does social media help YOU personally in your yoga practice, or do you get discouraged?

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    December 21, 2015 at 5:23 am

    I love it! This is so me sometimes

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      December 22, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Super awesome video! Love yoga with Erin! Thanks! I’ve been doing Erin’s videos for over a year now

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    December 21, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Hi, about photos, I saw, once, 1 picture with 4 photos : the same pose, over 4 years. In this, we can see how the personne, who done this, improve. In this case, it’s cool. ^^

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      Erin Motz

      December 21, 2015 at 5:38 am

      love that idea! seeing the journey is always inspiring

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    December 21, 2015 at 5:42 am

    I would have never nailed any of those even long enough for a picture. Except maybe eagle.

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    December 21, 2015 at 5:43 am

    I found your Video very encouraging πŸ™‚ thank you

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    December 21, 2015 at 5:52 am

    I actually hate yoga selfies. I think do more damage to yoga’s image than good. Too many people find them intimidating and believe that is what yoga is. I understand they can be inspiring to some people who already practice, but I think they may keep many people who dont resemble those people in the pictures from beginning a practice, and that is really sad.

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    December 21, 2015 at 6:28 am

    So fun, encouraging…real πŸ™‚

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    December 21, 2015 at 6:43 am

    This video is great! I love that the wider angle video shows everything going on around the photo. This phenomenon is not unique to yoga and yogis. I am a knitter and I used to follow a lot of crafts, knitting and “home” blogs–I still follow a lot of these people on Instagram. Some of these blogs include beautiful photos of finished projects or of the blogger’s home that always look so organized and peaceful. Sometimes I found these blogs inspiring and sometimes I would look around at my chaotic life and just feel BAD. I tried to remember though that these photos are someone else’s “highlight reel” — not her everyday life. The messes are always cropped out! πŸ™‚

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      Erin Motz

      December 21, 2015 at 11:15 am

      good point! it definitely goes beyond yoga… i think about these home design blogs too… i’m like, how do you have ZERO clutter?! all just snippets πŸ™‚

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    December 21, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Love it! I try to post videos of my practice sometimes too so people can see that it is a lot of failures and not all glamorous. People seem to really jive with those posts more than just pictures because, of course, you can’t trust them.

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    December 21, 2015 at 7:25 am

    I like seeing the pictures on FB, but I really prefer reading the poster’s story. Reading about their journey and seeing their current outcome is very inspiring (especially because I know their journey is still underway). They help me realize that I’m also on a journey and that it more than likely will never end as long as I find focus and solice in my practice.

    Though I must say that I can appreciate your comment that their post is only a small slice of their journey. That puts all of this into perspective!

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    December 21, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Speaking just for myself, I feel like it depends on the day.
    I have people I follow who are INSANELY good and on some days they inspire me to be better and other days I beat myself up because I’m not “that good”.
    There are also some people I’ve had to unfollow because the discouragement was just….constant. I don’t feel like that has much to do with those people, though. I certainly would never expect someone to post content that is “less than”, if that makes sense, just because others find how good they are discouraging. But by that same token, I feel like transparency is really necessary in those cases. We all know practice isn’t perfect and beautiful all day every day, and when people who are very advanced make it seem like it is without being transparent or real it does get discouraging. But I also think it’s up to them and their sense of accountability. Is it their absolute responsibility to be accommodating to others so that they don’t feel discouraged? No. Would it be nice and foster some more self confidence and self love in others? Absolutely.

    As you can tell, my thoughts about this are scattered all over the place, and my ability to constantly see both sides of most things is not helping πŸ˜›

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      Erin Motz

      December 21, 2015 at 11:17 am

      love this! i feel the same way… makes perfect sense to me πŸ™‚

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    December 21, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I had to unfollow a couple sites because they would have pictures that looked like they were taken for playboy magazine and not really much yoga going on. But most of the time I like them. Bad yogi is my favorite. I like the still pictures because I can look how is her leg or arm or whatever positioned and sometimes it helps me more than a video (I live in the country and its too far to take a regular class). Also isn’t part of yoga learning about your body and working to improve what you can improve and accept the rest. I’m ok at handstands but not so good at backbends. It’s fine, I’m 53 and in better shape than I was at 40. But I keep trying the backbends, I just go as far as I can. I just do my best and when I see some skinny girl do a backbend with her hands at her heels I just say wow! Look at that!

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    December 21, 2015 at 9:08 am

    I don’t think I’m a particularly accomplished yogi, but I have been practicing for a few years. When I participated in a challenge that included posting daily photos on social media, I was surprised by how many of my friends commneted IRL–and still mention, a year later–how much they enjoyed seeing my posts. One (much younger, much thinner, much cuter) friend said I inspired her to try yoga. Posting the photos definitely improved my own self-confidence about my yoga practice. I doubt any serious yogis looked at my poses with any kind of envy (perhaps pity…), but I really think that’s on them–unfollow what discourages you. We are all somewhere on this journey, and the biggest step is that first one from the couch to the mat.

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    December 21, 2015 at 9:31 am

    This is so humbling πŸ™‚

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    December 21, 2015 at 9:39 am

    THIS makes me feel better!! πŸ˜€

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    December 21, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I definitely see how snapshots can be harmful for people but personally I love it!! Sometimes I want to try something new with yoga but I’m stumped as to what more I could do. Those are the times that I look for new poses or some yoga challenges on Instagram. This gives me something to try and practice until maybe I get good at it too. I do realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day and maybe that new pose won’t come in a day either but it’s a way for me to keep yoga challenging yet fun and new πŸ™‚

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    December 21, 2015 at 11:38 am

    This is a good reminder for many things shared on social media (not just yoga poses). Its just a snapshot of someones life. It’s a good reminder not to try to compare your average day to everyone’s best days shared on social media.

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    December 21, 2015 at 11:57 am

    This is great. I have been practising yoga for a couple of years and have had instagram 1 year. I started following all these amazingly well pretzeled yogis for inspiration but have deleted most of them because I realised how unattainable that image is and in a way it was making me feel ‘less of a yogi’ (silly isn’t it). Anyway, my journey is my journey alone, I don’t need to compete or compare myself with these images. Keep up the good work badyogi! From a kiwi in Guatemala

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    December 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I gotta ask what song is this???

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    December 21, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Social media is so dangerous to many people because they think what they see is real. There seem to be so many people out there who seem to lead the “perfect life” or strike every yoga pose without effort EVERY time they do it etc. Therefore I’m very glad to be part of the Bad Yogi-Revolution because we know it’s different πŸ™‚ This video is so lighthearted and real, love it! That’s how it looks in most homes while doing yoga anyway… <3

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    December 21, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I love everything you do for the yoga community, Erin! There have been so many times in scrolling through Instagram or doing yoga challenges, and instead of hinging myself hope into acheiving some of those impossible to conquer poses, I get mad at myself. I see the photo and how great it is, and after 30 mins of attempting one single pose I can barely get a picture to anything close to what I see. Instead of getting mad thinking they knocked that pose out on a first try, maybe it took them 30 minutes, too.

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    December 21, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Great idea! I think we all need reminded that social media only ever shows a quick snapshot & not the reality of a situation/moment. However, that’s our responsibility to remember, you can’t blame people for only posting the good bits – I think we’re all guilty of doing that! Good on ye for giving us that reminder though Erin, it’s why we’re part of the Bad Yogi group as we appreciate your honesty. Ps not sure I believe all your wobbles

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      December 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Sums up my feelings perfectly, especially the bit about this being the reason for being part of bad yogi group. Also agree on the PS πŸ™‚

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    December 21, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I need to unfollow a bunch of instagrammer yogis. I don’t think it’s helping. My own progress photos should be my inspiration! And also just the feeling I get after I practice!

  23. Eleni


    December 21, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    I love seeing behind the scenes yoga shoots like this one! Everybody who does yoga knows that it’s NOT always perfect and videos like this help remind us that we don’t all have to be super flexible acrobats to enjoy yoga (not that you’re not a super flexible acrobat Erin but it’s very encouraging to see that even the pros don’t always nail the pose on the first attempt!) . Personally I find yoga pics inspiring but there are times I see a crazy difficult pose in a dreamy location and wish I could do that. I just remind myself that it’s just a photo and that the person in it probably wasn’t born able to get into that pose but worked hard to achieve it. There are some poses that I thought I’d never be able to do a year ago, but now I can. So maybe if I stick to it, I’ll make progress. The yoga photos I love the most are progress photos. Those help motivate me and posting my photos on social media helps me see my progress. It’s also very encouraging when others see your progress and point it out to you! So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you can keep in mind that a photo is just a split second in time, and not a glimpse into a perfect yoga practice and a perfect life, it’s OK. Call me superficial, but I’d choose browsing through yoga poses over browsing through depressing news or other mindless stuff on the Internet any day!

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    December 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I honestly don’t really care about yoga self portraits? At least no more than I already care about the whole self portrait thing anyway, which is “god please if you won’t go away at least stop calling them a juvenile word like selfie.” Honestly these probably aren’t even self portraits, someone else has to be holding the camera to get these shots.

    I’m just amazed that so many people care so much about crazy poses like headstand (look, I can’t even do any of the forward folds, headstand is crazy from my perspective), lord of the dance, or anything bound. They’re not inspirational, they’re not demoralizing. The wider yoga community takes care of the latter well enough on its own, yoga self portraits are barely touching it. They’re just. There. Easy to find, easy to ignore.

    You wanna take a picture of yourself? Fine, whatever, I don’t care. But I guess yay that you got a pose down and had someone around to take a picture of it? Congrats on your documentation?

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    December 21, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    I love this video thank you for posting along with the other one of you trying multiple times to handstand! I know a lot of posts on instagram are supposed to be inspiring but sometimes they just make me feel worse as I think “I’ll never be that good” but then I think it is true of all social media that no one posts the bad stuff!! The hard work or the hard times or the time they ate a whole pizza that’s not part of their “plan”… apart from you maybe and I much prefer it that way!! I’d rather hear about the daily struggles and not just the good times. I think yoga especially for me can be so disheartening as obviously the teachers are very advanced and flexible and here’s me like a stiff old bit of wood anyhoo I think that’s my ramble over, thank you for being awesome xx

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    December 21, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    You are SO inspiring! I’ve often wondered what I was doing wrong or how are all these people so much better than me…and I’ll never be able to do that (especially since I only started practicing 10 months ago. So this simple little video is major inspiration for me.

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    December 21, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Together we can conquer the world. Say hi to Adrien for me. πŸ™‚

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    December 21, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    I try to remember that yoga is not a competition and there are no comparisons. But sometimes on social media you see this incredible pose and you long to do it but your body just isn’t ready yet. It can be discouraging.

    But thanks to you, I am aware that yoga is a practice and it’s okay to fail. How can you possibly learn without making mistakes?!

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    December 22, 2015 at 12:46 am

    I cant even say it often enoug. Thank you for all your work! The 30 day yoga challenge has gotten me started on yoga and IΒ΄ve been practicing regularly ever since. Not only has yoga opened my eyes to alot of different things, it has made me a better person all together. Yoga never stops and also continues after youve rolled up your mat.
    Youre inspirational and I liked this “eye opener” video.
    greetings from Germany

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    Carey Hopkins

    December 22, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Your awesome and inspiring, THANKS for keeping it real

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    December 22, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    As always you are brutally honest and it is wonderful to watch! Thank you for keeping it so real. xo
    Happy Holidays!

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    Margaret Trotman

    December 22, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I don’t feel so bad! I usually go down hard with a super cramp! LOL Thanks for keeping it real! and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

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    December 25, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Hilarious video and so recognizable Erin! Thank you for reminding us!
    I teach yoga myself and posted some Instagram pics of my late pregnancy a couple of month ago, doing inversion yoga poses. On the pics the poses look very easy, but I naturally felt stiffer and weaker than normally at 38 weeks, so I used a video and took some snapshot of the very perfect second
    So yes I do cheat myself on social media. Still I am a fan of Instagram (and related social media) as the beautiful pictures of fellow yoginis inspire me, not to do the same (some teachers are incredibly good!!), but to keep on practicing and moving forward and enjoying the journey.
    Hey… We all know yoga is not about being perfect, but rather about finding out we are perfectly imperfect

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    Ursula Markgraf

    December 30, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing this!
    So true for so many things shared on social media!

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    kevin harts height

    December 31, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    I think this is one of the most vital information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The web site style is wonderful, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

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