What’s the best way to promote a lifestyle (aka: to instagram or not to instagram)

I’ve been considering starting an Instagram account. I keep on toying with the idea, yet not actually doing it.

On the one hand, Instagram clearly is an easy way to promote a healthy lifestyle, and inspire people. I believe that I am somewhat out of the regular yoga-crew, even though I am white, female, and relatively slim, since I also happen to be an Iyengar practitioner, who are relatively unknown on the interwebs, and I did my training while getting a PhD in structural chemistry, which I will defend and receive in November. I’m also a French vegan, which is still a rarity (though that is changing).

I genuinely would like to make Iyengar yoga more known and attract younger practitioners (I talked about age issues in the Iyengar community here). Few teachers are known outside of the Iyengar community, I would say Patrica Walden for sure but still mainly by older practitioners, and Carrie Owerko who is doing hell of a job at spreading the Iyengar world while making it seem fun and attainable.

CV1_yoga_SIP5_17.jpg

Interestingly, when I saw this cover of Yoga Journal, I did not notice it was Carrie Owerko initially, but my first thought was “wow she’s got her front foot really activated, really nice to see that in a yoga pic’ for once!”

Anyhow, the Instagram world, while full of yogis, is pretty void from Iyengar yogis, with the exception of yogi Zain who makes beautifully edited videos, and Fanny from Iyengar yoga notes. If you know of other follow-worthy Iyengar yoga instagrammers, by all means please leave a message in the comments.

So why am I not doing it? Well, I’m still wondering if having an Instagram wouldn’t make me addicted to a) taking pictures all the time and b) external validation. While I started this blog with the only intention to write down my thoughts, I would start my Instagram account with the idea of spreading my idea of yoga, veganism and generally my lifestyle to as many people as possible. First, I’m still not convinced I’m that worthy of an inspiration. Second, well, this blog is not getting many viewers, which I’m fine with, but what if my Instagram doesn’t either? Third, if it does get some traction, is it really promoting what I want to promote? Instagram posts are very short and centered around a picture. While it is easier to communicate and attract people through images, is an image-only medium really the best? Finally, the Iyengar community itself is quite critical about form. And I am too. If I would want to post picture of poses, they’d have to be pretty-near perfect… which might take a lot of time and fun out of my practice.

So overall, I’m thinking of changing the blog a bit, with maybe more short, Instagram-style posts. Maybe some “progress pics”. Maybe advertise my blog a bit more. But not a complete switch to Instagram.

What’s your opinion? Do you use Instagram? Do you wish there were more Iyengar yogis on Instagram? And what’s the best way to promote Iyengar yoga or simply a healthy lifestyle on the internet? Where should I promote my blog?  Looking forward to reading your comments and suggestions.

 

 

Advertisements

The iceman, the breath of fire, and pada III.38.

So, some time ago I heard about the iceman, i.e. Wim Hof. I read about him on the internet and decided to watch the vice documentary about him:

I was very surprised, since I live in the Netherlands, that I had never heard of him before. I find his story fascinating.

He is able to control is autoimmune system and able to teach others how to do it; all of it in a scientific setting – the results were published in PNAS, which is a high-impact factor scientific journal.

He says in the documentary that he is not the first person to be able to do this, and I believe that actually many yogis have reached a similar level during the ages. Indeed, while he does not call his technique “yoga”, in my opinion what he does is “simply” a very strong pranayama practice.

He talks about the inner fire, which obviously made me think of agni sara, breath of fire.

I really feel like Wim Hof is a yogi, also because he stays very humble through these demonstrations of “superpowers” and I am glad that his son pushed him to “market” his talent since otherwise there would be no scientific data on the fact that humans are capable of influencing their automatic nervous system.

I can’t help but think of Patanjali’s warning in the Yoga Sutras III.38:
से अत्त्ऐन्मेन्त्स अरे इम्पेदिमेन्त्स तो समधि, अल्थोउघ थेय अरे पोवेर्स इन अच्तिवे लिफ़े.
te samadhau upasargah vyutthane siddhayah
These attainments are impediments to samadhi, although they are powers in active life.

Divine perceptions¹ are hindrances to a yogi whose wisdom is supreme and whose goal is spiritual absorption. They are great accomplishements, but he should know that they fall within the range of the gunas of nature, and in acquiring them he might forget his main aim in life and luxuriate in them. If they are shunned, however, they become aids to samadhi.

The yogi may mistake these accomplishments and rewards for the end and aim of yogic practices. He may imagine that he has attained great spiritual heights, and that whatever is attainable through yoga has been achieved. In this way he may forget the goal of Self-Realization.

Patanjali warns yogis to treat these powers as obstacles in their sadhana. One should control them as whole-heartedly as one fought earlier to conquer the afflictions of the body and the fluctuations of the mind. Then one can move forward towards kaivalya, emancipation.

(Translation and commentary by B.K.S. Iyengar)

Notes:
¹ Divine perceptions: powers that have been gained through the sadhana.
sadhana: practice
gunas: qualities of nature
samadhi: equanimity of mind, profound meditation, eigth and final aspect of ashtanga yoga, bliss

Another translation and text explanation that I found clear and useful.

 

Feminism in the 21st century – and porn?!

I follow and read a couple of feminist blogs. And lately, I have to say I was starting not to recognize the values I want to fight for in the feminist movements. Even though I think it is good that the movement is not homogeneous, since it brings debate, which brings evolution, I was feeling that most of what was happening in these movements was male shaming and some sort of contest for classification. Articles using “they” as a pronoun for a “non-binary” person, cisgender definition (well maybe that’s just because I’m a chemist and it gets pretty confusing…), stupidity like Matt Taylor‘s shirt outrage or articles like this everyday feminism post are not my cup of tea.

I am a feminist, though. Go, gender equality!

I believe women still need to fight for their rights, whether it is to get equality with men or to prevent rights that our mothers and grandmothers fought for to be nullified (planned parenthood, thinking of you). The latest examples of gamergate, the Tim Hunt comments (and the fact that, strangely, the only people I saw defending him were men, whether among my friends or among well-known scientists -oh wait, maybe that’s because women are still being discriminated against and are underrepresented in STEM fields), or advertisements like last summer’s suitsupply campaign are just the tip of the iceberg, for everyday sexism is often way darker and more subtle. So, we cannot rest on our laurels.

I got very angry at that advertisement campaign which was placated on huge boards everywhere around where I live earlier this year. You wouldn't believe it, but this is actually an advertisement for a suit. Boobs are just there, cause you know, who doesn't like boobies?

I got very angry at that advertisement campaign which was placated on huge boards everywhere around where I live earlier this year. You wouldn’t believe it, but this is actually an advertisement for a suit. Boobs are just there, cause you know, who doesn’t like boobies?

But where to turn to for positive examples of feminism? I was lucky enough today, for during my usual browsing of the wide wild web, I stumbled upon two videos which prompted me to write that article.

The first is a TEDx talk by Erika Lust, about porn. She’s honestly not a great speaker, but she raises interesting points.

I really liked when she said she wanted to get women into porn, but in decision roles, instead of taking them out of porn. Talk about empowering!

Secondly, I stumbled on this interview from Virginie Despentes on Broadly:

Disclaimer: I LOVE Virginie Despente. I discovered her when King Kong Theory went out, I read it, loved it, bought all of her other works, read it, and I’m still digesting it.  I don’t know why she’s not more well-known outside of France, but in France she is a legend. And if SHE is optimistic, then I guess we have good reasons to be. I appreciate that she talks about patriarchal societies, and quickly goes over why they are bad not only for women but also for men. Gender stereotypes do not only hurt women, and feminism should address male gender issues too. Because we cannot fix one without the other; they’re interdependent.

Take-home message: we need more sexually positive role models, both male and female. People who know who they are, and show it unapologetically. With respect and understanding for people who are different.

The dictionnary of obscure sorrows

Have you ever thought that there is no proper word to express the feeling you’re experiencing at that moment, and there definitely should be? Like this way of thinking about the past that is neither nostalgia or regret, a bit similar to what I was saying previously about these parts of ourselves we give others and continue on their way independently from us.

 

 

Never heard of Klexos?

John Koening created a website, the dictionary of obscure sorrows, where he invents words to make up for that absence, and sometimes makes graphic videos to accompany this newborn word.

It’s beautiful, it’s poetic, and each word is created from a mix of etymologically relevant words.

Check it out :

http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/

And you can read an interview here.