Yoga and Social Media
You may have noticed that our studio doesn't have much of a presence on social media. There is probably a long-neglected Facebook page out there somewhere from way back when, but that's about it. I don't personally engage in social media and limit my screen time to the bare minimum. While I'm not here to make any pronouncements about what is right for other people, I will share what is right for us, and for the way we specifically teach yoga (as well as our other programs of Aikido, tai chi, and meditation.) There are a few Aikido videos on You Tube, but to my knowledge that's about it.
Over the years we've had many well-intentioned people tell us how we can grow if we optimize various social media platforms. We are very grateful for their kindness and suggestions. We've taken a lot of their points about marketing to heart, but the social media aspect just didn't work. At one point, I actually tried to make it work, making various You Tube videos and posting daily tidbits on our Facebook page. But it always felt like it wasn't on mission. I felt like I was being someone else, and I just couldn't make social media and my communication of yoga fit together. Snapping a picture of the students in class, making videos teaching about poses, making pitches to like, follow and comment, remembering to post things regularly. It wasn't me, and it wasn't our style, even though others are able to reach many, and do good things via social media.
After much consideration, we decided to just be true to ourselves and focus on communicating with the public via our website and in-person. If someone wants to get sense of who we are before coming to the studio, they can read articles like this one, our bios, or just pick up the phone and have a conversation with us. If someone wants to find us, we do a fair amount of work to come up in the search engines, plus we have a studio on a main road with a sign.
For those who practice here, it should be pretty clear that our school is not very commercialized. We don't run teacher trainings, sell merchandise, or use aggressive sales tactics. We are operated by a nonprofit and thus are mission driven, not profit driven. Not being able to pay is not a barrier to being a student here.
Yoga is a person to person transmission, and actually works best in 1:1 or smaller groups. Yoga is taught through the means of relationship. That is its main form of transmission. That doesn't mean there isn't an ancillary place for social media, books, videos, online course etc. Just that yoga IS relationship: intimate relationship with yourself, and face to face relationship of kindness with your teacher and fellow students. If you want to learn yoga the traditional way, come to our studio where you'll find an experienced teacher who will take an interest in you as a person, not a number, and teach you a yoga specialized for you. You'll also find kind-hearted students who will introduce themselves to you with a warm smile. If we were to take pictures of ourselves in poses, or snap pictures of our students while practicing, and post several times a day...all of that seems disconnected from what we are actually trying to teach.
Another reason why we don't have a social media presence is because I can't in good conscience direct others to spend more time on social media. Not that social media is bad in and of itself, just that in my experience, the more time someone spends there, the less peace they seem to have. And the less peaceful society seems to become, sadly. It also seems to have an addictive quality to it. Even the ubiquitous and seemingly benign act of "scrolling" through a news feed or images on Instagram is discordant to the nervous system. One can consume dozens of images, some disturbing, and even traumatizing. And what happens with all of this chaos? It wreaks havoc in the form of stress, despair, worry, and anger.
The moment I disconnected from screen time, I had more peace and spaciousness in my life. And from that place I was able to be more effective in the world. More responsive to those in need. More active in my community. More diligent about working on myself and my own issues, rather than vexing about things out of my control. Our absence on social media is a reflection of our core philosophy of embodied, present moment, local engagement. I invite you to become more intentional about the use of screen time, and social media platforms. There is no right or wrong answer. Whatever you decide, if you begin with the intention that your use of these technologies should be done with love toward yourself and others--and you use mindfulness to gauge your internal state moment to moment-- that will be a lamp to guide your feet.