In Defense of the Yoga Selfie

Justicia Declue embracing the yoga selfie trend // Photo via Instagram

Justicia Declue, starring in a yoga selfie // Photo via Instagram

We’ve all experienced the yoga selfie in some form or another: Maybe you’ve starred in one, or rolled your eyes at one, or “liked” your fair share of them. And just like everyone’s experienced the yoga selfie, everyone seems to have an opinion on the yoga selfie. Some critics say photos featuring difficult poses are dangerous to beginners who might be inclined to try them, others say they promote unrealistic body image ideals, and many claim the practice is, more often than not, simply a vain act of self-promotion on the part of the selfie star. Most recently, Jennilyn Carson of YogaDork claimed the ubiquitous yoga selfie “mocks what yoga is.” But Justicia Declue, co-owner of Maha Yoga Studio (And one of our Top 10 Fitness Instagrammers in Philly) isn’t buying it. She took to the Maha Yoga blog to defend the yoga selfie, and she made some really interesting points. Check out some of what Declue had to say, below.

On the critique that yoga selfies are simply egotistical displays of self-promotion:

I started taking pictures of myself in poses because I was very injured,  and needed to see what was going wrong in my poses. The pictures reflected back my misalignments, and helped me tune up my poses and clean up my practice. I continued to take pictures to document my progress, and as I became healthier, I transitioned into pictures as story telling. I take pictures of asana like my friends take pictures of their kids: to tell my story, and keep a record of my progress.

So, in short: if folks can ‘gram photos of their toddlers learning to walk all day and night, shouldn’t yogis be able to document what’s important to them, too? And here’s what Declue thinks of the whole “yoga selfies don’t reflect ‘real’ bodies” argument:

There are as many real bodies as there are yogis. My body is very real, and I never ‘touch up’ my pictures. I have cellulite. My weight fluctuates by 10-20 pounds throughout the year. Parts that were perky ten years ago droop and fall today. I have sun damage on my face and chest. As my body continues to age, these ‘imperfections’ build. Rather than trying to present some image of unattainable perfection, I hope to showcase what over a decade of practice looks like on an everyday woman.

Welp, I was always pretty indifferent but, I gotta say, I think Justicia Declue just made me a true believer in the power of the snapping a selfie. Check out the full blog post here.

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