March 15, 2014

#tenthingsilearned: My Instagram Yoga Challenge. ~ Rachel Ashman

to go with author's article only:  Rachel AshmanMy most popular picture from the challenge….I wonder why? Shot by my own Robert

The infamous Instagram challenge…a relatively new online phenomenon where an individual or group of strategically linked yogis design a themed set of postures.

One posture is to be practiced, photographed and posted to Instagram every day for the duration of one month.

Perhaps we could think of it as our yogi advent calendar?

The posts are all meant to be tagged using the allotted hashtag of the challenge name (and tagging the hosts and sponsors, or course). For the yogis that set the challenges, it’s a great way to engage with your current following, gain a larger one, link with other like-minded yogis and highlight potential sponsorship opportunities.

For the yogis that take part these challenges are used as a tool for encouraging themselves to do some yoga every day, try new postures and provide a sense of community for yogis around the globe.

They are also a way to gain a larger following for those who take part and to potentially gain recognition as a challenge winner. If you win you get prizes from the sponsors of the challenge as well as the egoboo. These challenges have encouraged a spike in the visibility of our yoga practices and are making yoga more popular day by day.

Recently, I decided to take part in two February Instagram challenges to see how I would fare and what I could learn.

It was an instructive and interesting month where I realized these 10 things:

1. I learned a lot about my body and tried poses that I wouldn’t normally, which have helped me to spice up my yoga practice and teaching sequences.

2. Doing yoga poses from cold when I was too busy to integrate them into my life and/or my practice is really tough (and what’s all this business about yoga in the snow?…brrrr).

3. Some days I felt great about my practice when I could do the pose. Other days helped to show me where I have more work to do! Practice makes more practice.

4. My boyfriend, mum, cousin or friends turned into my social media managers and started believing they are the new Robert Sturmam…”Can you move your head a little bit closer to your legs, go on, go on, yeh that’s it, I got the shot, that’s a rap, cut!!”  They also learned how to take a picture quick when it’s a particularly challenging inversion shot.

5. I learned how to edit photos to the max and which apps to use, getting faster and faster as the month went on. I also realised that Instagram edge blur is awesome. I am now a photo editing guru.

6. I compared my poses to other peoples, no matter how disciplined and self-confident I felt that day. Disbelief and envy, “…but how do they do it?!” did rear its ugly head at points. It definitely altered my view of my yoga practice, which was not always a positive thing. If you are shown photos of incredibly difficult postures all the time, sometimes you may start to feel bad when you can’t do them.

7. I started checking Instagram a lot! And I shouted/cheered/whooped at my computer, iPhone or iPad whenever I saw a pose I really liked (or really didn’t).

8. I began to consider my daily surroundings in terms of how good a photo they would produce…never did that wall/chair/window/pillow seem to have more artistic potential than during an insta-challenge!

9. I definitely fell behind at various points, unless I had a will of iron, or someone to take my shots all the time (AKA your very own Robert), then I had to make a corny joke to catch up like “Eek…busy this week…been a bit of a stretch for me, haha…whoops.”

10. I realised it’s really difficult to remember all the hashtags and @’s I needed to tag each day. I had to make a list on my phone to use as a reference point.

So try one out and see what you think. I don’t know whether I will continue to challenge myself online or not in the future, but it was good to learn about myself and to step outside my comfort zone.

Happy yoga everyone, whatever it means for you!


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Editorial Assistant: Marcee Murray King / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Courtesy of Author

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