Instagram displays the yoga community’s fascination, obsession, and addiction to perfection and illusion on social media. Hits of dopamine draw us into applications whose primary goal is to subvert us into spending more time on their applications. The word ADDICTION contains the word -DICTION. The a- at the start of addiction creates a reverse of the true meaning of the word after it. An addicted individual loses the ability to dictate their own life as they wish.
How does a yogi lose the ability to dictate their life? On a subconscious level, social media exposes a plethora of symbols, archetypes, trends, and standards which create comparison and dialectics in the yogi’s mind. This inner turmoil creates a consumer rather than a producer culture.
Most of the top yogis provide little to no content on YouTube or their websites. Forcing readers to consume information on an application with advertisements, a limited character count, and with a terrible computer interface, the community at large has sold out!
What artistic masterpieces do the yoga community stand on? Can you create a masterpiece on Instagram, Facebook, or a SquareSpace/Wix website?
Of course we can’t!
The great Jean Baudrillard said that ““We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.”
Do the systems present in the yoga community’s approach to Instagram contain the potential to change global consciousness? Systems perpetuating dialects that raise standards to a point of fantasy by marketing false images through displaying the perfect yogi and digestible “spiritual ideas,” do not lead us closer to a global awakening of consciousness. They manifest an unfulfilled life. An unfulfilled life that requires psychological inflation through the false self or super ego on social media to feel whole.
In this article we will explore the underlying core psychological issues of yoga’s reliance on Instagram, and a discussion on grassroots solutions to changing global consciousness outside of social media.
Polarization Dialectics In Yoga Explained
“Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything
has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same;
opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree;
extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes
may be reconciled.”–The Kybalion.
Understating the laws of polarity are a necessary step for any student on the path toward enlightenment. Good VS evil. Love VS hate. Masculine VS feminine. Teacher VS Student. Force VS form. Capitalism VS Communism. Oppressor VS Victim. Each of these polarities exists on a spectrum where variations on the extreme can fall into.
French theorist Ferdinand Saussure postulated that meaning in language is created through binaries. Many occult schools of thought would agree with this. The Hermetic schools and the Qabalah is based in binary opposition. Most schools of yoga (excluding Samaykha) address the concept of the dual nature of the universe, but strive for a transcendence out of the binary by a merging with purusa.
Jacques Derrida opposed Saussure’s conception of binaries by arguing that a power imbalance exists within binaries. One side takes precedence over the other stemming from the human desire to take a side.
What the hell does this have to do with yoga and Instagram though???
A classical mind control technique is to present two extremes on opposite ends and let the subconscious mind of the consumer jump into one camp. However, most of the time these opposite ends are controlled by an overarching power structure that benefits from someone entering either side.
This works time and time again, because
ONLY ONE SIDE NEEDS TO BUY INTO THE LIE FOR THE DIALECTIC TO WORK.
If Alo or Lululemon pushes a fresh, expensive, and trendy style, everyone who buys into that image places themselves in opposition to a more grunge image. However, these companies are five steps ahead and have a roster of the opposition hired and trained to market their products in a different light. On a deeper level, big corporations know that these polarities will cause the other side to create their own events, products, retreats, and workshops.
But those independent yogis won’t make anywhere near what a sponsored yogi will. The constant social media bombardment of sponsored yogis driving their jeeps, holding retreats in tropic places, and living a nice lifestyle will drive independent yogi’s who are caught in the dialectic to seek more income.
Most will fail, and turn to the same corporations that drove them into this polarity in the first place for income. The corporation will sponsor them in some capacity, and then parade them around on their roster to further push the division.
Tripping off dopamine hits from all the flip flopping, the average yogi hits buy.
Dialectics of the Pseudo-Spiritual Yogi
The hippie and grunge side of yoga uses similar tactics but in reverse. They offer the consumer a fantasy of freedom and enlightenment, through their use of expressive/eccentric fashion, nomadic lifestyles, holistic health choices, and participation in large group events. This is targeting the people who are miserable on the other side of the spectrum! Yogi’s who hate their corporate jobs, unaligned friends/significant others, and childhood religions fall into this.
“Spend your vacation on a retreat with us in Bali. ESCAPE YOUR REALITY! DON’T SAVE MONEY SO YOU CAN QUIT THE JOB YOU HATE!”
“Meditation and yoga will calm your emotions down. You aren’t being a good significant other because of your ego. There is a 0% chance you’re in an unaligned relationship. Learn our techniques and make sure to bring your partner and friends to the workshop next week!”
“God is everything. You are I are the same. There is no separation. Your ego is holding you back from experiencing true relationships and reality. Dissolve your ego and let me program your brain to buy my shit!”
Even worse, the same corporations and yoga stars are now selling pseudo-spiritual products with moons, zodiac signs, and spiritual blurbs. In the caption of all of their photos is a perfect sales copy pitch about how “you’re already perfect and all you need to do is be present in the moment.” The safe feeling that manifests from that blurb helps manifest a trust inside that will help to sell those products.
We enter the sales funnel and buy essential oils, honey, vegan butter, CBD massages, drugs, poetry books, sun dresses, meditation CD’s, and workshop tickets.
Where are the pseudo-spiritual yogi’s getting all their blurbs and philosophy anyway? Who are their favorite authors?
Do they realize they are repeating a watered down Kantian philosophy with a splash of early 20th century occultism?
In the sections below I will break down all the major polarities utilized on Instagram in yoga to loosen us in a consumer mindset.
Common Yoga Polarities On Instagram
(Breakdowns of the pitfalls of these polarities below.)
- Yogi’s wearing expensive brands teaching in New York/LA and who teach on the top VS Free Spirit/Hippie Yogi’s going to festivals, living in vans, in poverty, and teaching retreats/yoga in tropical areas where it is cheap to live.
- Yogis who provide us with scenic shots, insane flexibility, and cross-market with other “influencers.” These yogi’s love posting about how it doesn’t matter how flexible you are, why you should buy the product they are affiliate marketing, quotes, how they were once or still are depressed and what they are doing about it, tid-bits about their daily life, musings about their relationships/past break-ups and other content of this nature. VS Yogis who utilize content to drive interest with a mix of tactics used in the other polarity. This may take the form of information about certain poses, attempts to write poetry/prose, musings on classical concepts in yoga, infographics about poses, travel diaries, and quick tips.
- Handstand and flow lovers who are former gymnasts/dancers/circus/cross fitters who don’t care about the history, philosophy, psychology, literature, poetry and lineage of yoga beyond a superficial level VS Yogi’s who follow a guru, lineage, philosophy or sequence and make sure to tell us about it any chance they get.
- Yogi’s whose number one concern is their own enlightenment and feeling good. The path of Karma Yoga, and sacrificing to change the state of global consciousness are not top priorities. These yogis release little to no substantial content outside of social media. They may have a basic website and YouTube channel. VS Entrepreneur orientated yogi’s who use advertising, sales funnel techniques and Instagram to drive their information products. However, these information products tend to manifest as uninspired, unoriginal, without depth/quantity, and on the expensive side. $25 dollar Ebooks not on amazon that are 60 pages, $40 for a 60 minute workshop, a few guided meditations that total 40 minutes, and other similar products are the norm.
- Yogis who align with big brands/websites that display their online yoga classes (Alo Moves, Omstars, etc.) VS Yogis who hustle and grow their business through teaching in person. Yogis who post a bunch of YouTube classes fall into this side of the polarity also.
Creating Content Outside of Instagram
What exists outside of Instagram for yogis? Elephant Journal? A graveyard of inactive yoga blogs? Websites built for marketing?
The transformational power of yoga sits above all systems of personal development. But how have we used that power? Pure energy corrupts easier, and each one of us is responsible for yoga falling off course.
Independent websites hosting articles, videos, and podcasts that are heart/truth centered will push yoga back on course. Regressing as a community, we don’t create our own websites or create content that isn’t meant for social media. In the early to mid 2000’s, yogi’s created their own websites which were tools to capture large amounts of information and videos.
Websites now are just transportation vessels that lead us to more photos displaying someone doing asana, event schedules, links to affiliate marketing products, and half-ass blog posts. In 2005
We figured out how to put feet behind our heads and get into handstands. Learning how to create a website, start a podcast, and film a video won’t be any harder. Let’s unleash our creative genius’s and create masterpieces rooted in yoga that can change the world!