Let’s imagine something: you are in a plane, or a train, or lying on the beach and you take a nap. The pilot, flight attendant or lifeguard snap a picture of you and post it on social media. He (or she) is proud to show the world how relax people are when they travel (or sunbathe) when he or she is in charge. Wouldn’t it be weird (if not creepy)? How would you feel?
Let’s imagine another thing: your kid is at school, working, and the teacher takes a picture of your kid, post it on social media as a proof of he or she being a good teacher, the kid looking like he (or she) is really focusing on the exercise. How would you feel about it as a parent?
Now imagine (or remember if it has happened to you) you are in a yoga class, and the teacher takes picture of the practitioners, are you staying totally natural, focusing on your breathing, staying in tune with the sensations in your body, or are you trying to go a little bit deeper to look better, or because your neighbor goes deeper and you don’t want to stand out you’re forcing a little bit more even if it hurts, and even though, as your teacher probably told you, each body is different and you should left your ego aside.
Speaking of ego, what are the teacher’s motives? Is it keeping memories of a good class, or is it something different?
Now let’s imagine one last thing, you are let’s say in headstand your balance starts to feel precarious, how is your teacher going to help you while holding a phone or a camera?
I know I’m not gonna make a lot of friends with this article, but I don’t have a good opinion of teachers who are taking pictures during class, specially during savasana, and who post those pictures on social medias or on their website. In fact I avoid going to their class. I recall someone in particular, a famous yoga teacher from LA. I really wanted to take his class but I never did because he was posting videos of his students in savasana.
What is savasana? A moment of profound relaxation, where you are supposed to let go of everything and release all tensions to allow your body to benefit of the practice that just happened. So you are eyes closed lying on your back and relaxed, don’t you think it’s creepy that people take pictures of you in that moment? And post them? Don’t you think it’s somehow a violation of your intimacy? Because that’s how I feel, and I couldn’t completely relax knowing that while i’m vulnerable lying down, eyes closed, somebody might film me.
Yoga is supposed to be a sacred moment, and the teacher is supposed to hold a space where you feel safe. How can you tune in yourself when someone snaps pics of you? Are you really gonna stay focus and natural?
And you, yoga teachers, are you 100% sure your students are gonna stay focus and not trying to go deeper (and potentially hurt themselves) because they know you are going to publish pictures of them? Do you really think they are totally letting go in savasana knowing you’re probably holding your phone and making videos? And most importantly are you really sure you are doing your job of teaching yoga while filming, or may be more the PR part of it? May be ask yourself: Why is it you’re doing that? Isn’t that ego?
I understand taking pictures or videos in a workshop, or festival, or training setting, with everybody’s consent. I also understand filming and promoting an event, you gather people that totally know why they are here, it’s a promotional class, and films and photos will happen.
What I don’t understand is when it happens during regular classes. Students deserve respect, their practice deserve respect, we live in a world that emphasizes so much on how we look like, can’t we, as yoga teachers, provide them with 75 minutes where appearance has no importance, where the inside is more import than the outside? And where smartphone and cameras do not belong? Isn’t that our job in the end?
May be, if as a teacher you really feel you have to take pictures, ask some volunteers after the class, while they are still warmed up to do a couple of poses? Just a thought….