In the yoga world & community today, it is almost impossible not to be on social media. Social media is useful to get in touch with like-minded people – teachers and students alike – and to share and learn about our yoga practice. It is, however, very possible to let them be time and energy consumers without realizing it. We do have a choice not to be on there to avoid distractions, the comparison trap, and criticism, but the optimist in me truly believes there is a way to use social media mindfully to reap only the benefits these platforms have to offer.
Here are a couple of guidelines I’ve collected, either as I’ve received them from others or thought myself they might be wise to follow:
Unfollow People who Don’t Inspire You
Sometimes it can be tempting to compare yourself to yoga teachers, especially as the industry is becoming increasingly crowded. But because you’re a yoga teacher doesn’t mean you need to be up to date with the latest drama around the biggest Instagram yoga celebrities, nor do you need to know how others, who you can’t really relate to, meditate or practice yoga.
Remember there are as many ways to practice and teach as there are yogis on this Earth. You don’t have to follow people who you can’t relate to, and it doesn’t all have to do with yoga either. Make sure your Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and/or Twitter feeds are places that feel comfortable, where you look forward to discovering uplifting, thought-provoking and soothing content that will serve you.
Block People who Might be “Stealing” your Energy
This one sounded very harsh to me the first time a teacher recommended that I do. I shared with her that I didn’t feel comfortable posting some things on my pages (especially Instagram) because I knew old friends and acquaintances were watching. After all, it makes sense to be able to choose who can see what you post online the same way you’d chose to dedicate your time and energy to only certain people.
The same way it’s important to set healthy boundaries in real life, you have to set them online, too. As soon as you feel your integrity, authenticity and comfort are being compromised on social media, then you might want to investigate whether anyone watching doesn’t really belong in your conversations. It is your right to decide who takes what you give out – even if your profiles are public, not knowing who’s behind their screens makes a (surprisingly) real difference.
Use Social Media to Connect with Like-Minded Teachers
Just like you crave true and authentic connections in your life, and as you might feel unsatisfied with what social media have to offer, there are people like you who feel the same way. Think about it: social media are special and great because they allow people who care about the same things to connect even though miles might separate them. No vegetarians around you? You can be sure Pinterest has lots of recipes to spice up your kitchen aspirations. No one to practice kundalini with? YouTube will definitely help. The list is endless! A quick search will help you find the people who you truly want to share with and learn from.
Post what You Really Want to Share
I personally struggled with this one in the beginning, specifically when I started using Instagram to share my yoga journey and teachings. It might sound stupid, but I felt the pressure to post pictures of my asana practice when it wasn’t really what yoga truly meant for me.
Slowly, I allowed myself to share more of what I truly wanted to share, more of what mattered to me and slowly, I felt much more at ease with all social media platforms in general. I’ve also realized that the more I share what I truly believe in, the more people who I align with can find me. And that agrees with the idea in tip #3!
Schedule Your Time on Social Media
This one is very straight-forward but very hard to stick to. Ideally, you’ll have 2 or 3 time-frames (or maybe just one) during the day when you open social media apps. You can set a timer and once it rings up, your time is over. Say you like to use Facebook and Instagram, then maybe you’ll have 20 minutes at 1pm for Instagram, and 20 minutes at 6pm for Facebook. You can set it up as you like.
This might feel a bit rigid but it helps to establish the habit. If you’re used to scrolling mindlessly several times during the day, then this one might be a good first tip to implement. You’ll feel much more peaceful and focused!
Use Automation Tools for Posting
This one goes hand in hand with tip #5; when you limit your time on social media, you might feel like this time goes by very quickly if you have to post things on there, too. The trick is to use automation tools as much as possible to spend less time on there. You can work in a word document or in your notes app to write down content, then edit or create your pictures, and then upload everything at the same time. You should know that:
- When you have a ‘business’ page on Facebook, you can decide to post ‘now’ or choose when your post will go live when creating it from the page itself;
Take Time to Read, Take in, Enjoy what You See
Since you use social media yourself, you know how long it takes to create a post. You know how much energy, time, dedication and often, personality is put into each post you create. Take time to truly take in what you see on your feed, to appreciate what comes up, and think about the people behind their screens who dedicated some time and thought to create each post. Make it an entire in and of itself!
Call yourself out when you’re scrolling mindlessly, and take time to sit with what your read, the colors in the images, the words in the quotes, the intentions and meanings conveyed in each post. This will drastically enhance your experience.
Remember its Name: Social Media
It’s supposed to serve the purpose of connecting people, making us more, well, social. There are many ways to use these platforms to feel more in touch with yourself and others, so make sure you leave space for trial and error as you find what works for you. Also remember you have a choice to spend as much or as little time on there as you want – when it comes to teaching and building a mindful business, you are the one to make the decisions. If you’ve chosen to be a yoga teacher, it’s because yoga has become a way of life, not just a mat practice. Make sure your aspirations and beliefs seep into your social media use!