Why I never photograph
The final moment that everyone looks forward to. Savasana. The corpse pose. A pose of complete stillness and absolute silence.
The perfect photo opportunity…right?
I would be lying if I said I haven’t done it. Got my phone out and captured that blissful moment at the end of teaching a beautiful practice. The moment where a community of divine human beings are completely relaxed, enjoying the experience and time when all the benefits of their Yoga practice are being integrated into the body. It’s magic. The energy is indescribable. And I just simply wanted to share that with others in the hope to inspire them!
So what's wrong?
Savasana is arguably the most important asana of a physical yoga practice. It is a time to be still and allow the benefits of a practice be integrated into the body. At the same time, Savasana is one of the most challenging poses for many people. The discipline of lying completely still, resisting the urge to wipe sweat or fidget, whilst avoiding the tendency of overthinking and finding a space of stillness in the mind as well. It is a meditation.
Students often come to a yoga class to take time for themselves, away from the busy day-to-day life, away from the computer and work stress, away from social media and marketing pressures thrown in our faces on a daily basis, always there at the tips of our fingers on our mobile devices.
It is the DUTY of a yoga teacher to provide a safe space and energy. And to hold this space until the moment the student floats out of the studio. As soon as a yoga teacher starts to photograph their students, that safe space is tainted. The energy changes. They are potential victims of being splashed over social media, without consent.
"As a Yoga Teacher, you owe it to yourself and your students to rise above this pressure.
To not serve your ego, but to serve others."
During my time as a yoga teacher, I have had MANY conversations with students and teachers alike on this subject. There is a unanimous feeling shared by all students I’ve spoken to, expressing their disapprovement of being photographed during a yoga class. Especially during Savasana – a time for stillness and meditation. They are not in the class to be yoga models. They want peace. This was unfairly taken from them without any awareness at the time.
A question for Yoga Teachers...
At that moment of temptation, when you desperately want to take a photo of your students in the final resting pose, it is important for you to take a moment and ask yourself “Why?”
What is your reason for snapping that moment?
Is it to share the moment with others?
Is it because you are so excited at the number of students who have joined your class and you wish to celebrate this with the world?
If your answer is ego-driven, then how are you practicing what you teach? As yoga teachers, we have completed a bare minimum of 200-hours training in Yoga and should be well aware of the first 2 limbs of Yoga – the Yamas and Niyamas. These ethics teach us modesty. We are here to serve, to share our knowledge and passion and help others. When sneakily taking a photo of students enjoying the final moments of their practice, how are you possibly benefiting and serving them?
Yoga Teachers stay with me here!
I know these words are not easy to hear. We live in a world that revolves around social media and online marketing and promotions. We feel pressure to post. Pressure to prove. Pressure all the time.
But as a Yoga Teacher, you owe it to yourself and your students to rise above this pressure. To not serve your ego, but to serve others. To not need to capture every class on film just to boost your follower count, but to protect one’s privacy and rights and hold the space. YOU have a duty of care. And it’s small things like this where you can either lose or gain respect from your students.
Hold space with love, compassion and let your students feel safe and free.