What makes a “real” Yogi?

I spend a lot of time on Intragram with my Yoga Channel, and I follow a lot of other yogis. To be honest – sometimes I feel quite bad and worthless, if I compare myself to the pictures of other yogis.

But why is that? I know that the published pics are a frozen moment in time, maybe the handstand isn’t that perfect and just a perfectly timed shot of a work in progress training. Same with all the great backbends, splits, or armbalances. The saying “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to other’s highlight reel” is really hitting home in this case – as it does with social media in general.

I am all for showing reality – normal people, normal bodies, normal poses. Not everyone is able to do the most difficult and elaborate yoga poses – and it’s not necessary as well. Yoga is all about the journey towards yourself and while you are working on the asanas, and not about showing the best pose to the outside. Some of the strong backbends I see in pictures make me worry about what happens if someone tries to do them at home without the background knowledge on how to do it healthy, how to prepare the body, warmup etc. But: not everybody is physically able to do poses the same as others! Not every spine is as mobile and the spinal processes are of different sizes, so that some bodies really are physically unable to do a deep backbend.

Everyone of us is different, and the length of our bones, angles of our joints, density and strength of our soft tissues makes a difference in the way we are able to move or how far we can bend.

Another thing that I think about quite often is the way we dress for yoga and our insta pics. Just because I am wearing the newest and most exclusive yoga pants doesn’t make me a better or worse yogi. Personally I am of the opinion, that it makes no difference if I wear yoga pants, hot pants, pyjamas or nothing at all – it’s all about the functionality. Baggy pants might not be ideal if I want to do armbalances, if I need to balance my leg on my elbow and slip because of the skidding pants, then that’s not practical. But otherwise there is no rule that says my top has to be color coordinated to my pants, what brand it has to be or how tight/short/long/baggy it has to be.

I catch myself comparing my body to pics of other yogis. Not liking my belly rolls, and therefore not wanting to post pics or videos with a crop top. How I plan my outfits before shooting videos. The way I think about my hairstyle for shooting – I almost always wear a ponytail in my everyday life, so why should I change my hair for my videos and even do a different hairstyle for every single video?
I don’t want to spend a ton of money on yogapants, if the 30 Euro pants are working just fine. I don’t want to feel bad for my body because it does so much for me and is great. I can see the difference and progress in my pictures. Everybody has belly rolls if bending forward, so why am I feeling bad for it?

We all have a body. We do Yoga. We move. That should be what’s important, right?!