Are you attached to being seen?
That’s a funny question, and maybe has an obvious answer when asked on Instagram, right? That’s the whole premise of IG. Many of us or those we follow on IG post happy, photoshopped, artistically created, or professionally taken photos of lives, food, and activities that 95% of the time are just for the sole purpose to be seen.
Maybe that’s exactly your goal—to be IG-famous, to be an influencer, or to make it to the cover of Yoga Journal. But what’s behind that delectable stack of pancakes you had for breakfast or that challenging yoga pose you did on a boulder or those perfectly pedicured toes poolside on vacation in Bali? Did the right filter and snappy status-update project an image of a life far better than the one you authentically experienced?
Narratives (or “stories”) and creating images and video has shifted from simply sharing to performing. Have you found yourself working to create something interesting solely for your online audience, directing your actions towards the camera rather than authentically being in the moment? Then ask yourself this: Does your attachment to be seen show up somewhere else in your life? It’s interesting that our outer world often reflects our inner world. 🤔
There’s a delicate balance between performance, becoming yourself and being present. Performance in everyday life can take you away from your mundane context in a way that can offer up the image of you, but not the REAL you.
I bring this up only because I am guilty of this and am in no way judging others.
For myself, I noticed this more since taking a break from teaching which, in turn, put my usual posed yoga photos and inspirational or clever content on break as well. A few days ago, I said to Don, its been a while since I’ve put out a “yoga post.” Then I inadvertently pressured myself to create content so I could remain relevant and continue to be “seen.”
All this time, it was never my intent to be an influencer or a future yoga cover model. I just wanted to share my thoughts with, of course, a pretty or creative photo or video that pulled you in…so I could be SEEN.
But all you see is the outside. You get the narrative I want you to see or hear.
In yoga, specifically, in Vedantic philosophy, there are five #koshas or layers of our body that provide a framework for conceptualizing ourselves. In a way, this desire to be seen reveals just your first outer, physical layer—the Annamaya Kosha. This first layer represents your physical body (skin, muscles, bones, etc) but for a lot of people this first layer is where we spend the most time hanging out, locked in our physical senses—what we show to the world. Maybe even what feeds our ego. Or gets us lots of “likes” or followers.
Yoga helps us to create a track towards the deeper, subsequent and subtle kosha layers so they’re easier to access.
- Pranayama Kosha – Breath
- Manomaya Kosha – Mind
- Viyanamaya Kosha – Wisdom
- Anandamaya Kosha – Bliss
Asana prepares our body, yogic breathing draws you into the pranic body, and lastly, wisdom and philosophy provide tools to calm the fluctuations in the mind so that you can embody a state of bliss and liberation.
Obviously my deep thoughts on this aren’t going to change any of my future yoga posts. I’ll continue posting posts and content with no other intent but to share, inspire and guide. More importantly, I choose to be seen and share narratives that reveal my true self and not one created nor performed. And, who knows, maybe my posts assist you in tapping into your own koshas like they do for me.
In the meantime, enjoy this asana I did on a tree. Oh the irony.