We live in times when the motivation to start yoga has more reasons than simply searching for the connection to your body. Nowadays, people turn to yoga to overcome laziness, improve their mood, or participate in yoga challenges. You don’t have to have any knowledge about yoga or yoga poses. You simply need an Instagram account. Even a yoga mat is not necessary. Why? Because you can win one for free if you are lucky.
It is safe to join Instagram Yoga Challenges which do not require you to do difficult yoga poses you are unfamiliar with. Alignment in yoga is essential; therefore, performing challenging yoga asanas without knowing the basics could potentially result in yoga injuries.
Let’s take a look at what you should be aware of before joining Instagram Yoga Challenges and whether yoga challenges represent the real purpose of yoga.
What is a yoga challenge?
Motivation, why people join Instagram Yoga Challenges, will never be comparable with the ones why people start their yogic journey. This is one of the main reasons why a yoga challenge is not a yoga practice.
A yoga challenge is a game, a competition, where yoga postures are used to represent the theme of the specific challenge, and the participants get the chance to win a prize for attending.
People turn to the real practice of yoga to gain strength, flexibility, warrant more calm and ease in their lives, or overcome habits like laziness. It takes a lot of time and effort before the results start to emerge. Whatever the reason, people are clear about their intentions to start yoga so they can find the perfect yoga style/class for themselves.
Jumping into a yoga challenge does not require any knowledge about the benefit of postures or their modifications, which can play against the person in the long term. Everyone joining a yoga challenge should be aware of their body limitations and flexibility. Performing yoga poses that body is not ready for can be dangerous and lead to injuries.
Is it safe to join Instagram Yoga challenge?
Seeing Yoga teachers or influencers showing their skills and even offering yoga challenges for their followers can be very inspiring. Followers, too, want to perform handstands, binding yoga postures, and arm balancing yoga positions.
But what if a person stumbles upon these images and attempts these poses during yoga challenges without any formal instruction? The results can be quite unpleasant: personal injury could potentially result from practicing challenging yoga poses without direction.
Everyone wanting to join a yoga challenge should realize that yoga influencers/teachers were not able to practice breath-taking poses overnight. It may have taken them months, even years, before they developed the abilities to do these asanas.
It takes time to master a yoga pose
When you scroll through yoga challenges hashtags and search for the challenge you want to join, you find yogis in fantastic-looking poses. Never forget that these are dedicated yoga students and/or teachers. That means they have taken the time to attend yoga classes, yoga teacher training, and workshops to learn about the foundation of yoga.
If you are new to yoga challenges with no yoga experience whatsoever, aim for the challenges that list relatively simple yoga poses. Google the postures, check if you can make them, and only then decide whether to join.
Beware of Yoga Injuries
Diving too quickly into yoga challenges may result in physical injury. Remember, yoga challenges are not a yoga practice. It is a game, a playground, where people post pictures of themselves in yoga poses they barely know how to do correctly (unless they are yoga students/teachers/hosts).
While it can be exciting to play on your yoga mat and try to make the best picture of yourself in the pose, the injury is just one breath away if you are not mindful of your body limitations.
If you are new to Instagram Yoga Challenges with no yoga experience (and really want to attend them!), consider taking yoga workshops that focus on alignment or specific yoga poses. Look into private yoga lessons- certified yoga teachers will provide specific instructions/modifications for your needs, will consider your strengths, limitations so that you are safe.
The theme and the prize of the yoga challenge
The themes and the prizes of each yoga challenge vary greatly. The themes can be linked to the main events such as Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and International Days. Mindful sponsors/brands always check whether the theme of the yoga challenge is aligned with their values.
It is important to know that not only yoga brands can sponsor yoga challenges. Meditation, Mindfulness teachers, centers, book shops can be sponsors as well; therefore, the prizes in the challenges can be anything from the vouchers, a free yoga/mindfulness class to a yoga mat, yoga wear, or a book about yoga.
There is also a possibility to join the yoga challenges, which allow you to express your view on a specific topic. For example, if you are a person who is interested in global problems, you can join the yoga challenges under this topic and share your thoughts with every picture you post. Most of the time, you will have eco-conscious sponsors providing prizes to these challenges, so the winning products will be eco-friendly without a doubt!
Instagram Yoga Challenges vs. Yoga teacher/ Yoga studio Yoga challenges
If you are looking for a spiritual touch of yoga while challenging your commitment to this practice, joining yoga challenges prepared by yoga studios or internationally known senior yoga teachers would be the right way to go. During these types of challenges, you will have an experienced teacher guiding you through yoga asanas, and you will learn about the modifications if some yoga postures are too difficult for you to do.
The timeline of these challenges is usually longer to allow a person to experience the benefits of an authentic yoga practice. While no winner is selected at the end of this challenge, everyone feels like a champion after completing 30 days of yoga practice.
If you are open to challenging yourself for a little longer than a few days of Instagram Yoga Challenge, let Adriane guide you through 30 days of a beautiful yoga experience:
You don’t have to stop Instagram Yoga Challenges if they bring you joy. You can easily combine both if you have time for them.
Am I a Real Yogi if I join Instagram Yoga Challenges?
By joining the yoga challenges, you are ready to play a game and connect with other people with the same motivation: to have fun and maybe win a prize!
Yoga isn’t about the pictures of yoga poses taken for social media. The path of yoga is about living a healthy and fulfilling life that involves deep awareness, connection, concentration, devotion, and other concepts that lead to an enlightened life.
Teachings of Yoga include meditation, breathwork, mindfulness, and physical movement. The intention of yoga is to learn about our connection to ourselves, to each other, and all things most honestly and respectfully. To achieve this is certainly much more than being able to perform a perfect handstand, taking a picture, posting it online, and winning the prize.
If your yoga experience starts with the yoga challenges, then it can be compared with getting your toes wet by putting them in the Ocean. This is the first step towards the yogic lifestyle: getting yourself a yoga mat, yoga props, learning the names of yoga asanas, playing on the yoga mat.
When a yoga practice and not a yoga pose you make for a yoga challenge becomes your regular routine, you take time for; then you start diving deeper into the water of yoga.
Joining yoga challenges as a beginner can be exciting because it does not require you to leave your home, and it does not involve any costs. However, without a proper foundation and knowledge about yoga poses, there is a danger of getting yourself injured.
It is recommended to have at least a few yoga classes with a certified yoga teacher who can explain the alignment in yoga, show modifications of challenging asanas and suggest yoga props. Learning about your body’s limitations is the safest way to enjoy yoga challenges offered on social media.