Yoga is a mental, physical and spiritual discipline with origins in Hinduism and Buddhism, but despite its ancient traditions many practitioners are using modern technology to connect.
Which is entirely appropriate, as explained by Shanti Yoga’s founder and teacher Chantal O’Sullivan.
“The word yoga means connection, so for me social media is a nice way of connecting with people near and far,” says Chantal, who posts photos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook of her students and teachers doing yoga.
At first, Chantal used social media as a simple means of sharing events and classes. But she soon observed that the most popular posts were photos of yoga poses, which generated interest in her business, the community and yoga itself.
“I use social media to make people feel good about themselves,” says Chantal. “And it’s continued to be about that. So I use Facebook to highlight students, to highlight our teachers.”
Recently, she’s taken to photographing her subjects outside, highlighting not just her love of yoga but the landscape of South Delta. One recent memorable photoshoot in February involved going to Boundary Bay during low tide and jumping around in the sand. She posted the photo on “Leap Day.”
“I love where we live. Tsawwassen is so beautiful so it became obvious that people like pictures of teachers or students doing yoga poses in a beautiful spot in Tsawwassen.”
Chantal also noticed that she will receive comments from people who love yoga and follow the social media account but live in other parts of the world. As a random example, Chantal pulls out her phone and scrolls to a photo of Flying Pigeon pose (Eka Pada Galavasana) and the first comment is from a woman in Burlington, Vermont.
“That’s what’s so great about social media. It can be inspiring but it’s also a conversation.”
A photograph is more about the show than the tell, adds Chantal, so viewers can decide if yoga is something they want to try.