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Yoga has huge presence on Social Media. This thanksgiving there were many teachers who posted their pictures on instagram in supta kurmasana as it gave a look of turkey, quite a hit virally but did that really inspired or left many yogi with tangled limbs?

On social media, Yoga definition has morphed from ashtanga (8 limbs) to ektanga (single limb) that talks only about asana. These asana are performed like gymnastics. Beautiful curvaceous body wrapped in a bohemian dress and hanging somewhere middle in the air, captioned with Rumi tagline and never ending hash tags.

Let’s have a talk on this matter with Seema Sondhi, revered yoga teacher based in Delhi, India & founder ‘Seema Sondhi - The Yoga Studio’.

hmy: Really, Yoga is what we see trending on social media? Only asana and asana performed like a gymnast?
Seema Sondhi: Yoga is much more then what is trending these days on the social media. It is a way of life and in fact only system available to us and gracefully handed down to us from our great yogis, which helps in self transformation. Its helps us find balance in our life and connect to our true inner self.

hmy: Recalling one of your popular cue from your class “Do not look at the person on the mat next to you, but find your sthiram and sukham (balance and comfort) in the pose.” How challenging it is for you to un-inspire students from agile instagram yogi which lets them to satisfy ego on the mat, push themselves in the pose and overlook the real aesthetics of yoga?
Seema Sondhi: It’s very difficult these days as many students come to class will show me an Instagram picture of an advance pose and asking me to teach them the same. Yes I will teach them but they have to put some months and may be an year preparing the body for that particular pose. And frankly speaking performing an advance pose doesn't make you a true yogi. 

hmy: Today, yoga is everywhere and anything. Do you think social media yoga hype has morphed 8 limbs of yoga and bringing forward some other kind of distorted version of yoga?
Seema Sondhi: I am very thrilled to the fact that in social media we are talking about yoga. As we had forgotten that this ancient art and science started from India and spread to the entire world and it feels nice to know that the younger generation is taking this on. So it means that yoga is here to stay with us. But we have to present the subject with care and with its true essence. Hence the eight limbs become a part of this presentation as they are pillars of the practice. Simply by incorporating the 8 limbs in our life we can change ourselves and helps others change.

hmy: Many of your students finds coming to your classes as a distressing ritual. In your classes you demonstrate each yoga pose from beginner to advance level, so that students picks what fits them. Do you think YouTube yoga classes have same build or same connection?
Seema Sondhi: The You Tube channel is a good way to continue your practice. But I feel initially you must learn with a good teacher.

hmy :  How do you comment on current scenario, where many yoga deep immersion workshop doesn’t mean self-exploration of oneself but advancing flexibility or methods to go deepest in an asana?
Seema Sondhi : I feel let’s get the people on the mat by giving them what they want and then change happens on it own. Soon the practitioner realises on its own that yoga is more than asanas and flexibility.

hmy: Understanding the challenge with many home yoga practitioners left with online classes or social media to motivate them to be on the mat. What will be your suggestions to them on how to pick the best from the ocean of knowledge available on the internet?
Seema Sondhi: I think they should spend time reading about the teacher who is giving the online classes. Practice along and see which teacher, class suits them and go ahead with it. But traditionally yoga was taught  in real class set up, so they must also try and go once in a while to a nearby classes.

hmy : Seema ji, your journey with yoga is healing and inspiring. Your closed ones and teachers have encountered with your beautiful trait of strength and surrender, same time on the mat. Please share your journey and message to the yogi’s reading you.
Seema Sondhi: My message is clear start your practice and always remember that you will require patience, faith and dedication on this path. Hold strong to these pillars and then see the way yoga brings about a change in you.