However, our personal social media tribes are significantly more expansive and far-reaching than our ancient tribes. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow us to connect with friends and family around the world. In a simple place, we watch children grow up, teenagers go to universities, couples get married and divorced – we see every event of life without being physically present. We monitor what people eat, what they wear, when they go to yoga, how many kilometers they run. From the most mundane to the most significant events, our gaze accompanies someone else’s intimate life.
Not only does social media offer a comforting “these are my people” feeling, but it also encourages us to make new connections and access other tribes or social groups. As we accumulate more friends who cross tribes far removed from our own, our sense of belonging expands. In addition, in addition to chatting with friends, we can join closed groups, create communities and networks as professionals. We have instant access to current events and the opportunity to express our opinion. Every post is an opportunity to connect with our tribe, and anything, comment, share or re-read enhances our survival instinct.
But not everything is as rosy as it seems at first glance. Let’s face it, the constant stream of images can cause comparison, jealousy, sadness, shame, and dissatisfaction with who we are and how we look. Filters and other image enhancement tools have upped the game when it comes to presenting the world to us as a perfect image that can leave us feeling pressured.
How to create a healthy relationship with social networks?
For yoga practitioners, social media is an excellent opportunity to practice Swadhyaya, the fourth niyama in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Svadhyaya literally means “self-education” and is the practice of observing our behavior, actions, reactions, habits and emotions in order to gain wisdom on how to reduce suffering and become more empowered in our lives.
When it comes to social media use, you can empower yourself by paying attention to how aspects of social media affect your relationship with your body: positively, negatively, or neutrally.
To understand the basic meaning of these relationships, how social media affects your body image and self-image, it will take a few minutes to reflect on these questions:
The answer to the last question is especially important to study, as your internal dialogue has tremendous power over your self-image, body image, and mood.
Remember to observe the answers to these questions without judgment. Consider what emerged from this brief self-study exercise. If you are faced with powerless thoughts, pay attention to them, breathe, and offer yourself sympathy. Consider one small action you can take regarding how you use social media. For example, you can limit the time spent in them, unsubscribe from hashtags or some pages.
Practicing Healthy Social Media Relationships
Find the balance of the images you feed your eyes and mind with this yoga training practice. As you do this, explore self-learning and pay attention to how your self-talk and general vibes compare to these visuals versus social media:
See paintings, drawings, statues, and other works of art that inspire positive feelings. Pay attention to colors, textures, and other small details that grab your attention. What unique qualities do you appreciate in these works of art? If a piece of art is particularly pleasing to your eye, consider using it as a meditation point. Look at it first thing in the morning during the allotted time period when you recite a mantra, attunement for the day, or a prayer.
Use this practice often to balance your social media use and bring yourself back to center if you feel “unplugged” after scrolling through your news feed. You can also focus on nature or other off-screen objects that bring you a sense of focus, calmness, and gratitude.
Refer to self-study practice frequently to recognize the patterns in your social media usage that are taking away your power over your life. When used in a true spirit of connection, social media is a wonderful tool for developing our natural need for a sense of belonging that connects us to our primary human need. What was once a tribe or a village is now an online format of like-minded people.