Photo: Trunk Archive
You’ll find almost as many Instagrams under hashtags like #yogabooty, #yogamom, and #yogaeverydamnday as you will #macaron and #selfie. But there’s one hashtag—#stopdropandyoga—that’s bringing the yoga community together in a flashier, much more interactive way.
The hashtag currently has over 68,000 tags on Instagram, and that’s up almost 3,000 from last week. In its purest form, #stopdropandyoga is a chain letter of sorts. One person “tags” or “nominates” another person to stop whatever they’re doing, pop a pose, and post it on the social media of their choice. (Instagram is the most popular platform, but I’ve seen the tag on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter as well.) That person then tags a few friends and the chain continues. The hashtag is entertaining because it encourages people to do yoga poses in weird places; the best posts are the ones that use humor and location to tell a visual story. (This simple one of a woman drinking a margarita in dancer pose kills me.)
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Like most viral memes, it’s not clear when the hashtag started. Lashaun Dale, a Senior National Creative Manager at Equinox and a yoga instructor herself, noticed the tag as far back as 2010 in blog posts and on Twitter. But the zeitgeist really seems to have started in the late fall of 2013. “It’s the new planking,” Dale tells me. Hilaria Baldwin got a lot of press (and criticism) last year for doing yoga poses in places like airplanes and wearing decidedly un-yoga-like stilettos. But the trend, especially within the #stopdropandyoga hashtag, has clearly caught on with everyday yogis thanks to its creative approach to community building.
Dana Snyder (@dms_yoga) has been practicing yoga for a year, and credits Instagram and the support she finds there with advancing her practice. “Instagram had a hand in my beginning and has remained a big part of my journey ever since,” she says. “I’ve made real friends; some I’ve even had the chance to meet. It’s a beautiful community.” Esther (@txyogimama), a mom of three in Texas, has been practicing yoga for many years but joined Instagram only a few months ago. She also loves the community-building aspect. “Because friends are tagging each other, you’re connecting with your Instagram community, and because people can post whatever they want, you learn a bit about each other by seeing what they decided to post—you can see what they are working on, or see their sense of humor, see more of their home or family,” she says. The interactive game aspect encourages conversation in what’s typically a quiet practice.
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Snyder says she gets tagged to #stopdropandyoga an average of twice a day, and in return she’ll tag about three “friends” on her posts. And she really commits. She’s posed at the vet’s office (cat pose), on a pile of bird seed bags at Sam’s Club (crow pose), in her car, and she was once even accused of shoplifting at Dillard’s while posing. “If a tag comes through at the right time, I’m hoping to add a plane to the list this weekend!” she says. Taking pictures in public has been her biggest mental hurdle, and she occasionally draws a crowd, which she says has taken some getting used to.
“Ostentatious” yoga selfies like the ones encouraged by the #stopdropandyoga hashtag have garnered some criticism by so-called “pure” yoga practitioners in recent articles in The New York Post and the New York Times. Dale thinks that’s downright un-yoga-like. “You’re not supposed to judge in yoga. Talking smack about other people is certainly not within yoga principles in my opinion,” she says. “Anything that gets someone moving and playing with yoga will get you to the purest path eventually.” Kristen Dollard, the Brand Director at Yoga Journal, agrees, and thinks the hashtag is great for yoga brand-building.
So what will get your #stopdropandyoga pose noticed? Airport poses are played out, according to Dollard. She loves the “really poetic, pretty” poses, which read the most “yogic.” But there’s certainly nothing wrong with holding your favorite chicken, either. In fact, I’d encourage that.
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