THE BLOG

One % Practice, 99 % Facebook

08/08/2014 10:18 BST | Updated 07/10/2014 10:59 BST

At the Stone Roses 'secret' comeback gig in Warrington a couple of years back, lead singer Ian Brown castigated the audience by announcing to them, "If you put your cameras down you might be able to live in the moment."

Increasingly I'm reminded of this when I look on Facebook and Twitter and think: why have we exchanged 'felt experience' - our reference point to 'live in the moment' - for how many 'likes' we get on our Facebook entries?

It seems we are no longer assessing our self-development by self-inquiry but by the amount of blue thumbs up we get on our status update.

When our sense of worth is hinging on social media, it's time we think about quitting. I mean, what the hell is going on here?

There's an interesting article recently posted online highlighting the connection between posting (or maybe the compulsion to post) on Facebook and mental health. The news isn't pretty. In the article scientists were making the link between selfies and narcissism, addiction and mental illness - yikes! And as those practising and teaching yoga will know, the yoga community is by no means exempt from this.

Now don't get me wrong I'm all for social media - it's a brilliant way to keep in touch with friends and family, and also to watch kittens falling over. In my experience, it's also a great way for yoga teachers to create a community for students by posting class updates, announcements, sharing interesting articles etc. Hell, even a simple how-to video can work wonders.

But it no longer seems like we are using Facebook but rather Facebook is using us, we have become social media slaves. Social media has become an online outlet for the Hero Syndrome, but instead of creating a contrived desperate situation to resolve so we can be the hero, we post our latest 'tricky O Asana' video so that the world can witness our yogic prowess.

Yoga is a great self-development tool to help us 'live in the moment'. But stopping practice half way through to video our latest trick to post onto Facebook could be akin to jumping out of the psychotherapist's chair mid-session to grab a quick selfie of you and your therapist.

A friend mentioned recently she was on a Yoga teacher training in Europe and another student who also attended the course spent every spare moment Facebooking/Tweeting just how great the course was whilst my pal and other students swapped thoughts and ideas. Once again, I was reminded of Ian Brown's 'live in the moment' comment.

Where is all this leading and are there any answers apart from the inevitable FA (Facebook Anonymous) groups and psychologists specialising in social media mania? Maybe Facebook and Twitter should take some responsibility and a warning system that suspends accounts that post more than 1 selfie a day. Or maybe the inclusion of a 'get a grip button' next to the blue thumbs up 'like' that your friends/students/relatives can press if they start to see far too much of your asana.

Ultimately though we're going to have to extend the self-inquiry on the mat to the computer chair and ask the difficult question of why we have the compulsion to validate ourselves through social media.