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Heidi Kristoffer

For quite some time now, yoga "selfies" have caused a stir in the yoga community, and with the recent New York Times article profiling them, the issue has come back to surface.

Often I hear people ask, "Isn’t yoga about self-reflection and going inward? Why all of this focus on something so physical and pose-centric? Aren’t selfies a bit narcissistic? How is that compatible with yoga?"

I am a huge lover of Instagram, but I would say less than 3 percent of my pics are selfies. However, I was curious to learn more about why some people seem to spend all their time taking photos of themselves on social media, so I decided to go to the sources and took to some of my awesome yogi friends who post yoga selfies every day.

I found out that for one of my friends, that is how she got into yoga. She was so inspired by all of the selfies she saw on Instagram that she started to practice the poses she saw at home. (This is not for everyone. Please don’t ever hurt yourself in order to get a picture—so not worth it!) Other people take part in the “yoga pose a day” challenge, and it is a huge community of support for them.

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Regardless of why you want to post selfies, there are a few guidelines to making them look great. Follow these simple tips for the perfect selfie, and you'll be soon be getting nonstop likes too.

1. Pick the right pose. Usually the more difficult poses are the poses people will like the most, as they are inspiring.

2. Focus on location, location, location. Selfies in awesome locales are the best (my selfie above was taken in El Salvador). If you aren’t somewhere pretty or outdoors, try to make sure your background is clean and clear any clutter.

3. Dress your best. Yes, this sounds crazy shallow, but your wardrobe matters. For yoga selfies, it is important that people be able to see your form. Wear fitted clothing that allows people to see what you are doing. Typically a yogi striking a pose in a swimsuit is going to garner way more likes than a yogi in baggy sweats. That said, if you are in ski clothes at the top of a Swiss alp, your outfit will make more sense.

4. Set up. Although some people do, not everyone has a tripod for their camera. However you can set your phone or camera up on a timer and place it on blocks, furniture, or rocks to get the vantage point you want. Generally speaking, shooting from below makes the photo (and the person in it) appear more powerful. Alternatively, despite the name, you could have a friend take the photo for you (many people actually do this).

5. Don't push too hard. Don’t hurt yourself to get into a pose your body isn’t ready for. Be where you are today. The next time you try the same pose for a yoga selfie, you'll get to see just how far you have come!

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6. Have fun. It's easy to forget when you have a camera on you, but this is the most important part. Remember: It's just you doing your yoga, and you happen to be sharing it for everyone. The camera reads when you are happy and confident—and that will make the selfie that much more awesome.

So go forth! Take some selfies, have fun, and share them with us on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SHAPEstagram. Good luck! You got this, girl.

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