Yoga has gotten itself into a precarious position: being stereotyped as an activity for thin, white females. And that is not what yoga is about. Yoga is about acceptance, non-judgement and unity. (Learn more in Yoga Is for Every Body.)
We put together a list of the some of the top yogis on Instagram that are a fantastic representation of santosha as an attitude. We hope that their incredible attitudes and abilities will inspire you to practice santosha; to learn to accept and be content with the way you are, rather than striving for what you do not need.
1. Valerie Sagun (@biggalyoga)
If you haven't heard of Valerie Sagun, it's time to change that. Sagun users her platform of more than 150,000 followers to promote body-positivity and diverse representation in yoga. She's also the author of "Big Gal Yoga: Poses and Practices to Celebrate Your Body and Empower Your Life."
Her courageous strength to take a stand for #whatayogilookslike is energizing and uplifting. Her story has inspired those who have felt shunned by the yoga community to give yoga a chance. Sagun's love of yoga and its ability to help her find her voice and her inner peace is an incredibly inspiring story.
2. Amber Brown (@ambliveswell)
We think that all yogis and yoga teachers could learn a thing or two from Amber Brown. Scroll back through Brown's feed and you'll find stunning asana poses and inspiring photos about self-love and happiness. But the true strength of Brown's profile is in her comments on her photos. Read a few of some of them and we guarantee you'll find yourself empowered. Here's a taste to get you inspired:
The dope thing about yoga is that it allows me to spend time with my self, as it is separate from self-image. Self-image is a misleading term; the image is a construct of the outside world that says you're fat or thin (compared to what "standard"?), desirable or not, worthy or not and so on...
She's an avid support of #chooseyourself and #choosehappiness, something that we could all stand to do a bit more of.
3. Amber Karnes (@Amberkarnesofficial)
Amber Karnes has been fighting against yoga's stereotypes for awhile now. She's the co-creator of bodypositiveyoga.com, a co-creator of Yoga for All, a yoga teacher for Accessible Yoga and an all-around social justice advocate. Karnes is one of the biggest supporters of the notion that yoga is for EVERY BODY, regardless of race, gender, size or ability. Karnes fights for it constantly on her social media, and we are so thankful that she does.
Her story of how yoga taught her how to love herself and make peace with her body is inspirational and empowering. And we're so in love with the fact that Karnes is dedicating her life to making the yoga community a more accessible and welcoming place for everyone. (Learn more about Yoga for All and Accessible Yoga in Yoga for Everyone: The Top Organizations Making Yoga Accessible for Every Body.)
4. Dianne Bondy (@Diannebondyyoga)
Dianne Bondy wrote the book on yoga for everyone. Literally. Her book "Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body" came out in April. She's also the other co-creator of Yoga for All and founder of Yogsteya, which is devoted to teaching (and celebrating!) yogis of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities.
Bondy is a strong social justice advocate and supporter of yogis of all types. Her Instagram is a fantastic place for both tutorials and inspirational self-love messages. Bondy is constantly fighting to make yoga more accessible for all yogis, and is inspiring other yoga teachers to help make the change as well.
5. Tiff Goins (@yogatiffany_)
Tiff Goins is an avid yogi and yoga teacher, and a big advocate of the notion that yoga is for everyone. Her Instagram feed is filled with gorgeous photos of her in incredible yoga positions and beautiful bendy poses that border on unbelievable. But the really incredible part of Goins' feed is in the comments in her photos. They're filled with insightful, inspirational and motivational comments that can truly make you stop and question your present state. Check out this example and see what we mean:
what are you feeling right now
take a moment to think
about this question right now
what thoughts are causing
these emotions forcing you to bow
down into your lower self
place your ego on the shelf
you have power to make room
for your higher self
We highly recommend you follow Goins and share in her photographic journey through yoga, and, hopefully, find yourself inspired along the way.
We hope you found even a drop of inspiration from these five incredible yogis, and may they motivate your santosha practice.
It's all about acceptance. Accept your circumstances, accept your world, and, most importantly, accept yourself.
Remember, we all deserve greatness.