There’s a plethora of yoga teachers to marvel at on Instagram these days with an ever-increasing stream of content, ranging from images of impressive asanas to fun instructional videos. As Instagram’s yoga community grows, it’s easy for social media critics to deem its members as indistinguishable and superficial, disregarding any potential they might have to create a meaningful or positive impact. There are yogis who are about more than just fanciful poses and idyllic settings – they inspire, empower and educate us, shaking up stagnant ideas of what yoga is all about. In no particular order, I’ve rounded up my top 7 favorite yoga Instagrammers to follow this year, along with a brief summary of what makes them so awesome.
Kathryn Budig, @kathrynbudig Kansas-native, Kathryn has been on the scene for a while. The internationally-acclaimed teacher launched her career in Los Angeles and now teaches workshops around the globe. While we often get a glimpse into her enviable travels, culinary adventures, and jaw-dropping yoga skills, Kathryn also shares pieces of her ordinary, everyday life alongside honest yet uplifting commentary on relationships, self-esteem, body-image issues, and plenty more. She has a charming and playful way with words and an admirable propensity to engage with her followers.
Jessamyn Stanley @Mynameisjessamyn Jessamyn already has a sizable following, and it’s easy to see why. With her stunning flexibility and fearlessness, she proves that you don’t have to fit the stereotypical mold of the taut, toned yogi, but that a woman of any size or shape can become a kick-ass teacher and an inspirational Instagram queen. In accompaniment to her beautifully-shot images of inversions and headstands, Jessamyn gives us intelligent and thought-provoking captions that tackle subjects like body-positivity, self-confidence, fat-shaming, and the relentless idealization of thinness. Hanane Lazaar @_hananelazaar Kuwait-based Hanane is decidedly daring with a vibrant and impactful Instagram presence. She’s one of the most famous yoginis to post pictures of herself practicing in a hijab while sporting a stylish combination of beautiful Middle-Eastern attire and Western clothes. She exudes confidence and pride as she showcases her talent for insane postures and her quirky sense of fashion, using her platform to shatter stereotypes of Muslim women and bring wonderful diversity to the online yoga community. Taylor Harkness @tjhark The paramedic-turned-instructor is passionate about anatomy and physiology and uses social media to spread the healing message of yoga. Taylor encourages people to take responsibility for their wellbeing through movement. Taylor’s Instagram features snippets of his nomadic life interspersed with displays of awe-inspiring agility as a yogi and rock climber. He does a good job at dispelling the myth that men can’t be as flexible as women and raises awareness of social issues like LGBT, animal and environmental rights.
Steph Gongora @casa_colibri Steph, also dubbed the “tattooed yogi,” is a yoga and aerials teacher living in Costa Rica who won my attention with her bohemian aesthetics, jungle backdrops, and strong tattooed limbs shifting between postures. She harbors a conscious and authentic voice, starting up conversations about important topics including the stigma of menstruation, patriarchy and white privilege. In 2017, Steph posted a video of herself practicing yoga while on her period, visibly bleeding through her white leggings. The video went viral, garnering both criticism and praise. Heidi Williams @heidiwilliams89 Heidi’s Instagram feed is a feast for the eyes but centers on more than just pretty pictures. She uses yoga-based movement as a form of art therapy and creative expression, capturing photographs of her naked body contorted into visually striking poses. Her first foray into yoga came as a way for her to manage various mental health difficulties. She’s since gone on to make her mark by using her imagery and words on Instagram to openly discuss her experiences of rape and celebrate the strength of trauma survivors. Chelsea Jackson Roberts @chelsealovesyoga Chelsea is a well-esteemed yoga teacher with a refreshing relatability that sets her apart. Her Instagram is more than just a monetization of her brand. She uses her research background, activism and passion for yoga to help bring the practice to marginalised communities. My favorite thing about Chelsea is her genuinely sweet and joyful spirit as she documents her journey both on and off the mat, injecting some yogic insight and positivity into our lives and serving as a healthy source of motivation.