Is This What A Female Yogi Looks Like? A Content Analysis of Yoga Images on Instagram

Angela Hinz, Kate Mulgrew, Tamara De Regt, Geoff Lovell

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

Abstract

As yoga continues to increase in global popularity, idealized representations of a thin, athletic ‘yoga body’ have also become more prominent across commercial media. To examine how yoga is typically represented on social media, a content analysis of the posts of female yoga practitioners on Instagram was undertaken. Images were sourced using hashtags #yoga, #yogabody, #yogapractice, and #yogawoman, and 200 females per hashtag were then coded on demographic factors, body shape, activity, objectification, and practice of yoga. Results showed that over 90% of women in the images were coded as being under 40 years of age with the vast majority in their 20s. Almost three-quarters of women were perceived to be white, 100% appeared able bodied. More than 80% were classed as thin and/or athletic, while less than 15% displayed average levels of visible body fat. More than 50% of yoga poses were advanced while a quarter displayed potentially unsafe alignment. The findings demonstrate that the typical ‘yoga body’ on Instagram was perceived to conform to the young, thin/athletic ideal and that overall yoga is not being represented as an inclusive physical practice that can be adapted for women of diverse ages, body types, and abilities
Original languageEnglish
JournalBody Image
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Nov 2020

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