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

1 Citation (Scopus)

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 20 s. 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. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-126
JournalBody Image
Volume36
Early online date4 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Body image
  • Instagram
  • Social media
  • Thin ideal
  • Yoga
  • media representation

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