Practice or performance? A content analysis of yoga-related videos on Instagram

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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

Abstract

Representations of yoga within media have become increasingly idealised, depicting typical practitioners as young, thin, and physically competent. While previous content analyses of yoga have focused on still images, social media platforms such as Instagram encourage the use of video to enhance viewer engagement. Video may contain features which reflect a more nuanced view of the body, and therefore the current study analysed 400 women in yoga-related videos on Instagram for appearance characteristics, body conceptualisation, yoga pose type, risk, and perceived intention. The vast majority of women were perceived to be in their 20s and thin or athletic. Only 13.2 % of women showed average visible levels of body fat, while more than a third displayed visible muscularity across multiple muscle groups. There was little presence of objectification with the majority of women in active poses, though more than 60 % of poses/sequences were advanced and potentially risky. The vast majority of videos appeared to be for the purpose of demonstrating skill rather than instructing the viewer. The findings show that videos on Instagram perpetuate unrealistic appearance ideals in yoga and also provide a platform for content creators to engage viewers by representing yoga as a highly performative, predominantly advanced physical activity. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalBody Image
Volume39
Early online date3 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Sep 2021

Keywords

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

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