Yogis with killer inversions and gorgeous balance poses aren’t all being groomed in a studio or spotlighted in the pages of Yoga Journal. Instead, you may spy the next generation of star yogis on your smartphone.
Yoga talent—and yoga pose exhibitionism—have taken off on Instagram. It’s become a digital stage for a huge and mostly non-professional community of yogis. They have day jobs—and a passion for photography, jaw-dropping settings, and yoga poses with major wow-factor.
Many Instagram yogis say they use the social media platform to track their progress and inspire others to begin a practice. And it’s taken hold. Some have built online followings that exceed even pros like Tara Stiles and Kathryn Budig.
Check out the emerging yoga superstars on Instagram that you should be following… —Rosa Levitan and Melisse Gelula
Photo: LauraSykora on Instagram
Laura Kasperzak: LauraSykora, 159K followers
Laura Sykora is an Instagram yoga celebrity. The 35-year-old who works for a software company has been practicing yoga for four years consistently, though she’s been at it for about 16. Sykora just started posting photos of her awe-inspiring poses on Instagram last July as a way to track her progress. She favors difficult backbends and one- or no-handed inversions that we’ve only seen Dharma Mittra attempt. She’s always clad in to-die-for patterned leggings (Teeki and K.Deer Haute Yoga). Although Sykora doesn’t consider herself a “professional” yogi, she includes pose-specific tips and advice, and plans on taking the leap into teaching and getting certified this summer. “My favorite thing is inspiring others, and in turn being inspired by the Instagram community,” she says. “All of the support and love has really pushed me.”
Masumi Goldman: Masumi_G, 25K followers
A self-described former gym girl, Masumi Goldman began doing yoga just seven months ago, in October 2012, after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that caused her “terrible pain” and an inability to use her arms. Along with a macrobiotic diet, her home practice helped her “regain mobility and control of her body.” She started posting photos on Instagram after seeing high-school friend Laura Sykora’s page, and has since built a large following. She often plays around with advanced inversions and balances and posts inspiring advice about leading a healthy lifestyle. “I share my poses on Instagram to inspire people. I want someone else who is sick to see me and believe that they can heal, too.”
Caitlin Turner: Gypsetgoddess, 29K followers
Caitlin Turner is an Arizona-based yoga teacher with a passion for travel. The 27-year old has been practicing yoga for six years, and teaches private sessions to clients around the world. Her Instagram page is a yoga-travel channel of sorts, combining what’s clearly a love for travel with her yoga practice. Her poses are all set in stunning scenic locations, including lotus pose on an elephant. She first began posting photos of her practice on Instagram a year ago as a way to archive and share her experiences, as well as inspire others to pursue a daily yoga practice. Her page has allowed her to increase both her global client base and brand collaborations, she says. “My favorite thing about sharing my practice is that I get to create ‘aha’ moments for my followers. When my followers share with me that they were able to accomplish a pose for the first time, as a result of my tutorial or photo, it’s a very gratifying feeling.”
Other yogis to follow on Instagram:
GrowSoulBeautiful: 12K followers
This website encourages yogis to explore their practices through photography and art. Their Instagram page features yoga challenges and reader submissions (all gorgeous, of course).
Hiptoyourjive, 11.6K followers
Cassandra is a self-taught yogi, who began her practice just last year. Her poses are fluid and gorgeous, and she can do some of the most amazing back-bends we’ve ever seen! Plus we love her edginess and fashion sense.
Bohemian_Heart, 3K followers
Shiela Advincula is a 42-year old mom whose photos incorporate the spiritual side of her Ashtanga practice. Her photos are often taken outdoors or on the beach, and her poses are simple yet inspiring.
Pocketdwarf, 2K followers
A yogi that truly captures the spirit of Instagram, Melissa Lee’s photos often use dark and grainy filters and are set against super-cool backgrounds. And her comments on her own progress are warm and relatable.
Photo: Pocketdwarf on Instagram